Measures announced to ensure talented trainees get into teaching

posted in: KNSTE, News

Changes to professional skills tests will make sure the best and brightest can pursue a career in teaching.

Aspiring teachers across the country are set to benefit from a number of changes designed to allow them to begin training, and make a difference in the classroom, more quickly.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb has today (12 February) announced that thousands of would-be teachers are now eligible for three attempts at the professional skills tests they must pass to begin Initial Teacher Training (ITT) before they incur any cost, rather than one.

On top of this change – worth up to £77 per candidate – the government has removed the lock-out period that previously prevented candidates from re-taking tests for two years if they had been unsuccessful in two re-sits.

The changes follow feedback from the teaching profession and remove financial and administrative barriers – ensuring capable trainees do not give up on their hopes of becoming a teacher while they wait to re-take the tests.

Since the government introduced the more rigorous skills tests in 2012, the entry requirements to teacher training have remained unchanged so that only the very best and brightest enter the profession. Today’s announcement builds on a number of measures to recruit and retain high-calibre teachers, including a £75million investment in teachers’ professional development and follows the recruitment of 32,000 new trainees in 2017.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

Standards are rising, with 1.9million more children in good or outstanding schools since 2010 and a record number of teachers in our schools – 15,500 more than in 2010.

In 2012, the government introduced more rigorous skills tests for teachers to ensure they have the highest standards of English and maths. The bar for entrance to the teaching profession remains as high as ever, as parents and pupils would expect, and this is evidenced by the fact that the quality of new entrants into the profession is at an all-time high, with 19% of this year’s cohort holding a first-class degree.

It is absolutely right that aspiring teachers can begin training as soon as they prove they are ready and these changes - backed by the profession - will help ambitious graduates to join the profession.

Professional bodies such as the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT) and the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET), have welcomed the changes.

Emma Hollis, Executive Director of NASBTT, said:

NASBTT welcomes these changes to the administration of the skills tests. We have seen all too many examples of candidates with excellent potential being locked out of the profession for the sake of one or two marks on a test. This move will keep the profession open to those who deserve the opportunity to train to teach.

James Noble-Rogers, Executive Director of UCET, said:

This is a sensible and pragmatic move. It will allow potentially good teachers who would otherwise have been kept out of the profession to begin their training.

In the past good candidates have been prevented from re-taking the skills tests because they failed by just one or two marks, often because of the pressure they experience having reached their final attempt.

The measures announced today will be effective from 15 February, but are relevant to all applicants who applied on or after 24 October 2017 - with refunds offered automatically. Candidates still need a degree for graduate training and all assessment criteria for Qualified Teacher Status remain unchanged.

The recently published 2017 Initial Teacher Training census showed that more than 32,000 new trainee teachers were recruited in a competitive labour market, with historic low unemployment rates and a growing economy, showing that the teaching profession continues to be an attractive career.

In full today’s changes are:

  • The removal of a lock-out period that previously prevented aspiring teachers from re-taking tests for two years;
  • No limit on the number of tests, and the first three tests are free of charge to all candidates; and
  • Refunds for anyone who has already paid for tests in this year’s recruitment cycle – on or since 24 October 2017.

Today’s news adds to a growing number of initiatives to attract the brightest and best into the teaching profession, including:

  • Increasing bursaries to £26,000 for all trainees with a 2:2 or higher in the highest priority subjects; physics, languages, chemistry, biology, computing, geography and classics.
  • Offering a £20,000 bursary for maths trainees followed by two additional early-career payments of £5k each (£7,500 if teaching in local authority areas where teachers are most needed) in their third and fifth year of teaching, if they have taught in a state school in England since completing their teacher training course.
  • Offering scholarship schemes in six subjects for 2018/19; physics, maths, languages, chemistry, computing, and geography. Successful scholars will receive £28,000 tax-free in all subjects except maths, where scholars will receive £22,000 tax-free.
  • Offering bursaries for English trainees have been increased to £15,000 for all trainees with a 2:2 or higher, and bursaries in all other subjects are unchanged for 2018 to 2019.


Could desk cycles help pupils to learn in lessons?

The project is one of many being explored by teachers involved in Stoke-on-Trent's new research school
Could desk cycles improve pupils' performance?


Teachers could soon be joining national trials to explore the best ways to help children learn after Stoke-on-Trent launched its own research school.

The new partnership is set to involve dozens of primary and secondary schools across North Staffordshire.

It will look at training staff in so-called ‘evidence-based’ techniques that have been shown to have an impact in raising standards in the classroom.

As part of the work, schools will also have the chance to join pilot projects overseen by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and submit bids to carry out their own innovative research.

The Stoke-on-Trent Research School – officially launched this week – will be backed by £200,000 of Government funding over the next three years.

Director Russell Spink said they planned to have a particular focus on improving children’s literacy skills and the transition from primary to secondary education.

He added: “We know there’s a significant dip when they get to high school. We want to explore having more summer schools and ‘live’ projects that are shared by teachers in key stages two and three.”

But some of the ideas are likely to be more offbeat. A PE specialist at a city school is hoping to secure funding for research into using ‘desk cycles’ in children’s lessons.

The small equipment would be placed under pupils’ desks to encourage them to exercise while they study. Evidence from elsewhere has shown pedalling in class doesn’t just improve fitness levels – it can have an impact on young people’s concentration and academic success. If the project proves successful in several Stoke-on-Trent primaries, it could be taken up more widely.

Stoke-on-Trent Research School is being led by the Keele and North Staffordshire Alliance, which has grown out of the work of a teacher training centre set up by Keele University and Seabridge Primary School. Although it will primarily target Stoke-on-Trent schools, it is also open to those in Newcastle and the Moorlands.

Phil Reynolds, assistant principal of Biddulph’s Woodhouse Academy, has already been involved in research into how to improve pupil behaviour. He said: “My masters specialism has looked at the use of restorative justice.”

At Goldenhill Primary Academy, staff have been experimenting with a catch-up programme in maths.

Headteacher Steve Martin said: “It involves one-to-one sessions three times a week. All the children who have been doing it have made additional progress.”

Ellison Primary Academy, in Wolstanton, is hoping to get involved with one of the national trials.

Headteacher Nichola Gibson said: “Research can have lots of benefits.”

Source: stokesentinel

Keele Graduation Summer 2017 — Day Two – Keele University

posted in: Graduation, KNSTE, News

Our 2016-17 cohort attended their graduation Ceremony at Keele University on the 12th July where an enjoyable time was had by all.



Victoria Webb, 22, Stoke-On-Trent, PGCE.

“My time at Keele has been lovely, I knew the PGCE course had a great reputation and the course is very school focused, so I got to experience a lot of placements. I’ve already started teaching at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy in Biddulph where I originally was on a placement through my course.”


Source: Keele Graduation Summer 2017 — Day Two – Keele University

Primary School Children Call For More ‘Marvellous’ Teachers

Primary school’s campaign to identify the recipe for a ‘marvellous teacher’ and attract more people into teaching was launched on 7th July.index

To encourage more people to get into teaching at primary schools, children at Seabridge Primary School, undertook a project to unearth the qualities they believe teachers need.

Nick Gibb, MP said, "Teachers transform the lives of young people. Over 1.45million more children are in good or outstanding schools since 2010, which is a testament to their hard work and dedication. Seabridge Primary Schools’ marvellous video offers an excellent insight into what primary school aged children want from classroom teachers and shows real innovation and imagination."

Inspired by the hit film Marvellous, which chronicles former local Stoke City kitman Neil ‘Nello’ Baldwin’s story and positive attitude to life, school children carried out their own independent research and devised the ingredients using the information they had found, before presenting it back to Nello and Malcolm Clarke, who co-wrote his biography.

Headteacher of Seabridge Primary School, Sandra Mitchell, said: “Our children were extremely passionate about this project and felt that all of these ingredients were important for teachers to have to enrich their learning experience.”

Diane Swift, Director of the SCITT, has mapped the children’s ingredients to the DfE’s Teachers’ Standards, highlighting how relevant the pupils’ recipe is.

“We continue to see increased interest in teaching and a growing demand from schools and it is hoped that this campaign will inspire more people to get into teaching and to stay locally and contribute to the schools in the local area.”

Interview with Nick Gibb on Seabridge Radio:

The Recipe – 10 Ingredients for a Marvellous Teacher

  • Connection with the children
  • Sink full of joy that boosts their confidence
  • Communicates messages with energy and in a fun way
  • Bottle full of knowledge so that they can be an inspiration and open up minds
  • Saucepan of creativity
  • Overflowing tray of understanding
  • Ice-cream cone full of generosity to help pupils succeed
  • Sprinkle of strictness so that lessons can take place
  • Beaker-full of glittery personality
  • Handful of happiness and smiles

Ingredients Aligned to Teachers’ Standards


Children’s Ingredients

Teachers’ Standards
Has a connection with the children and a sink full of joy that will boost their confidence so that they can….…set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils (TS1)
Communicates messages with energy and in a fun way, so that they can……promote good progress and outcomes by pupils (TS2)
Has a bottle full of knowledge so that they can be an inspiration and open up our minds, because they can……demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge (TS3)
Uses a saucepan of creativity, so that they can……plan and teach well-structured lessons (TS4)
Has a tray overflowing with understanding so that the children will respond to the learning. This means that they can……adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils (TS5)
Has an ice cream cone full of generosity that will help pupils to succeed, this can include the ability to……make accurate and productive use of assessment (TS6)
Has a sprinkle of strictness so that the lessons can take place, so that they can……manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment (TS7)
Has a beaker full of glittery personality and a handful of happiness and smiles, so that they can..…fulfil wider professional responsibilities (TS8)



Making Marvellous Teachers













Many researchers now recognise that the quality of a school’s teachers is the biggest factor in determining the success of their pupils. Seabridge Primary School pupils were thrilled to share their ambitions  to create  high quality opportunities for primary initial teaching education within the region with the Schools' Minister, Nick Gibb.

Locally it is very significant that people are attracted to our rewarding and essential profession . To promote this, the children at Seabridge Primary school have linked up with Neil Baldwin and Malcolm Clarke from Keele to make a short film and a radio advert to promote the idea of becoming a ‘marvellous teacher’.

More about the ethos that lies behind the making of the video can be found here.

To help design the video, the children created posters to share their thinking for what makes for a marvellous teacher. Here are some of their poster designs.

The video can be viewed here