Choosing a school for your NQT induction

Finding the perfect school for your NQT induction may not always be possible. Think carefully about what your deal-breakers would be.

Try to actively choose the school rather than accepting a position because you are offered it. Be aware of any compromises you are making and consider what you can do to compensate for them.

These case studies describe the experiences of two individuals, both of whom struggled in their NQT years. But both came out the other side having found positions that suit their needs.


Tim retrained as a physics teacher at the age of 50. He’s now in his second year teaching at an academy which is just four years old

“I applied to two schools. I was lucky, it was my first job interview and I got it! I work there and I love it.

“My school is an unbelievably supportive place. There are lots of inexperienced teachers with a sprinkling of Advanced Skills Teachers who help everyone. The school recognises it has to retain our staff so we have a ‘You’re struggling, how can we help?’ approach, not ‘You’re a cause for concern’.

“I don’t mind that my Head of Department is only 28 as I have no ambitions to be Head of Physics - I’ve done managing people. The main thing is that no-one’s telling me what to do unless it improves my practice.  

“We have a very difficult cohort of students. I was shocked at how unbelievably rude and unpleasant the kids could be. If you are used to operating in an adult work environment where people are nice and polite, you won’t believe how it can be. But the leadership team is on top of behaviour and they know what to do. It’s still tough but I know we have good back up.

“This is genuinely the best organisation I have worked in.”


Jess’s choice of NQT school did not suit her. Fortunately, she went on to find a teaching position which she loves

“I didn't feel well supported at my secondary school during my NQT year.  I was in a small school that had not had a physics specialist for some time. 

“The technicians were not sure what equipment I was asking for and it took a visit from my IOP mentor to go through cupboards to reveal we did have the stroboscope which I had wanted to use some months earlier. I would often have to describe what something looked like (i.e. a diffraction grating) so that I could guide a technician towards where it might be found.

“Most of all, I found that the majority of pupils had no real interest in physics, particularly as they hadn’t had a real physics teacher for some time and it was too late to try and get them interested in year 11. I didn't feel well supported at my secondary school during the NQT year and it became obvious from observation feedback that I was unlikely to complete the year successfully.

“Perhaps it was serendipity that I spotted an advert for an electronics lecturer in my local college just before I left the school. I have within a matter of weeks gone from being an apparently hopeless secondary school teacher to an outstanding FE teacher!”

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