As the first week of school begins, our NQT diarist admits to being a little anxious as she feels the weight of responsibility and expectation.

This week has been a great week as I have gotten back into the fold – but this hasn’t come without some anxiety. I feel the weight of the responsibility for my pupils’ progress, behaviours and attitudes that now sits on my shoulders, the pressure to get it right and make pupils’ experiences and learning successful.

So many of the experienced staff have said they feel the same every September and maybe that is the case, but this is my first year and therefore my first exposure to these expectations.

As I write, the school has just completed our two INSET days. The school gives great importance to CPD and with all staff there is an expectation to complete a variety of compulsory CPD sessions, such as child protection.

There is also a more personalised “learning menu” from which we can select relevant professional learning sessions to attend, presented by experts from around the school. I will complete a minimum of 10 sessions from the learning menu this year.

I had my first NQT meeting yesterday, along with a variety of useful professional development sessions. Meeting a collective of NQTs was reassuring, as however nervous we are, we know we can support each other. I am very lucky to have mentors, senior staff links and a “buddy” that have all been “assigned” to me for support, as well as many close colleagues who will always lend an ear.

I have been sent the documents for completion from Hampshire County Council, to be signed off as an NQT. The best advice I have been given so far is first, record everything, second, keep everything, and third, type up any meeting notes immediately (where possible as you have the meeting) to save you typing up later, because these meeting notes are valuable evidence also.

I understand we need to complete paperwork that has similarities to what we have done in our training years in order to evidence each of the Teaching Standards.

My pupils haven’t started yet; lessons commence tomorrow (at the time of writing). So despite the detailed class lists, with annotated SEN, Pupil Premium and stacks of exercise books, the nerves of introducing my first lesson still persist. When I write next week my reflections will be much more exciting as they will involve the pupils themselves!

That is, of course, why we have chosen this career, to make a difference to young people. Not only to share expert knowledge of our subjects, but helping to develop children to embrace and enjoy the world that is accessible to them. 

A large portion of our CPD sessions have been introducing a drive this year to deliver “Amazing Learning”. What does this mean, you may ask – well I’d say continuing to make learning enjoyable, accessible and enriching while enabling learners to have fun and be creative.

Another drive for the school is narrowing/closing the gap for Pupil Premium pupils. The GCSE results this summer have shown exceptional movement towards this and it is something our school does well. And obviously now this is something I am part of and need to contribute to. The fine line between specialised focus and attention for Pupil Premium pupils and full inclusion is something I now need to tread.

My final CPD session was “Hearing Impaired Intervention” (I have one pupil with severe hearing loss). I now have a much better understanding of how significant this is for a child after we listened to audio of what our pupil is able to hear. We were given superb advice on how to manage classroom noises and strategies to improve the effectiveness of the technology that this pupil has available.

All in all a very comprehensive induction for an NQT. Now I need to conquer the butterflies and just get teaching!

  • SecEd’s NQT diarist this year is a teacher of sociology and philosophy from a school in the South of England.


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