Useful information for NQT's

Hi, my name is Kate and I am your dedicated NQT Mentor.  If you have any worries, concerns, or need any help before or during assignments, please contact me.  I am here to support you through your supply teaching journey and hopefully into your induction year.











Your first supply teaching assignment may be very daunting as it is not something that they teach you about in Uni.  Thankfully we are here to help.  Our Director Becca (who is also my mum) started Principal Teachers 20 years ago and remembers well her first supply assignment.  Becca recounts “I qualified in June, had a baby in July and was on my first Supply Teaching assignment by November.  I was a bag of nerves, I thought I would have forgotten everything I had learnt the previous 4 years, plus I had been out of the classroom for five months.  I didn’t know what to expect, what to take, what would be expected of me by the school and my agency.  Sadly, I didn’t have anyone I could talk to, so I had to learn on my feet.  You are much more fortunate, we have a comprehensive Supply Teacher Induction programme, resources and NQT Mentor to guide you through.”  


Our Top tips for NQT’s will be useful for your first supply teaching assignment or when beginning your first teaching role:


  • BE PREPARED – We cannot stress this enough.  Find out about the school you are going to, how to get there, headteacher’s name, class teacher’s name and telephone the day before.

  • CARRY RESOURCES – Always carry your tool box of resources, you are better being self-sufficient rather than relying on equipment that may not be there in school.  This can contain stapler, pens, pencils, rubbers, ruler, highlighters, wall stapler, blue tack etc.

  • STAFF-ROOM ETIQUETTE – Each school has a different arrangement for tea and coffee facilities.  Take your own cup, tea and coffee and uht milk and you won’t offend anyone.

  • BACK-UP RESOURCES – You never know what will be in the classroom waiting for you, even if you are told all planning will be left out.  Sometimes things happen and it isn’t.  Carry a variety of resources that you can adapt and deliver at short notice and to all ages and abilities.  This may be one off activities, puppets, poems, songs for Early Years, quizzes, games, one off lessons for KS2/3/4.

  • LEAVE A HANDOVER – Class teachers find an end of day report invaluable.  It allows them to pick up the next day where you left off. Don’t dwell on the negatives, focus on the achievements of the helpful children, or those who shone.  But do report any serious incidents to both the Headteacher and make a note on the handover.

  • BEHAVE LIKE A MEMBER OF PERMANENT STAFF – You may only be in school for a morning, or a day but during that time, you are the class teacher.  Behave as if you are, not a supply teacher who may never return.  Schools like teachers who show commitment and go over and above.

  • BE CONFIDENT – School staff are very busy and a confident teacher who arrives fully prepared to take over for the day will be very well received.

  • FIND OUT THE MARKING POLICY – Make this one of your first jobs.  Find out the marking policy, always mark work and stay within it.

  • ARRIVE IN GOOD TIME AND LEAVE AFTER GOOD TIME – The earlier you are the better, it gives you a chance to find your classroom, work out where the toilets are, find out about entry procedures in the morning for the children and set up your classroom for the day. 

  • LEAVE THE CLASSROOM TIDY – Don’t forget you are a visitor in the classroom, leave the classroom as you found it, if not tidier.  You shouldn’t be leaving before at least 30 minutes after the end of the school day.  It will take you this long to tidy up, mark and write a handover report.

  • MAKE GOOD USE OF YOUR TA – Your TA can be an invaluable tool.  Involve them in preparation, use their knowledge and make the most of them for the time you are in school.

  • ALWAYS BE PROFESSIONAL – This starts with your dress.  Men should aim to wear at least a shirt, possibly shirt and tie and ladies, professional clothing.  This creates a very good impression on schools, pupils and parents.