Top 10 Tips for NQTs

September 12th, 2017

Every teacher will remember their NQT year. A teacher’s first year is probably one of the most crucial in their career. If you can get through your NQT year, you can get through anything!

Octavo’s Teacher Recruitment and NQT Consultant, shares her top tips for not just surviving your NQT year but getting the absolute best out of it.


  1. Meet with your mentor every week, even if you feel that you are too busy.  Reflect on what has gone well, what hasn’t and any developmental opportunities.
  2. Keep an Evidence File (early professional development portfolio) to record showing how you are meeting the standards and developing as a teacher. This can be in any form, just presented in a way that you are comfortable with. Link your evidence to each teaching standard.  Quality rather than quantity is the key; 3 – 5 pieces of evidence for each standard across the year is more than enough.
  3. Look after yourself and your mental wellbeing. Continue with, or start, interests and hobbies outside work.  Hobbies and clubs are really important with regards to keeping you motivated, fulfilled and positive.
  4. Don’t be disillusioned if you feel that your induction assessments appear not to reflect the outcomes you achieved during your teacher training.  Remember you are on a learning curve and you have now made the transition from student to NQT so the expectations will be higher.
  5. Read the school’s policies and the NQT statutory documents so that you know exactly what is expected of you.  Get to know your school’s senior leadership team and designated safeguarding lead so that you know who to speak to in different situations.
  6. Make use of your 10% professional development time for its intended purpose. Visit other teachers and schools, meet with the SENCO and subject leaders, and keep a record of these experiences for your Evidence File.
  7. Make use of the Staff Room! Meet colleagues and other members of school staff by getting into the staff room at break times, lunch times, any spare time you have!  Schools, as busy as they are, can be lonely places and making connections and relationships from the very beginning, learning from the experiences of colleagues, which will have a positive impact on your wellbeing and happiness.
  8. Prepare for the “difficult” times coming back after Christmas and Easter. Make sure everything is ready before you go off for the break, even if it’s a rough plan of action. This includes planning time for yourself as well as seeing family and friends.
  9. Behaviour problems are not your fault; seek advice and support if required.
  10. Don’t be afraid to seek advice, either from your mentor, other school based colleagues or the Octavo induction team.


Octavo provide a supportive and thorough NQT Induction Service, through which we fulfil the statutory role of ‘appropriate body’, quality assuring the induction year process.  We also work in partnership with Chipstead Valley,  one of Croydon’s largest Teaching Schools, to deliver a year-long local training and career progression programme, enabling NQTs to develop their knowledge and skills. To discuss either service, or for general enquiries, contact Christine Lonsdale, our Teacher Recruitment and NQT Consultant, at or call 07920657797.