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NQT Support and Recruitment challenges in Education

Posted on: September 20th 2019

This week, we discuss the recruitment challenges facing school leaders everywhere as NQTs venture off into their first school experiences.

For many newly qualified teachers, this is an exciting time, laced with anticipation and vigour to take on their first class of students. Formulating lessons with the knowledge and training learnt on their programmes and from their mentors, NQTs are at the forefront of delivering impactful teaching.

Teacher retention continues to be of major concern across the education sector, with the leaver rate touching 9.8% last year. As the nature of retention has seen a significant shift, there is a pressure to combat the growing number of working age teachers leaving, rather than retirees. NQTs make up a large part of this figure, making it particularly pertinent to dissect how we contribute to this as school leaders. But how do we combat this?

 

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One of the main takeaways from the NQT retention rate, is the growing disillusionment among teachers from their initial experience in teaching. First experiences can contribute heavily to the drop rate particularly if the proper structured support isn’t in place. Disillusioned NQT experiences often detail that there is significant lack of support to provide the necessary mentorship across the year and transition into teaching.

Within initial teaching experiences, a supportive environment is crucial to NQT performance and development. Programmes which provide NQTs a space where they feel sufficiently supported throughout their induction, training and their initial teaching experience help facilitate a strong sense of self-efficacy. This is just one of the ways in which school leaders can be proactive in driving retention rates down.

As highlighted in the ‘Government standard for teachers’ professional development’  2016 guidance, the need for effective CPD is central to maintaining great teachers in the profession. Prioritising professional development particularly contributes to the overall professional learning culture needed to foster great relationships between teachers and their profession, (as well as school leaders). Understanding the need for professional development which is designed to challenge and draw on best practice means producing thoughtful, supportive programmes. All of which, help to maintain and contribute to facilitating exceptional places of learning, across schools and school leadership.

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Our Initial Teacher Education programme adopts a school-based approach, meaning our trainees are placed in academies, immersed in a school setting. At Harris, we believe the most effective way to experience all aspects of school life is to be based in a school environment, learning to teach with expert classroom practitioners, supplemented by practical, knowledge-rich subject and pedagogical training each week. A mentor is also assigned at each of the placement academies alongside being provided access to the dedicated Initial Teacher Education central team throughout the course.

Our course span from one academic year and can be supplemented with our Summer School providing several many training opportunities, led by practitioners and subject experts across the Federation. 

From our 2018/19 Cohort, History Trainee Jolyon Drew has this to share:

There are many teacher-training courses out there and it is difficult to know which to choose. For me, it was important to be at a school from day one so I could immediately build my skills and knowledge and get a better understanding of what working in a school is like.  A School Direct route was obvious, but choosing which provider took a lot more research. I was very impressed with the Harris team and the reputation of the Harris Federation, so, for me, it was an obvious choice.  My faith in my choice of course has definitely been rewarded. I was anxious to impress in my interview and, having come from a corporate environment, I was less relaxed and more formal than usual.  The team at Harris ITE were incredibly welcoming and quickly put me at ease while keeping things professional – even more so after they pretended to be disruptive students for 10 minutes!  They have been incredibly supportive and helpful throughout my first term.

Training to teach can be chaotic, maddening and hard but it is always satisfying and often enjoyable!’

Within Harris Federation, our commitment to the growing recruitment challenges of teacher retention, is reflected through our CPD opportunities and fostering a culture of professional learning. Combining the best elements from a range of training routes to ensure that our beginner teachers graduate from the course feeling supported, confident and well prepared for teaching, with opportunities for career development, fantastic NQT support and a passion for transforming children’s lives.

 

 

Retention rate statistic and  graphic taken from the School workforce in England: November 2018, Department of Education publication. 27 June 2019

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/school-workforce-in-england-november-2018

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