Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends

I am fortunate that one of my roles as Assistant Teacher at The Holt is the responsibility for Initial Teacher Training ( ITT) and Early Career Teachers (ECTs) , this week I have been involved in a flurry of activities concerning the new entrants to our profession.

Monday was the start of the first full week for our six Reading partnership trainees (RPTs) who have joined us for their second school placement.  They are with us until February half term and during this short amount of time will be able to develop their teaching skills and experience in a different context to their main placement school.   We work very closely with Reading University and other local schools, as part of the Wokingham Secondary Federation, to recruit and train teachers.  In fact on Thursday The Wokingham Federation ITTCos met as a group to attend the online meeting at Reading University.  We share advice and support, and work hard to ensure that our RPTs are able to have the best experience possible in local schools. As a group of eight Wokingham Schools we also recruit teachers to the profession through the School Direct route.

It was sad but perhaps not surprising to hear that recruitment numbers are down on previous years; teaching does tend to get a bad press. So, in an effort to attract new colleagues to our profession I have asked several teachers what they found the most rewarding about teaching.  

when I have planned a lesson and the students enjoyed it and got it, it makes everything worthwhile’

‘engaging with young people’

‘when students openly enjoy your subject and show it’’

‘working with young people gives me hope for the future’

‘opening students minds to careers in the creative industry’

‘laughing every day’

‘every day is different’

‘being paid to talk about your favourite subject’

‘I love the fact that I’m helping students build their confidence and that you see them grow and develop.  I have particularly enjoyed coaching the Year 9 and 10 cricket teams. ‘

‘being involved in students’ learning process in a subject that I am deeply passionate about, and seeing them make tangible progress every lesson.’

‘guiding students so that they can go above and beyond their targets whilst exploring their academic and cultural curiosity around my subjects.’ 

‘ the most rewarding thing is the relationships I develop with the students and to see that they understand the value of what they are learning.’

‘when a student has that light bulb moment and just gets it, you can see it in their face!’

when my students are showing great confidence to write and/or speak lovely French/Spanish phrases and express their opinion on a specific topic. In using their long-term memory and prior knowledge.’

the students’ energy keeps me young!’

how bit by bit the learning has built up over the sequenced lessons, with my scaffolding, this idea of shaping the next generations knowledge but also their confidence and motivation is particularly rewarding.’

Teaching is often hard work and always challenging, we often need to work at evenings and weekends, but I absolutely agree with the comments above, it is an amazing and rewarding career.

We are now in the second year of the Early Career Teacher programme, where support is now available to new entrants to the profession. They receive a specific package of support and guidance which has extended the old NQT Induction by a year and in addition provided a specific study programme combining online resources and activities with training sessions and conferences. It has also raised the profile of the ECT mentor and provided significant training for those who carry out this vital and important role. Once again, we work with Wokingham Federation to run the face-to-face training sessions. Last week our ECT Mentors attended a one-day conference at The Cantley Park Hotel, a real treat, I presented a session, along with AHT St Crispin’s, and mentoring experts from Reading University and Wellington College. This week the ECT1s will attend the same venue to focus on building effective classroom practice. I am happy to say that two of our teachers Mrs Rooms and Mrs Barker will be delivering sessions and two of our ECT2s will be on the panel. The two year induction also means that ECTs have mentor time and a slightly reduced timetable for two years rather than one, something that has been very welcomed.

This is what our ECTs say about the programme.

the reduced timetable and the scheduled chance to talk to a mentor is definitely a help.’

‘ the regular mentor meetings are really helpful in terms of sharing experiences and discussing new ways of approaching topics which I can then implement throughout the week, whilst the online training has given me strategies that I am now using almost every lesson.’

‘I’m finding the ECT programme quite useful to support my self-reflection around my practise as well as to guide discussions during mentor meetings. This has proved invaluable over time, as it allowed me to receive tailored feedback and advice around each aspect of my practise.’

‘I love to have a mentor whom I talk to when I need it. I find it useful to have independent study material as well because it gives me new ideas to try in my lessons.’

‘Both, the support provided by The ECT programme and my mentor allows me to deepen my understanding and diversify my teaching pedagogy. Revisiting these key concepts regularly is crucial, as it allows me to constantly reflect upon my teaching practice as well as exploring them through different angles.’

According to Reading University there are shortages of applicants in these subjects –  Computer Science, Design and Technology, Drama ,Geography,  MFL, Music , Religious Education  and Sciences. Bursaries are available –

If you or someone you know are thinking about a teaching career or know anyone who is… here are some links!

Enquiries or information about training to teach in Wokingham.


I hope I may have persuaded at least one of you! 

Yvonne Smith

Assistant Headteacher