Thursday, 21 March 2024 16:14

Catholic over-representation among trainee teachers - data

Catholic schools are producing disproportionately more trainee teachers, due in part to recruiting their own pupils  and parents.   

Three Catholic secondaries in Surrey have supplied 13 out of 80, or 16%, of student teachers at a major training provider for the South East thanks to a drive for recruiting among current and former pupils and parents. Catholic schools represent 9% of state-funded education in England.

Xavier Catholic Education Trust, made up of those three secondary schools as well as 12 primaries in the county, also encompasses Xavier Teaching School Hub and Xavier Teach SouthEast, an Ofsted outstanding-rated initial teacher training (ITT) provider serving the region. 

James Kibble is Chief Executive Officer of Xavier Catholic Education Trust, and former Headteacher of Salesian School, a mixed Catholic comprehensive for 1,800 pupils aged 11-18, in Chertsey, in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. He said that Salesian School has historically looked to within for new trainee teachers, including even recruiting three parents of former students for the current intake.  

“We’ve always had it - I don’t really know how schools survive if they’re not looking to the long term.

“It started with the sixth form, offering opportunities to try out being a teaching assistant in a secondary or a local primary,” he said. “We talk to the students about their career programme, about locations, and involve specialists in teaching up to when they leave. 

“We try to be as creative as possible. When there have been real shortages, we look at subject lists of pupils for those with potential and give them experience. If they’re good enough they’re taken on as unqualified graduate teachers to be trained through the year. Some former pupils are assistant headteachers now, it can make you feel old!

“It’s through keeping in touch — we stay in contact, but it’s really in the second year of university that they’re asked to think about it. We get them on an internship for four weeks in the summer term, and interview them before they leave for their third year of university, then have them back as a graduate teaching assistant while they’re deciding. They might then enter the programme, though some go straight into Initial Teacher Training.”

OConnor Ellie Staff Photo

Case study: Ellie O’Connor (pictured) is a former Salesian School pupil undertaking a teacher training course with Xavier Teach SouthEast. 

She described her time at the school as being very much part of a community, which proved its worth during the pandemic when her graphic design course at university went entirely online and she wanted some practical experience. Her old art teacher suggested applying for an art technician vacancy at Salesian. 

Ellie said: “Once I started working there I really enjoyed helping students unlock their creative potential and come up with new ideas, as well as sharing my subject knowledge on different artists and techniques. 

“Coming back to this community and being able to be a part of the teaching side and getting to work alongside so many inspiring teachers that helped me through my GCSEs, A-Levels and young adult life was really what pushed me to go on and do my SCITT training with Teach South East — I wanted to make a difference to someone else's life, like my teachers had made to mine. 

“Now I am an art teacher in my first year as an ECT and my head of department taught me all the way from Year 7 to 13, so to be able to work closely alongside someone my parents trusted with my education has been amazing. 

“I would encourage anyone to get into teaching, it's such a rewarding job and I feel so lucky that I get to teach at my old school.”

Ultimately, for Xavier it’s a matter of long-term forward planning and collaboration between academy trusts, schools and parishes for this Catholic approach to new teacher recruitment.   

James said: “It’s obviously a long game, of at least four or five years. Particularly if you want people who understand your Catholic ethos, who better than the pupils who’ve been steeped in it throughout their education?

“Before it was more about encouragement, but now we have a huge emphasis, we had to be a lot more structured about it and it’s grown and grown.”

Find out more about Xavier Teach SouthEast

Read 2732 times Last modified on Friday, 22 March 2024 16:34