Lea Christodoulou, programme director for Premier Pathways, discusses this exciting new route into teaching and what it takes to become a trainee teacher
What do you look for in an applicant?
At Premier Pathways we’re looking for applicants that have a real interest in dedicating themselves to the world of education. Our programme has been designed specifically to help develop knowledgeable and inspirational teachers grow their careers within education. An innate passion and initiative, with a good academic record at GCSE, A-level and university, are the key essentials.
Education is all about discovery, both as a pupil and as a teacher. We look for committed and innovative graduates with the resilience to complete the programme, while learning on the job full time.
How can a graduate stand out?
Clearly, any experience working in schools, colleges or with children (coaching, tutoring or clubs) helps a candidate to stand out – but experience is not an entry requirement. We also look for a strong motivation to inspire and influence learners and/or share the knowledge of a valued subject.
Teaching requires confidence, clarity and charisma. The best teachers are also the best communicators. Anyone who 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 around their subject is important. One of our favourite questions is, ‘Teach me something you learned in your degree’. Every teacher brings something unique to the classroom.
How does the Premier Pathways teacher training programme work?
It offers a two-year paid route into teaching within a school-based placement. The pre-PGCE year begins with trainees working in a support role for the first two terms, and taking on a small teaching timetable in the third. This allows trainees to get used to the school environment, at a steady pace. They will also receive ongoing training relevant to teaching throughout the first year.
In the second year, trainees will deliver an 80% teaching timetable and work towards completing their Qualified Teacher Status and PGCE qualifications.
Individual support is provided at every step of the journey, with school mentors, university tutors and our own liaison officers.
All training takes place during half term, and upon completion of the programme trainees can also earn credits towards a Masters.
What are the key benefits of the programme?
Premier Pathways is unique because of its flexibility, training and support structure. Trainees earn as they learn in a unique and dynamic environment, building experience and confidence over time with built-in bundles of support. Our candidates choose the school, subject, how they learn and the pace at which they take on more responsibility. They’re in control of their pathway. We aim to find local placements for candidates, acknowledging the importance of being part of the local community, but also ensure trainees have a support network.
The way the course provides a natural escalation and acceleration of responsibility is what makes it so appealing, no one gets dropped in at the deep end.
The classroom can be an intimidating place. Our candidates are guaranteed to benefit from the support of a team, both inside and outside of their school, wholeheartedly committed to their wellbeing. A variety of peer networking events are also held throughout the year, allowing candidates to socialise with other members of their cohort.