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Dr Deborah Outhwaite FCCT - Supporting school-based trainees this year

Published: Oct 23, 2020 5 min read

STEM learning

I run www.dtsa.org.uk, and we support a cohort of primary and secondary trainees every year, in addition to running the Science Learning Partnership (SLP) for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, the Derbyshire Governance Partnership (DGP) and various school to school support projects, as well as being a Hub for the Early Career Framework, and an Appropriate Body. 

As with many providers, having struggled with recruitment for years, we have been actively involved with teacher recruitment and retention and had utilised some of the Derby Opportunity Area funding to help create www.teachderby.co.uk, to try and bring people in to live and work in our small city. As the pandemic hit in late March, applications went through the roof in April and May, and so we have become an active gatekeeper for the profession, recruiting an appropriately wide range of would-be professionals into teaching.

There is much now written around protected characteristics, but a good website to look at is www.diverseeducators.co.uk and we have worked hard at DTSA to ensure that we have a range of ages; ethnicities; encouraged men into primary teaching, but we also do much to support women into, and in, their leadership roles. Having a diverse workforce, particularly one in training means that you need to have everyone’s best interests at heart. 

At the moment everyone’s best interests involve getting our Early Career Teachers effectively through their initial year and into a post in a school where the culture will support them to thrive in their teaching and their continued learning.

For our primary cohort particularly, our joint role as an SLP with STEM Learning is critical in this, we have three particular Unique Selling Points at DTSA, and in our teacher development work and these are STEM; Well-being and Outdoor Education. You can see how these all overlap, but as a long-established Alliance of Teaching Schools we have each aspect separately supported, as well as integrated through our offer. 

Helen Salih FCCT leads our primary cohort and endeavours to keep in touch with our alumni, providing them with on-going well-being and support. Our partnership with the Devonshire Educational Trust at Chatsworth has provided a great backdrop to enabling outdoor education sessions and the philosophy behind them.

We are fortunate that we are collaborative partners of the University of Derby, and our SLP facilitators are SLEs and Fellows of the www.Chartered.College and we use our links across our organizations to best support our students, experienced staff are critical in this process, as staff who support the education system in a range of ways as Governors, Trustees, and Members, and feed that knowledge base back to our Early Career Teachers.  

Yes, this year is more challenging than most, but teaching is a critical profession, and that is also very clear at the moment. So the advice would be set aside time for your ITE students; listen to their worries and concerns, allay fears, and support their practical and academic learning, what we call the emotion work.  

In turn, encourage them to get outdoors, and when they are in school encourage them to enjoy the interactions they have with children and teenagers, not to feel the weight of the workload but the richness of the experience. If we take on some of their emotion work, then they are a little bit more freed up to enjoy themselves, and a bit more likely to complete the course, stay in teaching and enjoy working as teachers and leaders. 

About the author

Dr Deborah Outhwaite FCCT, SFHEA, FRSA

Deb Outhwaite has worked in education for the last twenty-five years: teaching secondary and A Level for 12 years whilst training teachers; then spending a decade in HE teaching undergrad and postgrad.  She remains actively involved in both Teacher Ed, and the supervision of Education doctorates, regularly externally examining EdDs. 

Deb is the Director of the Derby Teaching Schools Alliance (DTSA).  She is a former Secondary Governor in an 11-18 comprehensive school, and a Vice-Chair of a Derbyshire MAT.  She has sat on the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Teaching Profession since its’ inception in 2015.

Deb is BELMAS Council Vice-Chair, co-convening a Research Interest Group (RIG) on Leadership Preparation and Development (LPD), where she works globally with teachers and lecturers researching the system.  Deb is a Network Leader for @WomenEd in the East Midlands, and coached for the DfE Women Leading in Education (WLE) programme. Deb’s latest publication, out in Spring 21, is on ‘Creative Leadership in Primary Education’.  

STEM Learning is committed to helping you provide your trainees with all the support needed to deliver excellent teaching of STEM subjects, both during training and throughout their career as a teacher. You can find out more about our support here.