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Training at the sharp end

LIZ Bradshaw, 30, has spent the past year on a school-centred initial-teacher training course with school-based training provider, Oxfordshire Consortium. She is based at the nursery of Greenmere school, Didcot, Oxfordshire, but is teaching six and seven-year-olds for a term before returning to a reception class.

"I was doing a sociology degree at Oxford Brookes University with the aim of teaching. I looked at its teacher-training course but could not do it because my degree was not in a curriculum subject.

"I spent a couple of years wondering what to do, before coming across the Oxfordshire Consortium course. It was offering early years - what I wanted to do.

"They gave me the opportunity. It is a very small course, with 21 people initially, and it is very personal, with wonderful support.

"You combine assignments throughout the course with teaching experience. Developing subject knowledge is also important - in primary you must know something about everything.

"You cannot walk into a classroom and expect to know everything.

"The course runs for one academic year. Talking to newly-qualified teachers they all say that the first year is a pretty steep learning curve and I know my learning is not over yet.

"I would recommend it as a route but you have to give up so much, you must be very dedicated and have support around you. Your social life takes a bit of a dive.

"But you get the most tremendous satisfaction, there is nothing to beat it."

Lisa Hutchins

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