The majority of PCA trainee teachers are studying on the Blackpool Sea View Trust Primary School Direct or Primary School Direct with SEND programme , however, we do still offer placements to primary and secondary trainees on a range of courses from a number of universities. Historically we have offered placements to trainees from the University of Cumbria and Edge Hill University. The Universities are conscious that the Government is now recognising and committed to giving trainee teachers the valuable experience of working within specialist SEND settings. Some trainees have chosen special needs as their specialism, for others it can be their first and very valuable experience of working with children who have an EHCP. They spend up to eight weeks on placement with us, based within a class and building up their teaching time.
We have also accommodated trainees from Leeds Met, University of Manchester and Sheffield University. These tend to be experiential or enrichment placements lasting one or two weeks, where trainees have asked to do a placement within a special school setting. They are timetabled to work throughout the school including at The Oracle Sixth Form Centre to give them a true insight into the Academy.
Trainees are supported and observed by their school based mentor, a University mentor and staff within the Academy. In the past they have taken lead roles in assemblies, planned trips, taken part in school residential trips and volunteered to help at after school events. Many ex trainees return as volunteers at the end of their course or have returned to complete extra study for their dissertation based around PCA and its pupils. We also often have PCA trainee teachers return to us to start their teaching careers.
For many years we have taken trainee teachers on their final block teaching practice. On a 9 week placement they work up to a 70% teaching commitment with four formal observations. Their final report focuses on the teaching standards which provide a benchmark of the minimum requirements for recommendations for QTS. Alongside their teaching commitment they need to produce a SPAR (Student Placement Assessment Record), a monitoring and assessment file, pupil observations and a lesson plan for every lesson taught. Trainees meet weekly with their school based mentor and twice during their placement with their Professional Partnership Tutor from University.
Our most recent development within initial teacher training is from September 2018, as part of our School Direct Programme we now offer a route into teaching that specialises in SEND. School Direct is a school based initial teacher training option where each trainee is hosted in a local school. Trainees spend the majority of their time within this school immersed in school life while attending taught sessions in a local setting. Offering a SEND route means Park Community Academy now not only offers placements to trainees but is also involved in sharing specialist SEND knowledge with the next generation of teachers.
For further information on the Blackpool Sea View Trust School Direct initial teacher training programme please visit https://www.seaviewtrustschooldirect.co.uk/ you can also follow us twitter our handle is @BlackpoolSV_ITT