Frequently Asked Questions
How soon do I spend time in a school?
On all our ITE programmes you will be spending time in a partnership school from week one of your course. This means that, from the outset, you will be able to apply your learning to the classroom.
Do I spend more time in school or university?
On all of our ITE programmes you spend much more time in school than University, approximately three-quarters of your time is in school. University days are carefully positioned to ensure that your course has a coherent structure to it that supports you to develop into the best teacher you can be.
What is the likelihood of employment after finishing my teacher training year?
All our programmes have excellent employment records. Locally our beginning teachers are very highly regarded with many schools advertising positions directly to our students. Each year we have a recruitment fair where our partnership schools come and meet our students and discuss positions in their schools in an informal setting.
What can I expect from a school that is in partnership with the University of Nottingham?
We have a mature, yet constantly evolving, partnership with our local schools. Our schools work with us in many different ways, not just on our ITE programmes. Many of the teachers in the schools you will be working in trained with us and have continued to develop professionally through their links with us whether that be as mentors, through continued study or through being involved in research projects.
Our mentors and coordinators/ITE Leads attend development events each term. These are very well attended and ensure that we have a shared understanding of the work we do with our beginning teachers.
School colleagues and University staff have very strong working relationships and work closely together to support you throughout the course.
We have a very clear partnership agreement ensuring there is consistency in support of students and outlining very clear entitlements for our beginning teachers. This includes you having a dedicated mentor, a protected weekly meeting and regular observations and written feedback. Mentors will support you in all aspects of your development, through planning, teaching and evaluating (and learning from) your experiences.
Who supports me through my training year?
We see our beginning teachers as being at the heart of our work and, as a partnership, we ensure there is a wide range of school and University colleagues supporting you at every stage of your journey.
In school you have a dedicated mentor as well as a school coordinator who oversees all the trainee teachers in the school.
You will have a personal tutor who is one of the team of ITE tutors teaching you when you are in university. All of our tutors are highly skilled teacher educators as well as very experienced teachers. Our belief is that, whilst it is imperative to be an experienced and successful classroom teacher, there are many other skills that need to be developed to be an effective teacher educator. Our tutors understand the journey a beginning teacher takes, the knowledge they need to develop, when and how they need supporting and challenging.
Our course leaders work closely with you and, where appropriate, offer a further layer of support at points in the year.
We are committed to offering you a 'safe space' where you can explore your feelings and your growing identity as a teacher without a fear of being judged for having a moment of uncertainty or doubt!
Why is the PGCE qualification, which is part of all University of Nottingham ITE routes, important?
Whilst it is true that it is not now a necessity for a teacher training course to offer the PGCE qualification, and you could follow a different route, exiting with QTS status only, we believe the qualification is an essential element of a teacher training course.
The PGCE is a nationally, and internationally, recognised qualification that shows you have a depth of understanding about teaching and learning, alongside your classroom experience. It is this understanding that will enable you to thrive in your career in whatever context you end up teaching in.
Our PGCE qualification is carefully woven into all of our courses and it does not sit as a separate entity to your classroom experiences. This ensures that you can constantly make sense of, and improve your classroom practices using your developing knowledge of theories about teaching and learning. We draw on well-established educational research alongside cutting edge knowledge in the field.
It is this knowledge that enables you to make sense of what is happening in your classroom and school and critically engage with national initiatives and debates in education. This supports you to develop a confident identity as a teacher and professional and thrive in your career long after your training year has finished.
How do you organise school placements?
If accepted onto one of our university-led courses, we will ask you to complete a personal details form which will include information on where you live, whether you have transport, whether you have any personal details we need to take into account (e.g. caring responsibilities, health concerns) and whether there are any local schools you already have connections with.
Based on this information we organise placements. For your second placement, we also factor into the decision making your first placement school (ensuring a contrasting experience) and our additional knowledge of you from working with you for a term.
We work hard to minimise travel time but this is only one factor to take into account when ensuring you have a placement that suits you. We try to ensure commute time is a maximum of an hour and the average travel time is often much less than this.
If you are accepted onto one of our School Direct courses, the alliance you have applied to will organise your placement.
What are the closing dates for applications?
Courses close if we reach our maximum recruitment target. In the current national context this is unlikely to happen for any subject or phase. Therefore, recruitment for university-led courses will continue through the summer with final applications accepted at the end of August.
School Direct courses are likely to close in July, in line with the end of the school term.
We would encourage you to apply as soon as you can so that you have plenty of time to prepare for the programme and respond to any conditions or recommendations set through the application process.
How do I know if I will be a good teacher?
This is a difficult question to answer as there is not a particular ‘type’ of person that suits teaching. Our advice would be to find out as much as possible about teaching before accepting a place. This can be done through getting experience in schools, talking to teachers and reading about current issues in education.
It is helpful to ask yourself:
- Do I like young people?
- Am I interested in making a difference to young people’s learning?
- What experience have I had in schools other than my own?
- Am I prepared to do something in which I am not going to succeed all the time?
- Do I want to be part of an educational community that is always learning and growing?
We recommend this free online course which explores the basics of what it means to become a teacher.
How do you support students from diverse backgrounds?
Education for social justice is a key underlying theme within all of our ITE programmes and we are committed to promoting and celebrating a diverse teacher workforce. The University of Nottingham has led on the development of an equality and diversity pledge that ITE providers in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire can sign up to.
We have also led on the development of two regional networks for black and global majority and LGBT+ beginning teachers.
As a University of Nottingham beginning teacher you can also access networks if you identify with any of the following groups: internationally educated, career changers, carers, students with mental health difficulties and neurodiverse students.
Can I be successful if I have caring responsibilities?
Yes! Obviously it is more complicated to undertake a teacher training course when you have additional pressures outside of the course, but with careful planning before the course and a well-organised plan for during the course, then there is no reason why you should not be successful.
We have a network group for students that have caring responsibilities which enables you to meet with others who have similar responsibilities to discuss strategies for being successful and support each other.
Is it harder to train to be a teacher if I am older?
No! There are a range of reasons why an individual might find training to teach harder than someone else and it is not helpful to identify specific groups and suggest any given ‘label’ will be a barrier to success. The key is knowing what the barriers to success might be for you as an individual and working with us to address these.
Mature students, and career changers, bring with them a set of additional skills that come from wider experiences of life and work that are all assets as they become a teacher. We support you to recognise these strengths and use them to your advantage.
We do know that, sometimes, career changers who have been highly successful in another field find it difficult to become a novice again and receive advice, often from someone younger. If you are aware that this is something you might find challenging, we will work with you to develop strategies that will support you to be successful.
We have a network group for career changers and mature students which enables our students to discuss strategies for being successful and support each other.
I am particularly interested in special educational needs, can I pursue this whilst on course?
Yes! All of our programmes have a strong focus on SEND and inclusion and they offer enrichment opportunities in a range of ways. For example, all of our primary PGCE students spend a week in a special school. We have a SEND Interest Group for our secondary students which offers members additional opportunities through the year and secondary students also have the opportunity to spend a week in an alternative setting and options include special schools.
If SEND is a major interest for you, we may be able to support you to have your main placement in a special school.
I am particularly interested in mental health, can I pursue this whilst on course?
Yes! Built into all of our programmes is an exploration of mental health and emotional wellbeing, considering both the mental health of pupils but also teachers. This is done in a range of ways including a day of workshops, enrichment opportunities and the encouragement of peer-led activities that support our beginning teachers to look after themselves.
All of our students are given the opportunity during the year to undertake Mental Health First Aid England’s two-day programme to become a recognised Youth Mental Health First Aider.