Did you miss the Explore Teaching event? Read on for a re-cap…

The Explore Teaching event took place last night and provided a chance for students to listen to speakers from training providers including Teach First, Ark Schools, School Direct and the University of Birmingham. It also gave them the opportunity to hear from current teachers and education professionals to find out about how to get into teaching and what kinds of things they could be doing to improve their chances.

First on the agenda was the question of what work experience is relevant and how to go about finding it. The guest speakers all agreed that if you want to become a teacher you will need school-based work experience with the age group (and subject for secondary) you want to teach.

Each course provider has their own requirements so it’s best to check on their website what these are. It’s not all about school experience though – any experience with children/young people will strengthen your application.

Where can you find work experience?

There are more ways to go about getting work experience than you might think:

  • Try your old school but don’t forget to use friends/family for contacts
  • Use Edubase to identify schools in your area to contact
  • Mentoring opportunities at UoB, the Guild and Do-it.org.uk
  • Summer camps and resort work e.g. Haven, PGL etc.
  • Children’s charities e.g. Beanstalk(use Do-it.org.uk to identify more)
  • Community activities and groups e.g. Brownies, Cubs, Scouts etc.
  • Use the UCAS website to identify schools offering teacher training- they may be more open to offering you work experience

Routes into teaching

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We then had talks from each of the speakers, each of whom represented a different training provider or route into teaching.

School Direct – Ark Academy

You might have heard of School Direct before, and Ark Academy is both a charity and a School Direct provider. Llewella Owen, an NQT Primary Teacher at Ark Academy gave a presentation about how Ark work in areas of high disadvantage and educational need. Their network comprises 34 schools in Birmingham, Hastings and London.

Ark Teacher Training offers training places in both primary and secondary schools, and if you were successful in getting a place you could expect to be in school from day one. At the end of your first year you’d achieve a PGCE as well as qualified teacher status (QTS). After this you would get paid as a teacher but also benefit from two years of teacher training support.

As well as lots of practical experience of teaching you’d also benefit from weekly coaching, planning and training sessions. As part of Ark’s programme you would also get experience in a contrasting school – one week in an alternative school from the Ark network and two weeks in a non-Ark school.

How to apply?

You can apply to Ark through UCAS, at which point you’ll need to specify the location you’d like to be based in rather than the specific school. Ark look for a minimum of two weeks’ experience in a school. The assessment centre consists of an interview and short task, and if you get through to the next stage you then spend a day in a school in your chosen area and give a short teaching session. At the end of your first year with Ark you can either choose to continue in the same school you’ve trained in or you can leave and look for a role elsewhere.

For more information about School Direct courses visit the Get Into Teaching website.

Apply through UCAS from 27th October 2015.

University-led teacher training – University of Birmingham

Dr Celia Greenway from the School of Education at the University of Birmingham outlined the range of options available for students wishing to do their teacher training at UoB. The University’s PgDipEd runs in partnership with local schools but is unique in offering more MA credits (120) than any other teacher training provider in the country. If you chose this route you could return part-time to top up your qualification to an MA in Teaching Studies.

At least twenty-four weeks will be spent in schools but you’ll also benefit from a University tutor. The staff in the schools you spend time in are also trained by the University.

School Direct

The University also runs School Direct courses allowing you to work towards a PGCE with QTS. This is an intensive school-based course with a range of placements as well as time spent at University.

You can check out  The School of Education’s website for more information on what the University of Birmingham has to offer.

How to apply?

Apply through UCAS from 27th October 2015.

School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) – Richard Hatton, Tudor Grange Academy Trust

The next speaker, Richard Hatton talked about SCITT and outlined why it was the route he chose to train as a teacher. Unlike other teacher training routes, SCITT involves no (or very little) contact time at a university. This means that it’s well suited to those of you who want to get as much practical experience as possible during your training.

If you chose to go down this route you’d be trained by practitioners in the school and could also gain credits towards an MA. Your placements would be in at least two different schools, which would give you all-important variety and breadth of experience to help you secure your first role after qualifying.

For more information about SCITT visit the Get Into Teaching website.

Teach First – Lorna Culpin, Graduate Recruitment Officer

The final speaker was Lorna from Teach First, who used her slot to remind us that you don’t need to have school experience in order to apply for their scheme (although they would expect you to get at least 5 days if you were successful). Following a successful online application you’d be invited to attend an assessment centre.

If you were offered a role with Teach First you’d start with a six-week residential course over the summer to help you prepare. In September you’d start in a school and during the next year you would receive support from a school mentor, a tutor from their partner university and a Leadership Development Officer.

Teach First offer a fully-funded PGCE, so you’ll get release days throughout the year to attend university. They ask for a two year commitment and at the end of this period you’ll get both QTS and a PGCE.

How to apply

Teach First accept applications on a rolling basis and these have been open since June. This year they have 1800 places and 500 of those have already been filled, so bear this in mind when thinking about which route you want to take!

To find out more about Teach First and to apply you can visit their website.

Summing up

So there you have it – four different ways you can get into teaching, each with their own different structure and training setup. If you’re thinking about becoming a teacher then this should give you a good idea of the options available and which one might suit you best.

Applying this year? Need help with personal statements?

Visit the ‘Making Applications’ section of our Careers Network Canvas course which has a whole section on personal statements for teaching.

We also offer 1:1 Applications Advice appointments which are bookable through Careers Connect.

This post was written by Sarah Blunt, Careers Adviser in The College of Arts and Law.

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