Newly-Qualified Teachers (NQTs) in September 2020
It’s doubtful that anybody who was intent on applying for teaching jobs a year ago could have anticipated the current challenges facing the education sector. If there are teachers reading this who have completed their university teaching course - and perhaps already reached out to teaching recruitment agencies for some short-term supply teaching work - and have either started (or are about to start) their NQT year, they may be feeling somewhat overwhelmed.
Approximately half a year ago, it was a very different time for many industries and sectors across the country. Those who undertook their NQT year in the 2019-2020 term would be entering into teaching positions that, thanks to COVID-19, have had a spanner thrown in the works. Lockdown forced teachers to work from home where possible, which meant that large portions of permanent or supply teachers, cover supervisors and teaching assistants were spending more time out of the classroom than in it.
The school term has already started, and we cannot deny that the upcoming academic year brings an unprecedented number of challenges.
However, schools should support staff in any way possible as they embark on new teaching job opportunities. These teachers are going to need as much help, guidance and direction as possible, so what can schools do to ensure they’re protected, secure and looked after? What’s more, how can education recruitment agencies like Always Flourishing help? All is explained below.
How can Schools Support Their NQTs?
Get to know the NQTs’ strengths and weaknessesIf you’re currently working as a teacher, while mentoring an NQT in some or all of your classes, it’s important to find out where they excel. We cannot forget that in these times, students will also be feeling somewhat concerned and overwhelmed, so you should always ensure your NQT is fulfilling their obligations while giving children a rewarding experience. This year, it may be more difficult to do, but not impossible.
Provide specific, laser-focused CPDIt’s likely that NQTs are very familiar with CPD training courses, but 2020’s NQTs will probably need more support than usual. Trainee teachers may have less experience of long-term lesson planning, and how to adapt accordingly. When structuring your teacher training support, consider the gaps in your NQTs’ learning and ability to deliver specific subjects.
Offer additional mentoringIt doesn’t matter whether you’re teaching in a private school full-time, or working as a teaching assistant in a SEND school, we’re all aware teachers don’t have much free time. It’s no different for NQTs. Offering regular, extended teaching support will help them get a broad understanding of the school they’re teaching in, under non-’normal’ circumstances, and give them the opportunity to raise any concerns.
Don’t make assumptionsDue to a lack of final placements for most NQTs working until just before lockdown, there may be systems, processes and opportunities they may have missed. It’s helpful they’re clued into all of these, and schools don’t assume they know them.
Don’t underestimate themAt the same time, anyone who is interested in securing a permanent teaching position should be encouraged as much as possible. Empowering NQTs to take initiative and continue their professional development will be key. Balance is essential.
Offer a reduced timetableIt may be worth considering reducing the teaching timetable for your NQTs, to begin with. While this may be a financial concern for schools looking to hire teachers, with support from the government, this could be beneficial. Creating a job-share environment with a higher-level teaching assistant paired with an NQT could work well on a reduced timetable.
Consider extending the NQT yearIt’s worth considering whether an NQT year could be extended to allow for lost time, for those that could benefit from it. Some local authorities are rolling out the Early Career Framework, which could be massively advantageous to today’s current NQTs.
How can Teaching Recruitment Agencies Support NQTs?
While schools have a duty to be supportive to anyone who holds a teaching job position in their school, the same can be said for any teaching applicants who come through education agencies. Always Flourishing are no different.
Our ethos is putting wellbeing into education, for both staff and students. We position the right candidates into the right teaching positions with our partner schools, and our range encompasses full and part-time jobs in primary and secondary schools, nurseries, independent schools and the SEND sector.
We help schools across the Thames Valley fill short and long-term teaching opportunities and position the candidates who will flourish, and who will bring good fortune to their schools.