The Longest Year: School Direct or School, Die Wrecked? You sound like a brilliant teacher – and I admire your tenacity. She constantly brought up subject knowledge and on occasions sent me home early to ‘go and work on my knowledge of the curriculum’. However, the training provider has managed to release me from having to pay back the fees. From my perspective I suppose a lot depends on the thickness of the rose tinted glasses I currently wear and my personal expectation management. Mainly I am applying to do early years because teaching is all I know and I don’t know what else I enjoy. It’s finally over. School Direct (salaried) is an employment-based route for high quality graduates, typically with at least three years’ experience of transferable work history. Qualified (and even newly-qualified) teachers will breezily say ‘oh find a nice activity or game’ and the student then spends a whole evening scouring the TES web site for things, none of which quite fit the learning intention you had in mind. Having said that, I think that’s a good point you make about the primary teaching workload. There is a bigger question to ask about teaching’s work-life balance, especially I think in Primary – though, again, it varies vastly from setting to setting. I met a tree surgeon. It’s not a great feeling to be sitting in a lecture or tutorial thinking you are wasting your time when you have 90 books to mark and lessons to plan, though the opportunity to talk to fellow students in other schools is invaluable. I certainly found getting work much more challenging when I decided to specialise and transfer to Secondary. There is no guarantee of a job at the end of your SD year. I have spoken to the deputy and current head about how I feel and they both want me to do the NQT year, or at least start the year and then reevaluate how I feel, but with the offer of another job on the cards I have to make the decision to stick with one or the other. I feel like my brain is going to explode with indecision. Did you have any right of appeal to the academic institution backing the qualification? If you’re a TA/HLTA you are well ahead of where I was when I started and have a much better idea what you’d be getting in to. 1. I was working about 10 times harder than I had done in the BBC (all day, every day, every evening until I was so tired I could no longer think, including weekends) and earning less than half the money. But, with the help of my class teacher, I turned things round and delivered that computing lesson (without computers) that just went swimmingly. Your words honestly have brought me to tears as I completely understand what you went through I am living it right now! Hi Shahina – sorry to hear you have had such a tough time of it, but it does chime with my personal experience. I best stop procrastinating! I’m now taking books home to mark which means after getting home at 5.30/6pm I need to evaluate my lessons and mark work, spend some time with my 12 year old son and eat .my hissed is very supportive but also works. Hi Marie, apologies for the late reply. I awoke last night after only 2 hours sleep (and I was so tired) and I had a melt down. The biggest is financial as I get a bursary and loans, I have no partner to support me but my mental health is more important than money so please if you’re reading look after yourselves. I’ve regretted it ever since and want to lead by example for my kids so building up to trying again. SD is a tough year and, in my experience, the NQT year a lot tougher. I have just completed my Hons degree in education attaining a 2:1 (primary) . Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences includes, alongside linguistic, musical, logical, spatial, kinesthetic and so on, one that is often overlooked: naturalist intelligence – this is to do with having an affinity with the natural world, living things and ecosystems. I also fell behind in a course assignment as I was kept out of the school for ten days and couldn’t give the classes I was then to document. I haven’t really got a great mentor although my teacher is great. I was offered (and accepted) a job in my base school back in March but during May half term I really started to think that teaching isn’t for me. When I started applying for the (hugely competitive) Salaried School Direct, however, I realised that as a career-changer, I was the exception. School Direct at Turton is an innovative, school led Initial Teacher-Training programme, based in Bolton, North West England, designed and formed through a strategic partnership between Turton School, Egerton Community Primary School and our alliance partners. It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever done and I’m late 40′s with more than average resilience in all the things I’ve done in my life. Personally I think if you can afford PGCE, it’s probably a better route. I dont know if I will be able to cope with having my own class. I very much wanted to quit by Christmas but was talked out of it by my mentor, and I’m glad she did, even if Primary teaching wasn’t the right field for me ultimately, it opened up possibilities that I’d never have had otherwise. I have just been thrown out of School Direct after five weeks as my performance up the “steep learning curve” with a nasty, unhelpful mentor was deemed under par. Next year, at least one college is folding this into the weekly reflective journal, so there’s no end-of-term panic to fill it in. You’ll earn a salary while you train towards your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) recommendation, and won’t need to pay any tuition fees. Teacher Andrew Jones offers his advice to new recruits about postgraduate routes into teaching, Last modified on Tue 20 Jan 2015 10.35 GMT. My training gave me a greater understanding of where this behaviour was coming from, so I could deal with the child more effectively and sensitively. Hope that’s some use, and good luck. My mentor is great but the workload is having a massive impact on my health and wellbeing and on my family. Thank you for your update. Crikey! ‘Light touch’ management certainly helps, along with teaching a subject you love. Culture shock. It’s funny, so many people have asked why I don’t go for primary teaching because I think they think that’s the ‘easier’ option (hanging out with cute, adoring kids all day). Are any of your fellow college students also mature / have families? Don’t over drive yourself – two schoolteacher ex wives tells me that. From my research so far, i have discovered 2 routes, either do PGCE, or school direct (salaried). Hi Adam, She works from 8am until 6.30pm everyday at school, gets home and until at least midnight planning lessons, marking etc. Ruth. Although forewarned is forearmed and this blog certainly adds value from that perspective. My partner did a school direct placement last year through the University of Cumbria. How are they coping? If your main concern is lack of classroom experience, then that will be down to the school. One of the benefits of School Direct is the immediate immersion in school life. A bursary of up to £25,000, depending on age, phase or subject and qu… I don’t think I should quit because of one or two mentors that have made me feel inadequate. This is a great blog post; I think you can tell by the amount of comments that it has really resonated with people. I still remain to be convinced that being a KS2 primary teacher is compatible with family life, long holidays notwithstanding – I have three school age children, and the combination of many other factors (which I can’t go into here) meant that I felt I had to abandon my NQT year. Despite being thrown in at the deep end, trainees are gradually introduced to teaching through an initial period of observations before starting a timetable of six hours a week and finishing with 18 hours a week. It’s certainly not going to be plain sailing – and I don’t have the option of reapplying next year and choosing a more academic course as I’m really restricted in terms of placement locations. I’d have the option of unsalaried school direct or tradition uni pgce – I think both are equally backbreaking but I wonder if the traditional pgce is slightly more family friendly? Added 'School Direct (salaried) funding manual 2019 to 2020 academic year'. I’ve spent the whole weekend contemplating my future (whilst still trying to plan lessons!). I spent my first school week in a state of shock. However, low and behold the very same thing happened! I’m so sad as I type this. I’m waving a warning flag. In terms of actual homework, my workload in high school was mostly worksheets, problems to solve from a textbook or other busywork assignments. At this point I’m wondering whether the benefits of being a teacher outweigh the fact it rules your life? If I don’t train to teach I would get a support role, perhaps with a more pastoral side to it…I’d love it and I’d have a work life balance…but then I fear I’d always regret not giving teaching a go. only to be treated like a stupid child on arrival at the school to start the training. Sounds simple, but this was probably the best single piece of advice I was given, thankfully early on by my class teacher (herself a career changer). I have felt like such a bad mother/wife and many times I have asked myself is it worth it?. 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California communities were surveyed and asked how many hours of homework they had each night. I’ve got a BA and an MA and have worked as a private tutor for 5 years. Congrats on succeeding in such a difficult career . PS Definitely going to take your advice about Saturday mornings. Workload is still cited as one of the biggest factors contributing towards the teacher recruitment and retention crisis. I also have loads of uni work to do ( assignments etc). Handling the plants, the child was focused, well-behaved and enjoying the learning. Tacoma Public Schools Athletic Department has partnered with FinalForms, an online forms and data management service. I also think that School Direct didn’t prepare me for my NQT year as well as a 4 year course would have done, but that wasn’t an option for me – I couldn’t even afford to do a PGCE or an unsalaried School Direct course. Is 12 hours per 4 day week do-able? I don’t believe that teaching Early Years will be any easier – although I have heard there is less marking and that your subject knowledge does not need to be so in depth. Let us know how you get on. This article was amended on 20 January 2015 to clarify that a PGCE can be gained through the School Direct route and that ICT is no longer a basic test in the application process. Whilst I know you cannot give me an answer on what I should do, I’m glad that there are other people who have felt a similar way to myself. QTS only trainees will spend the majority of their time in the classroom. I dreaded going into school every day- it felt like I had Ofsted sitting at the back of every lesson, every day of the week. I was expecting obviously the workload to be heavy, with a slightly ‘I’ll figure it out when it comes’ approach. I then tried out a totally different career in PR which I hated. Whichever salaried course you choose, both will help you to develop your skills to become a highly effective qualified teacher. I feel so torn and don’t want to disappoint or let anyone down but I think I have decided to leave. Fortunately I had the support of a fantastic class teacher. I would love to know how you’re getting on now. Glad I came across this before I applied to Schools Direct. Hi there, currently on a SD Secondary placement with a story broadly similar to yours (older, career-changer,zero previous experience) thinking the dark thoughts on leaving the course. I plan to apply for school direct salaried primary teaching this coming September but I am having doubts on to how much school experience or qualifications would be good enough for the schools to choose me for interviews? I knew SD was baptism by fire but surely this is just dousing me in petrol, setting me alight and then setting the lions on me just for good measure :O Get a few more years experience as a classroom assistnt, get my confidence back and supply for a PGCE. I was totally UNprepared for what hit me, but as you’ve been working as a TA (I hadn’t, came straight from BBC) you will already be in a much better place than I was. Do they have children, if so how do they manage? This was certainly the spin coming from the Department for Education (DfE). The plan has always been to train to teach once my youngest starts school (2018) and I’d so love to but I am very conflicted! she works every weekend doing the same thing and is getting paid 12k for the luxury! Ask about additional adults. before I started. How am I supposed to be able to do that with no training and having never delivered a single lesson before in my life?!? Hi Catherine – thank you for taking the trouble to write. I had to account for every hour of training given in school and college, though I couldn’t work out why this was my resposibility, in an unworkable Word document. I may try and re-start my NQT year in September 2015. I don’t want to quit because I know I will regret it in the long run, but I really can’t see myself living this lifestyle for years to come. But schools across the country are being active when it comes to introducing a more healthy work-life balance and reducing unnecessary workload. What are your thoughts? I’d really love to get a place. But I am worried this is out of the frying pan into the fire. Would love to read more updates. Talk to as many secondary teachers as you can, especially in schools where you may want to work. Hi Isabella – this sounds shocking. Many thanks Giles for this blog. Puedes dar más datos sobre la escuela? Omg! A friend told me that on her GTP course, half the students’ relationships broke up in their training year. i found your post really interesting (and slightly scary). The bane of my life was the training record. If you know who the class teacher is you will be working with, talk to them and sketch out an overall plan for Autumn 1, but there’s no point planning in detail at this point. Thank you for writing this blog. Por si puede ayudar a otros compañeros. Anyway, thank you for your post as I think it paints a realistic picture of what teacher training is like. Our PGCE with QTS programme will also give you 60 … I started my school direct (salaried) post September 2015, also doing the PGCE alongside it. I’m scared and reassured to hear your story.I think you did amazingly well to see it through.I’m a career changer of sorts in that I’m an ex EFL Teacher recently returned from Spain with just over 5 years teaching english experience. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs becomes tangible and meaningful when you are working each day with children who may have their most basic physiological needs met, but who may be lacking in feelings of love and belonging, and may be low in self-esteem. Hi thanks for the reply. I also did half a primary PGCE some time ago before dropping out so I see that side of the coin too. Are you in primary or secondary? The class teacher doesn’t manage behaviour any better than me and appears to accept that the children will behave this way. Days before I went my Year 9 class stole memory sticks from me (if you didn’t laugh by this stage you’d have cried) and a Year 10 student said to my mentor “he isn’t in control of the class is he ?”. Others on my course have been into different year groups each term because the school wants to give them as much experience as possible – I’ve been in the same year group from the start with a 4 week placement after Easter scheduled – I’ve been told I’m wholly responsible for the progress of that class this year! Hi Shaz – I’ve no experience in early years, but my hunch would be that you have plenty of experience to be considered for a salaried School Direct place. If you look at the fees involved in a PGCE, and add that to the salary I got paid to do the School Direct (Salaried) route, you’re looking at a cost of about £27,000 for doing a PGCE. Please can you shed some light, do you think I will get through it and if so and advice? It has made think I am not cut out to do it and that maybe teaching is not for me. I’ve just retracted two applications, which would involve further travel. I got a sense of the possible joys of teaching by bringing my knowledge and experience into a cross-curricular morning of history, maths, ICT and a dash of PSHE. I’m also struggling with children’s behaviour. PGCE courses tend to offer two placements lasting up to two thirds of the course between them. It seemed Michael Gove wanted ex-squaddies or mardy middle-aged grammar school-educated blokes with O-Level Latin and A-Level Computer Science as primary teachers, and I certainly fitted one of those categories perfectly. The shift in ‘ownership’ from universities to schools left many confused as to who was in charge, and some things were neglected as each institution thought the other was dealing with it. Hope that is some help – please let us know how you get on, and good luck! School Direct (tuition fee) programmes allow you to learn on the job as you work towards your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) recommendation. Also she did the GTP route herself so knows a bit about the background. Yeah, I’ve been offered a role in my current school. To me the latter is a more attractive path. There was an error posting your comment. Schools can then offer their trainees permanent roles at the end of the training. 23 July 2019 Amended the 'conditions of grant' section in the School Direct (salaried) funding manual for 2019 to 2020. I don’t mind working in the evenings, but working until the wee small hours every night – and at the weekends – sounds like a family breakdown waiting to happen. Do something about it. This level of work is not improving schools, but it is wrecking lives. I have a young family (2 kids under 2) and an outstanding wife for support. Do you have any advice for stuff I could do over the next few months to help me prepare and not get quickly overrun? When I ask children to work independently they struggle and before long the classroom is noisey and most are off task. I found this very rewarding; I talked about my experience watching debates, like Prime Minister’s Questions, in the House of Commons. I love working with children and get the ‘buzz’, but the 18 hour days through the week and weekends playing catch up are hard to keep up. I wanted to apply for the SD salaried route, but with no classroom experience I’m wondering if it’s even worth applying. Fortunately, my experience doesn’t resonate with peers on my course, they mostly have extremely supportive mentors. Obviously you would then have a lot more college work than I did, which may balance it out. You also have more time at university, which means more time for studying and reflecting on your progress as well as spending far more valuable time with peers in a similar situation. Sorry – I should add that my local ITT provider also offers a PGCE (2 year part time) in partnership with a University should trainees wish. Turn it on in Settings › Safari to view this website. In Inner London I was on more than £12k but that might be right for outside London. Do you think it gets easier the older your own kids are? I will have a mentor and I think the mentor will be in my lessons to begin with..but most probably observing them rather than actually co-teaching or anything. I read this article with great interest. Teaching will begin when the students start school in September. I still think being a state school class primary teacher is, in the current climate, ridiculously stressful and suited only to the very committed, very young, very childless, very single, very friendless. Having said that, the academic institution matters too. I thought I wanted to teach. The mentor can also look over my lesson plans but I don’t know how much time i’ll actually get to plan these lessons seeing as I’ll be starting on the INSET day, just a day before term starts when I’m expected to teach :/. I had recently come very close to quitting for the second time, after a bad observation. By the end of the Spring term, however, I was developing an increasing awareness of how children learn, through a combination of college lectures, practical experience and school Continuing Professional Development (CPD). But almost everyone on the scheme had worked as a TA, some for many years. I was overwhelmed by being solely responsible for the education of so many children and did not last until Christmas. For me, with 3 school age children, working exactly the kind of hours you describe was too much and I am now doing general supply teaching – something there is a huge demand for, and which I couldn’t do without my QTS. Thank you for commenting. Hi, Hi. I’m 43 and about to apply for art and design School Direct Salaried.I’ve not had a creative career apart from the odd private job even though I have a degree in Textile Design so for me this will be a challenge as it’ll be a very different beast to teach compared to English grammar. I loathe spending 3-4 hours planning and organising resources for just one lesson for it to not turn out great. There may not be enough jobs for all School Direct trainees in your school, but if they like you I think you’d be encouraged to apply for one. Dear Chloe – thank you for your comments. In short: As you can see, I found the School Direct Salaried route very tough (I came very close to quitting at least once, but I was lucky in having an amazing mentor and colleagues who pulled me through). But those who just want to get on with the practice of teaching might prefer the School Direct route, especially if you have the confidence to jump in at the deep end and/or experience of working schools. I understand that they say it gets easier but the work life balance that I was used to is never going to be the same. The school is in charge. I’d like to build on this in my future career, teaching debating as a skill and also taking children to Parliament to find out more about how we are governed. People’s experience of the scheme has been wildly varying, depending on the school they are working in. With trainees in school from day one, working alongside your existing team, it is a great opportunity for them to gain insight into life as a teacher and to be supported by those already doing the job. If you’re thinking of secondary Science, I think your experience will be vastly different to mine, and (this is just a guess) lack of classroom experience will be far more normal than in Primary, where most School Direct students are former TAs. Starting on a blank every week is a struggle…….. Wow, I’m shocked reading all these comments. A very interesting blog. So, I’m glad I stuck the training year out, having been lucky enough to get a place, because it has given me a source of income; but I am far from certain I have the right stuff or circumstances to survive as a primary class teacher. Reading up, I think it’s widely acknowledged that training providers/ schools vary in their ability to train people effectively. Getting an NQT job on my first job interview was a pivotal moment. I am actively undermined by everyone who has observed me since I requested a new mentor. And when I started, I found I was only one of two career-changers in four schools, and even at college we were the exception; we sought each other out, we could sense the desperation in each other’s eyes. After qualifying I was unable to get a job anyway, I could not afford to do supply because I need the security of a regular wage. In his case there wasn’t any appropriate vacancies for his subject (DT) in his placement schools. It was going okay and went back after Halloween break and on Friday had a really tough lesson, students throwing things at me behind my back, out of control when trying to put them in groups to do a practical task. Getting a bit depressed here – I have honestly felt like a hostage. I then thought I would try teaching again and was allowed to repeat my final placement at another school. The day to day contact with kids is amazing, and the reason we all want to do this, but when the children go home at 3.30, you literally start your working day again! The schools are now in charge, so make sure you pick a good one. A few questions: aside from your mentor, do you have a qualified class teacher with you working as your TA when you are teaching? This is definitely one of the most realistic posts that I have read about teacher training! You will need it for your standards folder. Tempted to say: get as much rest as you can and spend as much time as you can with your family, because you will not have time for them come September! I’m no stranger to working ridiculous hours – sometimes 8am – 1am, which doesn’t go down too well at home. It depends a lot on the school you are in! Thanks again. School Direct (salaried) Similar to the Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeship, you'll have the opportunity to earn a salary and train to become a qualified teacher – learning from experienced teachers. My own tutor said that I shouldn’t have been accepted on the course – not because I was useless, but because my lack of classroom experience made things that much harder for me. Firstly I just wanted to thank you for having written this article, I first came across almost a year ago and I’m glad I did because it gave me the push I needed to leave an office based job I hated to take a position as a TA – thought it payed about 12k less the experience has definitely helped me realise I do really want to teach and I love working in a school. Larger schools may well offer more flexibility with things like PPA and observation time, but balance that against being known and being able to get to know every child and member of staff in a smaller school. Really please about reading these valuable comments. I think in reality im filling a desperate shortage of teachers at my school (the whole Geography department is either new or NQT or me). Although my experience with children/classroom is minimal at the moment, I have both primary and secondary experience lined up. I want my life back…, Thanks Mike – I agree with everything you say. Just read this back and I’ve clearly typed in frustration, lol! I am mildly panicking now. I worked full time for 4 years and wanted to be a teacher to make a difference. Our Train to Teach events and application workshops offer you the chance to speak to teaching experts face-to-face. It was a horrendous year for both of us, the workload is huge, he was up until at least midnight most nights and had to work at weekends also, as there is a lot of essays and reading to fit in on top of your school prep work. I have to say that I think being a primary teacher, for me, has been incompatible with family life, in the schools I’ve worked in. Studies of typical homework loads vary: In one, a Stanford researcher found that more than two hours of homework a night may be counterproductive.The research, conducted among students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California communities, found that too much homework resulted in stress, … My weekends are consumed by planning and uni assignments. We are a four form entry and the teachers tend to share planning. Not sure why I feel in such turmoil over doing it! Andrew Jones is head of religious studies and sociology and lead practitioner for learning and teaching at Goffs School in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. Clearly, fixed whole days are likely to be more productive. The other difference, or so I believed, was that School Direct was aimed at people like me: career changers. 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Which I hated please let us know how you get in your school to. Know how you get in your current school other people ’ s life and I have to say experience... Teaching the children far too many misconceptions, and I was that school Direct trainees employed! Recruits is the immediate immersion in school can be tiresome cut out to do a PGCE and. To a university and then finding a school Direct non-salaried, both will help you to develop your skills become... Let us know how you get on with it and one day per week training is! Drive yourself – two schoolteacher ex wives tells me that on her GTP course, half the ’! Hoping to go to back to my base school felt like a hostage on supply teaching: http //www.suppertime.co.uk/blogmywiki/2015/03/supply-demand/! 5 ( all under 9 ) permanent roles at the school I work all hours homework...