By Dawn Jones from Science Learning Centre Northwest
No matter which age phase you trained in, or which route you followed, effective teachers are always learning. Learning from what went well and not so well, informally as well as through formal training opportunities.
You will encounter many changes over the course of your career, including those in classroom practice, technological advancement, curriculum development and the development of scientific knowledge. An important thing to remember is that there is help and support available to you as you enter your NQT year and beyond.
There is support within your school – the majority of teachers and support staff that you work with will be happy to share ideas and resources with you. You will have a mentor, with whom you can bounce ideas and explore possibilities, as well as helping you reflect on your practice. Other teachers in your department will also be willing to help if asked. If your school has NQTs in other departments, this is also a great support network opportunity.
Support externally can include networks, conferences and courses and are usually more formally structured.
Many local networks exist, either set up by groups of teachers or facilitated by bodies such as the Institute of Physics or Science Learning Centres. Your Local Authority may also offer some opportunities. Courses and conferences are wide ranging and focus on different aspects of science teaching. There will be times when either your department or school buys in an external provider for a specific focus; these opportunities enable you to work together as a team to implement your learning.
As an NQT, there is an entitlement for time for training; however some schools also cite budgetary constraints when looking at your programme of development. The Science Learning Centres have bursaries, known as Impact Awards in the regional centres, and Enthuse Awards at the National Centre. These can contribute to the costs of training; to find out about eligibility, contact the Centre that is running the course that you’re interested in.
Don’t forget, all teachers in you school were once NQTs and know what you’re going through; there are plenty of people willing to help if you ask for it!
Resources and Links:
Courses & Conferences:
The National Network of Science Learning Centres offer a range of courses, supporting subject knowledge, pedagogy, assessment and contemporary science. Courses both at the National Centre and around the Regions are listed on the website: https://www.sciencelearningcentres.org.uk/courses-and-events .
More specifically the North West is running Making a good first impression: A guide for NQTs in early July or the National centre’s Summer School for Recent and Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs)
Many courses and conferences are in partnership with other organisations, such as The Association for Science Education, and the learned societies such as The Royal Society of Chemistry. Sign up to the Science Learning Centre portal to receive exciting newsletters and alerts about courses and events in your area.
Secondary Physics: The Stimulating Physics Project is a joint initiative between the Institute of Physics and the Science Learning Centres and aims to inspire physics teachers. Physics Network Coordinators have national coverage and their sessions are free to attend. www.stimulatingphysics.org
Secondary NQT’s: The Science Learning Centre North West offers an NQT Network for teachers in their first year in the North West. These networks will cover a variety of topics drawn from a range of subject knowledge and pedagogical ideas including strategies to enhance teaching and learning, developing ideas in How Science Works, and, assessment and effective practical work. If you’re based outside the North West; why not give your local Centre a call; there may be enough interest to start another network near you.
Triple Science: Funded by the DfE’s Triple Science Initiative, networks for teachers teaching Triple Science are active in many regions. A Triple Science online community forum is available for all teachers supporting Triple Science to share and network.