Programme director Ben Barton discusses this exciting new route into teaching and what it takes to become a participant
What do you look for in an applicant?
We're looking for those with a real interest in dedicating themselves to the world of education. Our programme has been designed specifically to build career teachers and to help foster a love of the profession. That innate passion, along with a good academic record at A-level and university, are the key essentials.
Education is all about discovery, both as a pupil and a teacher. This is why we love candidates who can demonstrate that they've self-studied and worked hard to discover more about themselves.
How can a graduate stand out?
Clearly any experience working in schools or colleges will help a candidate. We also look for a strong answer to the 'why is teaching for me? question.
Teaching requires confidence, clarity and charisma. The best teachers are also the best communicators. Anyone who can show us that they can captivate an audience, while effectively getting their point across, is just the sort of person who will thrive in the classroom.
Finally, any expert knowledge on their subject is important. One of our favourite questions we ask is: 'teach me something that you learned in your degree'. Every teacher brings something unique to the classroom, so try to think about what you would bring.
How does the Premier Pathways teacher training programme work?
It offers a two-year paid route into teaching. Participants begin in a support role for the first two terms which allows them to get used to the school environment. In the summer term, they work on team teaching and taking on a small timetable. In the second year, their responsibility increases further until they are delivering an 80% timetable.
Participants progress through a PGCE with QTS at the University of Buckingham and in the second year they take three residential courses, write three essays and are visited three times by university tutors to see how they are getting on.
Participants are supported in school by mentors. They also have an online portfolio and the Premier Pathways team contacts them from time to time during the two year programme.
In the first year, training is delivered by leading teacher trainers on occasional weekends and during half terms. It covers behaviour management, planning and assessment and supporting children of all abilities. During the second year, the university provides the participants with three residential courses that will support the work they're doing in school.
What are the key benefits of the programme?
Premier Pathways is unique because of its flexibility and support structure. Our candidates choose the school, the subject, and how they learn. They are in control. The way that the course provides a natural escalation and acceleration of responsibility is what makes it so appealing. Nobody gets dropped in at the deep end. We believe that in order to create a love of teaching, you have to be gentle. The classroom can be an intimidating place. Our candidates are guaranteed to benefit from the team's wholehearted support and commitment to their well-being - both inside and outside of their school. A variety of peer networking events are held throughout the year, providing an excellent opportunity for candidates to socialise with other cohort members.
As previously mentioned, education is all about discovery, but it's also about working together. The way that we work with and for our candidates is what makes this new path to teaching so exciting.