Six pupil progress tips from an NQT

Six pupil progress tips from an NQT

Heading toward the end of term is an ideal time to assess your pupil’s learning and also review the methods that you rely on to ensure your pupils are making progress. As an NQT this can sometimes be difficult to do regularly when you are faced with a bigger timetable and classes of 30 or more, but there are some key things to focus on which can make your life easier.

1. Effective planning

I am a big proponent of effective lesson planning; not only does it help with behaviour management but it also ensures that the process of learning is smooth and pupils are getting the most out of every lesson. Time is valuable and effectively planning allows me to maximise every opportunity for pupil progress.

2. Engaging yet challenging lessons

Making lessons accessible and fun yet challenging at the same time will ensure that your higher attaining pupils can continue to progress. I often also think about the ‘Stickability’ factor by considering what I want pupils to take away from each lesson - if my students are not actually retaining what I teach them I reconsider the ways in which I facilitate learning.

3. Revision

Revision is imperative yet I find it surprising how many pupils do not know how to revise. I make sure to share useful tips and ways of revising for Maths; forcing them to avoid simply staring at the page! Learning is an active process and in order to succeed, pupils must revisit prior learning in the same way that you learn a song or a dance routine- it must be practiced and revised a number of times to become second nature.

4. Providing additional support

Simple things such as providing additional support, like afterschool and lunch classes can be very effective for students who you feel are not making the expected progress. At my school we have a fantastic after school Maths Club run twice a week and open to all aged pupils. The club has a work-friendly atmosphere and Maths teachers are on hand to help provide pupils with one-to-one support that they may not always receive in class. 

5. Get parents involved

If pupils are not making the expected progress, I have found that getting parents involved is highly effective.

6. Not all pupils will always be motivated to learn all of the time

It is important to recognise and realise that many pupils may carry burdens or responsibilities that prevent them from excelling and making the required levels of progress at certain times. After all, we are not the only ones who have to juggle a variety of thoughts and decisions whilst getting on with our daily routines. Think about how difficult it can sometimes be to focus on a simple task when you have something on your mind acting as a distraction. Seek help from other professionals in school and find a way of engaging with the pupil.