What is an NQT?

21/02/2022 | All

Heard the term NQT/ECT before but not sure what it means? No worries, i-teachers is here to uncover exactly what an NQT is, how to become one and how i-teachers can help you find the perfect NQT role!

What is an NQT?

NQT stands for ‘newly qualified teacher’ and refers to someone who has completed their initial teacher training and gained qualified teacher status (QTS) in England and Wales. More recently, the acronym has changed to ECT (Early Career Teachers) – although standards remain unchanged.

At this level, a teacher hasn’t yet finished their mandatory induction programme. Even though they have QTS, every NQT must go through an induction period before being able to teach a class on their own. Read on for further information on what an NQT/ECT is!

How do you become an NQT?

In order to become an NQT, trainee teachers must first gain their QTS. This is the benchmark for being qualified as a teacher and there are two routes you can take to achieve this. These are university-led and school-led. 

  • University-led route: If you opt to go down the university-led route, you will have two options. There are many undergraduate courses available which include QTS and teacher training. Alternatively, there is the opportunity to do a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) which includes a QTS.
  • School-led route: The school-led route asks graduates to undertake most of their training within a school setting – for example a SCITT. Entry to training courses like this are often very competitive so it’s important to check which one you think you’d prefer before you make any big decisions. 

How long is an NQT induction?

An NQT used to have 12 months to complete their training, however – recently this has been increased to two years. Normally, an NQT will complete this training as soon as they have gained QTS as a bridge between being a trainee teacher and a fully qualified teacher.

Why does an NQT need to complete further training?

It may seem strange that further training is required even after completing teacher training, however it is all for good reason. An NQT/ECT’s induction is designed to make sure that you have all the extra support and guidance you could possibly need rather than being thrown in at the deep end. 

During this induction period, the majority of your teaching will be observed. This will come along with regular meetings with qualified teachers to discuss any issues or concerns that come up. The induction period provides a perfect opportunity to expand your knowledge and experience of teaching and develop key skills through plenty of practice. 

What are NQTs allowed to do within a school?

During the NQT (ECT) induction period, newly qualified teachers are given the proper experience and opportunity to develop in the job. Their daily responsibilities will reflect that of most other teachers as they will teach the same classes, plan lessons and conduct assessments. However, there are some differences as NQTs also have to conduct other mandatory tasks meaning that their teaching time is slightly less than fully qualified teachers. 

NQTs are also not normally expected to give out harsh discipline and can defer to those further up the chain if this makes them feel more comfortable. 

How are NQTs assessed?

In most circumstances, NQTs are observed regularly by an appropriate staff member during their induction period. They will provide regular feedback on performance. At the end of the first and second year of induction, there will be a formal assessment of performance by either a headteacher or induction tutor. 

What criteria should NQT/ECTs meet?

The following are some of the standards that NQTs are expected to meet in order to perform well during their assessment:

  • Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils
  • Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils
  • Demonstrate strong subject and curriculum knowledge
  • Plan and teach well-structured lessons
  • Adapt teaching to suit the needs of all pupils
  • Make accurate use of assessment 
  • Manage behaviour effectively to ensure a safe learning environment

Looking for an NQT role?

Are you an NQT looking for your first permanent role in a school perfectly suited to your needs? I-teachers can help you find your dream role! We are the UKs highest rated education recruitment consultancy and our team are dedicated to making a positive difference to education through placing high quality candidates. The i-teachers approach is entirely personal – we pride ourselves on building strong relationships with our candidates and schools to ensure the best possible fit. Our dedicated education consultants provide thorough interview preparation advice to all of our candidates going for an interview for one of our teaching roles. Contact us to find out more!