Durham Sixth Form Centre is one of a number of schools and colleges using the Great Teaching Toolkit as part of a group led by Education Durham. With this partnership having begun almost a year ago at the time of writing, we caught up with Sue Barnard, Teacher and ITT Programme Lead at DSFC, about her experience using the GTT so far.
How has the GTT helped you and your colleagues?
My colleague and I are responsible for delivering the ITT programme at DSFC, I run the PGCE PCET course and coordinate mini placements for other institutions who deliver SCITT programmes. The GTT has been instrumental in updating our knowledge of educational theory, allowing us time to reflect on our practice and put into practice what is being taught on the course. Our curriculum lead has delivered some brilliant whole-staff CPD, which has been very much supported by the GTT and doing the Science of Learning Programme course has really cemented our understanding of it.
How have you found the experience of working through the courses and programmes?
I have found them enjoyable, really informative, and the activities are varied and interesting (perhaps I could go as far as to say fun!).
Doing the Science of Learning Programme alongside a colleague in the same area has been hugely beneficial as it has allowed for some really rich conversations on our classroom practice, particularly around retrieval and spacing. We have followed the recommended schedule of meetings, and to be honest they are so useful that the time goes very quickly—we often find ourselves discussing aspects of the meetings the next day!
How has your coordinator supported you and your colleagues to use the GTT?
Our coordinator is embedding a lot of the course into the whole-school CPD so there is a level of familiarity already. He has regular meetings with myself and my course partner to discuss our progress; it feels like it’s acknowledged that having the time and freedom to explore these topics in sufficient depth is key, and we find the right balance of light-touch support among our staff.
Finally, what would you say to other colleges, schools or teachers considering using the GTT?
Do it! The GTT is a must for teachers at any level. I have been teaching for 20 years and find the courses invaluable as tools to help develop my practice and inform me of current theory. The design of the courses is excellent, with a good balance of videos, text, activities to challenge and inform.
If you would like to speak to one of the team about how you might implement the Toolkit at your school or college, simply fill out this form, and one of the team will be in touch!