4 February 2021

More than 20 students at Birkenhead Sixth Form College have completed a national programme aimed at identifying and developing young people who could go into the teaching profession and inspire the next generation of learners.

The ‘Tomorrow’s Teachers’ scheme by TES (formerly the Times Education Supplement) aims to empower and enable schools and colleges to recognise potential teachers of the future and create a pathway so that those students gain relevant skills, knowledge and experience to then go on to choose a career in the vocation.

TES act as the facilitator of the course, but each institution is free to choose how it’s delivered, with Sociology teacher at the College, Ellen Strachan, taking the reigns of leading the project, which this year has taken place in a virtual setting due to lockdown restrictions.

Students were signposted to the course via their assigned tutors and our dedicated Student Engagement Officer as part of the extensive careers programme on offer at Birkenhead Sixth Form College, and joined the course on a voluntary basis given their interest in teaching in the future. 

The course was divided into 12 modules, each focusing on a different aspect of the teaching profession and allowing students to think about and experience a classroom and learning situation from an alternative perspective for the first time, working through a discovery of taking charge of a class, what teachers do day-to-day, and what makes them great at their jobs.

The nearly two dozen students will shortly receive a certificate from TES to acknowledge their achievements, and the experience will not only serve their university and job applications extremely well, but perhaps even more importantly, will have open students’ eyes as to what it entails to make their future goals a reality.

Second year student, Abbie Dennis, who took part on the course, has wanted to become a PE and Sports teacher for as long as she can remember.

Abbie said: “This course really helped me so much and made me understand the more undiscussed parts of being a teacher, so it really helped my understand the many different ways a teacher can mark work or produce a lesson.

“Ellen helped me understand the ways we could do the teaching course at university, so for example, she told us how we can stay in uni to do our PGCE or we can apply to a school directly and do our final year there."

Abbie concluded: “Doing this course has made me know for definite that I really do want to be a teacher and it’s helped me in so many ways. Ellen even helped us know how to plan a lesson and the key parts of what makes us create such memorable lesson for students. Being on this course has opened many doors for me to look through and know what I want to be in the future.”

Course leader and Sociology teacher, Ellen, said: “We’ve had a really good number of students from both first and second years sign up to the course and I think they’ve really taken something positive from it. From my own personal experience, I know that I would have benefitted enormously from taking part in something like this, because a lot of the knowledge that I was sharing and a lot of the research that students were undertaking was based around things that I only learned after I had started down the career path, sometimes only in the classroom itself. To be equipped with these tools before even settling on a specific career or vocation for the future is invaluable.”

Ellen continued: “Sometimes discovering what you don’t want to do in your working life is as important and finding what you do want to do, and having this insight and experience can do just that. Even within the teaching profession, a lot of people will go into it with an idea that they are set on teaching in primary school, or only a certain thing to a certain age group. I know that I had always thought that I wanted to be a primary teacher, but experience of the job changed my mind and I found out that teaching older age groups was much more suited to me. This course has given the students a chance to get well ahead in that voyage of discovery.”

Offering more than just an academic education is at the heart of what the College stands for and why so many students finish their time with us with opportunities and life-skills that they wouldn't elsewhere. From building relationships through the Girls' Network to attending access courses for Oxbridge applicants, and learning British Sign Language to places on specialist schemes for future lawyers, we encourage our students to Do More and Be More by exploring every avenue to open doors for their futures.