School Direct Trainees' Experiences of Application Process and Training Programme

Name:

Christina Birkett

School trained in:

Joy Lane Primary School    

Date of training:

2014/15       

What advice can you give about applying for a School Direct place?

Make sure it’s something you definitely want to commit to, as it is a really big commitment and there will be some amazing highs bit also some stressful lows. But then - go for it! Practise the skills tests so you are ready when you go and do them at the test centre.

What interview tips do you have?

Plan. List all your experience and any questions you might want to ask and don’t want to forget in the pressure of the interview. Find out about the school, their ethos, behaviour strategies and latest Ofsted.

Be yourself.

What advice would you give about gaining work experience in a school prior to applying?

Get as much experience as you can – this will all help you with your interview and be valuable experience to fall back on when you’re in the classroom.

What advice can you share about the Key Skills Tests?

Practise as much as you can beforehand. Practise tests, with and without scaffolding, are available on the website.

What have been the benefits of training with EKLA?

Learning by doing is very effective – you observe and experience so much over the year. The learning curve is very steep, though. I am about half-way through now and I can just about glimpse the edge of where I need to be but it can feel overwhelming at the beginning. 
Additional comments: It’s an amazing experience and, for me, there have been far more highs than lows. I’m just as certain now that this is the right career for me as I was when I first applied. Joy Lane Primary School has been a wonderfully supportive and  nurturing place to train, and I’d highly recommend them as a Teaching School.

 

Name:

Fay White

School trained in:

The Canterbury High School    

Date of training:

2014/15       

What advice can you give about applyingfor a School Direct place?

Know the schools you are applying for. Understand what is expected of you as school direct trainee from the schools and universities perspective. Look at all options available (salaried and unsalaried)

What interview tips do you have?

Be professional, Be prepared, Ask questions, Be positive.

What advice would you give about gaining work experience in a school prior to applying?

Strongly recommend. Try for more than one day a week, over a least 3 terms. Go to as many different departments as well as your subject.

What advice can you share about the Key Skills Tests?

Revise. Do as many practice tests as possible.

What have been the benefits of training with EKLA?

Additional support. Extra training sessions.

Additional comments: None.

 

Name:

Sophie Wellings

School trained in:

Herne Bay High School   

Date of training:

2014/15       

What advice can you give about applyingfor a School Direct place?

Make sure you have had some teaching experience before applying for the course! Prepare for hard work. Make sure you ask for help if needed, all advice.

What interview tips do you have?

Stay relaxed. If needed, ask for the question to be repeated. Bring evidence of any previous teaching experience.

What advice would you give about gaining work experience in a school prior to applying?

Aim to get as much teaching experience before applying.

Vary the age range of experience, you will use all techniques learnt at some point in your training. 

What advice can you share about the Key Skills Tests?

REVISE REVISE REVISE! Get people to test you

What have been the benefits of training with EKLA?

The link schools are very good. Lots of visits from professional mentors

Additional comments:  

 

Name:

Jack Hoskings

School trained in:

Canterbury Academy   

Date of training:

2014/15       

What advice can you give about applyingfor a School Direct place?

I would definitely recommend applying for a schools direct placement. I believe that being in a school setting, seeing and applying how teaching is done first hand is the best way to ensure you learn the skills needed to be a teacher and make sure it is the job for you.

What interview tips do you have?

Ensure you read up on the school that you are applying. Make sure that you prepare yourself for questions you think could be asked such as, Why do you want to be a teacher? And What do you think you could bring to the school as a person?

What advice would you give about gaining work experience in a school prior to applying?

Having prior work experience is very beneficial as it won’t be as big of a shock to find out just what it entails to be a teacher, as well as, what it is like to be a class with so many children looking at you and depending on you.

What advice can you share about the Key Skills Tests?

Make sure you do revision for these tests, it is surprising how much information you have forgotten since school without a recap and just how fast the time goes while in the tests. But, mostly just try to go into the tests relaxed with a clear head.

What have been the benefits of training with EKLA?

EKLA provide a lot of support as well as training sessions on how to teach students of many differing needs such as, vulnerable groups, free school meals, special educational needs and English as an alternative language.

Additional comments: A benefit of the school direct placement also provides the opportunity to gain knowledge of how others schools run through an alternative placement for 15 days. As well as opportunities to see how the children transition from primary to secondary, with a placement at a primary school for a week (if doing secondary teaching).

 

Name:

Lester Bird

School trained in:

Canterbury Academy

Date of training:

2014/15       

What advice can you give about applyingfor a School Direct place?

Talk to as many teachers as possible and listen to their experience. Think carefully about your motives for teaching.

Get as much experience in different types of schools by way of regular volunteer days.

Investigate the PGCE option and seek the experience of ex-PGCE students. Internalise that knowing your subject is very different to teaching your subject. 

What interview tips do you have?

Consider the above and be yourself.

What advice would you give about gaining work experience in a school prior to applying?

As above.

What advice can you share about the Key Skills Tests?

Practise the online tests and buy one of the numerous practise books.

Don’t underestimate the pressure of the test –

while the questions are very straightforward, the time limit and the possibility of failure which can delay your application by two years can adversely affect your performance.

What have been the benefits of training with EKLA?

Very structured.

Additional comments: Know that the experience can be overwhelming at certain points of your training.

 

Name:

Matthew Reeve

School trained in:

Canterbury Academy  

Date of training:

2014/15       

What advice can you give about applyingfor a School Direct place?

If you’re someone who learns whilst on the job then this is the course for you. The application process has now changed since I completed the course, this has been done to make it easier for the applicant.

What interview tips do you have?

Try to enjoy the process, I had a few interviews before being successful and took valuable lessons from each. Always answer each question with an example, this shows you have not just researched the ‘correct’ things to say. Ask questions and engage with the students as much as possible.

What advice would you give about gaining work experience in a school prior to applying?

Work experience before hand is essential in my eyes as it is a full on job from the offset. You need to be 100% sure that the course and teaching is for you and without this prior experience you can’t be sure.

The more experience you have the better equipped you will be. Try to experience different age ranges, I found this helped my understanding of student’s development into secondary age.

What advice can you share about the Key Skills Tests?

Practice tests online prior to be fully prepared for the style of exam. Revise, despite the tests not being anything harder than you have previously learnt it will ensure you are ready and up to scratch with the content.

What have been the benefits of training with EKLA?

Lots of CPD opportunities which other students outside of EKLA I was at university days with hadn’t experienced. Go to as many as possible, even talking to fellow trainees and sharing good practice is really helpful.

Additional comments: Enjoy the training. Take all the opportunities you have, ask as many questions as possible and take risks, it’s the time to make mistakes.

 

Name:

Morgan Smyth

School trained in:

Sandwich Technology School   

Date of training:

2014/15       

What advice can you give about applyingfor a School Direct place?

Go for it! I would highly recommend applying for the School Direct Programme.The process of applying was straight forward and UCAS and EKLA were extremely helpful and supportive throughout the application. 

What interview tips do you have?

Be yourself, show the interviewers who you are and therefore the type of teacher you have the potential to be. Be prepared, in both your interview practice questions and your interview lesson.

Lastly, be honest, the SD programme is a training programme so if you aren’t sure of the answers to some of the interviewers questions, then say so. They do not expect you to be a readymade teacher.

What advice would you give about gaining work experience in a school prior to applying?

I would recommend gaining work experience in a school environment prior to applying. Teaching can be a very rewarding but also very challenging at times, so to be sure you can commit the time and energy to the course.

What advice can you share about the Key Skills Tests?

Certainly do look into the requirements of the tests prior to sitting them. There are practice tests online which can help guide your revision.

I personally found the numeracy test more challenging and used revision guides and you tube videos to assist in my timed mental arithmetic. 

What have been the benefits of training with EKLA?

EKLA has provided throughout my SD course, excellent training and support. Often I have attended different twilight training courses held at many of the EKLA schools where I have learnt different skills to assist with my teaching. But I’ve also made friends with other EKLA trainees who have been invaluable in exchanging ideas and information.

Additional comments:  

 

Name:

Rachael Orr

School trained in:

Hartsdown Acadeny  

Date of training:

2014/15       

What advice can you give about applyingfor a School Direct place?

Make contact with the schools first. I was fortunate to be working at the school I wished to complete my training in, however you could enquire about undertaking some voluntary experience at the school of your choice. 

What interview tips do you have?

Ensure that your passion for your subject and teaching comes across; interviewers will be looking to see an enthusiasm and love for the profession.

Be prepared! Make sure you are up to date with the latest changes in education and have thought about how these changes may impact your subject/ teaching. 

What advice would you give about gaining work experience in a school prior to applying?

Do your research - make sure that you are calling/emailing the person who is in charge of training within the school. 

What advice can you share about the Key Skills Tests?

Practise, practise, practise! There are many past papers to be found on the Department for Education website - do make use of these.

Also, seek help from others; again I was fortunate to be working within my school anyway so I was able to call on the expertise of a Maths teacher to teach me how to tackle the most problematic questions. 

What have been the benefits of training with EKLA?

Training with EKLA has been beneficial in many ways; firstly, it has enabled me to access some excellent courses and training sessions run by EKLA. Also, the consortium has meant that there is a strong link between the schools that are a part of EKLA. I have found the EKLA team to be incredibly helpful and supportive. 

Additional comments: Although the School Direct year is a challenging one, it is also a wonderful learning experience; you will learn more in this year than you can imagine - about your teaching, about your students and about yourself. Enjoy it!