About the course
Astra trainees spend four days per week in their placement schools (minimum of 120 days across the year). All training and assessment will lead to the award of Qualified Teacher Status by the DfE. Additionally, the optional PGCE qualification with Goldsmiths includes 60 credits at Masters level which is the equivalent to one third of an MA.
Primary and secondary trainees across all subjects are assessed against the Teachers’ Standards, based on the evidence of teaching, wider contribution to school life and the ability to reflect on and evaluate these experiences. Progress is monitored through weekly reflections on progress, objective setting, regular lesson observations and two QTS assignments. Trainees pursuing the PGCE will also write two assignments designed to deepen reflections on school experience in the light of educational research.
Weekly QTS Professional Studies will develop understanding of education essential for entrants to the teaching profession, providing consideration to whole-school issues, such as behaviour management, special educational needs and educational theories that contextualise the teaching of your subject. Secondary subject studies also focus on the teaching of each subject, including its place in the National Curriculum; what is taught; how it is taught; how it is assessed; providing for young people with different backgrounds and abilities; teaching in accordance with examination specification requirements; and using ICT effectively to facilitate learning.
For 2019/20, there will be three Teaching School Hubs operating on behalf of the Astra SCITT for both primary and secondary recruitment across our network of over 30 schools:
Dr Challoner's Grammar School - Amersham and surrounding area
Aylesbury High School - Aylesbury / surrounding area
Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School - Marlow / Maidenhead
Candidates should apply via UCAS to their preferred Astra SCITT Hub, which will then coordinate the recruitment process. If your application is shortlisted, you will be invited for interview at one of our partner schools.
The application and interview process for each hub is identical and is quality assured by the Astra SCITT.
As well as having a panel interview, you will also be asked to carry out a reading and writing task, deliver a short presentation on a current education issue as part of a panel interview, undertake a subject knowledge test and meet key staff. You will also be observed leading a teaching activity with a small group of students; you will be told in advance about the content of the lesson you will need to plan, and the age group you will be teaching.
You can expect the selection process to take a minimum of half a day; it is a rigorous process, designed to get the best match of applicant to the places available.
How school placements work
We endeavour to match the right trainee to the right partner school for their main placement based on their initial preference, geography / distance from home, and areas of specific interest. Trainees will have two placements; a main placement, where they spend the Autumn, summer and second half of the Spring terms. Trainees will also be expected to attend an induction day with their main placement school ahead of the September course start.
During the first half of the Spring term, all trainees complete a second, 5-6 week placement in a contrasting school (eg for Secondary this is usually Grammar/non-selective; for Primary, the placements are Key Stage 1/Key Stage 2). Secondary trainees will teach across the 11-16 age range (14-19 yrs for Business Studies ). Primary trainees will, across their two placements, have taught across the 5-11 age range. There is also an Enrichment period for all bursary-led/unsalaried trainees in May/June for two weeks which will focus on subject knowledge development as well as other current educational priorities.
QTS / PGCE studies take place with the SCITT every Wednesday, with the other four days per week being spent in school (minimum of 120 days across the year). Bursary-led / unsalaried trainee timetable allocations is approximately 30% in the first term, rising to a maximum allocation of 75% in the final placement out of the four days in school. Salaried trainees on contracts with their employing school will be expected to teach a 50% in their first term.
Astra has over 30 partners signed up to the SCITT Partnership Agreement which demands that each school supplies dedicated and high quality one-to-one Mentor support and in-school Professional Studies to complement the core QTS programme offered by the SCITT each week. Trainees will also be expected to attend events such as parents’ evening and contribute to report writing during the year. While there is no guarantee of permanent employment with placement schools, a considerable number of our trainees do go on to secure NQTs positions within our partnership.
The course fees for 2019/2020 are as follows:
At least grade 4 (C) (or equivalent) for GCSE Maths and English.
PE with an EBacc subject, an A'level (or equivalent qualification) at grade C or above in the EBacc subject.
Degree: preferably a 1st or 2:1, though we will consider applicants with a 2:2 or even third class degree who can demonstrate an aptitude for teaching, dependent on the subject/specialism. Your degree should ideally be in or closely related to the subject you intend to teach.
Candidates should have the potential to become outstanding teachers, demonstrated by strong subject knowledge; ability to communicate with enthusiasm about learning; ability to reflect on experiences of working with young people, and knowledge of the curriculum and educational issues.
Other requirements include being ambitious to teach at a good or outstanding level; highly motivated (with the ability to also motivate students); high professional standards; a willingness to play a part in the wider school life; commitment to professional development, and strong communication skills.
Further experience of working with children, for example helping with a youth/sports club is desirable.
Candidates will be required to have an Enhanced DBS check, and pass the national Numeracy and Literacy skills tests. Requirement to complete a funded Subject Knowledge Enhancement course will be determined at the point of offer.
Hard copy evidence of all required academic qualifications will need to be provided before an unconditional offer can be made.
About the training provider
As a lead Hub, MMLA offers placements in a network across Buckinghamshire under the Astra ‘umbrella’. The Astra SCITT offers a talented and dedicated team of subject-based Mentors, a professional working environment and forward-looking technology systems for the 21st century teacher. We offer a highly personalised support to all trainees from the moment of appointment to course completion, as well as a package of CPD opportunities beyond the training year. At Astra, we see you as an individual and as a leader of the future. We offer School Direct QTS salaried, bursary-led/unsalaried QTS or QTS & PGCE programmes in a wide range of subjects and phases.
From the beginning of your training year you will be treated like a member of staff at your designated school, attending staff meetings, parents’ evenings and development days.
During your training, you will be assigned a Mentor, subject Tutors and ITTCO; these colleagues, alongside a designated university tutor (for PGCE trainees), will monitor your progress and support you on your learning journey. Our staff are experienced teachers and are required to undertake a rigorous training programme.
Weekly Professional Studies sessions take place every Wednesday, hosted at a range of our partner schools. PGCE sessions are also held on Wednesdays, spread across the year.
About the accredited body
The Astra SCITT is a diverse, supportive network of over 50 schools, founded on the core principles of ‘Excellence; Collaboration; Innovation; Support’. We are rated 'Outstanding' by Ofsted in all categories. Since 2016, we have recruited and trained high quality teachers for local primary and secondary schools. On average, our trainees achieve a 96% completion rate, with 97% of the 2017/18 cohort being employed within 6 months of gaining QTS, above national benchmarking. Trainees demonstrate excellent practice across all Teachers’ Standards, the majority judged as ‘outstanding’. For the optional PGCE Masters qualification, we are partnered with Goldsmiths, University of London.
Training with disabilities and other needs
Astra trainees will be assessed through our Occupational Health service before starting the course in order to ensure they meet the “Fitness to Teach” requirements. This is also to help us identify any additional needs which will require support during the programme.
We are experienced in making necessary adjustments to help facilitate trainees with disabilities and other conditions, including dyslexia (eg making training slides available in advance where possible), physical, hearing and visual impairments (eg providing handouts on specific coloured paper; supporting the use of specific software); and mental health conditions, to ensure they are not disadvantaged in any way. If a preferred main location was not fully accessible for a trainee, we would find an alternative wherever possible.
Astra gives all trainees full access to an Employee Assistance Programme which can provide access to counselling and other support and advice where appropriate.
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