Top 10 must-haves to help you through your NQT year

3 min read

During your degree, you’ll have picked up various bits and pieces from your placements so will already have the things you’ll need. If you really need something for your classroom, your school should provide it for you – you shouldn’t be spending your own money! Having said that, there are some things you should definitely have ready to start the year.

Here’s our list of 10 things to get you started in your NQT year:

1. A planner

Acquire an organiser that works for you. You’ll probably receive an A4 week-to-view planner from your school, but you may prefer a day-by-day desk pad or a pocket-sized day-to-view diary so you can carry it around with you. 

2. A to-do list

In the same vein, there’s nothing more helpful than a to-do list. In my NQT year, one of our sessions was on being organised. The consultant who led the session shared a great way to prioritise your to-do list: 

  • Get a spiral-bound notebook and use tabs to separate it into four sections. 
  • One is to do today, one is to do at a scheduled time, one is to do by the end of this week and one is to do in the long term. 
  • Add items to the list in manageable chunks (e.g. don’t just block out marking – specify ‘mark maths books by tomorrow’) and highlight the high priority items. 
  • If you prefer using tech, you could use Trello or an equivalent digital organiser to create a satisfying to-do list. 

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3. A teaching union  

Not only do you have access to legal support should you need it, you’ll also be able to join CPD events and receive additional support or financial benefits, such as discounts or cashback on specific purchases.

4. New stationery

If you’re anything like all of us, stationery is always a winner if you’re going to treat yourself!

Make sure you have a full range of day-to-day stationery, including pens, a hole-puncher, a stapler, glue and sellotape. Just remember to name your items! 

5. A work-ready wardrobe 

Make sure you have an appropriate wardrobe. If you’re teaching younger years, you may want to wear trousers for when you’re sitting on the floor.

You’ll also want layers. It’s amazing how quickly a classroom or assembly hall can go from absolutely freezing to swelteringly hot.

Remember to keep a spare, full outfit at work – in case of contact with bodily fluids!

6. Hand sanitiser (yes, really!)

If you want to avoid the equivalent of freshers’ flu for NQTs, keep a hand sanitiser and antibacterial spray close by. You will get sneezed on, coughed on, and possibly vomited on by a range of small people. Sorry. 

7. A diffuser and air freshener

Spray-on deodorant and an air freshener may not be a bad thing to keep in your room. A reed diffuser can be kept on your desk and can provide an invisible barrier between you and your Year 6 class after PE. On the hottest day of the year. When the air-con is broken.

8. A water bottle

If you don’t already have one, you’ll need a water bottle, ideally one that keeps your water cold throughout the day. You may forget to drink enough and could end up feeling dehydrated, so keeping a bottle on you will keep you sipping!

9. A travel mug

Your desperate need for a good cup of coffee or tea is often thwarted, usually because you’ve been distracted and left your drink so long that it becomes tepid. Invest in a decent travel mug (with a lid) to keep your delicious beverages hot!

10. A secret stash of healthy snacks

Keep a secret stash of healthy food. When 3:30pm rolls around, you may crave something to keep you going.

A range of healthy(ish!) food, such as dried fruit, fresh fruit, and dark chocolate will keep you going and stop you from heading to the staffroom in search of cakes and biscuits. 



Article by Emma Hall

Doodle empowers learners to achieve confidence in maths and English. Our intelligent technology creates individual work programmes which are motivational, affordable and convenient to use.