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Confident with pupils from the word go

Laurie McVittie is surprised by Ofsted's criticism of on-the-job training.

The 23-year-old is training to be a secondary science teacher at Mossbourne community academy in Hackney, north-east London, and has nothing but praise for its Graduate Teacher Programme course run with the University of East London.

At the start of training in December, the university gave Ms McVittie a week's refresher course to fill gaps in her subject knowledge. Since then, she said, colleagues have been very happy to fill any remaining gaps.

Nor does Ofsted's criticism that GTP offers trainees too narrow an experience tally with her own. Mossbourne only caters for 11 to 13-year-olds, so Ms McVittie has spent a week at Leytonstone school in east London, gaining some experience of teaching key stage 4.

She opted for a GTP place after graduating in medical science from Leeds university last year.

"I really wanted to work with students from the word go, to work with children in Hackney where you can really make a difference to their lives,"

she said.

Despite having previously taught pupils in Leeds about the dangers of drugs, Ms McVittie felt she had jumped in at the deep end.

"The first few weeks are overwhelming. You compare yourself to newly qualified teachers who are far more sure of themselves. But when the PGCE students arrived I realised that I was a lot more confident. I knew pupils'

names and how to discipline them," she said.

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