15th July 2020
Trainee teachers have always played an essential role in the classroom but now they form part of the government’s plans to provide catch-up tutoring to hundreds of pupils who have not been in school or receiving home learning during the lockdown. It’s been documented heavily in the news that certain sections of pupils may not have had equal access to home learning opportunities – these pupils are the focus of a £1billion catch-up scheme encompassing over £650million funding to schools for additional group or individual tuition – some of which can be provided by graduate teachers.
The government recently released a comprehensive set of guidelines to help schools reopen fully in September. Read the full government guidelines here. There were some exciting mentions of ITT trainees and how they can contribute to helping ensure students haven’t missed out on the knowledge and education that they are entitled to. Utilising trainee teachers is a fantastic way to cost-effectively offer struggling students extra tuition or attention in the classroom and expands their professional experience and growth.
The long term benefits to schools are clear, working with a teacher throughout their training allows schools to encourage the development of the kind of teachers they want to be delivering their curriculum. Graduates are enthusiastic, full of new ideas and benefit from having the most up-to-date knowledge about the technology available to enhance learning, which has great benefits in our new age of remote learning and tutelage.
There’s no beating around the bush, the first year of teacher training can be hard work, with new challenges posed daily and a steep learning curve from university to being in a classroom. It’s important that schools looking to take advantage of the government funding know how to support grads through the first year of their training.
Schools will need to select a dedicated mentor for trainees and provide support for the mentor throughout the programme. Part of the mentor’s responsibilities is to meet the trainee once a week for formal mentoring sessions, which will be scheduled in the timetable, in order to review, discuss, and set targets and training activities. The mentor is also responsible for observing the trainee and giving weekly feedback outside of the time set aside for scheduled mentor meetings, and completing a formal assessment for the trainee at least once per term. Mentors should work to spot times when trainees are struggling and may need to be offered additional support.
Ensuring trainees have the chance to ask questions to more experienced teachers – encouraging mutual support and development in the staffroom will help grads to manage when challenges arise and making sure they know who they can turn to if they are struggling.
Maintain a positive working environment – we’ve shared information on the growth mindset before here on the blog – read our full guide here. Try ensuring that teachers, especially trainees, are receiving constructive criticism that they can build upon. It’s also important to acknowledge when teachers at all levels are having a positive impact on their pupils or the school.
Graduates need the right amount of support and responsibility in order to continue their professional development. New ideas should be encouraged and appropriate tasks designated within the parameters of the teacher training programme.
Mentors should ensure that trainee teachers aren’t getting burnt out – the new guidelines expand the role and therefore the workload of trainees, so ensure that positive mental health is being encouraged in the workplace and consider implementing mental health first aiders to oversee staff wellbeing.
At Engage, our teacher training program is unique in that it offers grads a salaried pathway to working as a qualified teacher within two years. We continue to support our candidate through their training through our Partnership and Development team and provide university-led training and support for mentors. Read more about how Engage can support your school in hiring a graduate here.
To discuss utilising government funding or the apprenticeship levy to hire graduates in your school, get in touch with one of our expert advisors. We can help with all aspects of your tuition and intervention planning – book a free consultation here.
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