Member Spotlight

Yorkshire Wolds Teacher Training (YWTT), a partnership of over 30 schools across East Riding of Yorkshire and Hull, offers school-led teacher training and the award of QTS. Judged Outstanding by Ofsted in 2019, YWTT is based at South Hunsley School and Sixth Form College, itself an Outstanding school with a long-standing history of excellence in ITT, and is part of the Education Alliance multi-academy trust.

To enhance its course, YWTT commissioned Sheffield Hallam University (University of the Year for Teaching Quality 2020) to combine QTS with Masters’ qualifications to award a full PGCE in Primary Education with Early Years (3-7), Primary Education (5-11) or Secondary Education (11-16) in the following subject areas: Art and Design, Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Design and Technology, English, Geography, History, Mathematics, Modern Foreign Languages, Physics and Religious Studies.

Formed in 2017, YWTT has trained over 100 primary and secondary trainees, who undertake placements in a wide range of school-based settings working with outstanding practitioners. “YWTT was set up to meet the local need for quality teachers in a region which has historically been a difficult area in which to recruit,” said Alison Fletcher, Director of Yorkshire Wolds Teacher Training. “There is only one university in the locality and consequently graduate recruitment and retention is an ongoing issue. At YWTT we have consistently attracted a large proportion of career changers who have become highly effective classroom practitioners and the majority of our graduates remain in the area.”

YWTT’s mission is to develop the next generation of great teachers, ethical school leaders and advocates for the teaching profession and, whilst they are in the early stages of their career, 56% of past trainees who responded to their most recent alumni survey now have additional responsibilities within their school. “Systems are designed to provide a bespoke offer for each trainee; their progress as a classroom practitioner, and development of subject knowledge is tracked individually and overseen by a team of highly-qualified specialists, all of whom are practising teachers,” Alison explained. “Trainee feedback shows they feel the YWTT programme effectively incorporates up-to-date research and the curriculum is effectively integrated between school and YWTT-based provision.”

Alison gave an insight into the aspects of YWTT’s approach which ensure the employability and preparedness of NQTs for the classroom: “Our progress portfolio approach enables our trainees to reflect on their professional development, articulate their progress and evaluate the impact of their teaching on student progress and outcomes. Feedback from employing Heads indicates that our alumni are reflective practitioners who are equipped with the skills to thrive in the profession. Our Early Career Development Lead, who has been in post since 2019, oversees the transition from ITT to NQT. The transition programme and documentation takes account of the learning journey of each individual trainee and, through contact with their NQT’s mentor, the context of their employing school.”

An innovative Early Career Teacher CPD offer was launched two years ago, and directly built upon the firm foundations laid by the ITT programme, producing a coherent three-year package designed to systematically continue to develop pedagogical knowledge. “Ultimately I think that we, and similar providers, ensure that individual trainees’ needs are met, bring more opportunities for bespokeness, and are more likely to use serving teachers who have up-to-date classroom pedagogy and practice,” Alison said. “Our trainees specifically benefit from weekly tutorials, regular subject or phase sessions and input for the team in our Associate Research School. And we can be responsive, hence the CPD programme which includes the opportunity to undertake an evidence-informed project.”

Word-of-mouth is the most effective recruitment strategy for YWTT, together with a good local reputation: “Our best recruiters are our former trainees”, Alison revealed. She added: “We have grown from 17 trainees in our first cohort to 38 trainees in our fourth cohort. Our creative ‘Get into Teaching’ programme gives sixth form, undergraduate and potential career changes opportunities to gain an understanding of the role of a teacher and its reward through masterclasses, interactive activities and observations and the opportunity to make resources  for student use in our partner schools abroad. Our regular ‘school experience’ days for people considering teaching as a career also work really well.”

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