Nicole's Story

When looking to train to become a teacher, I knew that I wanted a school-based training route as I prefer a hands-on learning approach rather than a university classroom-based approach.

After doing some research, I found CTSN and emailed to find out more about the routes they offered. I attended an information evening held by CTSN, which I would recommend to anyone thinking about studying with CTSN or completing a SCITT. I was able to find out about the different SCITT routes offered and ask all the questions that I had. I choose CTSN based on the support and information I received over email and at this information evening because I knew that I would be supported throughout my course.

I’m extremely grateful to all the opportunities given to me while training with CTSN, from having specialist teachers teach us about their subjects to visiting a range of schools. During both my placements, I was given a mentor to support my training. Both of my mentors were extremely supportive in many different ways, they always made sure I knew where to find resources, what schemes to follow and answered any questions I had. The mentors helped to tailor aspects of my training to suit my learning needs; this took place in our weekly mentor meetings.

During these meetings, we would look at the previous week and the teaching standards to decide on a target for the following week. This enabled me to progress as a teacher and develop my skills in order to meet the teaching standards. Not only did I feel supported from my mentor but the school as a whole, during both my placements I had a parallel teacher who also offered support, especially if my mentor was absent or not around at that time. The teachers were always very keen to help or assist and allowed me to observe any of their lessons.

My senior tutor was incredibly supportive throughout the whole course, especially answering any questions I had, no matter how silly they seemed. I felt nervous for my first formal observation, but my senior tutor made me feel at ease and it felt like she wasn’t there.

~ Nicole, Primary

I knew I could always go to her with any problems and we had regular tutorials to make sure that I was on track to pass the course. She also made sure that I was supported during my placements and my mentor knew and understood her role.

I never felt like I would ever be good enough to become a teacher and there were times during the course where something didn’t quite go right. However, my mentor and senior tutor were always there to show me that teaching isn’t always perfect and pointed out all of the positives with my teaching. Without this support, I would never have felt like I would have been able to become a teacher.

Each week we had a core training day, this allowed us to learn from some of the best teachers in Cambridgeshire. These teachers were passionate about their specialist subject which made the training engaging and interesting. I really enjoyed the hands-on aspects of the core training, as we were able to experience lessons, activities and resources just as the children in our class would. There was a different focus for the core training each week and this related to any teaching we were going to do in the following weeks. I found this supported any planning I needed to do, and I was able to use my own learning in my planning and lessons.

As part of my SCITT, I also completed a PGCE. This showed me the importance of completing evidence-based practice and how I can use this to improve my own practice. Being an evidence-based practitioner is something that I will be able to take with me into my NQT year and beyond.

I’ve shared this experience with other trainees, we supported and guided each other through every aspect of the course. Each week we were able to discuss our teaching, placement and generally life. We celebrated each other’s successes and helped with any lows, teaching related or not.

I’m extremely grateful for all the support, learning and guidance I was given throughout my time with CTSN. I would highly recommend CTSN and a SCITT to anyone. I can’t wait to put everything I’ve learned into practice. I am now teaching in a local Cambridgeshire school and enjoying my NQT year.