Case Study - First Year NQT
Specialised training, group planning and unrivalled support for NQTs
Lucy Wylde joined Woodside in 2014 as a newly qualified teacher (NQT). Now in her second year at the school, she shares her experience and explains why the ‘dreaded first year’ was anything but daunting.
“On my very first day at Woodside I was assigned an NQT mentor, who was available to me anytime I needed to discuss any problems I was having. We had scheduled meetings every week, and they would make me aware of my strengths and also highlight any areas that might need to be developed. Just knowing I had that level of personal support from the very first day was a huge relief and weight off my NQT shoulders”, explains Lucy.
Specialised NQT training
Every week, NQTs at Woodside also have specialised training called ‘Team Teaching’ with an experienced member of staff. Prior to the first session taking place, and then regularly throughout the year, the team teacher sits in on a class with the NQT to observe them and their teaching, feeding back on what they do well and flagging up any areas they need to improve on. Then once a week, the NQT and the experienced teacher ‘team teach’ a class together. Lucy explains, “The evening before the scheduled team teach each week, I would meet with my team teacher, and together we would go over the lesson plan. We’d discuss which areas we were each going to cover and tweak any areas of the lesson plan we thought necessary to ensure it was as effective as it could be. Then on the day, we would act as one teacher together, rather than two individuals. I found this approach to the team teach incredibly helpful, as it meant we were constantly learning from each other. So if, for example, I was struggling with behaviour, then I could watch my team teacher in action and get tips from her on how to address that”.
NQTs’ opinions are valued at Woodside, and they are invited to sit on various school boards and take part in school board meetings, as Lucy explains: “As I took part in team teaching last year, I was asked to come along to a board meeting this year and share my experience of the process. I was asked about the areas I found especially helpful and those that could be modified to better serve the NQTs taking part this year. Knowing that my feedback was really taken on board made me feel incredibly valued; the SLT proved that they really cared about my opinion!”
There are 933 pupils currently enrolled at Woodside, which Lucy feels has turned out to be quite a blessing: “As we’re such a big school, we do all planning and assessment together as a team. So for new members of staff or NQTs like myself, it’s not such a daunting process. We talk though ideas and map them out, and everyone is really involved so you never feel like you are on your own”.
Advice to any NQT considering their options?
“Deciding to start my career at Woodside is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! The support and training we receive is second to none, and progression opportunities are ours for the taking. We can pop in and observe experienced teachers in action any time we like, and also because we are such a big school there is always someone to go to for excellent advice, ideas or tips. If you’re considering which school to start with, my advice would be to ensure they offer all of the above; if they don’t, come visit us at Woodside!” concludes Lucy.