This programme is designed to equip you with the skills you need to become an effective educator and to enable you to develop your own theories of learning and models of good practice. It gives you extended placements in at least two schools, enabling you to gain a broad experience of different and contrasting educational settings.
We have a very strong, collaborative partnership with the schools we work with. University tutors, school mentors and coordinators work closely with you, and each other, throughout the year to support and challenge you to develop into the best teacher you can be.
We firmly believe that learning to become a great teacher isn’t about doing as many lessons as you can as quickly as possible. It is about gradually building up your experiences and working with experienced teachers in lots of different ways. Your school-based learning will include:
- a carefully structured programme to support your progress each term
- a gradual build-up of teaching
- observations across all key stages with expert teachers
- weekly mentor meetings to discuss your progress and agree targets for development
- involvement in all aspects of school life, for example helping with clubs, school trips, joining staff meetings, break-time duty
Throughout your time in school you will undertake a wide range of professional development activities to develop your understanding of teaching and learning and the complex role of a teacher. Although placements are intensive and demanding, we carefully structure your progression, with a gradual build-up of teaching commitments, so you are well prepared to teach in different contexts. During your time on placement you will become part of your school's community and work professionally as a member of a team.
As part of your second placement, you will undertake a small-scale research project where, working with others, you will formulate and develop a research project on an area of interest. You will also experience enrichment days and weeks in a range of educational settings to further support your ongoing professional development - this will include a week in a form of alternative educational provision.
We can appreciate that you will be keen to know the location of your school placement as soon as possible, this is only natural. Experience has shown us that it is important to carefully consider a range of factors, such as: access to transport, caring responsibilities and previous experience to name but a few, when making placement decisions. For these reasons, we don’t allow applicants to express an interest in a particular school. Similarly, offer holders are not able to request or make arrangements for their own placement in a particular school. Instead, we work with you from the moment you have an offer to understand your personal circumstances factoring these into our placement decisions to ensure we do all we can to support you to be successful.
Your school placements will be supported by university-based teaching days, as well as periods of independent study.
You will actively work with tutors and peers, constantly exploring teaching and learning. You will engage with theory and research to make you a better teacher, for example we will look at theories about behaviour for learning to help you analyse what is and is not working in your classroom. Your university experience will include:
- working with groups of beginning teachers
- modelling of teacher approaches you can use in your classroom
- exploring research and practice
- keynote inputs from experts, for example staff that specialise in special and inclusive education
- peer teaching and learning
- exploring and practising all elements of being a teacher in a 'safe' space
Further information about our PGCE courses can be found on the School of Education Initial Teacher Education website.