23rd July 2021

The British Education Research Association (BERA) have released initial findings of a British Academy funded research currently being carried out by Bishop Grosseteste University’s (BGU) Professor Phil Wood, Dr. Emma Clarke and Dr. Aimee Quickfall.

The blog post, titled ‘How newly qualified teachers are coping in the time of Covid-19’, shares initial findings from interviews and surveys carried out this year, with further data collection ongoing into August. You can read it in full by clicking here.

Phil, Professor of Education Change at BGU, explained the context of the current newly qualified teacher cohort:

“Newly qualified teachers (NQTs) have arguably always had tough challenges to overcome, but the pandemic has added to these challenges, including rapid adaptations to initial teacher education content (ITE) delivery in 2019/20 and many involved in ITE and NQT support fear that the pandemic has created a ‘lost cohort’.”

However, the research trio have found that whilst the year has been challenging, there are reasons to be cheerful. Emma, Senior Lecturer in Primary and Early Years ITE at BGU, explained what the participants are reporting so far:

“We have been surprised by some of the data coming out of our project so far. The majority of NQTs – 77 per cent – agreed or strongly agreed that their ITE prepared them well for their NQT year, with just under 30 per cent reporting that they did not feel confident on entering their NQT year. Almost 80 per cent of NQTs agreed or strongly agreed that they were being supported well by colleagues to develop their teaching practice, and 81 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that despite Covid-19 they were continuing to develop their skills as a teacher.”

The project involves national survey results as well as in depth interviews with NQTs, which Aimee, Head of Programmes for Primary and Early Years ITE at BGU, commented on:

“As researchers we have been mindful that often national research on teacher experiences involves large scale survey data and a limited range of answers. This study has provided opportunities for the NQTs themselves to explain what they have been through and what resources have supported them to succeed. We can use these findings to improve preparation for early career teachers.”

NQTs have been sharing their pragmatic approaches to their first year in the profession, and whilst the year has been very challenging and some NQTs are reporting fewer uplifting experiences, participants like Alisha have commented on how relationships and networks that started in their universities and training providers have supported them:

“Everyone on my PGCE course… we’ve still got our little group chat and that’s been great because when something goes completely wrong and you can just throw that in, and somebody else goes, ‘Well actually that’s gone wrong for me as well. I’m confident that we’ll all pass our NQT year. It’s just working out how we can get more support or navigate through this interesting time.”

You can find more information on the wide range of innovative PGCE courses offered by BGU on our website. Alternatively you can contact our Enquiries Team or join us on one our Open Days to find out how to begin your journey into teaching.