“Doing my School Direct teacher training at Shireland Collegiate Academy has been a really good experience in so many ways. Learning to teach is challenging and in the first term there was so much new information to process, but having a dedicated Teaching School team meant that we were really well supported. There were weekly training meetings when all the trainees got together with experienced teachers and we could ask questions and get advice. The team have maintained a supportive, listening approach all year, have wanted our feedback on the experience and have always been available and approachable. The training afternoons have been tailored to our needs and the final term’s programme was pretty much designed in response to our requests, which was great. The whole thing has been efficient, professional, clear and well-organised and we were provided with the tools we needed to do our job immediately such as receiving our own laptops and differentiated Smartboard training. I have also had a good relationship with my subject mentor who has guided and steered my learning throughout the year.
All of the trainees have been totally immersed in the school experience from day one, taking part in morning form time, going to year group and departmental meetings, open evenings and parents’ evenings as well as attending all the staff CPD sessions. This has been really informative and given me a fully-rounded experience as well as being useful material for the teaching portfolio.
It is great to work in an outstanding school because there is so much good practice to observe and learn from. As well as this, there is a really robust behaviour management system in place which means that teachers are free to teach and as a trainee you don’t have to worry too much about whether you can keep classes under control, as long as you stick to the procedures which are in place.
Another real advantage of training with Shireland is the fact that it is a designated training academy so there are a lot of other trainees. This has been a real mainstay of support and information for me. We talk to each other and share tips and experiences, proof-read each other’s essays (!) and support each other when things are challenging. This has made such a difference to me because otherwise I would only have seen my fellow trainees at Warwick once a week.
I think most importantly of all (and this seems to vary a lot between host schools) is that I was not treated like an unqualified teacher and expected to take on a massive teaching load straight away. My training and development needs have been respected and my hours increased incrementally, as and when I was ready to take on a bit more. I am delighted to have acquired a job here for next September and I can’t believe how quickly the year has flown by and how much I have progressed since September.”