Super trainee teachers set for city classrooms
A NEW breed of super trainee teacher will be leading classrooms in Bristol schools from September.
Graduates from the Teach First scheme – high-flying graduates with extra skills that can be put to use outside the classroom – will take up posts in city schools with a high proportion of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Catherine Hughes, principal of St Bede's Catholic College in Lawrence Weston, has been trying to persuade Teach First to send its trainees to Bristol schools for three years.
She said eight secondary schools in the city had expressed an interest in taking on the 38 new recruits, who will specialise in teaching pupils from deprived backgrounds.
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Ms Hughes, who is coordinating the initiative, said Teach First trainees had made a big difference in other schools across the country.
She said: "Teach First will bring fresh enthusiasm and quality teaching to a range of secondary and primary schools in Bristol.
"I'm delighted that 38 graduates so far have chosen the West for their training and I anticipate that most of these will be in Bristol.
"Studies show that Teach First trainee teachers bring not just positive impacts in the classroom but help to shape improvements across the school."
She said that only schools with an intake of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds could apply to take on the trainees, with St Bede's meeting the qualifying criteria.
Ms Hughes said: "The programme is about trying to bridge the gap, so no child's education is limited by their socioeconomic background.
"It started in London and I've been trying to get it to come to Bristol for about three years now.
"The evidence is that it has had a big impact on performance, especially London's inner city schools and in other places.
"Because the programme is so credible, Teach First wasn't able to keep pace with the areas people wanted it to expand to."
Ms Hughes said the Teach First trainees were usually of a very high calibre and many had gone on to fill leadership roles.
She said: "These are top graduates – the minimum requirement is a 2:1 degree. In addition to intellect, Teach First looks for soft skills like leadership, humility, empathy and resilience.
"What they are looking for is young people who are passionate about wanting to make a difference to the lives of others.
"A huge amount is expected of them, because in addition to taking on a normal teaching load they will be expected to contribute beyond the classroom. Where it's worked well, there's evidence that they've made a huge difference to what's gone on in schools."
Bristol's mayor George Ferguson said he was "delighted" the Teach First initiative would be starting in the city later this year.