Support and Wellbeing
Advice and support requests
The first year as a teacher can be challenging, but you are not on your own – even though you may sometimes feel like you are! Please keep in touch with us, so we can help as and when you need our support.
We have a dedicated email address for NQTs to make requests for bespoke guidance and support: NQT@brighton.ac.uk.
For all alumni who gained QTS from the University of Brighton in 2018, we have arranged funding for your PebblePad e-Portfolio account to remain open during your NQT year in order to support your transition and progress.
Click here to access a guide to setting up your free PebblePad alumni account and to using your NQT workbook.
We have a statutory requirement to report on the progress of all University of Brighton alumni NQTs. We would be grateful if you could keep us informed about your progress. Please click here to update us on your employment status.
Teacher support networks
The networks listed below may be of interest:
- Teacher Support Network
- The Guardian Teacher Network
- Education Support Partnership – the UK charity dedicated to improving the mental health and wellbeing of education staff in schools, colleges and university.
- LGBTed is a network of LGBT+ teachers and leaders, empowering them to be authentic in schools, colleges and universities, to support students and to be an advocate for increasing LGBT+ visibility in our education system.
- This is a new support and wellbeing space from the BBC to help teachers through the stress and pressures of the school year.
- “Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Teacher” by Tim Mobbs. This is a short book split into useful sections detailing advice for all areas of the life of a teacher both inside and outside the classroom written by a primary teacher.
- Sage Publishing has a range of resources including free book chapters, special features and guides for students on all education courses covering teacher training, and includes resources to support maintaining positive mental health and well-being.
- SEND videos: Sendgateway hosted by Nasen, have created videos aimed to develop a newly qualified teachers’ knowledge of SEND and to provide helpful resources and tips for the classroom. The videos cover ADHD, Acquired Brain Injury, Autism, Down’s Syndrome, Dyscalculia, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Hearing Impairment, Physical Disability, Social, Emotional and Mental Health, Speech, Language and Communication Needs and Visual Impairment.
Teachers are some of the busiest people in the world, and your hectic schedule will have a tendency to impact on your diet. The food you eat affects more than just your basic health – it also affects your energy levels and your ability to be productive. Healthy eating habits will make you better for yourself and better for your pupils. Your job will be rewarding and interesting, but will also be stressful. You may have plenty of opportunities to exercise your brain, but being in school early and having lots of reasons to stay in school late or do some extra work will leave little time to take care of your physical fitness.
This website from Canada discusses well-being tips to make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating healthily, taking exercise and keeping hydrated.
What to expect in your NQT year
You will be allocated a member of staff as your induction tutor who will provide day-to-day monitoring and support, and coordinate your assessment. The induction tutor must have the necessary skills and knowledge to work successfully in this role and should be able to provide effective coaching and mentoring. The induction tutor must be given sufficient time to carry out the role effectively and to meet your needs.
Throughout your induction year, you will be observed regularly (either by your induction tutor or another suitable person who holds QTS) and you will have regular meetings to discuss your development and any areas of concern.
At the end of each full term of your induction year, you will be formally assessed, with either your induction mentor or school leader formally appraising your progress towards meeting the Teaching Standards (these detail the required skills in areas such as subject knowledge, planning, assessment and managing the learning environment, as well as personal and professional conduct).
This assessment will take into account evidence gathered during the preceding period, and judgements will relate directly to the relevant standards. Guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) states that NQTs should be kept up to date on their progress and that “there should be no surprises”.
After your final assessment in the third term, your school leader is required to make a recommendation to the appropriate body (the local authority or relevant teaching school), stating whether you have made satisfactory progress towards meeting all of the standards. The appropriate body will then assess whether you have met the requirements to pass your induction period and will write to your leader to confirm the decision.
Over the course of the induction period, evidence from day-to-day practice as well as from specific development activities will build up to show how you are making progress towards meeting the standards. There is no requirement to maintain a portfolio of evidence against each standard however, it is important that you check with your induction tutor what the expectations are in your school. Statutory guidance states: “The NQT should record evidence of progress towards objectives and agreed steps to support them in meeting their objectives. Evidence should come from practice.” Some schools may ask you to keep a teaching standards file. If that is the case then three pieces of evidence per standard should be enough, together with your observations, assessment forms and review meeting notes. The documents linked here will help you to decide what evidence might be useful for each standard and will also support the organisation of an NQT evidence file.
Throughout this period you will have a 10% reduced timetable to allow for meetings with your induction tutor and other necessary activities. This is an additional reduction on top of the 10% set aside on all teachers’ timetables for PPA (preparation, planning and assessment).
More information can be found by reading the DfE Statutory Induction guidance.
From September 2021, the statutory period of induction for NQTs will increase to two years. The Early Career Framework is designed to build on and compliment Initial Teacher Training. There will be additional funding for a 5% reduction in timetabling for the second year, ECF programmes and time for mentors and mentor training. There will be an early roll out of the ECF in September 2020 in the N.E., Greater Manchester, Bradford and Doncaster.
When you move on from your NQT year to become a Recently Qualified Teacher, there is a training session on the Sec Ed website in the form of a powerpoint and notes which will enable you to reflect on your NQT year and make the transition to RQT as smooth as possible.
Parents and carers play a crucial role in supporting their children’s learning, and levels of parental engagement are consistently associated with better academic outcomes. This latest report from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is designed to support primary and secondary schools to work with parents – particularly those from disadvantaged homes – to support their child’s learning.
UoB have provided helpful tips and strategies when communicating with parents and carers that you may wish to consider in your role as a class teacher.
Here are some easy ways to develop positive relationships with parents and carers:
- Warmth and friendliness goes a long way. When you see parents and carers in person smile, shake hands and make eye contact. Be positive and tell them about the brilliant things their children have done and talk about upcoming events.
- Communicate regularly with parents and carers and they won’t be on high alert when they hear from you! Find out what communication tool works best for your parents and carers. It may be an App, a message boards, email, social media, or a phone call as well as face to face.
- Make sure that incidents such as falling outs, fighting, getting hurt, bangs and scrapes are communicated face to face or by a phone call. Sometimes what may appear to be a small incident can become a major issue for parents. Their child’s version may be one-sided and exaggerated so it is important that you explain the circumstances clearly.
- Speak to a parent as soon as a child shows signs of repeated poor behaviour. If it is left until there is a significant event, it will be surprise for parents and may be met with resistance. Be ready to explain what strategies you’ve already used to address the issue and what new strategies you are considering.
- Don’t ever feel pressured to make an important decision during a conversation. Instead, be prepared to take some time to think and get back to the parent. For example, “This is an important issue. I’d really like to give it some serious thought and get back to you on it.” Then make it a point to tell the parent exactly when he or she can expect a response: “Let’s schedule another meeting/phone call for Friday. Does that work for you?” This allows you time to consider the issue, develop possible solutions, and consult with colleagues if necessary.
- Let parents and carers know they can trust you. Be discrete and avoid discussing pupils with other parents or engaging in any negative school talk.
Most NQTs are understandably nervous about the prospect of their first parent consultation evening alone as “the teacher”! These tips show how good preparation backed up with evidence is worth having.
Further tips on how to prepare for a parent consultation can be found on the Teacher Toolkit website.
Sometimes you will need to have difficult conversations with parent and carers. Getting through these conversations with your relationships intact — whilst still getting your point across — can be difficult. Often the difficult conversations are when you clearly see the child in two different ways. What the parent sees is not necessarily what you see in the classroom. You have to convey that to the parent without making them feel wrong about the way they see the child. Here are some strategies to support you when having these types of conversations.
Communicating with parents of young children is explored on the “Zero to Three” website and includes real examples of some difficult conversations.
Getting started in your new classroom
Some teachers choose to set up their classroom during the summer holiday and some leave it until the Autumn term starts. If you choose to go in during the summer make sure you check well in advance when you can get access to the school building – before you book that well earned holiday!! Having your classroom ready is essential because this makes you ready and will mean you can focus on the teaching and learning. A well-organised and attractive classroom shows that you mean business and children will take pride in their environment. To help you set up your classroom here are some useful tips:
- Check school policies. Ask colleagues and senior leaders whether there is anything you need to be aware of. For example, there may be fire safety considerations about hanging things from the ceiling or attaching notices to the door. Your school may have a policy on those non negotiable displays that need to be visible such as: behaviour management procedures, learning objectives board, learning/working walls, school vision statements, displays to support specific subjects, visual timetable, notice board, welcome door sign, reading corner etc. Make sure that you know where the backing paper is kept.
- Think about your desk space, the pupils working spaces and the carpet space. Position your own desk so you can see the classroom, and try to keep the items on your desk to a minimum. You want to model good managing skills for the pupils. Consider the layout of the tables and desks for the pupils. Decide whether you want them grouped, in rows or in a horseshoe shape and make sure that you have enough tables and chairs for the size of your class. Check that the whiteboard is visible from each chair and that the chair back can be pushed back easily without banging into furniture. If you are setting up in the holiday be aware of cleaners coming in and moving everything after you have set up the furniture. Perhaps leave a plan of the classroom on the whiteboard so it can be put back as it was left? You can read more practical advice about making the most of your classroom on the Sec Ed website.
- Organise your resources. You may need to have a sort out before you start but be wary about what you throw away. What looks like junk to you may be a resource that is used for a particular topic! Make sure all your resources are labelled clearly with images if appropriate, so that the pupils are able to put things back tidily. If you need drawers for each child make sure these are labelled clearly. Creating their own drawer labels can also be a good getting -to know you activity for the pupils. Once you have also labelled the cloakroom pegs consider how PE bags and book bags will be stored.
- Create classroom systems and procedures. For a well-managed classroom, it’s important to have clear systems in place for handing in homework, using the toilet, storing reading books, storing exercise books, sharpening pencils, and more. Buy a note book for your to-do lists and a diary so that you remain organised and remember key dates such as assessment deadlines, trips, visits, meetings and those all important social events. Some of you may find that you are required to teach in many different classrooms. It may be helpful to have a wheelie trolley and some sort of easy to carry filing system such as a concertina type file to store worksheets/assessment sheets organised into the different classes. With year-group bubbles likely being the “new normal” for secondary schools, at least in the first term, teachers will have to move around their sites more than they might otherwise have done. Peter Mattock offers words of advice so that being a ‘mobile’ teacher causes as little disruption as possible.
- Before that first day make sure that you have thought about seating plans, creating lolly sticks, timetables and class lists etc but remember to also look after yourself. You are the most importance resources for your pupils! Finally there are a range of resources for both primary teachers and secondary teachers to help you create a purposeful learning environment on the Twinkl website.