September is a time of new beginnings. But not just for school pupils. The start of a new school year will also see the arrival in some schools of a number of Newly Qualified Teachers. Summer is that time of year when teaching students can celebrate the completion of their training and award of a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or equivalent; and getting a job as a teacher and is the next step into the career, with most teachers aspiring for a successful NQT year ahead.
However, this transition is not always seamless. In particular, there can be a mismatch between the structured training and mentoring that takes place in universities, teaching schools or programmes such as Teach First or Teach Now and the school-based training that takes place during the Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) year.
What is an NQT?
An NQT is a teacher who has just attained Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), and is now undertaking an induction programme that enables them to be legally employed as a teacher in a maintained school. They may have gained QTS in a variety of different ways:
- By taking a Bachelor of Education (BEd) undergraduate degree, or a Bachelor of Arts or Science (BA/BSc) degree with QTS, a degree that incorporates teacher training.
- By taking a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) or by doing School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT), where graduates undertake almost all of their QTS training in a school setting.
- Through an employment programme like the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP), where graduates are employed as an unqualified teacher while working towards QTS, or Teach First, a programme which provides teacher and leadership training for people who are passionate about giving children from the poorest backgrounds a great education.
What does an NQT do in a school?
An NQT induction is an assessment period lasting 3 terms, which the new teacher is usually expected to complete in one academic year. It is designed to ensure that they have a solid grounding in which to continue to build on their skills throughout their teaching career.
Alongside teaching, most NQTs will be given a chance to bring their own ideas to the school. Regardless of how they train, NQTs have to be passionate about encouraging children. From conversations with NQTs and their mentors / head teachers, the majority of schools encourage NTQs to find something new which they can explore and take responsibility for.
Recording a Christmas CD
If you are a Newly Qualified Teacher with a music specialism, then one of the things you might consider is to record a CD with your school. Not only is this a project which will engage all your pupils as well as a number of other staff, it also has the potential to raise money for your school. What a kudos that would be if the NQT managed to develop the quality of singing and music in his or her school and then raise potentially £1000 or more as a direct result!