The activities detailed in this post are intended to help you to focus during your first few weeks on selected aspects of practice in schools. Teaching in England is carried out within a framework of statutory and advisory guidance issued by the Government.
Below you will find details of specific tasks to complete prior to your start in September. For the purposes of data protection and safeguarding, if you talk about pupils, they should remain unidentifiable.
The tasks are set out according to key themes that will thread throughout your training or induction year :
1. Welfare (including safeguarding)
2. The Purpose of Education (including curriculum)
Task 1: Welfare - Safeguarding and Child Protection
Access the link below to find the Government document ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’:
Read pages 5-16 carefully and summarise in your own words the role that teachers play in the safeguarding and protection of children and young people
Find out who has specific responsibility for the safeguarding and protection of children at your school.
Task 2: The Purpose of Education - The Curriculum
Download and read the Secondary National Curriculum here:
Summarise, in your own words, the key aims of the secondary national curriculum.
Read the pages that relate to your subject
Summarise in your own words, the key aims and purpose of study in your subject.
If you can, talk to colleagues about how decisions are made when designing and organising the curriculum. Consider:
How do decisions made about the curriculum align with the schools’ vision?
What conversations are teachers having about the ‘intent’ of the curriculum?
How does the curriculum reflect the school’s local context?
How does it reflect its pupils’ needs?
How are decisions made about what is taught and how it is taught?
How does the pupils’ knowledge, skills and understanding of concepts in your subject develop through the school?
Some words you may hear when talking about the curriculum are ‘broad and balanced’, ‘knowledge-rich’, ‘character education’. Make a note when you hear these and try to understand what they mean. If you hear others, make a note of them.
Age Phases immediately below or above the one you are training/trained to teach
Look at the National Curriculum for the KS2 (7-11) age range
Look at an A-level specification in your subject – choose the exam board that is taught at GCSE here
Then …compare and contrast the following in relation to the curriculum in the 11-16 age range in:
1) Your subject
2) Mathematics/numeracy (across the curriculum)
3) English/literacy (across the curriculum)
How does the curriculum challenge pupils' learning?
How is the curriculum taught and how might those decisions affect pupils’ progress?
How is the learning environment set up and how might it affect pupils’ progress?
Task 3: Current Issues in Education - COVID-19
Reflecting on the year 2020 and the COVID-19 Pandemic
How has the pandemic affected your own learning experience?
How might the pandemic affect your teaching come September?
How has the pandemic education in general?
What might be the impact on our learners and how might you counteract these impacts?
Task 4: Learning
Drawing on conversations with teachers in both primary and secondary schools, working with pupils in lessons you participate in/observe, and looking at the work the pupils produce, think about and respond to the following questions:
What do teachers do that motivates pupils to engage in their learning?
How do teachers know that their teaching has impacted on the pupils’ learning?
How do pupils’ know what they have learned?
Task 5: Narrowing the Attainment Gap
There is an ongoing strong focus in education on closing the attainment gap. Follow the link below for further information:
Schools have been working hard to ensure that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds do not underachieve at school. Identify and summarise one way in which your school has been working towards challenging this gap.
Task 6: Getting to grips with the Teacher Standards
An introduction to the Teachers’ Standards (Teachers’ Standards link).
Part 1 of the Teachers’ Standards
In order to achieve Qualified Teacher Status ( QTS) you need to demonstrate that you have met all of the Teachers’ Standards by the end of the course. The following tasks would be very helpful in preparing you to start your PGCE course. At this stage you will not be able to complete the tasks that involve school visits but there are other useful activities which you can engage with.
1. Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils.
Language and communication underpin learning, while understanding and being understood are fundamental to safe and stimulating classrooms. These present particular challenges for some young people.
MONAGHAN, Frank (2005). Developing Language in the Mainstream Classroom – available here
The Communication Trust’s booklet, ‘Let’s talk about it; what new teachers need to know about children’s communication skills” – available here
2. Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils
In any pre-course observation or experience try to note down examples of different teaching strategies used in the classroom and how pupils respond.
Reflect on your own educational experiences. Identify the factors that supported you in making progress.
What helped you to progress?
How did you know when you made progress?
Did you experience any barriers?
How did they hinder you?
How did you overcome them?
3. Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge
Complete any subject knowledge related conditions included in your offer (e.g. completion of a subject knowledge enhancement course or revision of a particular topic area).
What is ‘Knowledge Rich Curriculum’? by Tom Sherrington – available here