Norfolk Teaching Training Centre Helping Tackle Region's STEM Teacher Shortage
Norfolk Teacher Training Centre (NTTC) has placed its latest cohort of trainees in Norfolk high schools, with this year’s intake set to make a big impact in the Sciences and Maths - subjects where the need for new teachers is particularly acute.
NTTC is bucking national teacher recruitment trends
Despite rising numbers of young people choosing to study STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) at A Level, there has been a worrying national decline in the numbers of new teachers with degrees in STEM subjects entering the profession.
Figures from UCAS revealed that applications for teacher training courses for 2018/19 were down by 21 per cent in Physics, by 9 per cent in Chemistry, and by 6 per cent in Maths compared to the previous year. Overall, across all subjects, teacher training applications were down by 2 per cent nationally.
The good news for Norfolk schools is that NTTC is bucking the national trend. The 49 new trainees represent an increase of a third on last year’s intake, meaning NTTC has increased its trainee numbers every year since its inception in September 2014.
Almost 60% of this year's NTTC trainees are training to teach in STEM subjects - an increase of 34% on the previous year.
Advantages of the school-based approach
The key to NTTC’s success in recruiting trainee STEM teachers may lie in the structure of the school-based route into teaching, which sees trainees placed in classrooms 4 days a week, right from the first full week of term. NTTC’s Director, Paul McCann, explains:
Almost by definition, those with a STEM background tend to be quite practical in their approach. They can see the advantages of learning through direct practical experience and are keen to get stuck in to classroom teaching as quickly as possible. This is something NTTC can offer.
Trainee Maths teacher Philomena Bacon is one of those looking forward to putting her ideas into practice in the classroom:
I’m an accountant/economist graduate, so I’ve worked in industry and used my degrees in an applied way. I would like to leave a legacy for the future and that is to share what I’ve learnt and to learn from others in schools. I want to be out there and I want to take the theory and put it into practice.
A brilliant opportunity
Matthew Chown, NTTC trainee Chemistry teacher, adds:
My Chemistry teachers at school always made it really engaging and fun. The idea of being able to do that with other people, to get them into a subject that maybe they’ve not considered before, is a brilliant opportunity.
Martha Rees says that school-based training is important to her as a trainee Textiles teacher:
I knew that I always wanted to be a teacher. But I didn’t like the idea of a PGCE, of just sitting in a classroom, because my subject is so practical. As soon as I read about this I was just so excited and got my enthusiasm back. There are lots of subjects where Textiles, Textile Design, Art, are invaluable, if you’re going into something like architecture for example. That’s why I want to teach, to go and show the possibilities.
Good news for schools in our region
In summary, Mr McCann says:
This year’s record intake of NTTC trainees is really good news for schools in our region. We actively seek out high calibre graduates who have already demonstrated an enthusiasm and aptitude for teaching. After graduating the vast majority of NTTC trainees take up their first teaching posts with local schools, often with partner schools where they completed placements. We are looking forward to another successful year in 2018/19.