When I made the decision that I wanted to enter the teaching profession I was keen to find out more about the different routes that were available. The School Direct system instantly stood out as it gave the opportunity to receive first-hand experience of teaching from the very beginning of the course. Unlike the more traditional university-based courses that are available, the School Direct approach offers a far more hands-on angle towards teaching. I knew that I wanted to spend the majority of my time in and around the classroom, learning on the go alongside experienced staff and thus the School Direct option ticked all of the right boxes for me.
One of the many perks of training through Haslingden High School is that each and every trainee receives frequent and direct support from the course leader. Weekly meetings and regular communication ensure that help is at hand whenever needed. The School Direct programme is challenging and can be intense but it gives you an accurate indication of the realities of the profession. It is, however, an extremely rewarding opportunity and you can expect to receive intensive support from dedicated teachers and mentors who are always willing to offer advice and feedback.
I was welcomed into a fantastic Humanities department with incredible staff and plentiful resources at my disposal. This greatly helped me feel part of the team and quickly settle in. The comprehensive training programme boasts many sessions led by specialist staff and visits to a variety of schools with their own individual excellences as well as a plethora of other opportunities to learn and develop as a teaching practitioner.
I thoroughly enjoyed my training year and I am proud to have become the latest recruit in a thriving Humanities department. I would truly recommend this route into teaching to all.
The School Direct route enables you to immediately immerse yourself in all aspects of secondary school life. From the offset you work alongside experienced and passionate professionals; attend important whole-school briefings; delve into running or assisting extra-curricular activities and, of course, take your first footsteps into the classroom as a real-life teacher! The hands-on approach to the course really does mean that you get a taste of your future career from the moment you step inside your placement schools. This really appealed to my adaptable and self-motivated personal qualities.
The PGCE year-long course is challenging – there is no doubt about that. However, the team at Haslingden High School, the Pennine Alliance and your placement schools are there to guide and support you and to ensure that you are able to develop and flourish into a strong and confident classroom practitioner. Teaching is a rewarding, gratifying, fast-paced, exciting and dynamic career and, through extensive training, you are able to experience all of this and more for yourself.
If you are considering entering the teaching profession, I could not recommend the School Direct path enough. This route enabled me to really explore my strengths, develop my weaknesses and meet like-minded PGCE students (now colleagues and friends) in the process. By the end of the year, I truly felt like a valued and authentic member of the English department. My positive and successful experience even resulted in me securing my first teaching position at Haslingden High School (it doesn’t get much better than that!).
Throughout my life I have always taken on any challenge that has presented itself to me. I feel this always had an impact on my drive to become a teacher, as it is not an easy profession, constantly evolving and providing multiple challenges. The School Direct route equipped me with the required skills, preparation and experiences to cope with these challenges.
Firstly, the support you receive to help you become a first-rate teacher is of the highest quality. This includes support from subject specific mentors, professional mentors, subject departments and university tutors. In addition to excellent mentoring from your placement schools within the alliance, you receive guidance from a university tutor linked to the alliance and can use the facilities available at the University of Cumbria.
From the outset you are within the school environment and this shows you what the life of a teacher is really like. This time in school enables you to gain the experiences needed to develop as an excellent classroom practitioner. You receive weekly feedback on your lessons and targets are agreed in order to help you make progress. You are given the opportunity to get fully involved in the life of the school.
I would highly recommend choosing this route into teaching not only for the reasons outlined but also because the pride and sense of achievement that it provides once completed, is truly rewarding. My experience of the School Direct programme with the Pennine Lancashire Alliance has been so positive that I have gained employment at Haslingden High School and couldn’t be happier to be part of a great team.