Our trainee teachers reflect on their first term working in schools

Education Development Trust’s Future Teaching Scholars (FTS) programme is a unique and innovative route into teaching funded by the Department for Education. Designed for exceptional maths and physics students, it allows them to gain superior subject knowledge, as well as the skills and experience required to become truly great teachers.

Our first cohort of scholars have now completed their first term as teachers as part of their Initial Teaching Training (ITT). They began the programme in 2016, alongside the start of their undergraduate studies in maths or physics at some of England’s leading universities.

During the first three years of the six-year programme, scholars complete immersion days in local training schools and broaden their classroom experience by taking part in activities at different types of schools. The programme includes in-depth training to help each scholar prepare for life as a teacher, with a focus on those areas new teachers can often find the most challenging, such as behaviour management, lesson planning, and progress monitoring.

All cohort 1 scholars successfully secured employment, with head teachers citing how impressed they were with the scholars’ experience, expertise and professionalism. Chris Ellison, Deputy Head at Kennet School said: 'We were really impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment of the applicant we recruited through the FTS programme. It is clear the programme is an excellent way to find and nurture talent. The guidance we received from the team throughout the recruitment process was prompt and helpful and we look forward to working with them again in the future.'

Time and space to reflect on practice and learn from peers

One of the most crucial aspects of the Future Teaching Scholars programme is the time and space it gives new teachers to reflect on their practice. They have the opportunity to work through challenges with support from experienced educators and their peers.

One of the ways we support this is a conference during the scholars’ first term of teaching. This event brings the new teachers together, to discuss the challenges they have faced, the strategies they have used to overcome these, and the insights they could share with scholars yet to start their ITT year. These ranged from how to handle behavioural issues and whole-class disruption to ensuring a good work-life balance.

Giving new teachers the support that they need

One aspect of the Future Teaching Scholars programme that sets it apart from other routes into teaching is the support given to the scholars in each cohort as they begin their professional lives. Describing his first term as a maths teacher in a London school, our scholar Muhammed explained: 'In my first month, it felt like all I did was plan, teach, sleep and repeat, and I had little time to do other things. Knowing where to look for quality resources or creating your own took too much time. What helped was being able to talk to my fellow scholars about good sites to look at, as well as being able to access the Lesson Plan Library created by FTS in the Development Zone. So over time, as I have gathered more proven resources or sources, my planning time has slowly begun to decrease.'

In this video, we asked our scholars how they felt about their first term as a teacher and heard about how well they felt the programme had prepared them for their new career.

Our Cohort 2 Scholars are now seeking job opportunities for September 2020, so if you are a school with a maths or physics teaching vacancy, you can find out more about employing a scholar here.