School Direct 2023/24 Recruitment Cycle
(For September 2023 entry)
The Highfield School is part of a consortium of five schools that works closely with the Department for Education’s School Direct training programme for graduates, which offers a route to achieving Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Hitchin Boys School is the lead school for North Herts School Direct, a consortium of five secondary schools covering the areas of Letchworth, Baldock and Hitchin, and comprising Hitchin Boys' School, The Highfield School, The Priory School, Fearnhill School and Knights Templar School.
We work in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire as our nominated provider for School Direct. Students spend 4 days per week at their host school and travel one day per week to the University of Herts campus for "centre-based training".
On successful completion of the course, students on the salaried route will receive a fully-certificated QTS qualification. Students on the fee-paying unsalaried route will receive QTS with PGCE (and 60 masters level credits). Fees for the School Direct Unsalaried (PGCE) route are £9,250.
Registration on the programme is subject to the successful outcome of all entry requirements and suitability checks being met. Further information may be found here
Information on the courses may be found here and applications for training may be made here
The School Direct application cycle for 2023/24 closes in June 2023. However, we reserve the right to close vacancies early if they are filled before June.
More information on the scheme from the University of Hertfordshire can be found here
If you have further questions please send all enquiries to The Highfield Schools Induction Tutor:
Miss Lorraine Hoskins
Professional Development and Mentor Support
Lorraine Hoskins is the Professional Mentor (PM) for trainee teachers and Induction Tutor (IT) for Early Career Teachers. Lorraine will oversee the training experience, provide whole school aspects of professional development for trainees and ECTs, and work alongside subject specific Teacher Mentors (TMs). In addition to this University tutors visit and observe trainees throughout the year. Communication between us and the University is very strong and together we provide trainees with the knowledge, feedback and support required to achieve success in classroom teaching.
Lorraine Hoskins leads a half termly CPD session for all trainees & ECTs to come together and share best practice. The training links with the Early Career Framework (ECF) and modules ECT's are currently exploring. The CPD programme covers essential areas but is also flexible to meet needs as they arise in the year. Topics covered include building positive relationships with pupils, becoming a reflective practitioner, behaviour management, assessing pupils’ progress, understanding data and lesson planning.
Every trainee and ECT is partnered with a Teacher Mentor. This is an experienced member of staff who has chosen and been selected to become a Teacher Mentor. The Teacher Mentor provides advice and guidance for the ECT or trainee, meeting weekly to do this and setting weekly targets or actions to help develop their practice. Teacher Mentors for trainee's are trained through the University and Teacher Mentors for ECT's are supported and trained by our Provider, Best Practice, for the Early Career Framework. Lorraine Hoskins oversees this provision and moderates and assesses outcomes. Lorraine Hoskins works closely with Mentors when assessing trainees and ECT's to ensure judgements are consistent and in line with national standards.
Wellbeing and workload
At The Highfield School, the wellbeing of our pupils and our staff remains a high priority throughout the year. Teaching is an exciting and very rewarding profession but it is also a demanding one.The Professional Mentor/Induction Tutor provides specific training sessions for trainees and ECTs on time management as a teacher and maintaining positive wellbeing. In addition, regular meetings allow us to provide personalised support and guidance to all beginning teachers.
Learning from others
Trainees and ECTs observe a wide range of excellent teachers within and outside their own subject area. To begin with they are supported in this by observing alongside a Professional Mentor, helping them to see teaching & learning ‘through the eyes of a teacher’. This helps them to relate what they are observing to their own development. Trainees and ECTs also pair with each other to peer observe as part of their progress towards becoming reflective practitioners who can accurately self-evaluate.
Trainees are also carefully matched with Form Tutors, outside of their department areas to experience and develop skills in the pastoral element of teaching. ECTs have their own Tutor group and are well supported by the pastoral team and Heads of Year at Highfield as they begin this role.
"Training to teach at Highfield has provided me with an excellent start to my teaching career. My mentors have been supportive and thorough and have created a programme that puts the needs of each individual trainee first, taking into account personal circumstances as well as previous skills and experience. Thus, ensuring that I was always progressing towards manageable targets that would lead to me being the best teacher I can be. Communication has always been excellent, so I was always clear of who to go to with different questions I might have. I always felt that my wellbeing was as important to my mentors as following a set programme, as such, the increase in my workload over the year always felt manageable. The fortnightly CPD sessions were excellent and a good opportunity for building supportive relationships with other trainees, as well as targeting professional skills. I was thrilled to be offered full time employment at the end of my training and to continue my professional development as an NQT in such a positive training environment."
Casey Burgess (Trainee Teacher 2018-2019, NQT 2019-2020)
"How privileged I feel to have my placement at Highfield. The staff, their ethos and their level of support and dedication has been outstanding. I feel that the confidence this has given me has made my training experience so far better than I could have hoped for."
Lizzie Parker (Trainee Teacher 2019-2020)
"As a history subject mentor, I have learnt a lot more about teaching my subject. Discussions with our history trainee/NQT during mentor meetings have given me new perspectives on how students can best learn historical concepts, and often challenge me to think in different ways. This collaboration is one of the most rewarding parts of mentoring."
Jess Landy (Teacher Mentor, 2018-2020)
"Being a Teacher Mentor is a superb form of continuing professional development (CPD). Mentoring is an open dialogue which gets to the heart of any good CPD by engaging with the process of reflection and adaptive practice in the light of new information, ideas and feedback; a process which engages and encourages both parties to act as both learner and mentor alike."
Rob Burton (Teacher Mentor, 2019-2020)
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