As curriculum/T&L leader, you are likely to already have in place a comprehensive induction programme for the newly-qualified teachers (NQT) joining your school in September. But have you made the necessary changes to accommodate the new ways of working triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic? Use our tool to be prepared
Every year, it is important to revisit your NQT induction programme to learn from your experiences from last year to see where improvements could be made. But this year, given the impact of the pandemic across education, it is also vital to factor in new ways of working, new challenges and concerns triggered by Covid-19.
Ensuring all NQTs have time to reflect and learn from their early experiences in charge of a classroom is always vital. But your new intake will also need support in putting into practice the new styles of teaching and learning that have been brought in to ensure safe learning during this pandemic.
This will mean taking time to identify any gaps in their knowledge, skills and training that Covid-19 T&L now requires.
Joining a subject association is another source of help and support for NQTs – the Council for Subject Associations Directory lists all the main ones, so it is worth NQTs knowing about this.
There is also the question of preparing NQTs for providing crucial catch-up on learning. This will involve careful planning, given the loss of learning during lockdown will vary among pupils.
Another issue that NQTs are likely to need specific support on is managing the behaviour challenges that the pandemic experience is likely to create among some pupils. This will also mean being clear on the changes to your whole-school policy to take account of new approaches to managing classroom behaviour at this time.
With mental health and wellbeing taking a huge knock for many during the pandemic, your NQTs are likely to need more support than ever to keep stress levels low and anxiety down.
Now more than ever it is important to ensure NQTs don’t put too much pressure on themselves. Confidence-building is a gradual process. NQTs need to know it is ok to make mistakes; more importantly, they need to know where they can go for help and support to learn from these mistakes. This is where a school’s no-blame and supportive culture will be paramount.
You also need to ensure your existing NQT support staff have capacity for this. It may be you need to draft in additional support this year.
Kindness and collaboration
Collaboration and kindness have been more visible for many schools during this time of coping through the pandemic. So in many ways this is also one of the most exciting times to be joining the profession. Many areas of society have shown a greater respect for what teachers and schools have been doing for young people at this time. Many school staff have found this time of pulling together, working more closely to achieve solutions to the challenges presented, very rewarding.
Your NQTs have a huge amount to offer to your school too.
So help both your mentors and NQTs be prepared for the new school year as you welcome the next generation of teachers into your team.
Our tool aims to help you do this. It gives you a checklist of issues to run through to identify any areas you may have missed, ones that you’ve got well covered, and those that may need more attention.
Here are just a few of the questions included in our tool – one from each area of our Action Plan. The full tool will help you to think about how best to adapt your NQT induction and mentoring programme to help your new teachers quickly settle in come September.
Induction: Does your induction programme include new modules on issues related to Covid-19 changes?
Mentoring: Do your mentors have the time and resource for additional work that may be involved this year, or do they need more support?
T&L/ classroom issues: How are you going to identify any gaps in NQTs’ classroom experience, knowledge and skills to cope with the new style of T&L that the pandemic has necessitated?
Support: Are you building in more time to support NQT wellbeing, given the additional demands of starting their job at this time?
School policy: Are your NQTs clear about what support is available for any pupil they see as having particular challenges in coping with the return to school?
If you liked this tool and are looking for similar ones to help you in your curriculum/T&L leadership, see our Lead & Learn guides. All include practical tips and improvement tools for you to advance that specific area of your role
Have you seen our other free Covid-19 planning resources, including:
- Modifying curriculum/T&L coverage: action plan for September return
- Wellbeing Action Plan
- Curriculum/T&L Action Checklist
- New Transition Programme Action Plan
Is there anything your school has prioritised to ensure your NQTs will be supported with any additional needs and concerns they may have on joining your school at the same time as the full September return?