What is a PGCE?
A PGCE is a Postgraduate Certificate in Education that allows University graduates to train and prepare for teaching careers. Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) is a requirement in all UK state schools, and many UK independent schools require QTS as an internal policy.
Do I need a PGCE to work at New Hall?
Yes. At New Hall, we feel that rigorous training allows our teachers to be the best they can possibly be, which in turn creates a more productive learning environment for our students, who are our constant priority. No matter whether they are just starting out in their career or have twenty years under their belt, all teachers can and should strive to improve their teaching, and our commitment to PGCE training reflects this belief.
But we also understand that learning on the job can be more effective than reading theory, and that graduates want to get their hands-on experience and a salary as quickly as possible. That’s why we choose to invest in future teachers, allowing them to study their PGCE here at New Hall, alongside teaching and earning right from day one.
How does teacher training at New Hall work?
Graduates who are keen to train as teachers are able to apply for a one-year training contract as a Graduate Teacher at New Hall. In addition to the salary offered for this post, and accommodation for those trainees who are attached to a boarding house, the School fully funds the cost of the training.
Each trainee is provided with a mentor for the academic year who supports them in completing the PGCE (with QTS). All of the New Hall mentors are outstanding teachers with significant skills and experience; many of the mentors are Heads of Department and/or members of the Senior Leadership Team. The mentor acts as a supportive guide to the trainee, modelling best practice and meeting with them on a weekly basis to guide them through both the theory and practice of the teacher training process. Trainees will have the opportunity to observe a range of teachers in order to observe best practice and develop the skills of effective pedagogy.
Some trainees choose to stay on at New Hall and develop their careers with us, whilst others move on to different independent schools.
New Hall also has an extensive support programme for Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs), working in partnership with IStip. Every year, NQTs are assigned a mentor and encouraged to participate in the School’s teacher training programme and ‘sharing best practice’ sessions.
What makes New Hall’s teacher training special?
New Hall’s approach to teacher training is innovative and cutting-edge. Teachers use online learning platforms, iPads and various interactive technologies as part of their repertoire of skills. During the period of remote learning brought about by Covid-19, New Hall trainee teachers were trained to deliver live lessons through MS Teams and were able to master other resources such as Nearpod to ensure online lessons were interactive, engaging and closely aligned to the experience of being in the classroom. Throughout the training year, the Director of Studies leads regular ‘sharing best practice’ sessions during which various approaches to teaching and learning are shared with the trainees and opportunities for discussion and collaboration are strongly encouraged.
The high-quality training provided by New Hall has been commended by the University of Buckingham, who awarded the School with the Certificate of Excellence in Mentoring in 2020. Paul Bray (Director of Studies) has been appointed as a Lead Mentor by the University, helping to support and develop mentors nationally and share the exemplary practice that takes place at New Hall with other schools. He is also part of the first cohort of postgraduate students studying an MA in Mentoring at the University of Buckingham, the only course of its kind in the UK.
What do some of our past and present trainees say?
James Pollard PGCE Testimonial:
I have thoroughly enjoyed undertaking my PGCE studies whilst teaching at New Hall in the History and Politics Departments. The support I have received from my Heads of Department (Sarah Garside and Andy Bowman) as well as Paul Bray and most significantly my mentor, Sophie Blythe-Tinker, has helped me to adjust quickly to my teaching responsibilities. The guidance and advice from such experienced and dedicated colleagues has been invaluable. Alongside weekly meetings to discuss and review my continual progress within teaching, we have had half termly ‘sharing best practice’ meetings with other trainees and experienced staff which have been crucial as a time for reflection and professional development. New Hall School’s high standards and caring community has provided a secure footing for me to begin my journey to a long career in teaching, a journey which I look forward to continuing at New Hall in the future.
Mitchell Bond NQT Testimonial:
Having completed my Initial Teacher Training in two local state schools, I was incredibly grateful for the support and guidance that was offered to me by the school. It made the transition into the independent sector far easier. It was incredibly helpful having weekly meetings with both my NQT mentor and the Head of Drama to discuss my progress and areas for development. This was a real confidence booster as it was a great opportunity to share good practice and highlight stronger areas of my teaching practice. This also gave me the opportunity to reflect on lessons and fine tune different areas of my teaching. As well as the official mentor meetings, there were regular opportunities for internal CPD. I also found that most staff would be willing to stop and chat if they have the time. New Hall was a wonderful place to undertake my NQT year: it was a nurturing and encouraging place to work, and I am very happy to be starting my fifth year at the school in September.
Olivia Coote NQT Testimonial:
After finishing my PGCE at the Institute of Education (UCL), I embarked upon my NQT year at New Hall in the role of Psychology A Level teacher. The nurturing environment was evident immediately and continued throughout, adding to the wonderful experience for my first year. As an NQT, I was required to complete several lesson observations of other teachers. My teaching style and practise was observed by my NQT mentor, and I was also required to plan and reflect upon my lessons, as well as document my progress towards the teaching standards. Throughout my NQT year I felt very well supported by Paul Bray, my NQT mentor, with whom I met weekly in order to discuss various aspects of my teaching practice. Our meetings and discussions were valuable to me in helping to build on my teaching skills. I was also extremely grateful for the support and guidance I received from my Head of Department, Charlotte Milan-Vega, who helped me to broaden my knowledge of the examination specification and criteria. Completing an NQT year in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic obviously provided a source of extreme challenge. The whole staff had to adapt quickly and learn how to make use of resources, skills and IT in new ways to reach and interact with our students. Beyond my own department, colleagues at New Hall were extremely welcoming, approachable and steadfast with friendly advice and suggestions. It was good to have the benefit of their experience. I thoroughly enjoy my role at New Hall as it is a pleasure to teach such a dedicated and hard-working group of Sixth Form students who possess a genuine passion for Psychology. Over the last academic year, it has been satisfying to see more students choosing Psychology A Level and to have so many choosing Psychology or Psychology-related degrees at university. This year I have had the opportunity to coordinate and run the Psychology Society so I am very excited about upcoming projects/events related to that such as mental health awareness week. I am soon to embark on my third year teaching at New Hall and feel incredibly excited to develop my teaching career here.