Train to Teach Event – University of Manchester

Are you thinking about kick-starting an exciting new career in teaching? If so, our Manchester Nexus Train to Teach event is the perfect opportunity for you to learn all you need to know about teacher training and how to apply.

When?  Wednesday, February 13th 2019 – Manchester Nexus Train to Teach Event from 4 pm until 7 pm.

Where? The University of Manchester (Barnes Wallis Building)

Who is this event for? Our event is designed for anyone who has a degree and is interested in teaching – particularly those who are considering starting their initial teacher training in September 2019. It offers a great opportunity to get all your questions about teaching and teacher training answered.

What to expect? If you attend the Manchester Nexus Train to Teach event, you’ll be able to:

– discuss the different teacher training options available, to help you decide which would best suit you
– meet representatives from our own and other schools/universities that deliver teacher training in this area, and find out about their courses and entry requirements
– receive advice on submitting a successful UCAS application
– talk to practising teachers, including those who have changed career to teach, about what a career as a teacher is really like
– find out about bursaries, scholarships and funding available for teacher training

How to register? Go to:

We look forward to meeting you!

Matthew McCormick – A Career Changers Journey into Teaching

Secondary – Social Sciences.

Something I recall from the first year of my PhD (Sociology) over ten years ago was that we were expected to lead our own seminar groups for undergraduates. There were about fifteen undergrads in my group. This included marking an essay they were required to submit: giving a grade and a few comments. My peers diligently and, quite rightly, awarded a mark and a few encouraging comments. My own thoughts were that this was an opportunity to give extensive feedback and guidance to young adults learning about the requirements and style of academic writing. I set about dissecting each essay with ways in which they could improve each phase of their writing. I put a number next to the sentence or word in the essay and then on a separate piece of paper I typed up my thoughts for them. I returned each essay to them with pages of notes that they could use and look back on for the next three years of their course. To this day I have no idea if it helped them or not in the long-term. I did not see the students in the following years. The office staff said they had never seen a doctoral candidate go to such lengths before and that it had been appreciated. Although time consuming, to me it was the most natural thing to do. I wanted to help as best I could, rather than go through the (perfectly acceptable) motions.

Many years later, having gone on to pursue other passions, I took a Support, Teaching and Learning course and I was employed as a Teaching Assistant by the school I had volunteered with as a requirement of that course. I was aware that my prospects lay in and around the teaching profession but at that stage I was not entirely sure which route I would take. My TA role was at a big and challenging secondary school. The Inclusion department was quite large, and the staff were excellent. Nonetheless it was a sharp learning curve to suddenly have responsibility for the learning and behaviour of a diverse range of pupils across all ages and subjects, many of whom had particular needs. It was probably the best experience I could have asked for. As a TA I could now observe a plethora of teaching styles and approaches to behaviour management and face the general day to day challenge of establishing boundaries with pupils around the school, not just in lessons. As a TA it was sometimes hard to command the full respect of pupils who know you are not the ultimate decision maker. Now, in a teaching capacity, this underscores the responsibility I have with regard to building relationships with pupils that embed notions of respect and cooperation with all staff at all times.

As a TA I was situated with my SEN pupils and they were my primary focus. I tried to imagine what I would do if I was the teacher when difficult situations arose, and it can be easy to spot ‘errors’ when it is not you that is ultimately responsible for delivering the lesson. I came up with my own ‘solutions’ whilst noting the particular strengths of each teacher. I was effectively beginning my observation notes, one of the first things you do at your school as an associate teacher in the Nexus training programme.

From the very outset, my department at the Blue Coat School have made me nothing but welcome and a part of their team – more so than I expected given how busy they are at the start of term. The first day was about helping the department get ready for the influx of over 1700 pupils. On my second day I got underway with my observation timetable and was attached to a form class to shadow. At the end of my second day I went to Oldham Hospital where my wife gave birth to our second son shortly after midnight (twelve days later than planned)! My subject mentor urged me to take the time I was entitled to which was nice to hear.

As I type, I have in my own mind – and I had this from prior to starting at the school – a desire and a sense of purpose to demonstrate a professional willingness to do everything I can in my role. Not just to be led and guided but to lead for myself and guide others. One of the defining differences so far from being a TA is that I am involved with lessons around which I have some knowledge or expertise. I can think about how I would deliver key points and ideas and why I would do so in a particular way, how I would talk about key authors and concepts, how I would encourage a high standard of writing and which strategies I would employ so that pupils can recall key information. These and several other considerations are embedded in the observation timetable we receive for the first couple of weeks of term. I am a part of my school. I shadow the form at form time, go with them to assemblies and all the trainees attend the professional training sessions on Wednesdays to learn important skills and strategies and share information and experiences.

Having previously worked across several industries it is striking how professional and invested the Nexus team are in the development of their trainees. Their dedication to our growth as rounded, skilled and professional practitioners – and the extensive support they offer from the outset of being accepted on the course – is always evident. From that the expectations of us as trainees is clear: this will be a big challenge and I could not be in a better place to meet that challenge head-on.

A Week in ‘Little School’ by a ‘Big School’ Trainee. Charlotte Broadbent : Maths

The school direct course offers a week in a primary school to better understand the academic and pastoral transition between the ‘big year 6’ students suddenly becoming the ‘little year 7s’. It is a good opportunity to observe the level of work that the students can complete and what they have learnt in depth. My placement was during the remembrance celebrations for the anniversary of WW1.

As soon as I entered my primary school, I was shocked by how small and intimate it was. Compared to a high school housing several subjects in different buildings my primary school has one classroom for each year with a shared area between two years. Being a secondary trainee, I’m used to having a bell ring at the end of every hour; however in a primary school, the timetable was hard to keep up with. There was no hustle and bustle to get to another class, and each subject seemed to merge into the next. The whole class worked together constantly, and if there was any fall outs (especially between the girls) it affected the whole group – there was no downtime.

Whilst on my placement, I got to work with a few focus groups. Since I am a maths specialist I worked with a group of students who needed a confidence boost in their mathematic ability. Working with this little group of students allowed me to practice new teaching methods on the topic; trying out more visual methods and altering my explanations for them. I also had a focus group for reading, which pushed me out of my comfort zone and highlighted how the primary school teacher has to be skilled in many subjects.

Observing the classroom teacher, I got a glimpse into how much work a primary school teacher has to do. Whilst they only have 30 children to teach, they need to be highly organised to ensure the learning of a mixture of cross-curricular subjects whilst maintaining a high level of pastoral care for every member of their class. You can clearly see the relationships that are formed between the classroom teacher and the pupil.

I loved the whole-school assembly at the end of the week, where members of each class displayed the pieces of work they had worked hard on during the week. There was a ‘theme’ to the week (which was WW1 at the time of my placement) so there was a variety of work to celebrate the anniversary of the war. There were pieces of poetry (from the lovely year 6s I was working with), paintings and even poppy wreaths! I felt a great sense of pride from each person in the school and it was lovely to be a part of it. The older pupils in the school even got the opportunity to take a trip to the cenotaph at Royton Park just before the 11 o’clock silence.

Over the week, I realised that the level of work that the year 6s are completing is of high challenge. I was working with quite a creative bunch of students and was really impressed by their creative writing ability in particular. This was highlighted in the war poetry pieces they were writing (some were quite emotional!). The week in the primary school has left me motivated to implement a more creative outlook to my lessons to ensure that my current (and future!) year 7s creativeness is not lost due to the amount they have to juggle after the transition to secondary. I also learnt that I’d underestimated the academic challenge at primary. This was invaluable experience to inform my secondary planning of year 7 lessons.

Why Teaching was for Me. Michael Ashworth

Teaching never entered my mind whilst at university studying for a sport science degree until I experienced coaching young children first hand at the local athletics club. I thought this is something I could do for a career. Funnily enough both my mother and sister are teachers so this could have also had an impact on my decision after listening for years about the love of the profession that they have. This probably has rubbed off onto me.

Once I had decided upon wanting to be a teacher I then had to decide which subject? Science or PE? PE was my obvious choice due to a variety of sports I played and the close link between sport science and the required PE curriculum knowledge.

I applied for and interviewed for 2 PE PGCE courses but neither of them appealed to me. I had school experience through 2 and a half years at North Chadderton School as a TA and I wanted to get into a school teaching as soon as possible. The Northern Alliance was my answer. A professional and thorough interview process….. The next day an answer of “You have gained a place” was the result I wanted.

My two favourite moments of my teaching life so far are realising that a single blow on your whistle can mean a multitude of different things! I had some students getting up and running and jumping to sitting in silence. This experience has shown me the power of developing a good “teacher voice” to get my instructions understood as a whistle can be confusing at times. After numerous sore throats and loss of voice completely I feel I’m getting the hang of it.

My second favourite moment was during my away placement. I was asked to have a review observation first lesson back after the winter half term. Lesson topic rounders, never taught rounders before = panic! However I planned the lesson well with all the help from my subject mentor the lesson went fantastically well. I was graded outstanding for the first time!

The advantage of the Northern Alliance route of teacher training I find most advantageous is the fact that you get a bespoke mix of teaching experiences in differing school settings, training days held by other alliance schools and university study days. All in all I feel that the Northern Alliance (School Direct) is that it has given me a firm foundation and the support to enable me to develop as an outstanding practitioner.


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