Barnton Primary School's story - Straight to Teaching programme
Barnton Community Nursery & Primary School are part of a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) based in Cheshire. Since 2016, they have been recruiting and developing talented unqualified teachers and helping them prepare for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) using Tes Institute’s Straight to Teaching programme.
The Barnton Challenge
Barnton first trialled the Straight to Teaching programme, as they felt there were fewer candidates available in their community year on year. They wanted a secure, stable and reliable team. With all staff members and new teaching staff understanding the role they played within the MAT and supporting the school's mission, vision and values.
Barnton knew finding candidates with this knowledge and experience would be challenging, especially with the current teacher recruitment crisis. However, they already had outstanding graduates and teaching assistants working within the school, who already knew and supported the Barnton vision. After talking to Tes Institute, Barnton realised they could develop those talented individuals, help them gain QTS, and retain them as staff members, who could continue to work at the school during the programme.
A “one of a kind” programme that's aligned to Barnton
Barnton’s first Straight to Teaching partnership included 5 learners, all with a variety of knowledge, skill sets and experience. These differences were not a problem for Straight to Teaching, as each learner follows a bespoke learning journey personalised to them. Learning journeys are mapped out using a pre-induction phase that is led by Pathway Tutors. This initial knowledge mapping helps tutors and schools identify where learners sit regarding the teaching standards and from that a personalised learning journey is created. As learners develop confidence and teaching knowledge, their learning journey can be further amended. This ensures learners are spending more time on teaching standards they find most challenging and progressing quickly through others which they are comfortable with.
For Barnton this was a real benefit, as the flexibility of the programme allowed them to focus attention on elements of their school development plan e.g. SEND, Pupil Premium, writing and reading. This offered trainees an area of excellence and had a direct impact on the school's priorities and outcomes.
While on the course, each learner was assigned an individual mentor within Barnton. This mentor was another experienced teacher within the school, who already had QTS and who could support learners throughout the programme. This was ideal for Barnton, as they could assign outstanding teachers they trusted to be on hand helping to ensure learners success. Liaising closely with the learner’s Straight to Teaching Pathway Tutor, each mentor helps their learner(s) with their online learning diaries, lesson observations and their portfolio of evidence.
Straight to Teaching Results
Since completing the Straight to Teaching programme, all learners have now gained QTS and during their final assessment were all awarded Good or Outstanding.
Barnton's Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) have given the school capacity to release more experienced staff, so that they can become SLEs for maths and English, English consultants and even a Tes Institute consultant. The NQTs themselves are now so experienced and comfortable with school policies, procedures and teaching practices that they are able and very willing to take on additional roles and responsibilities, such as subject leadership. Having already understood the vision, practices and policies at Barnton, the NQTs are able to fast track through the initial ‘early stages’ of their career, quickly becoming competent and confident in areas of leadership and specialism.
An example of this is Sam Rutter, who is currently Barnton’s KS1 English and Assessment Lead. Sam has a direct impact on teaching and learning across the school and is also involved with Barnton's reading initiative, alongside two other Straight to Teaching NQT’s.
The practices from the Straight to Teaching programme and other CPD opportunities, such as research gathering in Denmark and Sweden, Barnton staff members have the confidence to lead the reading project across the school and MAT. Methods such as Reciprocal Reading (students taking ownership of their reading) and whole-classroom Shared Reading, have been introduced to the school since this research gathering. The project has proven to be a real success for the school and indicated in last year’s SATs results, with 94% of children reaching ARE and the gap between disadvantaged children and their peers closing completely.
Tes Institute spoke to Emma Boyd, English Lead and Assessment lead practitioner at Barnton about the impact Straight to Teaching has had on the school:
Straight to Teaching has had an outstanding impact on our school. We have the securest and strongest staffing structure that we have ever had… Our Straight to Teaching staff feel valued by Barnton for the support and funding they have received on the course throughout the process.
We also asked Emma about the experience the school has had working with Tes Institute:
Absolutely magnificent! We love the programme and are so glad to have been introduced to it!
Emma went on to share how happy the school has been with the support from Tes Institute. They feel having the Tes Institute team “at the end of the phone” supporting learners has contributed to the “programmes outstanding outcome”.
Alison Lawson, Headteacher, commented that:
Straight to Teaching has allowed us to strategically plan for growth across Barnton and Weaver Trust. Growing our own teachers ensures quality practitioners are ready to step in, giving us the capacity to use our talented and experienced staff to drive school improvement.
After such a successful first partnership, Barnton Community Nursery and Primary School plan to enrol another two trainees in 2019. Barnton are now a Straight to Teaching Hub for Tes Institute and help to promote and enrol potential teachers within their local community. The Straight to Teaching programme has become a fundamental part of their succession planning for now and in the future.