Hasina Nizamee – training to teach biology

20 Jun


Hasina Nizamee began her PGCE in biology this year at Arthur Terry School, following the School Direct route into teaching. She told us about her experience so far:

My experience of teacher training has been an emotional rollercoaster. There are ‘ups’ and there are ‘downs’. But the ‘ups’ really are fantastic!

When you’re teaching a child, you can see their eyes light up with curiosity and wonder about biology. It has made me realise my potential, testing the limits of my patience, confidence, organisational skills and empathy and academic capability.

Also being a mother of two having the bursary available as a biology trainee eased any major financial worries for the duration of the course.

Finally for all those interested in teaching biology, do it! You get to teach a subject you love and you get to work with young people who can surprise you in many ways. It really is the most rewarding job you could do!

For more information on applying for teacher training, visit the Get into Teaching website.

Jon Jones on career progression

5 Jun

Jon Jones

Jon Jones is Vice Principal at Bristol Brunel Academy – Part of The Cabot Learning Federation. He took some time out from his busy schedule to answer a few questions about how and why he got into teaching, and his career path into leadership.

What was your motivation for getting into teaching?

Teaching has always been an interest for me, my first real experience was coaching at my judo club and teaching rugby at my local primary school while I was in 6th form. I caught the bug! I discovered that I enjoyed seeing students I had coached feeling success as I was playing sport myself, at that point I knew it had to be teaching and, following my passion for sport, it had to be PE.

Which route into teaching did you take and where did you study?  What made you choose this route?

I followed a traditional route in to teaching, directly from my A level study I moved on to a Bachelor of Education degree in Physical Education (Geography supportive) at The University College of St. Mark and St. John. This offered QTS and a depth of study and teaching experience spread across the four years.

What was your experience of teacher training like?

I found the support and guidance I received prepared me well for my newly qualified teacher (NQT) year, though I am sure a lot of the success I had through that year came from having a strong head of department and the support they offered. As I have moved in to senior leadership I spend a lot of my time interviewing NQTs and those new to the profession, I really enjoy this part of my job, the calibre of candidates is constantly improving. The methods of getting in to teaching are evolving, recently the Cabot Learning Federation began providing initial teacher training, the support offered to trainees and NQTs through this school-led approach is impressive. As a general rule those new colleagues who go on to be really successful are those who see their teaching practice as a journey, they are constantly seeking to evolve their own practice and improve what they do in their classroom to better meet the needs of their students.

What is the best thing about teaching?

I wake up every morning and look forward to coming to work! The students are inspirational, the colleagues both teaching and non-teaching are passionate about the work they do and share the same moral purpose. Most importantly for me is that every day we go to work we build a future for our young people, we lift a community and create successful individuals – every day we make a difference.

How many years did it take you to progress from newly qualified teacher (NQT) to your current role?

I began my NQT Year in September 2002, and my career progressed as follows:

  • Head of Year in 2004
  • Zone Team Leader ( Head of Faculty ) in 2009
  • Head of Post 16 in 2010
  • Associate Assistant Principal in 2011
  • Assistant Principal 2012
  • Vice Principal 2013
  • Currently applying for my National Professional Qualification for Headship – NPQH

What support did you encounter to make the transition?

I received a wealth of support through The CLF to support my leadership development. I enrolled in the first round of the Emerging Senior Leaders Course run by the CLF and Sir David Carter. This allowed me opportunities to work with other colleagues who were aspiring to leadership roles. I also had the opportunity of a secondment to another CLF academy where I had the opportunity to shadow senior leaders. Crucial to this was the support of senior leaders and Principals, I have had the opportunity of working with inspirational leaders who have given me the time and space to develop and build my own practice as well as the responsibilities and opportunities to take on a range of challenges to test my developing leadership skills.

How have your responsibilities/day to day work changed as you have progressed?

With each step the responsibilities have changed and grown, day to day this means less teaching and more strategy.

Any advice for trainees aspiring to progress quickly?

My advice to anyone wishing to progress quickly would be to seize every opportunity that becomes available, this could be anything from supporting a colleague to build an assessment spreadsheet, taking part in a learning walk or chairing a meeting, grab these chances to grow your leadership skills. Find a course that can support you, the National College courses for middle and senior leaders – National Professional Qualification for Senior Leaders and Middle Leaders are fantastic courses offering this type of development. My final piece of advice would be to watch and learn, I have taken most of my advice from watching great leaders at work, seeing how they interact with staff, lead briefings, manage change and so on has been my best CPD.

What are the main factors that have contributed to your swift career progression?

There’s one key factor for me that has led to my swift career progression and that is hard work!
For more information on getting into teaching, visit our website

Kate Williams, design & technology trainee

21 May


Kate Williams, is currently studying for a post-graduate certificate in education (PGCE) in Design and Technology (D&T) after first completing a degree in Embroidery at Manchester Metropolitan University and achieving a Masters in Textiles qualification. She took some time out from her studies to answer some questions about her studies so far.

Why did you decide to train to teach D&T?

I first gained experience of working within a Secondary School environment as a Food and Textiles technician. I supported a wide variety of Food and Textiles lessons experiencing first-hand how important a teacher’s role is in helping young people develop as individuals. I had the opportunity to gain a thorough understanding of the role of a Design Technology Teacher and the skills needed to be successful in this challenging role. This along with my passion for creativity inspired me to teach.

Why did you choose your chosen teacher training route?

Working in a secondary school for 4 years I was lucky to have had the opportunity to meet a number of trainee students completing their PGCE Course at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). The PGCE Course was highly recommended to me by all the trainee students I met. Having worked in an inner city all girls secondary school for a long period of time I wanted the opportunity to experience a range of different schools and challenge myself with new environments through my training. From researching the course and meeting students I knew that this was something the PGCE Course, and especially that at MMU, could offer me.

How would you describe your experience of teacher training so far?

Brilliant, Rewarding, emotional, demanding, hard work, exciting, fulfilling, motivational!

Although tough at times coming to the end of the course I can now fully appreciate what a fantastic experience the PGCE has been and I have thoroughly enjoyed it

What level of support have you received throughout your training?

The immense support through my training has been invaluable. The University ensures that you not only have support at the university, but make sure you have trained mentors within both your placement schools. The course is intense and at times the workload has been overwhelming but knowing I have a supportive course mentor I can contact at any time, plus the support team put in place at both my placements, has made it a lot easier.

What are your job expectations?

Once I have successfully completed my PGCE I look forward to further enhancing my teaching skills with on-the-job training. I currently have two interviews in place and I am confident that in the near future I will secure a teaching job.

What advice would you give to others considering a D&T teaching career? How can they make a strong ITT application?

Get some experience in schools, AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, this can sometimes be hard but it really is the best advice so you can be sure teaching is for you! Experience will also make your application stronger as you will have more to talk about. Remember to show your passion for your subject, teaching is about inspiring students so what do you like about it? Why is it important to you?

Talk to people in the profession. With social media there are now lots of teaching forums and discussion boards where you can talk to trainees and qualified teachers.

Lastly, Be prepared to work hard, very hard, the course is full on but in the end the rewards will far outweigh the workload.

What is the best thing about teaching?

The relationships you build with the students, getting to know your group and adapting your teaching to meet their needs. Seeing the reward of pupils learning and making progress. Knowing that through your teaching you have helped students develop and enjoy your subject is a great feeling! And knowing that you’re actually making a difference to the lives of the pupils is very rewarding!

The PGCE is a roller-coaster of a ride but I have absolutely loved my teacher training and learnt so much that I can now carry forward to further my career.

For more information on training to teach D&T, visit the Get into Teaching website


Train to Teach Roadshow – Robert Napier

16 May


At the recent Train to Teach roadshow event in Nottingham we caught up with delegate and prospective teacher Robert Napier to ask him his thoughts about getting into teaching.

What subject/age group are you looking to teach?

My initial aim would be to teach in a primary school. However, after going to the seminar, I’ll also consider teaching health and social care at secondary level.

Which route(s) into teaching are you considering and why?

Due to having my own home and a mortgage, I would need a salaried position – so I think I would be aiming for the School Direct salaried route. I’ll also consider Teach First as I personally prefer the hands on approach to training.

Has the event helped you in progressing with your application? If so, how?

The event helped by giving me approximate time scales that I can work to on fully completing my degree, and what form my application should take.

What else did you find useful about the event?

The seminar was useful to clarify alternative routes into teaching and it also helped to meet the training providers and what they expect from me. I found the presentation very helpful and informative and would recommend anyone considering teaching to attend!


For more information on teaching events, visit the Get into Teaching website


Melanie Muldowney – A Day in the Life

7 May

Melanie Muldowney is a maths teacher at Trinity High School in Redditch. Melanie used to work as a director of operations for an electrical business, and holds a 2:1 in engineering and business studies.

Right, let’s put this thought out there: “as a teacher there is no typical day”! There are, of course, common elements of each day, but every lesson is different and no two days will ever be the same.

Teachers come in different shapes and sizes in terms of their working habits: you may spot the “early birds” – these are teachers who like to arrive at school as soon as the school gates open and are usually accompanied by the “burn the candle at both ends” variety. This breed will arrive early and leave late – their philosophy is that they do what needs to be done at school and try not to take any work home with them. And then there is me … I arrive when I should 8:20am and leave when I can at about 3:20pm, as I much prefer to do my planning at home without the distractions. Whichever teacher you are, do what works for you.

I arrive at school, print off any worksheets I need for the day and head off to our morning briefing in the staff room, which is held most mornings – the idea is that for 10-15 minutes notices are given and any important announcements are made. It’s also the opportunity to catch up with colleagues who work in different parts of the school to discuss things that are better done face-to-face.

Then we have registration. Notices are passed onto my year 13 tutor group and the time with them is quite relaxed – lower down the school I would have put some structured activities in place so that they are ready for the day ahead. This year group came to the school when I started my NQT year so we have been through the school together (it’s a year 9-13 school) and I am blown away by the amazing young adults some of these students are turning out to be.

The real work of teaching then begins. I will teach between three and five lessons a day. Every student is unique, and put 25 to 30 of them in a room together you can guarantee the result will be unique too. Any number of factors will affect a lesson from the topic you are teaching, the resources used through to the weather – oh how they can play up if a speck of snow is spotted! When not teaching I will be either planning, marking or doing extra lessons with students as part of the one-to-one programme we deliver in school for year 11’s. It is non-stop, all day, every day, apart for a loo/coffee break and 25 minutes for lunch.

At the end of the day I will pack up and head home to start the cycle of planning all over again.

For more information on teaching maths, visit the Get into Teaching website.


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