Author: Nathan Steele

Post-16 and sixth form education: a pedagogical overview for ECTs

Pedagogy in the post-16 classroom

According to NIACE (the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education), post-16 lessons work best when:

  • learning is fun, interactive and practical,
  • there is a strong understanding of the purpose and importance of these qualifications,
  • learning has a personal relevance,
  • there is a clear assessment process with clarity on mark schemes.

Post-16 students respond to passion about the subject you teach. Good teaching at post-16 level is contingent on helping students to genuinely master the key concepts they need to learn. And post-16 students are more likely to come to school if they are succeeding.

This article explores best practices relating to sixth form and post-16 teaching in more depth, outlining the comparative ways of learning between children and adults – and how this aligns with a further education classroom.

You may think that this sounds rather similar to Year 10 and 11 students – and in many ways this is true. But one of the core pedagogical differences at post-16 is the emphasis on independent learning.

Focusing on independent learning strategies

With students in post-16 education significantly more independent than their secondary counterparts, it becomes more important to guide them with the right strategies for learning success.

Post-16 students are in a different place in their life compared with GCSE students. A-level students may have part-time jobs which they fit around their education commitments, in addition to other growing commitments which come with greater levels of independence. Therefore, learning strategies also need to adapt.

This article focuses on how sixth form students can benefit from cognitive science-informed learning strategies to boost academic performance.

What do Scholars who already teach sixth form think?

A number of FTS Scholars have already begun to teach some sixth form classes. We spoke to two of these Scholars at a previous Scholar-to-Scholar event about their experiences teaching A-level.

Jamie, who graduated from the FTS programme in 2023, focused on the importance of relationship building for post-16 students. He also spoke about how the teaching environment can be more relaxed and less explicitly rule-oriented.

Erum, who is graduating from the FTS programme this year, found that whilst the pedagogy for post-16 was not that different, the shift in expectations between these cohorts was much more significant.

You can watch these recordings from last year’s Scholar-to-Scholar event below:

What is your advice for teaching Key Stage 5?

How does teaching Key Stage 5 compare to Key Stages 3 and 4?

Test anxiety: an introduction for educators

What is test anxiety?

Test anxiety is a condition in which a person experiences excessive levels of stress, nervousness, and anxiety before and during an exam. This often impairs learning as well as test performance, and may cause a series of physical and behavioural symptoms.

Test anxiety was first recognised by psychologists as early as the 1950s, who coined the term and described the two main aspects of test anxiety:

  • Cognitive – including negative thoughts about the test itself (‘I can’t do maths’, for example) or “test-irrelevant” thoughts such as, ‘my family will be so disappointed in me’.
  • Emotional – encompassing all associated feelings with test anxiety – dread, panic etc. – as well as any physical symptoms that manifest from the emotional response, such as nausea and excessive sweating.

How does test anxiety affect students and their performance?

The cognitive aspect of test anxiety has the most significant impact on test performance, rather than the emotional aspect. These types of intrusive thoughts can interfere with a student’s attention levels, hinder their recall ability, and impede their ability to process multi-step exam questions.

Test anxiety can also affect students before they even set foot in the examination hall. Studies suggest that test anxiety can make it harder for students to acquire knowledge, making learning in general less effective which restricts a student’s potential.

According to research (Putwain & Daly, 2014), test anxiety may affect female students significantly more than males. 22.5% of female Key Stage 4 students reported themselves to be highly ‘test anxious’, versus 10.3% of male students. However, it is possible that the actual figure for male students is higher, but they are simply more likely to try and mask their anxieties.

How can teachers help students with test anxiety?

There are a number of strategies that teachers can try to help students who suffer from test anxiety. However, it’s important to remember that teachers are not mental health professionals – and any interventions should be considered in accordance with your school’s usual procedures.

Exam preparedness

A better-prepared student may also be a student with less anxiety. Helping students to build exam-specific skills can help reduce stress and anxiety through familiarity and feeling more supported. This might include:

  • Familiarisation with the exam room and exam conditions;
  • Completing personal details on the front of the exam;
  • Exam paper layout including any resource or formulae booklets;
  • Different types of revision techniques;
  • Timekeeping advice and tips.

Talk openly about emotions

Engage in direct and open dialogue with your class about the stresses of the exam period. This can help to normalise these emotions for your students, as well as identify those students who may have test anxiety and may require additional support.

Frame motivation positively

The use of “fear appeals” in motivation can be effective for students with strong self-belief. But for others, it can factor into their anxieties – so try to use positive phrasing. For example: rather than suggesting that a student aspiring to become a doctor might not get into medical school if they don’t revise, you could encourage them to concentrate on revision by saying that it will bring them another step closer to medical school.

Further reading

Ofqual blog – What can schools do about examination and test anxiety? https://ofqual.blog.gov.uk/2019/03/15/what-can-schools-do-about-examination-and-test-anxiety/

A review of the literature on anxiety for educational assessments https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-review-of-the-literature-on-anxiety-for-educational-assessments

British Psychological Society – Test anxiety makes it harder to absorb information while preparing for an exam https://www.bps.org.uk/research-digest/test-anxiety-makes-it-harder-absorb-information-while-preparing-exam

Teacher CPD: your key to life-long learning as an educator

Whilst programmes such as Future Teaching Scholars can identify and support teaching talent, high-quality teachers take time to develop. This is why CPD for teachers in particular is absolutely essential.

What is CPD?

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an ongoing process through which teachers access training, resources and support to further inform and develop their classroom practice.

In education, CPD comes in a huge variety of forms and includes both formal and informal CPD: INSET days, observations, mentoring, workshops and webinars, to name a few. Each school generally determines how CPD is defined and administered to its teachers.

CPD as an Early Career Teacher

As an Early Career Teacher (ECT), your core source of CPD will come from the Early Career Framework (ECF): a mandatory two-year induction package which supports your existing skillset with quality, evidence-based practice.

ECTs have their timetable reduced by 10% in their ECT1 year and 5% in their ECT2 year, which allows for a few hours per week to reflect on these CPD learnings. As with anything, the more you can engage with the ECF, the more you will ultimately benefit from it and grow as a teaching professional.

Approaching your CPD requirements

If you do have a particular development requirement that has not yet been addressed by your school, consider the following:

  • Check your ECF programme syllabus – it could be the case that your CPD requirement will be covered in an upcoming module in your ECF programme. So take a look at your syllabus to determine what CPD is on the horizon.
  • Speak to your mentor/teacher support network – part of the ECF entitlement is access to one-to-one mentoring from an experienced colleague. We’d encourage you to take advantage of these sessions to identify any CPD requirements you have that are specific to you.
  • Research CPD resources – if you have already addressed your requirements with your school but have a more immediate need for CPD, try researching which online resources are available to support you. There’s a good chance that another teacher has published something useful!

CPD resources

This list provides a starting point for some additional teacher CPD resources suitable for ECTs. If you have found any CPD that you’ve found particularly useful, please do share it with us by emailing info@futureteachingscholars.com.

Chartered College of Teaching – develop your teaching practice, expand your network and discover evidence-informed research. FTS Scholars can activate their ECT Membership for free!

Scholar-recommended resources list – a list containing websites, books, apps and YouTube channels that our Scholars have found especially useful in their own professional development.

Teacher Tapp – a daily survey app for teachers which provides recommended daily reads and quick CPD upon participation.

Approaching the next step in your teaching career as an ECT

As you gain more teaching experience or your personal circumstances change, you might consider applying for your next teaching role in another school. What are the best practices when finding your next teaching position? We’ve outlined a few key considerations if and when the time comes for you to search for your next role.

Finding the right school for you

Whilst your choice of school will be somewhat restricted based on commutable distance, it is important that your school fits your preferences. Here are a few things to consider when thinking of your ideal criteria:

  • Proximity to home – Do you value a short commute highly? Or would you prefer working further away so you’re less likely to run into students outside school?
  • School size – Does working in a school with a high pupil roll give you more chances to absorb and share knowledge? Or would a smaller school allow you to get involved in more areas?
  • Your progression – Are you eyeing a move into middle leadership in the next year or two? Is it important that your school pro-actively offers lots of CPD opportunities?
  • School pedagogy – Every school has its own ethos, and that may or may not work well with your teaching style. Make sure to do some research before applying.

Submitting a winning application

Once you’re certain that the school advertising the teaching role is a good fit for you, you’ll want to create a strong application with a CV that sells yourself as a teacher.

If you do nothing else, make sure that the personal statement is as strong as possible. Your application might be vetted based on this alone if lots of applications have been received, so it’s key to get this right. Things to consider including:

  • A brief outline of your teaching style – Demonstrate that although you’re an early career teacher, you have developed your own style and are confident with this.
  • A small detail about the school you’re applying to – This will show that you’ve tailored your CV for this specific application and that you’ve done some research.
  • Your experience as an FTS Scholar – This isn’t something that most ECTs can put on their CV, so it’s likely to stand out in your application. It might also make for an interesting talking point at interview!

Approaching the interview stage

At this stage, the school is clearly very interested in you as a candidate. So, allow that to fill you with confidence as you approach the interview; this will be the key to success. Let your passion and enthusiasm for teaching maths or physics shine, and demonstrate what you already know about the school during your interview.

For a successful school interview, consider the following:

  • Ask questions ahead of the interview – Don’t be afraid to ensure you have all the information you need going into an interview – particularly for a trial lesson. Try to put all questions in a single email to make it easier for the school to respond.
  • Use STAR – The STAR approach (Situation, Task, Action, Result) will help ensure that you provide a well-rounded response to any competency-based question. Further guidance on this can be found in the Employment Zone on Its Learning.
  • Prepare a few questions for the end – Asking questions at the end of the interview demonstrates your enthusiasm for the role and the school. This could include questions about the department, progression opportunities or something that was mentioned during the interview.

Although it’s been a few years since Covid-related restrictions, some schools continue to conduct interviews virtually. Ensure that you are prepared for this eventuality by:

  • testing your webcam, microphone and software in advance
  • considering using an ethernet cable for a more stable connection
  • resisting the urge to have too many notes prepared – your interviewers will know if you’re simply reading a pre-prepared paragraph of text.

We’re here to support you

The FTS team continues to support Scholars’ employment needs beyond their ITT year. Our Employment Coordinator is available to provide advice and guidance if you are considering the next step in your teaching career. Get in touch with us by emailing info@futureteachingscholars.com; we’re here to help.

Inspire the next generation: how to encourage your students’ STEM potential

Many share the sentiment that they “don’t see STEM as a subject for somebody like them”. Moreover, just two-fifths of secondary pupils from a disadvantaged background would ever consider a career in STEM.

We know that STEM fields can provide diverse, bright, and fulfilling careers. So why do so many students shy away from STEM subjects, and how can we as teachers inspire young minds to consider a future in STEM?

What makes students steer clear of STEM?

Maths is “too difficult”

Although maths is for everyone, some people simply believe that they “can’t do” maths. It is thought that over 10% of students suffer from maths anxiety, creating avoidance for STEM in general, and this seems to affect girls more than boys.

A perceived lack of real-world use

We’ve all heard that dreaded question in the classroom: “When am I ever going to use any of this?” But the perceived lack of transferable real-world application can really affect attitudes towards learning STEM subjects.

The stereotype that STEM isn’t for girls

Although more and more female role models emerge within STEM fields, it remains a male-dominated sector. This leads some girls to overlook their own potential within STEM.

Encouraging their potential in STEM

As teachers, we have a responsibility to help maximise student outcomes through our subjects. Here are three things that you can consider which may help your students to realise their potential in STEM.

Channel your own enthusiasm for maths and physics

Enthusiasm is infectious and will influence your students’ enjoyment of a class – so don’t hide it! Although our Scholars are all subject specialists, many secondary maths and physics teachers did not study these subjects at undergraduate level. Our Scholars can therefore allow this natural passion to shine through their teaching practice, which can inspire a class to consider a future career in STEM.

Create an environment where mistakes can happen

Maths anxiety in the classroom often stems from a fear of being wrong. In a past Scholar-to-Scholar Event, Maths Scholar Tia shared her advice about how removing such barriers had a significant effect on her students’ enthusiasm for learning:

“I find what helps a lot is using whiteboards,” Tia commented. “A lot of [students] are too scared to make mistakes – and when it’s in their book, to them it’s permanent. If it’s on the whiteboard first, they have the confidence to show me their work… and we can talk through any errors.”

Make learning relatable

Wherever possible, try to use examples that are rooted in day-to-day life or something familiar to most young people. For those subject areas that can’t relate clearly in this way, try making examples engaging in other ways. Simply integrating students’ names at random into your questions can boost engagement significantly.

Impact of FTS revealed as EDT launches its fifth Annual Impact Report

EDT is the delivery centre for the Future Teaching Scholars programme, in addition to providing a wide range of education development, employability and careers services – both within the UK and globally.

This year, EDT’s work impacted 12.3 million school-age learners worldwide – over 3 million more than last year. We also impacted the work of over double the number of teachers and over 14,000 more schools than in 2021/22, equipping educators and school leaders to create positive, lasting change.

Impact of Future Teaching Scholars

Future Teaching Scholars is one of EDT’s longest running programmes within the UK. With a third cohort of Scholars graduating from the programme in 2024, we are taking a closer look at the impact that FTS has had thus far on nurturing a new generation of maths and physics teachers.

  • 93% of Scholars who started their Initial Teacher Training remained in the profession after three years – compared to a national average of 76%.
  • 56% of our Scholars are female, and 44% are male – breaking the gender gap that is widely observed across STEM subjects and occupations.
  • Some Scholars have already begun to progress, moving into middle leadership roles including Head of Year, Deputy Head of Maths, and KS4 Coordinator within just three years of teaching.

The impact of the Future Teaching Scholars programme is also observed at an individual level, with many of our Scholars sharing their stories of how FTS has supported them on their journey into a career in teaching.

The goal of the programme has always been to support students with the potential to become outstanding maths and physics teachers, and we are proud that 100% of Scholars who completed their ITT successfully secured a qualified teaching post for their fifth year on the programme.

A series of research has been published by EDT, outlining the effect of support provided during the undergraduate phase on our Scholars’ Initial Teacher Training. This research led by Dr Richard Churches, Global Head of Research at EDT, has been documented in a series of papers: ‘Assessing the Potential to Teach’.

A summary of the impact of the FTS programme, as well as the research published by EDT, can be found on the FTS website.

 

EDT’s fifth Annual Impact Report, focusing on the year to September 2023, is now available to download or watch at edt.org/impact23.

Teacher wellbeing: Sparking a culture and celebrating your success

As teachers, you can’t always control our external environment (as much as we’d love to) – but you can control what you’re able to do. And although the demands of teaching will always be there, taking control of your wellbeing wherever possible can help keep your health in good stead.

Remember your impact as a teacher

If you can still remember some of your old school teachers fondly, then imagine the impact that you can have (and are having) on your pupils. Sometimes, taking a step back and remembering your reasons for getting into teaching can help to refocus your mindset.

At our first Scholar Roundtable event last month, we asked four of our graduate Scholars what their greatest success with a student is. Unsurprisingly, this section of the roundtable was the longest of all – which emphasises just how much teachers achieve from week to week. So, don’t forget about your own successes!

Spark an increased culture of wellbeing

Even if you only began teaching in September, you are making a difference and your impact is felt. So don’t underestimate the power you have to influence your colleagues and those within your networks.

It can really help to know that other teachers have experienced similar challenges to those you might be facing. And likewise, it can be such a morale boost to celebrate your successes together – don’t be silent!

The more you share, the stronger your support networks become and the better they can serve your wellbeing – as well as the culture of wellbeing within your setting.

Don’t forget about physical wellbeing

Teaching doesn’t just require mental concentration and fortitude, but physical stamina too. From being on your feet all day to taking dozens of exercise books home for marking – looking after yourself both mind and body will serve you well as a teacher.

Consider the following tips to boost your physical wellbeing:

  • Find your stress-reducing activity – Physical activity can be a great way to combat stress. Whether that’s through rock climbing or speed cleaning, we encourage you to get the endorphins flowing your way.
  • Maintain positive sleep habits – Sleep is the ultimate reset for your body. Try continuing your regular sleep routine throughout the winter break so that you can kick off the new term with good-quality sleep come January.
  • Water, water, water – Staying hydrated can work wonders: it helps reduce fatigue, prevent headaches and increase overall energy levels. Keep a water bottle at your desk and leave a post-it note reminder to top it up throughout the day.

 

If you’re a Scholar and you find yourself struggling, having a frank discussion with your mentor can really help. In addition, you can always reach out to the FTS Team by emailing info@futureteachingscholars.com for additional support – we’re here to help.

Tips, information and resources for teaching pupils with SEND

SEN statistics

According to nasen, the National Association for Special Educational Needs, over 1.5 million pupils in England are identified as having SEND – and the overall proportion (currently at 17.3%) continues a trend of increases that have been observed since 2016. 

The most recent census in January 2023 revealed that special educational needs are most prevalent in pupils at age 10. This means that SEN is being identified just before pupils begin secondary school – emphasising the importance of providing the right support for these pupils in maths and physics classrooms throughout Key Stages 3 and 4. 

Furthermore, 52.7% of pupils with an EHC plan (education, health and care plan) attend mainstream schools rather than special schools. This makes it almost certain that Scholars will be teaching pupils with SEND during their ITT and ECT years. 

SEND in the classroom

When planning to teach pupils with SEND, it is always helpful to consider the following: 

  • Coordinate with your SENCo and other relevant staff to understand the types of special educational needs in your class;
  • Plan to utilise any additional resource you will have in the classroom with you, such as teaching support staff;
  • Keep in touch with the progress of pupils with SEND in other classes to inform your future planning. 

Earlier this year, we asked several Scholars about their experiences preparing lessons for pupils with SEND. 

Danny, a Year 6 Scholar, gave some practical advice around collaboration and knowledge sharing. “If the student is in Year 8 or 9, for example, ask the teacher that they had the year before how they helped the student – what they think worked, and what didn’t work. It’s definitely beneficial, anytime you can talk to another member of staff as that will make your life easier going forward.” 

Lucy, also a Year 6 Scholar, emphasised that her approach will vary depending on the pupil. “For example, within my Year 8 top set there are a few students on the autistic spectrum, which influences the time I spend with them in the classroom. I’ll repeat instructions on a one-to-one level to ensure that these pupils have understood the task.”

“In contrast, I also teach a Year 8 support group whose needs vary,” Lucy continued. “When I’m planning, I keep things simple and concise. Tasks are quite small so that these pupils can see lots of little achievements during the lesson, as well as success when they move onto extra worksheets.” 

SEND resources

EEF recommendations on SEN in mainstream schools – The Education Endowment Foundation published a guidance report offering five evidence-based recommendations to support pupils with SEND, along with a whole host of resources.

nasen Connect magazine – This is a free bimonthly publication from nasen containing informative articles which offer advice, analysis and opinions on the current topics and future trends impacting the sector. 

DfE blog: The importance of relationships when providing SEN support – A 2023 blog post written by a KS2 SENCo outlining her advice for providing quality SEN support in school. 

 

Have you come across any resources for pupils with SEND that you found particularly useful? Let us know by emailing info@futureteachingscholars.com so that we can share these more widely with our Scholars.

Getting the most out of the ECF

It’s a funded entitlement for newly qualified teachers – and has been designed to help you succeed. We would advise you to try and maximise your ECT years to get the most out of this framework of support.

Making time to engage with the ECF

Early Career Teachers (ECTs) have their timetable reduced by 10% in their ECT1 year, and 5% in their ECT2 year. Consider using these few hours to reflect upon the Framework and how it can support your learning as well as your teaching practice.

The ECF exists as a means of enriching your existing skillset with quality, evidence-based practice. And as with most things – the more you can engage with the ECF, the more you will ultimately benefit from it and grow as a teaching professional.

A Scholar’s experience of the ECF

Ashley, a Scholar that graduated from the programme in summer 2023, recently spoke with us to recount his experiences of the ECF and how it has benefitted his teaching.

“The Early Career Framework helped to complement all the stuff I was doing at school,” Ashley commented. “My school’s weekly sessions aligned with the ECF training online, so having the ECF there was a really helpful reminder.”

“Things like behaviour management, marking and feedback – it can be easy to forget with all the stuff that’s going on in school and all the different responsibilities that you might have. The Early Career Framework was there to help keep it all fresh in my mind.”

Get the most out of your mentors

Part of the ECF entitlement is access to one-to-one mentoring from an experienced colleague, and this is something that Ashley managed to benefit from greatly.

“In my first ECT year I had weekly mentor meetings, and this year I have a bi-weekly mentor meeting after school,” Ashley mentioned. “It was a really supportive environment where my mentor could talk me through every one of my classes, and any problem I had they would sort them there and then.”

“One thing [my mentor] recommended was roleplay activities – where we try out a scenario in a classroom, and then see ways in which this could be improved,” Ashley added.

Nina Dhillon, FTS Director, spoke about the core mission of the ECF: “The importance of the Early Career Framework and this programme in supporting early career teachers, to both become the best teacher they can be and also remain in the profession, cannot be emphasised enough.”

“The ECF means more high-quality teachers in classrooms working to improve outcomes for pupils,” Nina concluded. You can access Nina’s slides to find out more about the ECF by clicking here.

 

Education Development Trust (EDT) has been a lead provider since the early rollout of the Early Career Framework. To learn more about EDT’s Early Career Professional Development Programme, which is delivered through the ECF, visit the website.

Five tips for a successful start to the academic year

We’ve rounded up some of our favourite pieces of advice directly from our Scholars – from ITT to FTS alumni – to share with you ahead of the beginning of autumn term.

1. Stay organised – in a way that works for you

“Don’t keep everything in your head,” Danny, a Year 6 Scholar, advises. “I use my planner constantly – my planner is my bible. For school duties, I make sure I log these on my phone so I have something that’s notifying me when I need to be somewhere.”

Lucy, who graduated from the programme in 2023, prefers not to use planners or apps. “Personally, I’m not really into using technology. I have a draft email open which I’m constantly editing to add to my to-do list.”

We encourage you to explore different ways of staying organised and find one which works best for you.

2. Utilise existing available resources

Although you might feel that you should be creating new learning assets for your lessons, this often isn’t necessary – and will only increase your current workload.

“Don’t do everything from scratch,” advised Jaden, who completed the FTS Programme in 2023. “Especially for maths and physics, there are so many resources online and in your department that other teachers have created that there’s almost never a lesson you’ll need to make from scratch.”

3. Establish your work/life boundaries

Autumn term is the longest term of the year. So although you have just returned from the six-week summer break, we would advise you to try and (re-)establish consistent work/life boundaries as early in the academic year as possible.

“I try to do as little at home as possible,” commented Annie, a Scholar who completed the programme in the 2023. “I prefer to stay a little longer at school. If I work too much in the evening, I don’t actually stop working – so I try to draw a line under my workload when I get home.”

4. Let the positive outweigh the negative

A positive-focused mindset is an asset as a teacher; it’s crucial to not feel like a bad teacher after one bad lesson.

FTS Programme Director, Nina Dhillon, gave advice to ITT Scholars at our last conference: “I think when the nights get darker, it’s easier to focus on the bad days rather than the good. So, what I would say is: be kind to yourself as [teaching] is not easy. Even on the bad days, remember the good ones and keep going.”

Amjad Ali, who spoke at our ITT Conference in December, reiterated this message. “You can’t judge yourself on the outcome of one lesson – you have to reflect, tweak, change and adapt.”

5. Ask for help whenever needed

Tia, who completed the programme in 2023, shared that the most useful piece of advice she received was to not be afraid to ask for help from other teachers. “It took me a long time to take that advice,” Tia said, “but it is definitely beneficial going to any teacher and asking for help – about students, lessons, or your wellbeing.”

In addition to your colleagues and fellow Scholars, you can also reach out to your RTC Coordinator as well as the FTS team at EDT should you require any support going into the new academic year.

Scholar to Scholar event recap: How to navigate Results Day

These events provide a great opportunity for Scholars in their ITT and ECT years to share their experiences in the classroom, as well as consider new approaches, advice and teaching tips from fellow Scholars.

In this session, four of our Scholars – ranging from a Scholar who has just achieved QTS, to an alumni Scholar with four years of teaching experience – led the discussion on a variety of topics, including the pressures of results day.

“In my head, I thought if [my class] absolutely smash [the exams] then I’m clearly good at my job,” Katie said, who completed the FTS Programme in 2022.

Katie spoke frankly with our Scholars about her experience teaching her first Year 11 Maths class during her ECT years, and what it is like awaiting their GCSE results.

“Last year I was getting a little bit of Imposter Syndrome… and I thought [strong exam results] would cure everything,” Katie explained openly. “But when it comes to the real [exam], anything can happen on that day. You can have a complete mind blank; you might’ve had another exam the afternoon before and you’re completely wiped out.”

Ultimately, all but one of Katie’s students received a good passing grade – with some students performing more (and less) strongly than predicted. Summarising this, Katie commented, “Actually, it’s okay that [some students] maybe didn’t do as amazingly because I know how hard they worked, and I know they did try their best.”

Speaking about how she feels about subsequent results days, Katie said, “It’ll get easier but you’ll never stop worrying – because we care so much.”

Katie also provided some advice for Scholars who will be experiencing their first results day this month, as some Scholars were unsure when they would be able to see their results.

“Definitely chat to members of your department to see if there’s a way to see those results earlier, because it’s something that you’ll want to know,” Katie said. “Or if you’re able to, go in on results day. I wanted to be there and I wanted to see [my students] open their results. I wanted to see the results myself, too.”

A series of clips from our summer Scholar to Scholar event will be shared with all our Scholars in the coming weeks – featuring topics including teaching A-level, achievements over the past year, and the transition from ITT to ECT. You can view a clip of our discussion surrounding results day here.

We have once again enjoyed hearing from our Scholars about their experiences and successes this past academic year, and we look forward to our next virtual event which will be held in the Autumn term.

Scholar earns promotion as FTS bucks the national teacher retention trend

Jaden Read, who received the promotion earlier this year, has just completed his sixth and final year of the FTS Programme this summer. He attained Qualified Teacher Status in 2021 and has been teaching maths at The Oxford Academy since becoming a qualified teacher.

Talking to us about his new responsibilities as Deputy Head of Maths, Jaden explained: “Alongside my ECT responsibilities, I am responsible for curriculum development, assessment planning and setting within KS3, as well as supporting with timetabling and budgetary issues. My school has been very supportive in ensuring that I can manage all of my roles, without feeling overwhelmed.”

In addition to our talented Scholars achieving success within their schools, they are also bucking the national trend with stronger than average retention rates. Whereas 93% of our Scholars who completed ITT have remained in teaching after three years, 76% of teachers nationally who qualified at the same time have stayed in teaching.

The FTS programme is funded by the Department for Education and is one of Education Development Trust’s longest standing UK programmes. Launched in 2016 as a six-year programme, 78 Scholars have completed the programme to date and a further 77 Scholars are in employment in secondary schools across England.

Jaden added: “The Future Teaching Scholars programme offers a really well thought-out and structured introduction to teaching. The team was invaluable in the ITT process, helping us to find our initial placements and ensuring we settled in well.”

Several of our other Scholars have also been promoted within their schools, whilst still in their ECT years – including to roles as Mastery Lead and Key Stage 4 Coordinator.

“Future Teaching Scholars have so many factors in their favour – passion for their specialist subject, commitment and dedication to teaching, and the fantastic experience from the undergraduate part of the programme,” commented Kate Wastie, FTS Programme Delivery Manager.

“It is incredible to see our Scholars progress in their teaching careers so quickly as a result of their hard work and ambition, and the team is so proud and excited to see what the Scholars do next.”

Will Finney

I am currently in the final year of the FTS programme and teach physics at Biddenham International School in Bedfordshire. I have also had the opportunity to teach maths and computer science which I have really enjoyed.

The Future Teaching Scholars programme has played a significant role in the success I have had in my teaching career so far. It facilitated valuable teaching experience that allowed me to build confidence and it has provided me with access to a supportive network of fellow Scholars and mentors, who have offered guidance and advice throughout my journey. The programme has also offered me opportunities for professional development and further education, through its research modules and reading materials.

Through FTS, I have gained a deeper understanding of the teaching profession and have developed important skills in effective practice and reflective learning. Overall, the Future Teaching Scholars programme has been instrumental in preparing me for a successful career in teaching and I am grateful for the support and opportunities it has provided.

Creation of revision resource

The 50” is a set of 50 questions that are designed to test the fundamental concepts in GCSE physics and I have embedded them into all of my KS4 lessons. To help students learn the answers I developed the website, the50.cloud. This allows students to try and answer the questions in a multiple-choice format and it will highlight to the student the questions that they need to work on. In addition to the multiple-choice questions, I have added a maths section that tests students on all of the formulae in the OCR specification.

There has been really positive feedback from my students, and I have seen the impact it has had on their learning. In particular, I have seen significant progress with my lower ability groups and their confidence with using physics formulae. Some students dramatically improved their test scores following answering maths questions they previously would not have attempted.

Engaging CPD – and celebrations – for our ECT Scholars at the 2023 Annual Conference

Our dedicated Scholars in their ECT years attended a weekend programme featuring session speakers including Mark McCourt, Jo Morgan and Pritesh Raichura, in addition to three alumni Scholars from our first graduating cohort in 2022.

Nina Dhillon, FTS Director, explained the conference in more detail: “The conference is a mixture of a celebration for our Year 6 Scholars, who are graduating from the programme this summer, and continuous professional development for both Year 5 and 6 Scholars.”

“We’ve got a range of subject specific sessions in addition to subjects that are more pertinent in the education sector – for example, SEND through a maths and physics lens, as well as behaviour. It’s a really exciting, purposeful and meaningful day.”

Many of our Scholars joined us for a dinner on the eve of the conference, taking the opportunity to network with each other and share their successes over the past year.

The Conference began on Saturday morning with an opening session for all Scholars led by Pritesh Raichura, Head of Science at Ark Soane Academy. Pritesh commented on his session, “I shared some concrete practical strategies that teachers can use in their classrooms, as well as some larger underlying principles of how teachers can ensure they have effective behaviour.”

Speaking about the importance of conferences in education Pritesh said, “Conferences like this are really important for early career teachers as they provide an opportunity to network, to meet other people – and that shared experience brings people together.

“I had so many interesting and stimulating conversations with Scholars at various stages in the programme; there was a sense of mission and purpose that was palpable. And when teachers share their stories and experiences, it builds a sense of camaraderie which is what we need in the teaching profession.”

Other sessions were held simultaneously throughout the day, with Scholars attending which sessions were of most interest to them. These sessions included the following topics:

  • Supporting SEND in the classroom (a whole-group session)
  • Low prior attainment pupils and numeracy
  • A-level teaching
  • Challenge in the maths classroom
  • Mastery learning
  • Creating mastery resources
  • What does primary maths look like post-pandemic?
  • What makes a task mathematically rich?
  • Using NRICH as a resource for stretch and challenge
  • Using student-generated data to improve the teaching of statistics

Three of our conference sessions were run by FTS alumni: Elizabeth Sladen, Shadia Moore and Tom Habing – all of whom graduated from the six-year programme in 2022 and are in their fourth year of teaching. As alumni, these talented teachers connect with our Scholars in a unique way and can share their experience as teachers beyond the early career framework.

Tom, a sixth form maths teacher, now has experience of both being a Scholar and mentoring other Scholars. “I’ve had the pleasure of being a mentor to two Scholars, which is amazing – and they were on a different level,” he remarked. “They were ready to go, and they knew the key terminology that I was already using, which is incredible.”

Also in attendance at our conference were our Regional Training Centre (RTC) Coordinators, who coordinate the subject-specific and teacher development opportunities for our Scholars by region. Emily Giubertoni, Regional Training Director based at Bishop Challoner Catholic College, has known our Scholars for several years and commented on their teaching journey.

“There is nowhere else in the education sector where you have such a committed group of teachers,” Emily said. “The fact that when our Scholars were 17, they signed up for a teacher training programme that is six years long, taking them from A-levels to being 24 years of age, in the classroom and moving into subject leadership – I think that’s really powerful. The Scholars are such an inspirational and unique group of people.”

The conference ended with FTS Director Nina Dhillon wrapping up the day with some advice for our Scholars. “Always hone your craft,” Nina said. “There is always so much to learn as a teacher, whether that’s looking at the latest evidence base, building subject networks, or looking at new and proven pedagogy. As we say to our pupils, we aim for them to become lifelong learners – and so too must we as educators.”

The Future Teaching Scholars team would like to extend a big thank you to our session speakers, Alison Kiddle, Elizabeth Sladen, Jamie Freeman, Jo Morgan, Katie Slusar-Fletcher, Mark McCourt, Pritesh Raichura, Rebecca Turvill, Shadia Moore, Tom Habing and Zoe Mather for sharing their knowledge and expertise with our Scholars.

Jaden Read

The Future Teaching Scholars programme offers a really well thought-out and structured introduction to teaching. The combination of research modules, school visits and training was manageable alongside undergraduate studies, but also helped you gain valuable experience and confidence in schools. The FTS team was invaluable in the ITT process, helping you find your initial placement and ensuring you settled in well.

I feel like I have progressed very well from my ITT year to ECT2. The support you get at the beginning of your career helps you to ease into teaching, and you get a lot of support from your school and Regional Training Centre (RTC). They ensure you have the means to tackle any issues you face along the way, as well as provide regular support and feedback to help you continue to improve.

Promotion as an ECT

In February 2023, I was promoted to Deputy Head of Maths at my school. This means that alongside my ECT responsibilities I am responsible for curriculum development, assessment planning and setting within KS3, as well as supporting with timetabling and budgetary issues. My school has been very supportive in ensuring I can manage all of my roles without feeling overwhelmed.

To anyone considering applying for a new position within their school: if you think you’re ready, don’t let a lack of experience hold you back! Different people will progress at different rates, and you don’t want to miss out on the chance to make a more positive impact at your school because of self-doubt.

An engaging and inspiring weekend, at the FTS Annual ITT National Conference

Our dedicated Year 4 Scholars, who began their Initial Teacher Training in September this year, gave up their Saturday to attend a programme featuring session speakers, including Amjad Ali, and for the first time, several alumni Scholars from our first graduating cohort earlier this year. 

Many Scholars also joined us for dinner, on the Friday evening, where Nina Dhillon, FTS Programme Director, gave an inspiring speech about the realities and rewards of teaching. 

“Teaching is arguably one of the most important jobs – now more than ever,” Nina began. “But there will be days where you’ll face challenges. Because if anyone thought teaching was easy, everyone would be doing it.” 

“But on those days, I urge you to remember why you got into teaching,” Nina continued, “It’s the pupils; your pupils are the future and you are in the career where you are needed most. Learn from our conference speakers this weekend, but most importantly celebrate your own successes.” 

The Conference began on Saturday morning, with an opening session led by Amjad Ali. One of the most crucial takeaways for Scholars focused on the importance of reflection in teaching, when things don’t go quite to plan. “You can’t judge yourself on the outcome of one lesson,” Amjad said. “You have to reflect, tweak, change and adapt.” 

Other sessions were held simultaneously throughout the day and included the following topics: 

  • What Every Teacher Should Know 
  • Progression and The Maths Curriculum 
  • High-performance Classroom Culture 
  • Reinventing The Wheel: Maths Resources 
  • Teaching Maths Through Problem Solving 
  • Proof In A-level Mathematics 
  • Low Prior Attainment Pupils and Numeracy 

The final session of the day, attended by all Scholars, was led by Roger Terry, who focused on practical techniques to boost confidence in the classroom. From using staging to communicate expectations to pupils, to how posture and a strong core can instantly translate into confidence, our ITT Scholars took away numerous confidence-boosting tips, to try out in their classrooms. 

 Anna Searle, UK Director at Education Development Trust, who attended the conference commented: 

“It was wonderful to meet and spend time with the Year 4 Scholars.  The event provided the opportunity for them to share their experiences over the last 3 years, particularly how they had been impacted by undertaking their degrees during the covid pandemic and to focus on their successes despite the challenges.  It was particularly interesting to hear how they are settling into their current schools.   

The passion and commitment they are bringing to every day is inspiring. They are clearly taking every opportunity in their schools, to continue learning. The conference provided the chance for them to reflect on the past term and share experiences with each other, to learn together.  It was a great opportunity to get to know some of the scholars more, hear their stories and their ambitions.  An absolutely inspiring experience for me and I wish every one of them, the very best for the year ahead and their future teaching careers.  

Marian Gould, Deputy UK Director at Education Development Trust, was also at the conference and shared her reflections 

“A super event, which proved to be both informative and supportive for our Year 4 Scholars.  It was particularly pleasing to see our alumni Scholars return to deliver sessions and generously share the invaluable experience and expertise, which they have gained in the early part of their careers.” 

The Future Teaching Scholars team would like to extend a big thank you to our session speakers, Amjad Ali, Beth Sladen, Sam Crome, Katie Karran-Antrobus, David Burghes, Derek Robinson, Paul Glaister, Shadia Moore and Roger Terry, for sharing their knowledge and expertise with our Scholars. 

We look forward to hosting a conference for Scholars in Years 5 and 6, of the FTS programme, in May 2023. 

FTS update – Alumni Digest Autumn 2022

The session was also open to all Scholars set to begin ITT in September 2022. We received great feedback from these attendees who found the advice shared by our speakers helpful as they prepared to begin their first year in teaching.

Following this session, we created a series of visual resources including a playlist of highlight videos, mind-maps and a list of resources recommended by our speakers. You can find links to these S2S resources below.

FTS Summer S2S event resources

If you would be interested in speaking at future Scholar-to-Scholar sessions, contact Max Jones via mjones@edt.org.

How teachers spend their time off

Should I spend my Friday night marking those exam papers? Should I be thinking about school during the half-term break? How long should I switch off for over summer? These aren’t easy questions to answer, and every teacher has their own routine that works for them.

We reached out to our Scholars as well as our partner regional training centres to gain some insight into how teachers spend their time off at the weekend, during half-term and term breaks, and over the summer holidays.

At the weekend

Weekends are an essential time for teachers to relax and recharge ahead of a new week of teaching. But with a full schedule during the week, it’s common for teachers to pick up a few work-related tasks over the weekend. It’s a fine balance, as our Scholars have been discovering during their ITT and ECT years.

“Friday evenings, I probably leave school around 4pm and from then that whole evening is ‘no school’ at all,” explained Yasmin, a Year 5 Scholar who began her second year of teaching in September. “I do around two to three hours of work on a Saturday and Sunday. I’m the sort of person where [work] is always in the back of my mind – but I find doing all my little errands fun at the weekend because they help take my mind off school.”

Kieran, a Year 6 Scholar, also keeps his Friday evenings clear. “I give myself an allotted amount of time on a Saturday, normally in the morning, to get a little bit of work done. This is my time to get it done, and if it’s not done by then it gets put to bed – it’s relax time.”

During half-terms

“As a working parent, half-term is a great opportunity to catch up on the more mundane aspects of life,” commented Rebecca Turvill, Director of Primary Maths at St Philip Howard Catholic School, who waits for the half-term to organise essentials such as dentist and optician appointments.

Rebecca also uses one half-term each year for her main family holiday. “Half term is a really important time for us all to recharge a bit,” explained Rebecca. “We make the most of having more flexibility with time to recover.” Another consideration is that the price of hotels and flights are much higher during the summer break, so taking a holiday during a half term can also help save money.

Over the summer break

“The main thing that I’ve learned over the past three years is: give yourself a break,” said Tom, a Scholar who graduated from the FTS programme in summer this year. Tom went on to explain that whilst there is a temptation to plan for the whole first term over summer, plans are likely to change once you receive your classes and your timetable – and having six weeks off school feels much shorter than it actually is.

For Scholars entering their ITT year in 2023, it can be difficult to know how best to utilise the gap between finishing university and beginning your first teaching role.

“I didn’t have any lessons planned before my first day at school and it was fine, because there were inset days and we had staggered starts for year groups,” Holly commented, reflecting back on her ITT year. “Something that I could have done last summer was to look at GCSE papers to know where the curriculum builds up to. So if you’re looking for something to do that’s not planning lessons, I’d recommend that.”

For a teacher, work-life balance is absolutely essential and we encourage our Scholars to ensure this balance is maintained as best as possible. Here are some resources that can help you to manage your workload and look after that important work-life balance:

School workload reduction toolkit (the Department for Education)

Maintaining a work-life balance (The Early Career Hub from MyCollege)

Each term, we invite our Scholars to share their teaching experiences with other Scholars at our virtual Scholar to Scholar events. We are looking forward to our next Scholar to Scholar event, which will be held in November.

Scholars share their advice with future ITT cohort at Scholar to Scholar event

The Scholar to Scholar events provide the opportunity for Scholars in their ITT and ECT years to share their experiences in the classroom, as well as consider new approaches, advice and teaching tips from fellow Scholars.

In this session three of our Scholars, Holly Snowdon (completed Year 4, ITT year), Jaden Read (completed Year 5, ECT) and Tom Habing (recent FTS graduate), led the discussion on a range of topics including their best advice for Scholars about to begin their ITT year, planning for the year ahead, and behaviour management.

The session began with a question which asked the Scholars how they prepare ahead of a new academic year. Tom answered, “The main thing that I’ve learned over the past three years is to give yourself a break.” Elaborating on his answer, Tom explained that whilst there is a temptation to plan for the whole first term over summer, plans are likely to change once you receive your classes and your timetable.

Holly, who started her ITT year in September 2021, will be teaching her first Year 11 class this year. “If you’re looking for something to do that’s not planning lessons, something that I’m focusing on this summer is looking at GCSE papers to know where the curriculum builds up to,” Holly mentioned.

Our Scholars also had advice to give to those Scholars who will soon be starting their ITT year. “Don’t do everything from scratch,” advised Jaden. “Especially for maths and physics, there’s so many resources online and so many things in your department that other teachers have done that there’s almost never a lesson you’ll need to make from scratch.”

Tom also spoke passionately about Scholars finding their own teaching styles. “Your mentor’s teaching style doesn’t have to be your teaching style. When I first started teaching, my mentor’s teaching style was very different to mine. For me, I found a teacher within my school that has a similar teaching style and ended up taking notes from them about how I can adapt.”

On behaviour management, Holly uses the warning system in her school. “Naturally, I assume the best in people,” Holly said, “but sometimes students are just going to mess around and they don’t want to be in your maths lesson. There is a fine line, but in some cases perhaps be a bit stricter than you want to be and that will benefit you in the long run.”

Expanding on this, Jaden said that the most important aspect of behaviour management is to be consistent. “Your school will have a [behaviour] policy and if you’re not following it, you’re making it harder for the kids to know how they should be behaving,” Jaden said. “Ideally if every teacher has the same policy and they all stick to it, those are the schools where you see really clear behaviour because everyone knows what they can and can’t get away with.”

A full recording of this event, as well as shorter videos broken down by question, are being made available to Scholars in the coming weeks.

We have once again enjoyed hearing from our Scholars about their experiences and successes so far this year, and look forward to our next Scholar to Scholar event which will be held in the Autumn term.

Introducing our new programme director

Nina Dhillon, FTS Programme Director

My name is Nina Dhillon, I am a Senior Education Adviser within Education Development Trust and have taken over the position of Programme Director for the Future Teaching Scholars Programme.

I joined Education Development Trust last year, and prior to this I held middle and senior leadership positions in schools. I subsequently worked for Teach First leading on the recruitment, training and development of Teacher Educators working with trainee teachers and, later, led on the implementation of the Teach First Early Career Framework.

I have heard wonderful things about your progress and achievements during your six years on the programme – a huge congratulations on your completion. Your role as a teacher is arguably more important now than ever. So, even on those days when you only get through half of what you wanted to, the wind has a strange effect on your class and you feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle – remember: those who can, teach. Your work is invaluable – and for every bad day there will be many more good days.

I hope that your careers in this field continue to be filled with learning, overcoming challenges and successes. We wish you all the very best in the future.

Congratulations to our Year 6 Scholars graduating from the FTS programme

Having spent six years on the programme becoming fully qualified and experienced teachers, our Year 6 Scholars met for the last time in Birmingham for an evening of entertainment and celebration with the FTS team.

Meeting at the Crowne Plaza Birmingham NEC for an overnight stay, our Year 6 Scholars caught up with each other during a drinks reception before sitting down to a three-course meal. They received a certificate and were gifted with an engraved pen as well as a personalised USB flash drive – a teacher essential! – to commemorate their time on the programme.

Our Scholars then participated in a table-top escape room adventure where, working in teams, they played the role of bank robbers attempting to solve a series of clues and puzzles to crack into a safe. Our winning team was victorious in just over 40 minutes and was rewarded with a voucher prize.

Richard Churches, Programme Director of Future Teaching Scholars since its inception, delivered a speech which celebrated the successes of the programme and congratulated our Scholars’ progress within their teaching career.

“Future Teaching Scholars was and is still the most unique teacher training programme in the world,” Richard began. “No other programme seeks to find people committed to teaching so early on in their career, and supports them through university, through qualified teacher status and two years beyond.”

“Congratulations on making it through three years of teaching, and we’re so proud of what you have achieved over the past few years,” Richard told our graduating Scholars.

Catching up with some of our Scholars during the event, it was great to hear their enthusiasm for the teaching profession as well as how the Future Teaching Scholars programme helped prepare them for a career in teaching.

Tom Habing commented: “Future Teaching Scholars is a well-tailored programme to people that want to join teaching. It gives you very early experience of what teaching is right from university. From all the Scholars that I’ve talked to, their first year [in teaching] was so much easier compared to every other trainee I’ve seen.”

“The support from the FTS team is absolutely incredible,” Tom continued. “Every single conference that I’ve been to I’ve walked away with an incredible passion for teaching.”

Felicia Hebbes agreed with this sentiment: “The Future Teaching Scholars programme really made my route into teaching so much easier. Coming to all the conferences, being part of a programme like this and getting to mingle with lots of other people in the same position has been amazing. It’s something that you don’t often get to do.”

On behalf of the Future Teaching Scholars team and everyone at Education Development Trust, we wish our first graduating cohort of Scholars every success in their teaching career going forward. We will continue to keep in touch with our former Scholars periodically through a new alumni network and hope to share some of their post-programme accomplishments with you all.

Scholars share their achievements and advice at Scholar to Scholar event

The Scholar to Scholar events provide the opportunity for Scholars in their ITT and ECT years to share their experiences in the classroom, as well as consider new approaches, advice and teaching tips from fellow Scholars.

In this session, two of our Scholars, Yasmin (Year 4, ITT year) and Kieran (Year 5, ECT), led the discussion on topics including organisation and time management, confidence in the classroom, personal wellbeing, and biggest achievements in the academic year so far.

For Yasmin, her biggest achievement was leading a Year 9 class trip in celebration of International Women in Science Day, where her class visited a university campus and was inspired by talks about empowering women in science careers.

Kieran had been responsible for co-ordinating the Explorers Programme, which provides local Year 6 students with a taster of secondary school life – liaising with five other schools in the area to ensure the success of this programme.

When it comes to organisation, our Scholars took two different approaches – Yasmin preferring to use a physical diary planner, and Kieran opting to use digital planning resources such as Google Tasks. Kieran also gave some advice about taking advantage of “dead time” for admin tasks, as it is time that you would otherwise not be doing anything else with, such as being on public transport.

But both our Scholars agreed that ready-made resources were a great time-saver. With so many resources available online including past paper questions, our Scholars can utilise more of their time elsewhere. “Don’t reinvent the wheel,” Kieran commented, which was a sentiment also echoed by some of our Scholars in attendance: “Don’t make the work harder than it needs to be for yourself.”

When asked what the best piece of advice our Scholars had received about confidence in the classroom, Yasmin said: “It’s okay not to know everything.” A student asking an unexpected question that you may not know the answer to off the top of your head can affect your confidence – but don’t shy away from it. Engagement from students is key, and their questions can always be answered later once you have had time to consider it.

Maintaining a work-life balance is crucial as a teacher to ensure that you can sufficiently recharge ready for the next day of teaching. During the session, we heard different opinions and strategies about when (and when not) to do work during free time – and this was summed up by one of our Scholars in attendance.

“You have to think about what works for you,” mentioned Jaden. Whilst advice can be helpful, not everything will be compatible with your teaching, planning and working styles.

The session concluded with some remarks about the usefulness of the Future Teaching Scholars programme in its preparation for the ITT year. Our Scholars agreed that ITT teachers from other routes seemed more out of their depth initially, having not received the same level of in-classroom experiences prior to September.

We have once again enjoyed hearing from our Scholars about their experiences and successes so far this year, and look forward to our next Scholar to Scholar event which will be held in the Summer term.

Ofqual announces support for GCSE students in 2022

Given the ongoing disruption that students have experienced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Ofqual wishes to “provide a safety net” for those whose learning has been impacted. Without this support, some students – particularly those in areas of greater deprivation – may not be able to reach their attainment potential.

While each exam board has published specific guidance for their exams, the general support for GCSE Maths and Physics exams in 2022 is summarised below.

Support for GCSE Maths

  • Information has been provided on the focus of exams to help students with their revision;
  • A formulae sheet is being provided for teaching and learning;
  • Students will receive a clean version of this formulae sheet in the exams;
  • Grade boundaries will be set more generously by examiners.

Support for GCSE Physics

  • Information has been provided on the focus of exams to help students with their revision;
  • A revised equation sheet is being provided for teaching and learning;
  • Students will receive a clean version of this equation sheet in the exams;
  • Teachers can deliver practical work by demonstration;
  • Grade boundaries will be set more generously by examiners.

How might this affect teaching?

The aim of this additional support is to be as fair as possible to students – and it will undoubtedly make planning for Year 11 maths and physics lessons more effective, too.

One of our Scholar speakers at the last Scholar to Scholar event in November gave some advice to our Year 4 Scholars about understanding what skill they want to test students on in any given lesson. Ofqual’s support, such as students having access to physics equations in the exams, will allow teachers to re-focus their attention onto other areas.

As researched last year by one of our Scholars, maths anxiety affects around one in ten pupils and has a significant impact on performance, particularly in secondary school. Pupils most often felt anxious about exams – so knowing some of the topics that will come up in the exams should help inspire confidence and alleviate some of this anxiety.

You can find more information about the changes to GCSE Maths and Physics exams in 2022 on the GOV.uk guidance page, where further links to each exam board are also provided.

ITT & ECT National Conference 2021

This event, hosted virtually by the team, provided our Scholars with new inspiration through a series of interesting and varied sessions as they look to further develop their professional teaching careers.

The conference began with an opening session led by Dr. Richard Churches, Programme Director, which featured a pre-recorded welcome message from Richard Hall, FTS Programme Lead at the Department for Education.

“Future Teaching Scholars is unique in that it’s a six-year programme, which is unlike anything else we do in the department,” explained Richard Hall. “We have Scholars now in every stage of the programme, which is really exciting for us.”

“These events are always engaging, whether they are in-person or online – and the conference today is designed to give you an even wider choice of sessions than ever before.”

Sessions were delivered by experienced teachers based upon research-driven expertise, and included the following areas:

  • Starting again: From KS2 to KS3 Mathematics
  • Technology from Remote Learning to the Classroom
  • Planning a Broad and Varied Curriculum
  • Supporting Students with EAL
  • Care and Training of Your Voice
  • The Role of Deliberate Practice in Teaching
  • The Science of Learning and The Field of Educational Neuroscience

The day concluded with ‘Implementation – Making Your Mark’ delivered by John Coats from Notre Dame High School, Sheffield. Scholars were provided with a robust framework and methodology for solving problems and enacting change in their school, following the ethos that “a bad idea well-implemented is often better than a good idea badly implemented.”

The Future Teaching Scholars team would like to give a big thank you again to Jamie Freeman, Rebecca Matthews, John Coats, Laura O’Brien, Rebecca Turvill, Roger Terry, and Matthew Roberts for sharing their knowledge and expertise with our Scholars.

To catch up on the sessions that our Scholars attended, follow #FTSConf2021 on Twitter.

Scholars reflect on their experiences at virtual Scholar to Scholar event

During this session three of our NQT Scholars, Beth Robinson (Year 5), Tia Arnold (Year 5) and Ben Marsh (Year 6), led discussions around their successes from the first half-term, behaviour management, working with SEND students and building professional networks.

Beth began by talking about one of her recent successes, which was observing a breakthrough with one of her students. “I feel like the biggest achievements are those small wins,” said Beth, a sentiment which became a recurring theme throughout the event.

“Showing [students] that you’re human has helped, too,” Beth continued, speaking about forming positive learning relationships with classes. “They need to know that you care before they’ll engage with the lesson and with you. That’s one thing I have found out this year especially.”

On preparing for class with students with SEND attending, Tia discussed how removing barriers has had a significant effect on their approach to learning. “I find what helps a lot is using whiteboards. A lot of SEN students are too scared to make mistakes – and when it’s in their book, to them it’s permanent.”

Tia continued, “If it’s on the whiteboard first, they have the confidence to show me their work without it being permanent in their books and we can talk through any errors.”

Ben provided our ITT Scholars with some pertinent advice regarding ways to keep informed about the progress of particular students. “In your ITT year you’re not on full teaching capacity,” Ben explained. “So you could use those hours to go and see a student in a particular lesson and observe what strategies that other teacher uses to help that student make progress. Because it can really inform how you teach that student in particular.”

The speakers also revealed which professional networks they had joined since becoming teachers, which included:

  • The PTI, which provides subject focused CPD events and courses
  • Maths Working Group
  • Association of Teachers of Mathematics (ATM)
  • Chartered College of Teaching
  • AMSP, which provides training and resources for teaching A-level.

The session ended with each speaker sharing the most useful piece of advice that they have received from a colleague.

“It’s better to consistently plan good lessons than to inconsistently plan outstanding lessons,” Beth shared with the Scholars.

“Think about what you want the students to learn,” said Ben. “If you’re not testing arithmetic, give them a calculator. Home in on what skill you want the students to be tested on.”

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help from other teachers,” Tia mentioned as the most useful piece of advice she had received. “It took me a long time to take that advice,” continued Tia, “but it is definitely beneficial going to any teacher and asking for help – about students, lessons, or your wellbeing.”

We are looking forward to seeing our Scholars virtually at the ITT and NQT National Conference in December, and we will be hosting another Scholar to Scholar event in the spring term.

FTS National Conference 2021 returns to Nottingham

Scholars attending the FTS National Conference 2021

Future Teaching Scholars, developed and delivered by Education Development Trust and funded by the Department for Education, aims to develop the classroom skills and confidence of aspiring teachers, as they study undergraduate courses in maths and physics at some of England’s top universities.

The conference is the highlight of the year for Scholars, where they can meet peers in their cohort from all over England and aims to introduce Scholars to a range of topics that are vital for new teachers, helping to prepare them for their Initial Teacher Training (ITT).

This year’s conference was held at East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham and highly anticipated by both organisers and attendees as last year’s conference was held virtually over Zoom due to COVID-19. Sessions included challenges of COVID-19 in 2021, current classroom landscape, getting workplace ready and advice for ITT application process.

For the first time, Scholars from Cohort 1 – Tom Habing and Jess Robinson – who have been qualified teachers for two years returned to the conference to deliver sessions on their experiences of behaviour management and using modelling in their classroom as a tool to explain scientific concepts.

“It is always a huge privilege and pleasure to attend the September Future Teaching Scholars Annual National Conference,” said Professor Paul Glaister, Professor of Mathematics and Mathematics Education at University of Reading, representing the National Advisory Board.

“I am blown away by the enthusiasm, commitment, energy, maturity and professionalism of our Scholars. They will undoubtedly be the future leaders of mathematics or physics education in our schools and beyond, and we are very fortunate to know that our young people will be in their very capable hands for many years to come.”

Our Scholars in Cohort 4 at this conference are the last cohort who are yet to enter their ITT year therefore making this the last September National Conference before they join Scholars who have graduated from university at the ITT & NQT National Conference from 2022 academic year.

The Future Teaching Scholars team would like to give a big thank you again to Colin Wright, Rob Eastway, Katie Steckles, Tom Habing, Jess Robinson, Emily Giubertoni, John Coats for sharing their knowledge and expertise with our Scholars and making this conference a success.

The team will hold their next conference in December for Scholars in ITT and NQT years.

To catch up on our conference day on Twitter, follow #FTSConf2021.