As a National Teaching School, we are committed to the development of teachers and future leaders in education and strive to provide the best possible training.
We are very proud of the teachers who have successfully completed their training through the St Thomas More Catholic Alliance and currently a high number of our teaching staff have been trained through the alliance.
As well as teacher training, we offer school to school support in both teaching and non-teaching areas.
Initial Teacher Training
Why train with the St Thomas More Catholic Alliance?
A comprehensive programme of support
We offer an outstanding teacher training provision with a rigorous programme of support, coaching and mentoring. Consequently, trainees enjoy success and are well prepared for their Early Careers Teacher (ECT) year. The two lead schools for Initial Teaching Training (ITT) in the alliance, both rated ‘Outstanding’ for Teaching and Learning, are able to ensure that all trainees are mentored by outstanding teachers.
A structured system of coaching, observations and cross-alliance continuing professional development (CPD) enables all trainees to learn from outstanding practitioners both inside and outside their subject specialism.
A personal approach
Our teacher training programme is designed to train participants to become outstanding teachers and leaders. We have developed close relationships with Canterbury Christ Church University, The Institute of Education (IoE) and Teach First and work closely with university tutors to support trainees. The design of the programme is dynamic and is informed by feedback from participants and university requirements. On average, we take on around 30 School Direct participants each year, a large enough cohort so that participants can learn from each other but small enough to ensure that the training provision is personalised. We also train student teachers from a range of other ITT routes.
A track record of outstanding teaching and learning
We have been involved with School Direct since it was first launched as a pilot programme. Our emphasis on teacher training has positively influenced the teaching and learning culture of the alliance, underpinning the huge improvements we have made in all of our alliance schools over the past decade and our status as a National Teaching School. Our in-school training has been highly commended by our partner institutions, including the IoE and Teach First, who have used us a training base on several occasions.
School Direct Course
Our teaching school alliance is a provider of the School Direct teacher training route in partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University. We offer both the School Direct (Salaried) and School Direct (tuition fee) route. These are both school based routes into teaching for graduates who are looking for a practical, ‘hands on’, teacher training experience.
The programme lasts for one academic year (September – July), during which participants undertake two high quality placements across our alliance. Most of this time is spent in the ‘home school’; participants start in September in this allocated school and are part of the staff community from day one.
Trainees will then undertake their second placement of four weeks in a contrasting school within the alliance, helping to broaden experiences in advance of the NQT year. This combination of placements makes up 90% of the programme. The remaining 10% of the training programme is made up of training days at Canterbury Christ Church University. These training days focus on pedagogical development and aim to enable trainees to understand the theory behind teaching.
As part of their placement, all trainees are assigned a subject mentor whose role is to support trainees throughout the year. Everyone will also receive weekly professional development sessions with a professional mentor in their placement school.
The school will consider financial support for trainees who wish to take the optional PGCE modules as part of their programme.
Generally, trainees will have different levels of school and classroom experience as they embark on their programme, therefore the teaching commitments of trainees will vary according to previous experience.
We offer the School Direct Training (tuition fee) and the School Direct Salaried Training courses across the schools within the alliance. The salaried route is aimed at high quality graduates, allowing trainees to learn ‘on the job’ and earn a salary whilst working towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). The tuition fee route is also school based leading to QTS but the school will not be your employer and is unsalaried. More information about the School Direct training programme can be found on the UCAS website https://www.ucas.com/teacher-training-routes-england?filter=
Generally, we recruit for the following subject each year:
- Modern Foreign Languages
School Direct Training (tuition fee) are marked with an asterisk (*).
How to Apply for Teacher Training
All of our teacher training places are co-ordinated through one of the alliance schools, St George's Roman Catholic School, Lanark Road, Maida Vale, W9 1RB. They coordinate the initial application process and successful applicants will then be offer training placement at one of the schools in our network.
Department for Education application
All applications are via the DfE website and our processed centrally at our sister School, St George's Catholic School.
Use this service to apply for a postgraduate teacher training course.
Available courses for teacher training are available on the St George's school website.. Visit St George's Teacher training here.
The application is the first stage; we assess all of the applications we receive and invite selected candidates to interview. The interview is with a representative of the teaching school alliance, a subject specialist and the course lead from our partner university. You will also be required to take a literacy and numeracy assessment as part of the interview process.
We are looking for people who are passionate about getting into teaching and working with young people. Before applying we would expect you to have had some experience of working with young people (not necessarily in a paid capacity) and are committed to undertaking some experience of observations in schools before starting your training.
All applicants must have a minimum of grade C or 4 in GCSE English and Mathematics. For primary applicants you must also have a minimum of grade C or 4 in GCSE Science.
As a trainee teacher on our programme, we expect candidates to:
- Hold an honours degree (preferable 2.1 or above)
- A good level of written and spoken English
- The capacity to be a valued member of a team
- Demonstrate an aptitude for teaching
- Have very high standards for the children and themselves
- Be committed to inclusion of all
- Have a genuine interest in educational thinking and debate
- Have the ability and willingness to continuously reflect, improve and learn from mistakes
- Have high levels of interpersonal and communication skills
- Have the ability to sustain optimism, energy and a positive outlook under pressure and challenges
- Have the capacity for hard work and a sense of humour
- Support the Catholic ethos of the alliance schools
An enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS) is required for entry to Initial Teacher Training.
School Direct Testimonials
Ms M Nelken, Teacher of English/Pastoral Assistant
“I think the School Direct route is the most effective route for those with previous experience in a school setting. Being in a school from September to July prepared me well for what was to come and I found the transition to my NQT year very smooth. At the same time, it is also a relatively flexible route, which takes into account each individual trainee's strengths and weaknesses.” – 2016/2017
Ms C Thomas, Head of Year/Associate Senior Leader
“I completed the School Direct route into teaching at St Thomas More Catholic School and I would highly recommend it! I was supported throughout my training year by my mentors and all members of staff. I got hands-on classroom experience and was an active member of the school community from September to July. Gaining my QTS at St Thomas More prepared me well for my teaching career.” – 2013/2014
Mr L Wood
“It was in September 2013 that I began my teacher training with St Thomas More Catholic School via the School Direct route. I opted for the School Direct training course so that I could gain valuable insights into daily school life, to enhance my overall teacher skills and to maximise my learning experience.
From September, I worked directly in the classroom with the support of knowledgeable and helpful mentors. My lessons were planned thoroughly with designated planning time. I was then able to deliver creative lessons aimed at supporting pupils learning by implementing different learning strategies. Throughout the year, my mentors and I met to discuss and reflect key developmental points. This was vital in enabling me to understand personal progression throughout the entirety of the course.
My training was diversified in that I was given appropriate time to observe outstanding practice from colleagues in other subject areas. This enhanced my ability to understand and practice pupil management using school specific behavioural policies, to differentiate tasks to engage all learners, and to see the impact of outstanding pedagogy on pupil progress.
Within the school I was further supported on the course by constant feedback from my mentors combined with exponential growth in my professional development. Each week, trainees attended sessions at St Thomas More Catholic School Training Centre. The sessions were aimed at critical areas of school life, ranging from organising time management skills, to understanding safeguarding responsibilities. The school was conscientious to organise and provide sessions to be delivered by a different internal or a guest speaker each week. I found it extremely beneficial as it gave me a great opportunity to discuss issues and ideas with people in the same position as myself, as well as sharing our real-life classroom experiences.
At different points throughout the course, I attended Canterbury University to meet with fellow trainees along with my psychology mentor. Subsequently, I was able to receive and give feedback for specific areas of strength as well as areas that needed improvement. I felt adequately supported by fellow trainees as we were able to share our experiences and to think critically about how we could solve pertinent problems that arise within our classrooms.
My training through the School Direct route was further enhanced during my NQT year. Fortunately, I remained within my placement school. As a result, I had a strong sense of continuity in my professional development as a teacher. Even more satisfyingly, I was able to continue to help and improve students which I had previously worked with the year before. Thus, I was given an opportunity to truly impact student achievement and progress during the course of my development.” – 2013/3014
Within the alliance, we are extremely fortunate to have a number of Specialist Leaders in Education whose experiences, specialisms and leadership have been instrumental in the development of our teacher training programme.
National Leaders in Education
National leaders in education are strong school leaders who have experience of effectively supporting schools in challenging circumstances. In addition to leading their own schools, NLEs work to increase the leadership capacity of other schools to help raise standards.
Martin Tissot, Executive Headteacher, Cardinal Hume Academies Trust Director, NLE
Martin Tissot is the Executive Headteacher of each school within the alliance, as well as a Cardinal Hume Academies Trust Director, the Trust in which each school is part of. He specialises in General School Improvements and Multi-Academy Trust Partnerships.
Specialist Leaders in Education
Specialist leaders in education are outstanding middle and senior leaders who have the skills to develop the capacity and capability of other leaders so that they have the skills to lead their own teams and improve practice in their own schools.
Simon Bent, Teaching & Learning & Geography
Simon is a Deputy Headteacher responsible for Teaching, Learning and Assessment. He is a Specialist Leader in Education with specialism in developing ITT programmes and supporting geography teachers and leaders to build and sustain capacity for improvement.
Daniela Prina, English
Daniela Prina is an experienced Head of English, taking her department to a Progress 8 figure among the highest in the country. As well as her strong departmental leadership, Daniela has a strong understanding of the English Curricular.
Winnie Greer, Leadership Development & CPD
Winnie Greer is a senior teacher who has overall responsibility for the catholic life within the alliance. She is a specialist leader in education with a focus on developing capacity in leadership management, coaching and mentoring. She is currently supporting leaders and managers within all schools in the alliance, providing effective and practical coaching to develop the skills of future leaders in education. Several of those mentored by Ms Greer have gone on to hold high-level management positions in various schools across the alliance. As a former Deputy Head, her expert knowledge stems from a wealth of experience, both at middle level and senior level management.
As well as a wide rage of Specialist Leaders, the alliance has a vast number of Lead Practitioners. Leading practitioners are those teachers whose primary purpose is to model and lead improvements of teaching skills. Our teachers who take on these roles are not only instrumental in ensuring continued school improvement but act as mentors to those in their departments and beyond.
Ms C Murden, St George’s School - Maths
Ms D Prina, Bishop Douglass School - English
Ms V Torpos, Bishop Douglass School - MFL
Ms V Hadden, St George’s School - History
Mr S Bent, Bishop Douglass School - Geography
Ms C Dunne, St Thomas More School - Geography
Mr J McKay, St George's School, Highly-Able,
Mr D Saunders, St Thomas More Catholic School - Sixth Form
Mr S Taylor, St George’s School - PSHE
Mr J Reed, Bishop Douglass School - Music
Ms C Rosen, St Thomas More Catholic School - Drama
Ms I Goursaud, Cross-Alliance - SEN
Mr A Rosen, St Thomas More Catholic School - PE
Ms T Warriner, St Thomas More Catholic School - Sociology
Ms H Barnes, St George’s School - Psychology
Mr C Lynch, St George’s School - Media
Mr C Golle, Bishop Douglass School - Art
Mrs M Confino, St Thomas More Catholic School - Science
Continuing Professional and Leadership Development
Each school within the alliance offers a wide range of varied CPD opportunities.
Associate Senior Leadership Scheme
The “Associate Senior Leadership” (ASL) scheme is an established developmental programme, facilitating the rapid progression of talented staff of varying levels of experience by placing them as full members of the school’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT). This programme is supported by a one of our SLEs, an expert external mentor, who meets regularly with ASLs. Each ASL is assigned different areas of responsibility, including one major responsibility for which they must demonstrate impact on pupils and staff. The mentor meetings help ASLs to reflect on their progress as well as engaging in discussion about the principles of effective leadership.
The scheme is also available to other schools. If your school is interested in participating in the scheme then please contact Simon Bent via email@example.com
Teaching and Learning Circle
The alliance holds regular Teaching and Learning Circles, informal but informed discussions exploring contemporary issues in education.
Past Discussion Topics:
- “Everyday sexism: Should schools become gender neutral zones?”
- "Why do we need school when we have Google?"
- "Is flipped learning the future?"
- "What constitutes as outstanding A Level teaching"
- "How can I stretch my higher ability pupils?"
School Support Programme
School to School Support
We believe that school to school support is the best way of bringing about sustainable improvements. To this end we are committed to offering support in many areas, both teaching and non-teaching, to other schools. We will always endeavour to keep the cost of any support to the absolute minimum required to cover our own costs. We have a strong track record of supporting schools in challenging circumstances and have demonstrated that the support we can offer can turn a school around to Ofsted Outstanding.
Types of Support Available
We have expertise at a range of levels, from NLE to support staff. The support offer is responsive to need and is developed to be bespoke to the requirement. All support is offered at a standard rate plus travel expenses.
Examples of support offered:
- Behaviour for Learning
- Improving Attendance
- Middle Leadership Coaching
- School Reviews
- Departmental Reviews
- Data Management
- Whole School Leadership
- Transition to Academy Status
- Leadership Development Programmes
- Financial Management
Examples of desired outcomes
- Improved behaviour / discipline
- Improved attendance
- Improved headline indicators
- Improved progress and attainment in specific departments
- Successful transition to Academy status
- Improved Ofsted judgements
- Progress in diminishing the difference between groups
- Improved quality of teaching and learning
- Improved development of teachers, including ITT and ECT
If you would like more information about the bespoke school to school support services we offer, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
In his important DfE report, Ben Goldacre drew attention to the need for enhanced “information architecture” if teaching is to become an evidence based profession. We are therefore keen to ensure our alliance becomes a building block in this architecture by championing and leading Research and Development which includes both the evidence of large scale academic studies and our own, smaller scale action research that is tailored to the needs of educators and learners within our school network.
‘MORE: Reflections on Teaching and Learning’ is our bi annual journal of research that has taken place within the alliance. Each issue contains well-researched and academic articles written by a number of our teachers, focusing on a wide range of pedagogical topics. Our latest issue can be found below.