NQT+1: Surviving Ofsted and taking on responsibility – but it’s feeling easier

 The beginning of his NQT+1 year is presenting as many challenges and left-field questions to Daniel, our NQT blogger, as ever. Plus, he has new responsibility as leader of science for years 7 & 8. But, knowing that he has survived an Ofsted inspection and having a year’s experience in the classroom under his belt means our blogger feels he’s definitely equipped to cope.

 

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After I last wrote for the blog, I entered what was going to be my greatest test of the year: Ofsted inspection.

The school got the call on a Tuesday, informing us that the following morning a team of inspectors would be arriving. As much as I was nervous and stressed at the concept of external people observing and judging my performance based on a snapshot of a random lesson, it was nothing compared to the stress that many more experienced teaches felt. As I was an NQT (newly qualified teacher), observations for me were the norm and I was used to having my lessons picked apart and judged against the Ofsted set of criteria. This was what I had been trained for. That evening I planned in more meticulous detail than I had ever done before, but most importantly, I made sure that I had an early night, ready for the challenges that lay ahead.

The following two days were surprisingly okay. The inspectors were very pleasant and showed an interest in what we were teaching. This greatly helped put teachers at ease, allowing us to perform to our best abilities, as we would do on a normal teaching day. Many of the general teaching inspections were carried out on the first day and the second day was used for more targeted inspecting in order to finalise the outcome. As a result, our school was promoted from ‘Good’ to ‘Outstanding’, the greatest grade possible. This achievement was made even sweeter as recent changes to Ofsted criteria mean that it has become more difficult to achieve this highest grade.

Before Ofsted, I had had an unexpected promotion. The school had decided that there would be a change in management structure within the science department, replacing individual heads of physics, chemistry and biology with an overall head of science and several other new positions. I was surprised and honoured to be offered the position of leading year 7 and 8 science – so surprised, that I actually accepted the offer! Previously, I had thought that I would not accept any promotion (or increased workload) until I was completely happy with my teaching abilities within the classroom.  However, I gladly accepted the new responsibility and, since I have taken on my new role, I know that I made the right decision.

I finished the school year and completed my first full year as a qualified teacher, passing my induction alongside several other colleagues. The final day of term and the GCSE results days were very proud and memorable moments in my completed NQT year. Becoming a teacher was definitely right for me.

I have now started a new school year, complete with the extra responsibility and a new cohort of students. It was difficult to get back into the swing of things after a long break but once I had, it soon felt normal again. Every day has been packed full of the usual difficulties, strange questions, challenges, achievements and moments of pure genius. There are just as many challenges, if not more, than last year. But with an extra year’s experience, the job comes more naturally to me with every day that passes, making it more manageable and as a result, more enjoyable.

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