ECT Tips

ECT Tips Vlog

ECT Tips: Prepare Now for a Successful New School Year

If you’re an ECT coming to the end of your first year of teaching, or would simply like a refresher, check out our vlog which includes 15 tips for a successful September.


We all know that the temptation to walk out of the classroom at the end of term and not go back until the start of the new school year can be strong. But getting prepared now can lead to a stress-free summer and a successful start in the autumn.

Keep watching to find out our top 15 ECT tips for a successful start to the autumn term…

1. Clear Your Desk

Make sure that you have a clear space to return to. Take some time to chuck out anything that you won’t need and file anything that you will. Be ruthless!

2. Do a Stock Take

Have you still got the same number of scissors that you had at the start of the year? Will your glue sticks make it through another term? Is your storage looking neat and tidy? Create a checklist of everything that needs to be replaced or fixed and get everything ticked off now.

*Did You Know*

PTS can create personalised pencils for you! Named pencils can prevent a lot of classroom arguments and they’re probably cheaper than you think.

3. Get Your Paperwork Done

If you have any reports or end-of-year paperwork to complete, try to do them in the last couple of days of term rather than letting them spoil your Summer break.

4. Seating Plans

Do you want table groups or rows? Mixed ability or set? Do you want pupils to move about for different lessons? It is always best to put plenty of time into your seating plans.

Consider ability mix and friendships, as well as comments from the previous class teacher about which children work well together (or not). However, always be open to giving a child a fresh start.

5. Moving Class

How did you manage classroom behaviour this year? What were your stand-out successes? What were your main challenges? How will you overcome these next year? Write some bullet points/notes to help you to process your thoughts and come up with action points for next year . Find out how the Good to be Green scheme can help with classroom behaviour, in our short video here.

6. Survey Your Pupils

Your pupils have been with you for a year. Who better to help you reflect on your teaching? Find out which subject and activities they enjoyed most and which they weren’t so keen on.

7. Reflect on Classroom Behaviour

How did you manage classroom behaviour this year? What were your stand-out successes? What were your main challenges? How will you overcome these next year? Write some notes to help you to process your thoughts and come up with action points ready for next year.

8. Meet Your New Class

This will obviously depend on your school’s policy of when to reveal who’s teaching who next year. If your new class is already at school and you’re going to meet them, put some time into carefully planning what you are going to say to them so that you make a great first impression.

It also gives you a good opportunity to ask them to complete a questionnaire so that you can get to know a bit about your new pupils over the summer break.

9. Prepare Your Classroom Displays

In the last few days of term, ask your pupils to help you to take down your classroom displays and put some backing paper up. You could get some inexpensive, colourful educational posters to cover the walls until you have your new pupil’s work to put up (we sell these at PTS).

Make your classroom bright, interesting and welcoming for your new pupils.

10. Create a New Ideas Think Tank

Get together with your colleagues over lunch or in the pub at the end of the day, to share your successes and investigate new ideas for the upcoming year, so that you can all have a successful start to the new school year.

11. Look After Number One During the Holidays

This will depend on your personal circumstances as you may have your own children to look after in the holidays, but try to plan some relaxing breaks if possible. Include some time some just for you.

Plan a day at a museum or a walk along the coast or just spend the day reading in your local park or on the beach.

Why not attend some teacher events. Even though it is summer there are plenty of ways to do some CPD. As well as conferences and open days, why not take a look at literature festivals? Many have sessions on children’s books and you could pick up some great ideas.

12. Think of Next Year’s Classroom Rules

Are you going to make your own set of simple, positively framed classroom rules? Or, are you going to do this as part of a class activity on the first day of term?

When discussing rules always try to get every child on side and to come up with reasons why rules are necessary, and how unhappy a classroom could become if there were no agreed rules.

13. Organise Your Pupil Reward Scheme

How have your pupil rewards worked this year? Do you need to stock up on stickers, stampers and certificates? Reflect on these and get organized, you could even ask your current pupils’ opinions! You won’t want to be without them on your first day back.

14. Get Labelling

Label your new exercise books, reading record books and homework diaries with your new pupils’ names and have them ready to hand out on the first day of term.

15. Create a Great First Impression

Those first few days are crucial to making an impression as a positive teacher who your pupils want to co-operate with.

Our top three tips are:

  • Don’t let nervousness affect your mood in the classroom
  • Always be kind but assertive
  • Create a list of things you’ll never say to your pupils (however much you want to)

We hope our top 15 ECT tips were useful for you.

Everyone here at PTS hopes that you have an amazing summer break and that you return to school for a successful new year, feeling refreshed and prepared for your new class.

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