Our response to Covid-19
Since March 2020, every adaptation we have made to the ways we work with our beginning teachers has been developed collaboratively with our partnership schools. At the heart of every decision we have made has been:
- ensuring our beginning teachers get a coherent, fit for purpose, ITE programme
- supporting our partnership schools so they can continue to host beginning teachers
- establishing ways of working that enable our students to be part of the solution as schools respond to the Covid-19 crisis
These principles have served us well and resulted in all of our students:
- following a course structure that deviates only slightly from the normal
- being placed in schools from the beginning of October
- experiencing placements in two different schools as part of their training year
Our students are evaluating their experiences very positively and say they are being well supported to be ready for their NQT year. We are confident that, whilst some things will have been different, our students will develop the specialised knowledge and understanding of a teacher and be able to effectively apply this in the classroom.
Our success through the pandemic is testament to the quality of our courses, the strength of our partnership and the enthusiasm and commitment of all those involved to supporting the next generation of teachers.
We are hopeful that disruption to our programmes, due to the pandemic, will be minimal in 2021-22 but, obviously, we cannot guarantee this. What we can say, with confidence and based on our success so far, is that we will be able to provide a coherent, fit-for-purpose programme that will enable you to develop into a great teacher.
How will the course be structured?
All of our Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes are underpinned by a Framework of Strands and Phases that outline the knowledge a beginning teacher needs to develop and the phases of their journey through their ITE year and beyond.
This will enable us to navigate any adaptations we may need to make to your programme, as part of our response to Covid-19.
This means that you will:
- have the opportunity to meet the Teachers’ Standards
- have a strong focus on subject and/or age group expertise and pedagogy
- revisit key concepts about teaching and learning through a spiral curriculum
- have a strong focus on individual wellbeing and identity
- have the opportunity to access personalised support and enrichment
- have the opportunity to develop into the best teacher you can be
Each phase of your programme is built around a key question of inquiry about beginning teacher development. For example ‘In what ways can you develop an understanding of the specialised knowledge a teacher needs?’ or ‘What are the ways in which you plan, teach and evaluate lessons?’.
Within a phase you will explore and develop your knowledge as a teacher in seven areas:
- Teacher as professional
- Teacher as thinker
- Subject knowledge for teaching
- Progressing learning for all
- Building positive relationships
This structure means that regardless of how your activities, experiences and accompanying support are delivered, you will have a clear focus and we can gradually build up your understanding of teaching and learning and your skills as a classroom practitioner.
From the outset, you will be able to apply your learning to the classroom and there will be a mixture of ‘university’ days and ‘school’ days. On all our ITE programmes there are more school days than university days. 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 will be different this year is how these days are delivered.
What will university days look like?
Each university day will have the usual variety of activities:
- Inputs from a wide range of nationally and internationally recognised experts in teacher education
- Time with tutors who will work closely with you, modelling approaches to teaching and learning that you can take into the classroom
- Opportunities to work collaboratively with peers
- Opportunities to engage in activities that help you think critically as a teacher and develop your subject and age group expertise
Our aim is for as much of this as possible to be face-to-face, but there may be times when we take a blended approach to the days.
What will school days look like?
We have a very well-established partnership with local schools. Through a strong and vibrant relationship, underpinned by reciprocity, openness and respect, we work collaboratively in our endeavour to improve education in the region. This strength of partnership means that we can effectively manage change and, together, develop innovative ways of working to support our beginning teachers.
At the moment we are expecting all school days to run as a normal year, with our beginning teachers physically in school. We may need to adapt this in response to government regulations related to the pandemic but, if this is the case, we will adopt the same approach as this year where our students have worked remotely with their placement school during periods of national lock down. This has enabled them to continue to progress and develop as a teacher and has also resulted in them being able to develop additional skills, such as expertise with technology.