10 Top Tips for NQT Year

Get the most out of your NQT year and impress your school with these 10 top tips from an Assistant Headteacher.

Starting your NQT programme at a new school can be a daunting time - having to get used to a new school environment whilst trying to impress other staff members in the process. However, we’ve pulled together these 10 tips to help you get the most out of your NQT year.

NQT Tip 1 - Create an NQT folder and add all your evidence

You need to keep all and any evidence that can help you prove you have met the expected standards. No detail is too small so make sure you add everything in here! It’s better to have too much you can sort through than forget to add something and regret it. Adding evidence as you go also prevents a mad panic with having to do it all last minute.

NQT Tip 2 - Know who runs the NQT induction

This is crucial. Find out who runs the programme, when training sessions might be, and make yourself known to them. Ask to attend sessions, even if you are only there for a few days or weeks, and put any evidence in your folder. Being proactive isn’t something that will be missed by other teachers so don’t be afraid to get stuck in.

NQT Tip 3 - Make sure people will miss you if you go

It is important that the school remembers you because you made a valuable contribution. Whilst the classroom role is the key purpose, the extra things you can offer and do will help you be remembered and asked for again if the opportunity arises. Help with sports teams, run a staff yoga class, start a B to A* intervention group. Thinking outside the box and going above and beyond your normal responsibilities will be sure to leave a lasting impression!

NQT Tip 4 - Get spotted being fabulous

Stating the obvious, but you are a teaching professional. And you are brilliant at it. So show it, and let people see it. Be early, not just on time. Stay late to get the marking and planning done in school. Follow up on the behaviour issues, take the detentions, offer to do extra break duties, respond promptly to staff emails. All these things that make you a brilliant teacher will be spotted by others.

NQT Tip 5 - Get in the habit of saying ‘Yes’

You will often be asked if you could do things to help. Don’t be afraid to say yes, even if out of your comfort zone. If emails or staff briefings ask for volunteers or help, do it. I recommend running it past your Subject Leader first – e.g.” I was thinking of doing … is that OK with you?” One way to ensure you progress is to push your own boundaries, remember every new thing will help make you an even more brilliant teacher.

NQT Tip 6 - Read the OFSTED report & School Development Plan

These documents will help give you an idea of the needs the school has, and help you to know what areas they might be looking for people. Can you help raise attainment of G&T students through after school sessions? Can you help narrow the gap through differentiated resources and providing new opportunities? Can you offer new subjects in post-16 provision? Do you know how to run enterprise courses? Find out who to talk to about such things – and talk to them. Create your own job!

NQT Tip 7 - Stay in touch

Make sure you get emails/phone numbers of key people and stay in touch. If staff go for drinks on a Friday, try to go along, even if just for 30 minutes and an orange juice. Building your own network will really help you get the job you want and be successful in it. More than this, staying in touch with teachers for your school will give you a support network for advice from others who have already been there and done it! Don’t forget we can learn so much through the experiences of others.

NQT Tip 8 - Use your time out of schools productively

Plan lessons or sequences of lessons on topics. Have lessons up your sleeve for those days when there may be no clear work set. Know the content of different exam boards. Engage in educational debate. Practise possible interview questions and answers. Being prepared will not only help you should things go different to plan, but also give you the confidence to own the situation!

NQT Tip 9 - Be positive about where you work

Talk positively about the classes you teach and the school you work in. Thank and praise those you work with. Smile. The teachers who inspired you probably boosted your ego about how great you were and how much you could achieve. DO the same for the students, staff and schools you work with.

NQT Tip 10 - Use web resources

Technology is something that teachers should incorporate into their lessons. Remember web resources can offer a whole new element to teaching so don’t be afraid to use it! There are so many apps and online learning tools ready and waiting for you.

Twitter is also another great online platform you can use as a teacher. It’s fast pace nature is always bustling with opinions and tips of other teachers so consider signing yourself up!

Authored by: Stephen Fuller, Assistant Headteacher

Looking for NQT opportunities?

You can find a list of all our NQT vacancies here. However, if you can’t find the role you are looking for do not hesitate to contact Horizon Teachers and one of our consultants will be happy to help find you the right position.