NQT Induction & Training
At Westcliff High School for Boys we invest heavily in the training of new teachers and in their Induction.
Whether a member of staff starts their career with us, or joins us later in their career, we offer a wide range of training opportunities to support all stages of development. We have a strong tradition of growing our own leaders, and several of our most senior staff joined the School as NQTs or trainee teachers. Good quality induction and ongoing CPD is essential to staff wellbeing and motivation.
Although we are an Academy, we continue to require all NQTs to complete their statutory induction year as we believe that it is important to continue to support qualified teachers in the early stages of their careers. Each NQT has an experienced mentor, dedicated mentoring time, regular observations of teaching and feedback, and 10% release time on top of usual PPA time in order to complete training activities. There is a full programme of in-School training meetings for NQTs which cover their continuing career development needs. Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is our Awarding Body to which we submit termly reports regarding progress of our NQTs. When NQTs do experience problems, an enhanced programme of support is offered, but our NQTs at WHSB usually have no difficulty in exceeding the requirements of the Teachers’ Standards. Westcliff High School for Boys is a School which looks to nurture talent, and indeed we often actively seek to reward our most talented NQTs where possible with smaller positions of responsibility following their induction year.
Teaching is increasingly seen as an attractive career prospect for university leavers. Teaching offers good job stability, more competitive salaries than was once the case, and immense job satisfaction. We welcome applications for teaching posts from well-qualified graduates, or those in their final year of university who are on track for a 2.1 or 1st class degree. Where appointments are made early enough in the year, an unqualified teacher might be able to begin their PGCE immediately in the September, though this is often deferred for a year.
Our current training provider is The University of Buckingham, and our trainees work towards the Secondary PGCE with QTS qualification. The University of Buckingham is consistently at or near the top of the rankings in The Sunday Times' Good University Guide, and it always scores highly for student satisfaction in national surveys. It came top in the Teaching Excellence Framework ranking of universities in 2017. Once an unqualified teacher receives an offer of appointment from the School, an application is usually made to The University of Buckingham for a place if the appointment comes early enough in the academic year. The candidate is interviewed at Buckingham following the successful completion of the Skills Tests, and we have never failed to secure a PGCE place for a trainee. Trainees then teach a slightly reduced timetable over the academic year (around 80% of a full timetable) whilst working towards their PGCE. They are supported in School by a designated, experienced mentor who gives them regular feedback on their teaching as well as training sessions which follow the Buckingham schedule. Trainees compile an online portfolio of evidence, they have three external tutor visits per year, they complete three assignments and they attend three residential courses at the University. It is not an easy year, but the big advantage to the trainee is that they can earn a salary whilst they complete their training. Most other teacher training routes do not often offer this possibility. Over the last seven years, the majority of our trainees have passed their PGCE “outstanding”, and the remainder at “good”. WHSB pays the training fee (currently £6,750 plus a registration fee of £275), but trainees pay all or some of this back if they leave the School within a certain number of years.
Where appointments are made late in the academic year, we seek to attract good graduates to posts, but we cannot train them immediately due to university deadlines having passed. In these cases, these unqualified teachers, or Instructors, still benefit from the training and mentoring which is offered to NQTs and PGCE students, and our aim is usually to start the external training programme as soon as possible, usually the next September. Instructors have a reduced timetable, a dedicated mentor, regular feedback on teaching, and they also follow the after-School induction programme. A distinctive aspect of our training arrangements is the number of Old Westcliffians we train to be teachers, and we always welcome enquiries from Old Boys and Old Girls who are considering a career in teaching.
When qualified teachers join us from other schools, we offer an induction day in the summer (see below) as well as individualised support and training through our Appraisal system. Examples of internal training over recent years have included two different series of training sessions run by one of our Assistant Headteachers and our Senior Tutor for aspiring Pastoral Leaders, and newly appointed Heads of Department. All staff are encouraged to evaluate their own training needs as part of the Appraisal cycle.
Induction Day/Period for New Appointees
When staff are recruited to start in the September there is always an induction day for new staff on the last Wednesday in the penultimate week of the School year in July. This day is invaluable as new appointees get to meet one another and start their process of integration into the School community and their departments. The morning is spent together as a group considering the School’s systems and sanctions, and the afternoon is spent in Departments, meeting with the Head of Department, looking at Schemes of Work and observing lessons. Where new appointees are free from teaching commitments in the summer prior to starting, probably because they have recently finished at university, the Headmaster may offer a longer period of paid induction to offer the new colleague the opportunity to observe lessons and possibly gain some hands-on classroom experience.
All NQTs, PGCE trainees and Instructors come together once a term with the Headmaster for a formal dinner to celebrate that term's achievements.
Senior Teacher: Staff Tutor
Our Senior Teacher: Staff Tutor, Mrs Joy Williams (M.A. (Cantab), M.Ed (Cantab)), oversees all aspects of induction for all new staff. She coordinates NQT induction, the PGCE training and the programme for Instructors, and she organises the summer programme for new staff. She liaises with mentors, she oversees tutor visits, and she runs the after-School training programme. She also observes teaching and she is the first port of call for all problems and queries to do with any aspect of training or induction. Mrs Williams came to the School as an NQT in 1999, and having been Work Shadowing and Industry Links coordinator, then Head of French, then Head of Modern Languages, she has held her current position since 2011. In 2019, she graduated for the second time from the University of Cambridge, having undertaken a part-time MEd course in Educational Leadership and School Improvement, and the focus of her research was support for Early Career Teachers. Any potential applicant for any teaching position is welcome to contact her to discuss any aspect of the training and induction programmes outlined above.
Below are testimonials from current and former trainee Teachers at the School.
From an early age I had always loved History and upon completing my degree at the University of Southampton, I was certain that I wanted to pursue a career in teaching. Having taken 6 months working away from education and travelling around Thailand, I returned wanting to gain some experience in the classroom before starting my PGCE training. I wrote to WHSB due to its excellent reputation and because its values reflected my own; it just so happened that there was a vacancy for a Teacher of History with the possibility to train. I received my interview and was asked to teach a lesson to a group of year 9 pupils - I had never taught a lesson before so this was very daunting! Having said this, as soon as I arrived at the School I was instantly put at ease. I was impressed by the professionalism of staff, by the enthusiasm and respect shown by the students and the eagerness and love of learning which was apparent throughout the School. Since starting as an instructor in September 2018, I have gained invaluable experience in the classroom and am very grateful for the level of responsibility which I have been given since day one. I have taught a slightly reduced timetable but have had the responsibility for 9 classes ranging from Year 7 through to Year 10. Although the thought of teaching while unqualified was daunting, the support which I have received from the School has been excellent and I have been able to learn ‘on the job’. From September 2019 I am going to be completing my PGCE training with the University of Buckingham whilst continuing to teach in School alongside my studies. I am very grateful for the excellent opportunities which WHSB has afforded to me and I look forward to continuing my career at the School and facing new challenges in the years to come.
Miss R Williams (Teacher of History)
I had long considered a career in teaching and decided to pursue this when I graduated from the University of Bath in 2016. Being an Old Westcliffian, I wrote to Westcliff and they offered me a two-week placement with the School observing lessons and getting a chance to talk to others in the profession. I accepted a job as a Teaching & Administration Assistant starting in September 2016 and taught two classes throughout the year. I enjoyed this and it gave me the confidence to complete my PGCE at the University of Buckingham the following year. This was a demanding course which required a lot of teaching hours and paperwork but Westcliff ensures you are fully supported throughout with a mentor and a structured timetable of useful sessions throughout the year. In September 2018 I became Head of Harrier House which has enabled me to get more involved in the extra-curricular life of the School - I also assist at weekend fixtures and run the School's Marvel Club.
Mr J Yeo (Teacher of Mathematics, Head of Harrier House)
My desire to enter the teaching profession stemmed from a year I spent in France as an English Assistant, which gave me the perfect opportunity to engage in a school environment seeing at first-hand what a career in education would involve. After graduating from Aston University, I was given the opportunity to teach as an Instructor at WHSB, with the aim of completing a PGCE with the University of Buckingham the following year. Over the course of the two years, support and advice as well as weekly Induction Sessions are offered by both the Staff Tutor and other experienced members of staff at WHSB, and they provide the perfect foundation to understand different strategies and approaches to teach our students, which we can then apply to our own practice. Being able to actively teach during the training process quickly built my confidence and allowed for the theories and policies to be put in place from the start. Whilst the PGCE requires the juggling of paperwork alongside a teaching timetable, the ability to prioritise and time-manage has proven very useful when trying to meet the demands of the career. As part of the training, the Second School Placement at Shoeburyness High School provided an insightful experience to work in a different environment, and to work with a different cohort of students. Whilst the job can at times seem challenging, being able to work with such talented students on a daily basis makes it worthwhile!
Mr S Lilley (Teacher of English)