From education to employment

Case study: Supporting NQTs and teachers with work-life balance

The Bridges Federation, which consists of 2 primary schools in Southwark, has used the following procedures to help new staff settle in and develop their skills.

Induction sessions

All new teachers attend an induction session before they start. Newly qualified teachers (NQTs) usually spend 2 days with the Bridges Federation at the end of the summer term, where they:

  • meet their new class
  • attend an induction with a mentor
  • receive an induction pack and a memory stick or flash drive that includes all the documents and proformas they need
  • have time to talk to other teachers at different stages of their careers

During their first induction meeting, teachers have an opportunity to share their training experiences and discuss targets for their first action plan.

First INSET day

The Bridges Federation runs its first INSET day in September as an induction for all staff. It includes:

  • time to talk through and familiarise new staff with important school policies, including:
    • safeguarding
    • inclusion
    • behaviour
    • health and safety
  • time for NQTs to meet their mentor and go over important information and planning
  • an afternoon for time in class to prepare resources and plan ahead

Planning for the year ahead

The Bridges Federation gives teachers year planners in September, and termly planners at the beginning of each term, so they’re aware of important dates and can plan ahead for deadlines.

The Bridges Federation also meets with NQTs to help them prepare before events take place, such as:

  • progress meetings
  • book looks

One NQT reported:

small group book looks in preparation for formal book looks, was helpful

  • getting ideas from other teachers in terms of marking
  • seeing unit posters and presentation of children’s work
  • understanding how the leadership team will look at and for pupil progress

To help reduce workload, the Bridges Federation saves all planning work on its network, so that teachers can use and adapt it for their current class.

The Bridges Federation does not directly monitor planning and encourage teachers, including those with less experience, to do as much or as little as they feel is helpful for them.

It has reviewed its marking policy, and it now includes guidance on delivering different forms of feedback such as verbal feedback. These policies help to reduce workload.

Planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) time

Teachers have PPA time in year groups, so they can share planning and preparation. NQTs have a whole day on Friday to access the local authority provision.

By having a whole day for school-based induction, teachers can plan their time carefully, so they can carry out a range of induction activities as well as having time to plan with others.

All teachers can take their PPA off-site if they prefer to do this, allowing them to be flexible with their time and manage their own workload.

Allocated mentors

Each teacher has an allocated member of the leadership team as their mentor who works with them over the year to:

  • support their development
  • carry out observations

This means the Bridges Federation can tailor support to individual needs and each teacher’s level of experience, including:

  • observation and feedback
  • lesson planning or longer term planning
  • work scrutiny
  • peer observation and feedback
  • developing displays or working wall
  • specific support for a group of children

The Bridges Federation also provides support to help teachers looks at ways to reduce workload issues, for example with planning and marking.

NQTs have found tailored feedback on the peer observation useful:

seeing my lesson from another perspective, noticing how our interpretation of joint planning differs and observing the effective teaching strategies used by my partner teacher was really useful.

They’ve also found observing other teachers helpful:

the maths lesson provided me with lots of ideas for deepening questioning and getting children to justify their ideas.


The school continuous professional development (CPD) programme has different layers linked to:

  • school priorities
  • individual needs which are identified through appraisal

This helps the Bridges Federation meet the needs of teachers at different stages of their careers.

Teachers join a curriculum team that they identify, based on their expertise and interest.

This contributes to their CPD and also gives them a different network to share experiences with.


The Bridges Federation plans staff meetings carefully and only allocates them when necessary.

This means that, when other meetings are taking place after school – such as pupil progress meetings – other staff do not have a meeting to attend.

Staff meetings have set times and do not overrun.

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