Andrew Smith, Secondary Trainee in History


The School Direct training route appealed to me over the traditional PGCE. I was excited by the prospect of being closely attached to a school, which would allow me to have a deeper experience of the realities of school life. After four years of studying at university and sitting through countless lectures, the prospect of training through a more hands on approach was also attractive. I felt the School Direct route offered a healthy balance, with  more classroom time than the traditional PGCSE but enough time set aside for developing our pedagogy through lectures and other more traditional methods of training.

Not being local to Birmingham, I was initially attracted to Shireland due to the reputation of the university provider, the University of Warwick. I knew other teachers who had trained there and spoke highly of the quality of education they received. I then explored Shireland’s website and was impressed by what I saw. The school appeared to have fostered a great sense of community and their recent Ofsted report made particularly impressive reading.

Once I started my training, my first impressions turned out to be true. Shireland has really impressed me as an educational establishment. The pupils and the staff made this year highly enjoyable. As a trainee teacher, behaviour was one my key concerns but Shireland ensured I was fully prepared to deal with any issues. The school has clear and well-planned behaviour management which meant behaviour was rarely a serious problem.

The support from my subject mentor and my department has been brilliant. They helped me settle in by welcoming me into the department and treating me like a colleague. They were always quick to offer me advice and answer any questions I had. If I ever did have any issues that needed to be sorted, my subject mentor would help me to resolve them. I’ve heard a few horror stories from friends who have completed PGCEs elsewhere and found it a real struggle by Shireland have ensured my training has been as painless as possible.

The actual training element has been of a high-quality, with lectures and CPD sessions enriching my professional development. The school provided training by experts in the fields, who gave us useful insights into teaching practice. These sessions were often practical, allowing me to put things into practice that I myself had learnt only yesterday! Coupled with the input from the University of Warwick, I can recommend the School Direct PGCE training offered at Shireland Collegiate Academy.

May 2014

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