The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL), as part of the Capital City College Group (CCCG), attracts over 12,000 students of all ages from local London boroughs as well as further afield. The College was ranked number one in England for student satisfaction in the 2016/17 ESFA survey of FE providers and number one in London for employer satisfaction. Over 75 per cent of students come from some of most deprived wards in England. Teacher Educator Maralba Jani explains why CONEL chose to get involved with the Pathways programme and the benefits the college has seen.
Our Initial Teacher Education department is very well established, with a strong portfolio of well-attended courses ranging from Level 2 to Level 7 and the support of experienced tutors and mentors. We are always keen to expand the offer of courses and programmes we offer in response to the needs of our local and wider community and to take on new challenges. We felt that the Pathways to Further Education programme would enable us to find out what shapes the decision process of recent graduates interested in FE teaching and we were keen to support them to make the right choice, particularly as we offer a pre-service PGCE in Further Education in partnership with CCCU which attracts a number of applicants from this demographic.
We had seven engaged and motivated participants who made a very positive contribution to the departments they were placed in. They showed great enthusiasm and interest in the subjects, the roles of their mentors and the college in general. The graduates were keen to work with the mentors in a range of ways, such as one-to-one support for individual students, group support, exploring the curriculum offer and, in some instances, taking the lead on specific learner activities in class. It was very positive to see that undergraduates were so keen to engage with subject areas outside of their main degree subject, such as Functional Skills English and Maths and ESOL.
As part of the project, we also delivered a number of training sessions to the participants to enable them to develop an awareness of the sector, the teachers’ roles and responsibilities in FE, and of the learning, teaching and assessment cycle and the key aspects of each one. The sessions received very positive feedback from the participants, as they enabled the undergraduate students to begin to establish links with the practice they observed through their work experience and the underlying theoretical approaches and principles.
As an established and successful ITT department in a large FE college, we benefitted greatly from being able to meet prospective trainee teachers and find out about their perception of the FE sector. It was very rewarding to support them in learning about the various aspects of the sector that they hadn’t been aware of, such as the age groups taught.
We were interested to establish how much recent graduates know about the different training routes into FE and their awareness of QTLS, as compared with teacher training for the primary and secondary sector. This will help us to make sure that applicants who express interest in our ITT courses receive the information needed to enable them to make the right choice for their future career plans. It was very rewarding to support the undergraduate students to explore what subjects they could teach in FE on the basis of their qualifications and interests.
The programme provided us with valuable insight into the decision-making process of new entrants to the profession and highlighted what recent graduates know about FE and how they perceive the sector. This shapes our teaching and learning on pre-service courses in particular.
All participants attended an IAG session with our Careers Service as part of the programme. Following this, three participants have expressed interest in FE Teacher Training and stayed in touch with us.
Further details about the Pathways to Further Education Teaching programme can be accessed on its web page.