It’s about this time of year that NQTs start realising how much of an impact getting the statutory NQT entitlements makes to the success of their NQT year. In particular, those who aren’t getting what they are entitled to, start to see exactly how much they are struggling because of that.
When I say statutory NQT entitlements, I mean the aspects of your working life that your employer must provide because of your status as an NQT, in recognition of your lack of experience and increased workload.
Schools and colleges everywhere will try and let you work without these, because some of them can be quite inconvenient, generate extra work and cost extra money. The temptation for a brand new teacher, who is eager to please, is to accept that, and muddle through.
You should never do this, as this will impact on your performance and, in a career where performance is scrutinised to death and means everything to your success, you are going to affect your chances for life.
The entitlement that is most often skipped over is that of a 90% timetable. You should have an extra 10% in free lessons compared with a full time teacher. Also, you should not be teaching outside of the age range or subject for which you have trained. If you are not getting either of these, you have to say something.
There are also a lot of woolly recommendations about not having unreasonable demands made upon you and not being expected to deal with particularly demanding discipline problems. My recommendation is again to say something as soon as you personally consider those entitlements to have not been met. If you are worried about rocking the boat, then you shouldn’t be. You should be more worried about affecting your performance at work.
You should have a named person who you can go to when you have voiced your concerns about not getting your entitlements and nothing has been done about it. For the vast majority of NQTs, this will be someone within the Local Education Authority. Your union will also support you with any issues relating to your school or college refusing to provide you with the entitlements.
It’s ultimately your responsibility to know what these entitlements are and to do something about it if you are not getting them. It happens countless times where schools or colleges will try to slip something under your radar, hoping that you will never realise what your entitlements are. Don’t let it happen to you!
The following two links will tell you everything you need to know in more detail. Don’t forget, you can always email me if you want some more off the record advice about your particular situation.