Train to teach

The Swale Academies Trust School Direct Programme is going from strength to strength, having seen over 70 trainees gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in the last 2 years with a further 33 trainees enrolled on the programme for this academic year.

Elizabeth Frost, Leader of the School Direct Programme for Swale Academies Trust is proud of how the programme has developed and become so popular.  She cites the rigorous training delivered by a dedicated team that encompasses both practical and theoretical elements, support within the schools and the high calibre of trainees applying for training positions as key factors in the programme’s success.  Training is very flexible and trainees are able to develop classroom practice at their own rate. Subject Days at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) compliment the Swale Academies Trust Programme.   Trainees are able to put their knowledge into practice in the schools where they are training and immersed in everyday school life.

Elizabeth Frost adds, “Not only do we see our trainee teachers qualify, but the majority of them go on to work at schools within The Trust.”

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The Class of 2017 at the Swale Academies Trust Celebration 

Lisa, who graduated in June 2017 and is currently an NQT in one of the Trust’s Primary Schools explains:  “Before joining the School Direct course I worked as a support worker for adults with learning disabilities and as a 1:1 TA. I knew I wanted to be based in school as much as possible when doing my teacher training, so the School Direct route was the perfect option. I had such a wonderful experience on the School Direct course. The support from the course tutors, CCCU and mentors was invaluable and discussions with other trainees were key to my development. This course has made me feel ready for my NQT year. I was offered a job at my training school which I love.   Staff from all the schools I visited during my training were so welcoming and supportive of my learning journey. I am now at the start of my NQT year and although it has its challenges, I feel that I am more than equipped to face these challenges head on and this is all down to the training sessions and advice given by those at Swale Academies Trust.”

Saul_2.jpg“For those thinking about a career in teaching, there are a huge amount of opportunities within the Swale Academies Trust across lots of different subject areas which you can consider. The School Direct programme is perfect for anyone wanting to get in the classroom and start making a difference to young peoples’ lives. Having had a career in international sales, where my role was autonomous, I was encouraged that we were allowed to ‘get on and do it’. I love that there is trust within the organisation and that I have been allowed and able to develop my own teaching style and approach to delivery in the classroom. From the outset, my training has not been prescriptive and this has provided me with the opportunity to work out what not only works for me but in turn, works for the students. In terms of progression, you can find yourself moving up the ladder very quickly so long as you are prepared to work hard and are motivated to inspire young people to reach their potential.  In my NQT year, I was delighted to be promoted to be Head of Key Stage 5 Maths, achieving this position against a field of two experienced Maths Teachers”   Saul Kay, teacher at Westlands School

"In 2005, I started working as a Mathematics TA at Sittingbourne Community College. For me this role was all about supporting students with their maths and the termly breaks, which enabled me to spend time with my own children. However, after about two years I began ‘Teaching’ maths to a small group of year 9 students, this was my big break into the teaching profession! My role changed to that of an ‘Unqualified Teacher’ and before I knew it, I found myself studying for a degree! After six years of hard work and study, I obtained my degree. I was now on the road to becoming a ‘fully qualified teacher’, something I would never have envisaged back in 2005."

img_20170919_122329_resized_20170919_122"Ten years later, I joined the ‘School Direct’ programme as part of my journey to gaining ‘Qualified Teacher Status’. At first, I was apprehensive about joining the programme; after all, I had been teaching for a number of years and had learnt everything on the job? School direct enabled me to become part of an elaborate cohort of trainee teachers with various backgrounds, skill sets and diverse personalities. The programme provided a more practical, hands-on approach to learning in the classroom whilst being supported by experienced teachers and mentors. Together we became a team, a support network, colleagues and over time friends. Once the whole saga of gaining ‘QTS’ was over one had to undergo ‘Newly Qualified Teacher’ training. This was the light at the end of a very long tunnel for me. The objective nigh complete and one that would open up a completely new world of opportunities. I generally set myself a goal each year, after gaining QTS my goal was to obtain a leadership role within the college. Surprisingly an opportunity arose during my NQT year in the form of ‘Key Stage 3 Leader of Mathematics’. Upon completion of my application and subsequent interview, I became the new KS3 Leader of Mathematics in January 2017. Every day is different; I am learning about the role and developing my leadership skills simultaneously. Everything I have achieved to date has been conceivable via the continuous support of both my college and the schools direct programme. The potential in a person is recognised and supported throughout the whole process. I am truly thankful for the whole experience and the faith that others demonstrated in me professionally." Sally Hills, teacher at Sittingbourne Community College

Elizabeth Frost also adds, “I am excited that having started their journey with us as trainees, several of our teachers now hold positions of responsibility within Trust Schools.  Having become experienced classroom practitioners, they have now developed into inspiring young leaders.”

The Trust is also pleased to announce that due to the success of its Teacher Training in Kent, Swale Academies Trust will be expanding its School Direct Programme to include teacher training opportunities in East Sussex.  It will be working with 2 local providers: The University of Brighton and The University of Sussex and will be recruiting trainees to start in September 2018 for the following schools:

  • Parkland Infant School
  • Parkland Junior School
  • Shinewater Primary School
  • Peacehaven Community School
  • The Eastbourne Academy

Elizabeth Frost added, “A career in teaching is not an easy option.  However it is incredibly rewarding and has such an impact on our students.  We are proud of the way that our trainees develop under the guidance and support of our dedicated mentors and trainers.”

If you are inspired to train as a teacher and want to work in the Trust, please visit the School Direct section of this website for further information.