They may only have one term of training under their belts but Associate Teachers at the Altius Alliance are already an integral part of the education being provided to young people.

Part of the Multi-Academy Laurus Trust, the Altius Alliance provides School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) for those wanting to get straight into the classroom. The trust currently incorporates seven schools for pupils aged three to 18, where trainee teachers can cut their teeth and learn in a practical and interactive way.

This hands-on way of training has never been more important than throughout the series of national lockdowns the country has experienced in the last twelve months, as Lisa Woolley, the Laurus Trust’s Executive Head of Primary, explains:

“People choose to become teachers because they want to work with young people and make a difference to them. As schools have been hit by this new wave of closures, the work our Associate Teachers are doing in supporting pupils is absolutely invaluable and has hopefully given them an insight into the demands of the job. That just can’t be replicated in a lecture hall.”

While a lot of training providers have had to move all their learning online, the Associate Teachers at the Altius Alliance continue to support the children of key workers in school while also juggling the planning and delivery of remote lessons.

Primary Associate Teacher Eleanor Brown talks about her own experience of teacher training amidst the pandemic:

“The course has undoubtedly changed, however I am still receiving valuable experience from being able to continue my training in schools and online. I am still interacting with children and deepening my understanding of the Year 3 content that I am teaching.”

She adds:

“Additionally, I am also gaining experience in assessing pupils’ work remotely and supporting parents both pastorally and academically.”

The experience of this year’s cohort of Associate Teachers is particularly demanding but they have the necessary support in place to help them navigate the challenges that training in a pandemic poses.

Rachel Long, Associate Teacher of History, says:

“The Teaching School were great at communicating the plan in response to lockdown and my mentor has been so helpful with tips for online lessons that I feel very prepared to start delivering my own in the coming weeks.”

Teamwork is key to ensuring that all pupils and students right across Laurus Trust schools continue to receive the fully rounded education and pastoral support they need during this latest lockdown and the Associate Teachers are an intrinsic part of this. They are learning from the best to be the best and are seeing directly in their mentors and other teaching staff just what it takes to become exceptional teachers and role models.

Their training is helping to develop resilience and adaptability alongside their teaching abilities, which will stand them in good stead for their own careers, as the class of 21 looks set to be the most prepared and well-equipped yet.