Exploring what matters

Exploring what matters

Welcome to the IRIS Connect blog space where you can join conversations and discover free resources, tips and summaries. We hope you find something useful for your professional development and learning.

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TeacherTales: From NQT to SLT with Video CPD

Posted by Tom Trower on 2 June, 2021

Guest blog written by Tom Trower @Mr_Trower, Assistant Head, Co-op Academy Woodlands

First of all, let me introduce myself! I’m Tom Trower, Assistant Headteacher at Co-op Academy Woodlands in Leeds and I know it sounds cliché, but I have always wanted to be a teacher… no really, always! For one of my birthdays growing up, I was gifted a school bell and blackboard and so I feel very lucky to be one of the few people who is doing what they have always wanted to do. I have to thank my fantastic Scout Leader who, if it wasn’t for her, I would not be the person I am today. Growing up in Scouting taught me to help others, see the best in people, be honest and caring and to ask for help when I need it.  

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Mentoring in schools: The key to retaining early career teachers?

Posted by Guest blogger - Haili Hughes on 19 February, 2021

Guest blog by Haili Hughes, English teacher at Saddleworth School in Oldham and Author of 'Mentoring in Schools' @HughesHaili

New teachers most benefit from being offered space to grow, reflect, continue to observe others, and to work collaboratively with colleagues. Mentoring is at its most powerful when it is built on positive personal relationships between novice teachers and those with more experience.”
Professor Rachel Lofthouse in ‘Mentoring in Schools’ by Haili Hughes

We have all seen the headlines screaming at us from newspaper front pages, ‘Teacher recruitment and retention crisis,’ informing us of the frightening statistic that one in five teachers leave school before they have served two years in the classroom (Weale, 2019). There is no doubt that teaching is a difficult job but how many of those practitioners may have stayed in the classroom if they had been given the support of a highly skilled mentor? Somebody who was given the time and training to support and nurture them through what can be one of the toughest times of their career. Now more than ever, in an uncertain educational landscape, where early career teachers are often working in isolation, having supportive mentors and experienced colleagues to support can make a huge difference.

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11 ways to ensure you provide better support for your NQTs this term

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 23 August, 2019

Retention is our problem, not recruitment. Research states that nearly half of all teachers in the maintained sector leave the profession within 5 years of qualifying. 

This clearly indicates the importance of providing effective support to help develop teachers in their first few years. The loss of a new teacher is more than an inconvenience. It’s also a serious drain on your school’s precious financial resources. 

So with that in mind, we’ve put together 11 ways you can support your NQTs when they need you most.  


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From surviving to thriving: advice for your first NQT year

Posted by John Mulgrew on 20 August, 2018
Teaching is hard. But it’s also one of the most important professions around, because it's responsible for cultivating and nurturing the next generation of doctors, scientists, business leaders and teachers.  The first year of being an NQT is  exhausting, emotional  and can sometimes come down to survival. BUT, it’s also hugely rewarding and the first step in a worthwhile, fulfilling career. What can you do to thrive rather than just survive an NQT year?
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Thriving in my NQT year: 5 tips for survival

Posted by John Mulgrew on 7 December, 2017

Guest blog from John Mulgrew, Head of Geography and LGBT Coordinator at The East Manchester Academy, in Manchester.

After completing your first few terms in your new role as an NQT you are bound to be looking forward to the fast approaching Christmas break! Like this time last year, I could not wait for the Christmas break to get some peace from the chaos of school life. Upon reflection of my NQT year, I developed 5 strategies to help with my survival, especially after being promoted to a Head of Subject role after 6 months of being an NQT.

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How to be an inspiring mentor and support NQTs

Posted by Chloe Vlahos on 22 August, 2017

A rise in searches for terms such as ‘nqt want to quit’ and ‘nqt depression’ reveals a harrowing amount of stress surrounding current NQTs in schools. Mentors therefore harbour an increasing amount of pressure to ensure NQTs are being adequately supported. So how can you be an inspiring mentor and support your NQTs?

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