My NQT experience by Kathryn Fergus, Northern Education Trust Thorp Academy
The NQT (newly qualified teacher) programme delivered by the Early Careers Framework (ECF) and supported by Northern Education Trust (NET) has enabled me to develop across many areas of my teaching, in a year which has presented many challenges for education. Having completed my Geography PGCE in unprecedented circumstances, the ECF programme has given me a supportive network to allow me to progress as an NQT.
Throughout the programme, the delivery and content of the modular units have been encouraging and helped progress both my pedagogical skills and professional development. In addition the training provided has focused on mental health and wellbeing, which I think has been especially important this academic year. I have found the seminars engaging and informative, especially when given the opportunity to share good practice with other NQTs. The confidence and skills gained from the programme and support from my mentor has allowed me to lead in the development of new KS3 Geography schemes of work. Planning lessons using a range of strategies and collaborative activities has been appreciated across the department and I have received good feedback from my colleagues.
One of my key targets last term was incorporating more literacy into my geography lessons to support students with their reading and writing skills. This was aided by the ideas and content supplied by Module 5 in the ECF programme. Disciplinary language is a focus of the curriculum and therefore has been embedded in all lesson structures. Introducing disciplinary language and engaging students with literacy in lessons has ensured students have access to higher level work. Another area I was keen to develop was increasing the progress of students through planning effective assessment. ECF seminars and content in Module 4 provided me with insights into effective use of hinge questions, formative assessment in the form of low stakes testing and giving purposeful feedback to encourage self-regulated learning.
As part of the development of my leadership skills, I have been very active in supporting and running extra-curricular activities. These have included developing activities for and leading the anti-bullying programme, allowing me to support the wider school ethos. Alongside the ECF, my mentor and the NQT programme at Thorp have been fundamental in developing both my confidence and skills as a teacher. The systems at NET have been instrumental in my development as an NQT. For example, the effective expectations for learning policy, stringent classroom routines, use of “need to know” books and termly STEP assessments have given me the opportunity to maximise my teaching abilities and fulfil all teaching standards. My classroom routines have also been supported by observations of other teachers and effective feedback in regular mentor meetings. The quality of feedback has always been of a high standard and extremely supportive, often giving praise for specific activities or events which have been observed in my teaching. Such positive feedback, as well as continued support by the ECF programme continues to motivate and maintain my determination to progress as a teacher.
Kathryn Fergus, NQT, Northern Education Trust Thorp Academy