How to scrub up subject knowledge over the summer as an ECT


Knowledge forms a pivotal part of teaching, as it enables school staff to bring elements of learning to life and drive up engagement.

As an ECT that’s still relatively new to the classroom environment, enhancing your knowledge takes on even greater importance. Fortunately, the summer provides the perfect opportunity to do this. By developing a broad knowledge of the topics you’ll be teaching, you can earn pupils’ trust and chat through a number of concepts with a wide range of examples.

Simply put, without the necessary knowledge, a teacher is not in the best possible position to demonstrate a topic, question it and teach it effectively.

Plan lesson by lesson

If you’re developing your lesson plans for the year ahead, each one can provide an opportunity for learning and personal development. Give careful consideration to each topic or activity, and question what could be done differently, and where pupils might run into difficulties. By taking this approach, an ECT can expand their knowledge as you’ll need to have a greater depth of knowledge of the subject matter. Look to different forms of media too, as you may find clips on sites such as YouTube or the BBC, which can be used to demonstrate the points you are trying to make.

Make sure you stay up-to-date on the latest developments in your subject area too. This allows you to back up points with a greater level of examples and means you can apply real-world scenarios to the topics being discussed. We recommend setting aside time for reading and learning alongside other key tasks such as marking and planning, as developing your subject knowledge should take on equal importance to these other tasks.

How your fellow staff can help

Another great way to boost your subject knowledge as an ECT is to talk to others in the profession, as they’ll have a wealth of experience you can tap into. From knowing the areas of the curriculum where pupils usually struggle to having tried-and-tested approaches for teaching certain topics, their knowledge can prove invaluable.

Be sure to talk to your mentor and to other staff, as the sharing of ideas will ultimately enhance the standard of teaching in your classes and beyond. Look out for resources and developmental events too – you’ll often find sessions run by teachers for teachers, all with the aim of supporting professional development.

Are there other opportunities for professional development?

In addition to these events, various subject associations and major companies will often also run sessions where they explore new technological developments, talk-through scientific breakthroughs and present new hypotheses and ways of thinking. Attending events relevant to your subject can expose you to a wide range of new ideas, which can then be used as the basis for discussion and learning in lessons.

How Tradewind Recruitment support ECTs during their induction period

Keep in touch with your local recruitment consultant during your induction period and they will be able to help you with any questions you have from lesson planning to planning your journey to your school! Check out our top tips for ECTs, our favourite resources you can use, how to manage behaviour in the classroom and how you can keep organised during your first year.

Looking for a new ECT role? We have hundreds of vacancies available.