Diary of an NQT: Leading a CPD session

Written by: Diary of an NQT | Published:
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Asked to lead a cross-school CPD discussion on systems of assessment, our NQT diarist worries about whether she is qualified enough to take on the task…

Back in July, staff at my school each chose an educational book to read as part of our professional development.

I thought this was a great idea to contribute to our CPD, and I was keen to take part as I had enjoyed the research side of my PGCE.

I chose a book that was more to do with whole-school systems of assessment, rather than something subject-specific.

Nevertheless, it was an interesting read that illuminated areas that had been fairly unbeknownst to me.

It allowed me to question why schools choose to assess (both summative and formative) in particular ways. In addition, I could see how our school (and others that I experienced in prior placements) fit into the bigger picture of the education landscape.

I’d read the book over the summer holidays, but it wasn’t until our first CPD session back this term that I had to frantically dig it out...

This is because I had received an email from the deputy head before the holidays asking if I would be comfortable leading a short discussion based on my reading and findings. Other members of staff from different subjects who’d read different books were also asked.

Initially, I was more than happy to – I certainly had enough to say on the topic. However, it wasn’t soon after I had agreed that the nerves and self-doubt began to set in.

It really wasn’t a huge endeavour – a 10-minute chat about the book with some discussion of the methods we might consider implementing going forward. Regardless, I couldn’t help but feel like a fraud.

I am still extremely self-conscious about the connotations of being an “NQT” – a sprightly, over-enthusiastic newbie that still has a lot to learn! And I didn’t exactly feel qualified to lead a discussion among fellow professionals who have been teaching for more years than I can imagine. Nonetheless, I’d already agreed, and so I had to push away the niggling doubts.

The session itself went far better than imagined. It certainly wasn’t a case where I was put on spot and made to feel awkward in any way. It was also great to be able to communicate with teachers from outside of the English department – something that doesn’t often happen due to our busy day-to-day schedules.

It was both valuable and reassuring to hear about the trials and tribulations of other subjects, and the perspectives of other members of staff across the school. It was a great mix of classroom teachers, middle leader, heads of departments and senior leaders, which allowed a “coming together” of many minds to discuss important and relevant factors related to assessment.

It also reminded me that there’s a unique thread of respect and empathy that aligns teachers, no matter what their role, and this contributes hugely to our success as a school.

I think the experience of being part of this cross-school CPD session has helped with my confidence immensely.

It can often be the case that an NQT doesn’t feel ready to integrate into wider-school activities until the “initiation” period of this year has ended, which is certainly how I’d felt beforehand.

However, I am glad I was given to opportunity to do this, as this isn’t something I’d have readily volunteered for. So, if anyone reading this is in a similar position or feels ready to contribute in a similar fashion, then I would wholly encourage you to do so!

  • Our NQT diarist this year is an English teacher at a comprehensive school in the Midlands.


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