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Hit the ground running

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Whatever the next steps in our career, we all want to hit the ground running in the workplace. Paul Thornton, Network Education Lead at STEM Learning, discusses why teaching is about meeting standards at various stages of your career and how the NCCE can help.

From achieving the teaching standards that run through the core content and early careers frameworks; to reaching expectations set by middle and senior management, teachers need to have enough subject knowledge and pedagogical nous to be successful as a trainee and once they qualify.

Development of subject knowledge traditionally starts during the teaching practice year and often is overly reliant on the placement itself. This is reinforced by the latest Ofsted review, which documents that too many partnerships rely on the experiences trainees gain through placements to provide ITE curriculum content in subjects and phases, and some ITE curriculums contain 'very little subject-specific content to be taught during centre-based training.' It emphasizes that there are ways ITE providers can address this at various stages of a trainee’s journey: before they start, during their PGCE or equivalent year(s) or post-course in their NQT and RQT years.

Supporting a trainee teacher’s journey

Before training

We can help ITE providers to support prospective trainees earlier in the cycle and have widened our eligibility for our flagship programme, Computer Science Accelerator. This is to allow any prospective trainee due to start their course in September 2021 to hit the ground running by attending our remote, face to face and online courses ensuring they are arriving in their ITT year in the best possible position subject knowledge-wise.

During training

We work with many Higher Education Institutes and School Centred Initial Teacher Training providers to develop an embedded approach to CPD. It is a flexible model which can look different with every provider, and we have several ongoing arrangements to provide subject knowledge CPD year after year, built into their provision.

The PGCE computing student teachers have really benefited from achieving the CSA course as it has supported gaps in their subject knowledge as they progressed through the year. The non-specialist pathway has also allowed students from other subject areas to access professional development which will help them in their future teaching careers and support their employability as new teachers. Next year, the student teachers will have the opportunity to join the courses again and with the new pathways on offer will be able to further build their confidence to suit their abilities.Louis Hayes, Manchester Metropolitan University

Examples of how we work with providers:

  • select courses suitable for their cohort to be delivered at a convenient time within the planned provision
  • provide facilitators to run courses (both remotely and face to face)
  • support faculty members to deliver our CPD by providing training through our facilitator development programme
  • subject knowledge audits undertaken by trainees to identify areas for development have been mapped to our online and face to face courses
  • for those in need of additional support, our Computer Science Champions continue to work alongside groups of trainees, offering supportive webinars before and after courses and facilitating collaboration

For trainees who already have confidence in the subject knowledge, we have pedagogical outputs that can help combine that knowledge with evidence-based computing teaching practices to promote good teaching and learning. Where trainees are expected to teach their own material in their placements, the Teach Computing Curriculum contains everything they need to teach computing at key stages 1-4, including lesson plans, slides, worksheets, homework and assessments.

Post training

Regardless of whether a trainee has managed to secure their first post, they can continue to progress toward completing the Computer Science Accelerator to achieve their certificate in computer science subject knowledge.

Inevitably in the current climate, pedagogical practice is something that early careers teachers have missed out on. As such, the latest Ofsted review states that a trainees understanding of how to teach a particular subject, and what to teach, mainly depends on what happens on their school placement.

The review also states that ITE trainees are 'particularly vulnerable to the wider variability of school experiences during COVID-19' and 'placing so much emphasis on learning through practice means that when trainees have less opportunity to teach or when placements are of variable quality'.  The Teach Secondary Certificate focuses on teachers becoming well rounded in subject knowledge, pedagogical strategies and collaboration and can help to bridge any gaps.

There is also guidance as to how our courses and resources support an early careers teacher through their first year(s) in the form of our framework support. We do not just cater for computing teachers and can support non-computing teachers/trainees who may have yet to find employment. Our new computing pathway is perfect for those who specialise in another subject and looking to gain a broad look at different elements of computing to add an extra string to their bow and ultimately become more employable.    

This pathway is available at a subject level to support participants to complete their CPD with colleagues from the same subject, including PE, business studies, humanities and PSHE, music, art and media, modern foreign languages, English and science. We also offer complete bespoke pathways for maths and design and technology teachers.

We can support ITE providers in their quest to develop the highest quality provision matching the core content framework for their computing and non-computing trainees before, during and after their training. If you want any more information as to how we can work with you, contact [email protected].