For many students life is currently on pause. Exams have been cancelled, fieldtrips have been postponed and there are no get-togethers at the pub.
But for trainee teachers at the Altius Alliance it is pretty much business as usual.
The Altius Alliance provides School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) for post-graduates wanting to enter the teaching profession. It offers a fully immersive classroom experience from the outset, and it would take more than a global pandemic to get in the way of that commitment.
The Altius Alliance is part of the Laurus Trust, a multi-academy trust currently incorporating seven schools for pupils aged between three and eighteen, and is based at the Trust’s flagship school, the Ofsted-outstanding Cheadle Hulme High in Stockport.
Regardless of a world health crisis and ongoing lockdown, young people are still in need of education, and the trainee teachers at the Altius Alliance are a fundamental part of supporting this provision right across the Laurus Trust and its partner schools. They are learning exactly what it takes to support students in such challenging circumstances and are involved directly in the many ways that this is being achieved.
Firstly, there is the provision of online lessons, which trainees at the Altius Alliance have been fully immersed in since the lockdown first began. They have been supporting teaching staff with the preparation of classes and seminars, assisting with the delivery of remote lessons, helping to provide feedback and maintaining communication with students, parents and carers.
Then there is the vital role of ensuring that learning materials are fully accessible to pupils and students who don’t have the required technology to access their courses online, by making printed work packs available so that no students are placed at a disadvantage.
In addition to all of this, staff at the Laurus Trust are also supervising the children of key workers, arranging charity donations, helping to make thousands of items of vital PPE for the medical and care professions and are continually uploading fun videos, challenges and competitions to social media platforms to help keep students engaged and entertained.
Teamwork is the key to making all of this happen and trainee teachers at the Altius Alliance can be proud of the role they’re playing in this Herculean effort to keep students’ education on track and to support the wider community.
As they prepare for careers as key workers, theirs is not a typical lockdown experience. There’s no time for Netflix boxsets, a new hobby or baking in the style of a Great British Bake Off contestant. But they are seeing directly what it takes to be a truly exceptional teacher and role model, taking their lead from their mentors at the Laurus Trust. It is an experience like no other and will stand them in good stead for their future careers.
It may be a while before life returns to any real sense of normality but one thing is certain, the Altius Alliance will have trained a cohort of new teachers who are more adaptable, resilient and flexible than ever before and the education sector will be all the stronger for it.