I am glad I did the WYTA route as it gave me a lot of experience working in a range of primary schools and different year groups. WYTA also offer you training which is very useful and more directed to a small group of trainees, which is highly beneficial. I am currently working in Year 3 and I am enjoying it so far!
I am now a Year 2 teacher and leader for both Science and Phonics. This year I am also mentoring my first trainee teacher, which is great.
Throughout my time with WYTA, I have always had the impression that everyone is rooting for you to
succeed. There’s always been someone there to put an arm around your shoulders when things get tough; give you a high five when things go well and burst your bubble when you start getting too big for your boots. And that’s how it should be. Teacher training is tough!
There will be times when you think you’ve chosen the wrong profession and start considering that part-time job somewhere. But then someone reminds you about the progress you have made and the progress your LA group made in your maths lesson last week and the world is all right again. There are times when you think this teaching lark is a piece of cake and then you turn up to deliver an English lesson under prepared and it takes a proverbial kick up the backside to get you back on track.
At WYTA you’re surrounded by people who have been there and done that. And because they have, they understand your pain, your joy and your frustrations.
Before:I had completed my degree in Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design at Leeds College of Art and chose to go travelling to New Zealand.On my return I was looking for a career that could utilise all of my skills and creativity that was consistent and had progression. Teaching seemed to be the best for me as I wanted to still be creative and not lose my passion for Art and Textiles but the industry was just too inconsistent and had no real progression career path.I applied for the WYTA and PGCE at Huddersfield university as I felt the School Direct and PGCE route gave me the best of both experiences and support. Following my interview for the course, I was encouraged to take a more Art/Design Technology pathway to really open up job role opportunities upon qualifying.During:My pathway felt no different to the ordinary PGCE students until it came to placements. I felt I knew where I was going on placement in advance and everything was arranged seamlessly for me. Other students who did not have the School Direct support had a wait and some had to travel some miles from their home towns.My first placement was a local high school which I loved; the school environment, the support and the students were amazing.My second placement was a complete change of dynamics. This school grew close to my heart as the students were mostly from deprived backgrounds and the role became so much more rewarding that I once felt at the start of my career. I was supported by the school and the Design Technology senior technician to really develop my Design Technology skills and refine into a specialist of Art and DT.After:I stayed at my second placement school and completed 3 years of teaching within a DT and Art specialism. In my RQT year I secured a TLR for Cross Phase Coordinator which involved me working with partner primary schools to bridge the gap between KS2 and KS3 assessment and aid the transition program.Now:In my fourth year of teaching I have moved to an Academy closer to my home location. Here I have been lucky to bring my TLR with me for the Cross Phase Coordinator role to develop into the schools in the Academy Trust.As an overview I feel I had double the support during my teacher training which is a hard year to get through. I feel the strengths I have achieved as a teacher within my teacher training have really set me up to be a consistent outstanding teacher and strive for progression.I am truly grateful for the support from WYTA and the PGCE at Huddersfield. Even down to the certificate and box of chocolates on graduation, the support was endlessly there.
I am still at the Grammar School where I started as an NQT. I started as a Subject Coordinator for Drama and was given a Year 8 form group also. Starting at this level was an exciting new challenge and one that I had full support of the school with. It was a tough year to get used to the move from Yorkshire to Kent, but one that has taught me so many lessons about teaching and helped me realise that I made the right choice. Working in an all boys grammar school is very different to working in a mixed school but it is something I have grown to love. I have since gone on to put on a school production in my second year at the school, Lord of the Flies, and now in my third year I am Assistant Head of Year 10 and have got the school working together to put on a production of Oliver! in March. I have grown the department from having 5 in year 11 for my first set of GCSE students to now having 4 A level students, 26 year 11 students and 28 Year 10 students, they even split year 10 into two classes! I am now developing and delegating lessons structures and schemes of work for teachers teaching the subject, organising my form, supporting the Head of Year with data and projects with the year group and putting my organisational skills to the test with 50 students and 6 departments for the school production (and keeping up with my own teaching and responsibilities!).
I don’t think any of this would have been so easy had I not had the help and support from the staff and teachers of West Yorkshire Teaching Alliance. At the time I started looking for a teaching career I was having a year out working full time in a supermarket after finishing university. I was in a slump with no idea of the career I wanted. West Yorkshire Teaching Alliance were the only local training provider for teachers of the subject I love, Drama. The interview process was actually really simple and the staff at WYTA made me feel at ease the whole time I was there. Once on the course, as well as support from the university, WYTA regularly checked in with us to make sure we were okay, allowed me to work at two very different but good schools giving me a rounded view of what education was like across the board. The specific WYTA sessions were appropriate for every trainee and with this helped to create a support network amongst the other trainees. We created a strong friendship which helped support each other across the training year. Although only a few of us turned up for our graduation of the year we qualified it was a welcoming site to see Heidi and Clare supporting the Secondary and Primary trainees they had worked with. It showed just how much they want us to succeed in teaching and became almost like children leaving the family home. I thoroughly enjoyed my training year and I think because of the experiences I had during that year it made me see that teaching was never going to be easy but if you worked hard and can see the progress in the students and the impact you can have on them, then all the stress, tears and occasional sleepless night during your training (and maybe your NQT year) is all worth it in the end. I am still learning everyday in the role and once I stop learning, then I will leave the profession, but for now I look forward to where the future will take me in teaching.
Prior to training with WYTA, I was working as Assistant Inclusion Manager at a local high school. I thoroughly enjoyed working in a school environment and decided to go into teaching to progress in education. With the encouragement of my colleagues, I applied for WYTA in December 2015 and began my training the following September.
The course itself was fantastic. The support given by Clare and the rest of the WYTA team was very strong and I look back on my training year with great fondness. I completed placements at two wonderful secondary schools, where I was made to feel welcome and challenged. WYTA’s CPD sessions for trainees were very well put together and I felt engaged by all aspects of the training throughout the year.
I took up my first post as a history teacher at a nearby secondary school in June 2017, immediately after the end of the course. I am still at there now and was appointed as Head of Year 7 just before the end of my NQT year in June 2018.
My career progression is due in large part to the training that I received through WYTA, an organisation that demands the best of its trainees and continually pushes you to be the best practitioner possible. To those considering a career in teaching, I would recommend WYTA without a moment’s hesitation.