Newly qualified teachers’ professional learning through practitioner enquiry

Dean Robson (School of Education, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK)
Peter Mtika (School of Education, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK)

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education

ISSN: 2046-6854

Publication date: 4 September 2017



The purpose of this paper is to focus on a partnership-based mentoring model and the learning experiences of participant mentees and mentors. As part of the project, newly qualified teachers (NQTs) were supported to develop and implement a practitioner enquiry (teacher/action research) in a learning community involving two local authorities and an initial teacher education institution.


Qualitative data were collected from five semi-structured focus group interviews with key participant groupings to uncover perceptions and experiences of the partnership and professional learning therein. Analysis using an inductive and iterative approach pinpointed a number of emerging themes used to frame key elements of the findings.


Findings suggested that the partnership-based model promoted the professional learning and development of NQTs and their mentors in various ways. The nature and shape of the partnership had an influence on the quality of mentoring and support experienced. The community effectively supported the implementation of meaningful enquiry projects, which had clear connections to the enhancement of professional practice and pupil learning. However, specific tensions and conflicts emerged as hindrances to successful partnership-based mentoring in the specific context.


New insights into the role of a partnership-based mentoring scheme supporting practitioner enquiry-based learning of NQTs emerged. The local, layered community defining the partnership, and operating within the frame of a national induction scheme, was analysed. Benefits for partners were identified and specific challenges and tensions highlighted, both providing new evidence with potential to impact policy and practice. Policy developments supporting teachers to be mentors and enquiring professionals need to recognise the structural and support tensions that exist in contextual practice.



Robson, D. and Mtika, P. (2017), "Newly qualified teachers’ professional learning through practitioner enquiry", International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 242-260.

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