This is a time of year when teaching students can celebrate – the completion of their training and award of a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or equivalent; and getting a job as a teacher and starting the next stage of their career.
However, this transition is not always seamless. In particular, there can be a mismatch between the structured training and mentoring that takes place in universities, teaching schools or programmes such as Teach First or Teach Now and the school-based training that takes place during the Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) year. Professor Sam Twiselton, head of the Government’s new ITT Review told Schools Week magazine that ‘patchy access to support for new teachers’ was an issue identified by the Carter review four years ago but not yet addressed.
So, if you’re an NQT, how do you ensure you get the best support to deliver great teaching and learning in your new school?
And if you’re a mentor or senior leader in a school how can you provide the best training to develop, and vitally, retain your NQTs?
Here are six key ideas:
1. Agree on a long-term development journey.
Schools have not always been good at professional development discussions as opposed to annual ‘performance management’ but they are getting better! And it’s never too early to start considering specific areas a trainee might be interested in specialising in – for example pastoral support, curriculum design or special educational needs.
2. Start implementing the ideas in the Early Careers Framework.
The framework won’t be rolled out nationally until September 2021 but there’s no reason why schools shouldn’t already be focusing on the key ideas and how they relate to the Teaching Standards.
3. Make full use of a range of mentoring and support.
Schools will assign mentors to NQTs but it’s also worth looking for continuity and keeping in touch with ITT mentors – an approach praised by Sam Twistleton in the Schools Week article mentioned above. If this is not possible, think about investing in external coaching – especially if there are limited experts in the NQT’s phase or subject area.
4. Plan MAT-wide training.
With the growth of trusts, there are more opportunities to bring all staff together for training and this is especially true of NQTs. Technology can help with this – we’ve written recently about the importance of growing training communities and offering remote support.
5. Search out specific resources that can help NQTs.
For example, the Chartered College of Teaching has an Early Career Area that offers ‘compact guides’ to various issues of interest to NQTs.
6. Set aside time for reflection and improvement.
NQTs have guaranteed 10% reduction in teaching time but this can often be solely devoted to planning and assessment. It’s important to use it for reflection – this teacher wrote recently in the TES about how taking time for reflection saved his teaching career. We’ve seen many examples in the schools we work with where reflective coaching has reignited teachers’ passion for their careers. Please get in touch to find out more!
ONVU Learning has crafted an innovative solution called Lessonvu, offering teachers and trainers the ability to record lessons using 360-degree video and high definition audio for self-reflection and professional development. Discover all about Lessonvu and how it can help you and your school.
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