Choosing the right training provider

Choosing a course provider for your teacher training is akin to selecting a new best friend! You need to research and explore what their values are, how they structure their courses, and the levels of support and fun-filled opportunities they offer.

Here, NQT Sean talks about his experience of teacher training with Doncaster ITT Partnership.

“I came to teaching seeking a move in career, having been in the military for 22 years and then in an independent consultancy role thereafter. Some thought I was mad to be giving up a six-figure income and looking at pursuing such a challenge as I turned fifty, but I had had the itch for some time and I needed to scratch it.

I undertook Initial Teacher Training with the Doncaster Partnership as part of the 2016–17 cohort. The small team that run the partnership are fantastic, as are the retired teachers who act as liaison between the students, the schools and the partnership. I found that the support network they provide, in conjunction with the esprit de corps amongst the other trainees was a great help.

The biggest shock I think was the diverse way in which schools operate within delivery of their curriculum. At my second training school, I found it difficult to get on board with the procedures and policies they had in place. This is not a criticism but just an observation that not all schools will fit all teachers, or trainees. This was such an issue that by half term on my second placement I was coming to the conclusion that perhaps teaching was not for me. I wasn’t throwing my teddy in the corner, sometimes things just don’t work.

It was presented to me that perhaps another school could be found to complete my training in but it was not guaranteed. This is when the ITT liaison tutors and the partnership team got involved. I was extremely lucky that through their endeavour, and the willingness of another school to accommodate me at short notice, I was able to complete the year as an Outstanding Trainee. This would not have happened without the support of the Doncaster Partnership and their liaison team for which I will be eternally grateful.

Once trained of course comes the next hurdle. Employment. The experience I had at my second placement made me cautious when looking to apply for jobs. What was morale like in the school, what was their ethos? I did interview unsuccessfully for two jobs and it is difficult to take rejection on the chin. However, I persevered and was successful third time round. The trial of two interviews and two classroom testers proved really beneficial. I was wholly prepared third time around, nailed the interview and was offered the job.

I can honestly say that the training route I chose suited me perfectly and prepared me well to operate in what some would call a challenging school. It is an experience I am loving and I do not regret the change of career. The dark days in teacher training gave me insight into how schools operate differently and showed me how professional the team and liaison tutors at Doncaster really are.

I am now entering my final term as an NQT and guiding my first set of Year 11s to their exams next month. It’s been challenging but that’s what teaching provides. For me, that challenge keeps me interested and focused. There are still tough days but I think I have been very fortunate to gain employment at the inner city school where I now work — I honestly feel an affinity with the children.

Last term I was promoted to Head of Year 9 and now find myself preparing for parents’ evening and Year 9 options.

All in all it has been an extremely busy two years and I could not imagine the progress that I have made without the support, advice and mentoring and training that I received from Doncaster ITT Partnership and their team.”

Your drive to become a teacher needs to inform your choice of provider. If you have a particular interest, make sure that the two school placements you will be offered for your teaching practice will allow you to develop your interest. For example, there are providers that work with fully comprehensive and inclusive schools, faith-based schools, special schools, grammar schools, schools in challenging social or economic areas, rural based schools etc.

Questions you ought to be asking providers are:

• How do you arrange the academic work alongside the practical teaching practice?

• Who will my mentor be, and how often will I be able to meet them?

• What schools will I have access to for teaching practice? How many schools will I be doing my teaching practice in and how long will each placement last?

• Will I be awarded a PGCE/PGDE in addition to QTS (Qualified Teacher Status)?

• What are the starting dates of the course and when does it finish?

• How many places are on offer, and how many other trainee teachers will I be studying alongside?

For more information about choosing a training provider, visit the Get Into Teaching website.

Providing help and advice on how and why to get into teaching.