Newly qualified teachers’ professional learning through practitioner enquiry: Investigating partnership-based mentoring

Dean Robson* (Corresponding Author), Peter Mtika

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


This paper focuses 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 was 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242 -260
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2017

Bibliographical note

This work was funded by the Scottish Government.


  • collaborative partnership
  • mentoring
  • newly qualified teachers
  • professional learning
  • enquiry
  • Professional development for teachers
  • Practitioner enquiry


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