PGCE trainees were able to have mock job interviews in preparation for applying for their NQT posts. They were put through their paces by some of our fantastic school-based mentors, who were able to offer guidance and feedback on their responses. Great to hear such positive feedback from trainees and interviewers alike!
Year 1 Undergraduates QTS students gained their first experience of school with a day at Hope Academy. We were met in the foyer by Rachael Critchley (Head of RE), Catha Seddon (Assistant Head of RE) and Jayne Cantwell (A very experienced RE Curriculum Mentor) and given a tour of the school. We met the Head of Year 7 as we visited the Year 7 Inspire time. Each year group has their form-rooms grouped together. We also had a quick look at the School Chapel, before we returned to our base in the conference room and briefly met the Academy Principal.
The next session was with Rachel Bradburn, the Professional Mentor, who looks after all trainees and NQTs as well as being an English and Media Studies teacher. Rachel helped us to think about what it means to be a professional. She asked us how we would develop our own professional persona and we did a rank ordering exercise with elements of Part 2 of the Teachers’ Standards. We then looked at some scenarios, before Rachel gave us some tips on how she would expect a trainee to demonstrate professionalism.
We then had another hour with Rachael and Catha, focussing on RE. Hope Academy is Outstanding RE department and they explained some of the features of their department that enabled them to achieve this inspection outcome. Hope Academy used the DTT approach to assessment, and so we were introduced to this. Students do a multiple choice test every 5-6 lessons (3 weeks) which they use to track their own progress. This ensures that pupils have mastery of the required knowledge. GCSE assessment formats are used throughout the school. Individual assessments are marked and then a class crib sheet is produced, which enables pupils to work on their own areas of weakness, something g which is being adopted across all subject areas now. Thinking about the roles of the RE teacher, we worked in pairs to sort some cards, initially into five categories, before giving the categories headings and ranking them. We shared our ideas together before completing a take away consolidation sheet to give us good evidence for our standards folders.
At break we met the rest of the RE department and then Bradie Gallagher, an NQT who graduated last year from our course. She gave a number of tips on how to take best advantage of the course. She helped us understand what would happen at the end of the course during our NQT year. She explained that observing people teach might seem like a chore, but is really useful.
For the last part we divided into two groups, one to observe Nicola Lyon (another graduate of the course) teach a year 7 lesson, and the other group to watch Catha teach year 8 who were doing a ‘therapy’ session as part of the DTT process. We were struck by how, in both classes, pupils were busily working independently with the guidance of the teacher. The year 7s were working on knowledge of the Ten Commandments which led up to a 5 mark Demonstrate Question. Pupils were given guidance on how to structure their answer.
For another year the RE PGCE trainees were able to attend the ITT conference at one of our outstanding partnership schools, Stretford High in Manchester. Trainees were involved in a range of sessions such as developing their teaching persona (led by Faisal Ahmed, Professional Mentor and Head of Humanities/Social Sciences Faculty), interview hints and tips (led by Headteacher Nicola Doward) and listen to the experiences of NQT and recent EHU RE ITT graduate, Emily Jones. They had opportunity to meet with some insightful and articulate Year 11 students who shared their thoughts on what make an effective teacher and a good RE lesson, before asking some tough questions to a range of staff who varied in experience. Despite some of the trainees being concerned that they didn’t have enough paper for all the notes they wanted to take (!) it was a great opportunity for them to not only develop their current practice, but also to think about taking their first steps in applying for their first teaching post. Many thanks to all at Stretford.
Today trainees got the chance to visit one of our outstanding partnership schools, Cowley International College in St Helens. Led by the experienced RE team, trainees were able to reflect on the notion and importance of professionalism, benefit from the experiences of ex-Alumni and get some top tips for being professional from Principal Cameron Sheeran. They also got the chance to chat to some fabulous students who shared their experiences of RE and their thoughts on what makes a good RE lesson. A fantastic afternoon that got everyone looking forward to starting their first placement next week. Thanks Cowley!