At UCGS, we train teachers for the profession, either by offering placements to partner universities for their Post Graduate Certificate of Education students (PGCEs) or by taking on our own School Direct trainees.
Once Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) start their teaching careers with us, we guide them through their first year in teaching (their Induction year) with a programme of structured support. When they have successfully completed their Induction year, we then provide them thereafter with training opportunities to support their Continuing Professional Development (CPD). We offer a tailored programme for teachers in their second or third year of teaching who are interested in Middle Management.
We have partnership arrangements with Oxford Brookes University, Cambridge University, King’s College London, The Open University and the SWELTEC consortium (St Mary’s University College, Kingston University, Brunel University and The Roehampton Institute) to take student teachers. In practice we take about 7 – 10 trainees for a 6 week practice in the Autumn term, and roughly the same number for their main practice (February – June). They will be spread across a number of faculties. This presents CPD opportunities for staff to be mentors and coaches.
The Slough Partnership, of which we are the lead school, is ‘licenced’ by the National College of Teaching and Learning (NCTL) to oversee the training of both Primary and Secondary School Direct trainees in different partnership schools in Slough. UCGS are responsible for recruiting and placing these trainees during their one year long programme. This again presents many CPD opportunities for UCGS and partnership staff, namely being a School Direct mentor. For a more in-depth view of our Teaching School, please click here.
Once teachers are fully qualified (via PGCE or GTP programmes) they usually do an induction year. During the year, they have to continue to meet the standards for QTS and, in addition, have to meet the Induction Standards to guide and support them. Each NQT has an Induction tutor (often their Head of Department) who ensures that their progress is monitored during the year and that they are given all the necessary professional development opportunities that they need. In practice, some of the NQTs' lessons are observed, the NQT observes experienced teachers and has regular meetings with their induction tutor during which their progress is discussed. They are formally assessed at three points during the year and ‘signed off’ at the end of the year if they successfully meet all the standards. If, at any of the termly assessment points, we feel that they are not making satisfactory progress, we record this and put in a programme of support. We report to Slough Borough Council (our monitoring authority) at the end of each term on each of the NQTs. To date, Slough BC has endorsed all our recommendations.
The Government, quite rightly, places great emphasis on the continuing professional development of teachers. Indeed it is written into Appraisal and the new pay structure. All teachers are expected to take responsibility for identifying their own training needs and taking appropriate steps, with the support of the school, to address them. CPD used to mean ‘going on courses’. Whilst off-site courses still represent one aspect of CPD, there are many other ways of gaining useful training. These include observing other teachers, shadowing colleagues in a particular role, mentoring, attending or leading in-house training sessions, action research, etc. All teachers are expected to maintain an ongoing record of their own CPD.
As teachers become more experienced and seek promotion, we support them by running in-house ‘Preparing for Middle Management’ and ‘Preparing for Senior Management’ programmes. We have a successful leadership programme which we run in collaboration with British Airways. We also take advantage of National schemes such as The National College for School Leadership’s (NCSL) ‘Leading from the Middle’ programme for middle managers. Finally, as senior teachers prepare for Assistant/Deputy Headship and Headship, we support them through the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH).