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Welcoming Newly Qualified Teachers to school

SSAT Senior Education Lead Sylvia King welcomes newly qualified teachers to the profession and outlines some ways in which we can support them through this important year.

Along with welcoming your students and staff at the beginning of the new term you may have a Newly Qualified Teacher, ready and eager (if a little apprehensive) to start their career in your school. I remember feeling like a 5 year old on my first day, full of worries that I knew nothing about anything, that the students wouldn’t believe a word I said and that I would use the wrong pen on the board and create havoc (I did, but as it happened that was how I made friends with the premises team – invaluable!)

We all know that NQTs provide an excellent boost of enthusiasm and energy to a school but that maintaining that same energy and enthusiasm through the long Autumn Term can be a challenge. For this year’s new teachers there have been extra challenges related to their ITT year being disrupted by Covid-19 lockdown and closures. Many NQTs are coming in to school with a more limited classroom experience than their peers.

The research tells us that NQTs who are well supported and guided thrive and are much more likely to remain in the teaching profession long term. In response to this the DFE has designed a 2 year Early Career Framework that provides the structure and support materials for new teachers. Pilot areas for the 2 year programme are starting this term (eligible schools in the North East, Greater Manchester, Bradford and Doncaster can apply for funding) and the Framework will be rolled out next year for all schools.

Those interested in the Framework and the materials that have been produced for it can find out more here. All four providers have produced comprehensive guides for new teachers and their mentors dealing with a wide range of topics that NQTs might need to consider.

Outside of the formal programmes provided for NQTs there is a need for more informal, inclusive support such as giving advice, providing a listening ear or sharing ideas and resources. SSAT members can access the ‘Surviving and succeeding in the first year of teaching’ guide written by Geoff Barton, Alex Galvin and Julian Metcalf.

The guide covers a whole range of topics ranging from Managing Time Effectively and Being an Effective Form Tutor to Using Data to Monitor Progress. Not only does it provide excellent practical tips for dealing with the myriad aspects of being a teacher but it includes advice from teachers from across the SSAT network. Importantly it reassures a new teacher that it is the same for everyone and they are not alone! The emphasis is on thriving in teaching as Andrew from Swinton High School observes ‘Make sure that you enjoy yourself and at the end of each day remember to think about all the things that went right, not those that went wrong.’ Certainly remaining positive and not being too self-critical was what made me start my second year with a lot less trepidation and a lot more excitement.

This month SSAT is launching a series of on-line NQT network events designed to complement and enhance the support that schools provide for their NQT’s. To find out more please join the free launch event on Wednesday 23rd September.

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