Early career teacher

10 things to expect in your NQT/ECT years

So, you’re about to start your NQT/ECT year, the last stage before becoming 100% teacher. You are probably very excited about it, yet it’s understandable that you might also be a bit apprehensive or nervous. At Smart Teachers, we find jobs for NQTs/ECTs every day and support them throughout their year. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 10 things to expect in your NQT/ECT to make sure you’re prepared, confident and ready to go. 

  1. You’ll be completing your training over two years rather than one. Previously you had to complete your NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) across 3 terms, usually in one year. From September 2021, the NQT has changed and is now called ECT (Early Career Teacher) and is completed across 6 terms, normally in two years. 
  2. You’ll be provided with a mentor. Your mentor will regularly meet with you to review how you are getting on and help provide development plans based on your progress. They are there to help you succeed, so ensure to make the most of their knowledge and experience. 
  3. You will have a reduced timetable during your ECT. In the first year you’ll have a 10% reduction, then a 5% reduction in the second year, both in addition to PPA time.  
  4. Good organisation will be essential. With lesson planning, sourcing resources, marking, and seating plans to do, you’ll want and need to keep on top of it all. Getting a good diary to plan work, saving and labelling files of past and future work or creating a homework schedule are all simple things you can do to manage your workload and stay organised. 
  5. Resource sharing will save you time. At times it may feel like you’re re-inventing the wheel with every lesson plan. Save yourself some time or get inspiration from plans that have worked well for others by using teacher resource websites. You’ll be able to find tried and tested plans to adapt for your classes. And join the community by sharing your own plans that worked well for you too. 
  6. You’ll need to fully understand your school’s behaviour policy. Knowing exactly how you can reward, or sanction pupils and then using these methods consistently will only give you more confidence in the classroom.  
  7. Being resilient will help you to thrive. Remember, you are still a beginner at this, and you will probably make a few mistakes. That’s ok! The great thing about making mistakes is that you can learn from them. So, take a deep breath, acknowledge what you could do better next time then move on.  
  8. You’ll do plenty of self-evaluation. As well as getting students to evaluate themselves in class, for you to grow, make sure to regularly do some self-evaluation too. Ask yourself: What went well? How could it have been better? What have I learnt? or How could I make mine and my students’ lives less stressful? 
  9. The support around you is there for a reason. Your mentor, your department colleagues, the headteacher are all there to develop you into the best teacher you can be. Ensure to get all your questions answered and why not regularly ask what they might do in a particular scenario, to give you an alternative approach to situations. 
  10. Every day is a learning opportunity. One of the amazing things about teaching is that it’s a long-term learning journey not just for your pupils, but for you too! And even though you’ll spend two years finishing your training to becoming a full teacher, the learning won’t stop there! Every day, every class, every pupil will be unique. 

Good luck during your ECT and beyond, we know you will be a brilliant teacher. If you want to find out more about our ECT pool or explore our ECT vacancies, call us today on +44(0)20 7065 7500., we’d love to help you.