There are a number of advantages to school centred initial teacher training (which is what SCITT stands for)
First, all the tutors on the course are expert teachers, who still teach in school. They know what it is like in the classroom and are up to date with the latest developments in schools, and with learning & teaching. Also, a school centred course will maximise the time you spend in school, spending four days a week in school from the very beginning of the course, and throughout your training year.
Whilst this ensures the practical relevance of your training, we are also very aware of the need for teachers to continually update their professional knowledge. Research and development is another one of the core features of a Teaching School; you might want to take a look at the CTSN research journal, which reports how the research of teachers in the CTSN network contributes to the development of our professional knowledge. We have very good links with the Chartered College of Teaching, and offer subsidised membership for all our school based mentors, ensuring that they will be able to help you understand the ways in which teachers are always developing their professional knowledge; (all ITT trainees are offered free membership). All our trainees are involved in the development of professional knowledge through action research; for the non salaried/bursary trainees this will be part of the PGCE qualification (from 2019), which we are planning to offer, in partnership with the University of Greenwich (subject to validation).
Moreover, there is an ongoing relationship with the local school network. Each of the lead schools with which we work has its own network of partnership schools, and so a school centred teacher training course has very strong roots in the local school network. Around 90% of our trainees go on to work in local schools; this is a very high proportion, showing clearly the benefit to both schools and trainees of close collaboration between schools and the SCITT. We are delighted that our network of schools is expanding so that, from 2019, all trainees will have a choice of whether they would prefer to do their core training in either Cambridge or Bury St Edmunds.
Finally, the Cambridge Teaching School Network (CTSN) is, just like all the Teaching School Alliances with whom we work, committed to the highest quality professional development at all stages of a teacher’s career. Having well trained teachers, with access to on-going, high quality, professional development is clearly important to all schools, and is the reason why there are Teaching Schools in the first place. This means that training with CTSN SCITT is so much more than a one year training course; it is the beginning of a career-long journey of high quality, professional development, supporting you throughout your teaching career.
CTSN has been providing Initial teacher Training since 2003; it has a well-established and wide ranging school partnership, incorporated many outstanding and good schools.
The last time it was inspected was in 2014, when there were only 15 secondary trainees (now, there are 65 in both primary and secondary). Then, Ofsted noted the following strengths of the provision:
- the high employment rates and the contribution of the partnership to meeting local needs;
- the increase in the recruitment of highly qualified trainees and trainees who reach an outstanding level of teaching;
- the wide experience and expertise of trainers and increasing breadth of training settings used, including placements in contrasting schools;
- the good quality of mentoring, supported by mentor training, written guidance and support provided for mentors;
- the cohesive vision for initial teacher education and continuing professional development, including subject leadership development;
- efficient management, supported by effective communications, which contribute to a strong ethos of professionalism across the partnership.