At the recent Teaching Careers Fair, we sat down with Katie Waring, Director of Professional and Career Development for Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust (BDAT) to get her insights into the routes on offer into careers in education, the application process and what skills make a good teacher…
What opportunities are you offering for students to get into teaching?
We run a school-based, school-led route into teacher training. It’s a one-year course for postgraduates so ideal for final year students at University of Bradford. As well as a degree, you’ll need GSCEs in English and Maths for secondary teaching, and English, Maths and Science if you want to be a Primary School Teacher.
Ours is a school-based route which means that on top of the placements, the training is also school based.
There are two elements to the course, first is the school placements where you work alongside a teacher and shadow them, they become your mentor and you slowly take over more and more responsibility in the classroom and hone your skills. Running parallel to this is the training course, which is delivered by teachers so they’re real experts in their fields because that’s their job day to day – you know that the person leading a training session on lesson planning will have planned their own lessons the day before.
You also get to visit a lot of the schools so at the end of the course you’ve got a really rich awareness of what different schools in Bradford look like and where you might want to start your career. We have seventeen schools in our family of schools including a half-form entry primary school with less than a hundred pupils, a really small rural school, right up to quite large comprehensive schools sitting in areas of quite high need within the city, so by visiting all the schools you’ll know where will suit you best as a teacher.
What skills do you need to be a good teacher?
Good communication and people skills: You’ll be able to talk to a range of people and forge good relationships. It’s not just the young people that you work with, you’ll need to get on with your colleagues as well. Sometimes if you think you’ve had a tricky lesson it’s good to have a chat with other teachers and have that sense of collegiality.
The ability to listen and reflect: You will start the course with quite unrefined skills in the classroom and you’ll leave the course a teacher, so actually you need to be listening and able to grow into the role.
Creativity: People might not imagine you have to be creative to be a teacher – I started life as a science teacher and I would say it wasn’t a creative person, I couldn’t draw or sing for example, but I realised that there was a craft in creating a lesson, understanding what that will look like and how it will feel for young people, which makes it a far more creative profession than it might appear.
Resilience: It’s not always easy being a teacher, but is it’s the best job in the world if it’s right for you. It’s a difficult job if it’s not right for you, but even if you are really enjoying it there will always be highs and lows.
What’s the application process?
All courses start in September and run from a school year which is September to about June or July. You apply via the DFE (Department for Education) portal (https://bdat-people.org/initial-teacher-training/how-to-apply/) where you find and apply for your chosen course, similar to the UCAS application process. You’ll be asked about your personal information and qualifications including your current degree.
There is a section around your work experience, and what’s really important is to include everything you’ve done, particularly experience in schools and working with young people, and remember voluntary work, as this can be a source of valuable skills and experience.
Are there tuition fees payable for the course?
Yes, for any UK student that would be the same as your undergraduate fee (£9250), but there are bursaries available for secondary shortage subjects such as Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Computing.
What is BDAT’s approach to Equality and Diversity?
Equality and Diversity has been a Trust focus, all of our schools are working towards a bronze award in diversity and inclusion, and this is one of our Trust priorities at the moment. The trainees currently within our organisation are a diverse group and reflect the work that we’re doing. As a sector we’ve got still things we need to learn about inclusion and ensuring diversity within the workforce, but if you were to look at our newest recruits across the profession you would find increasing diversity.
Lastly, can you tell us a bit about your Career journey?
I studied Chemistry at university and probably knew for most of that time I didn’t want to be a Chemist – I was far more interested in working with people and after I did a module working in a school, that was it, there was no looking back! I went on to be a Chemistry teacher in secondary schools in West Yorkshire and down south, and then an opportunity presented itself to get into teacher training. I love that as well, I’m very lucky to have two careers I’ve really enjoyed.