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Left to right: Bethany Parsons, Trainee Teacher; Chloe Queen, Trainee Teacher; Brogan Lawton, Trainee Teacher; Gaynor Jones – Director of Teaching School & Deputy Headteacher; Andrea Schutz, Trainee Teacher; Zac Edmonds, Trainee Teacher; Helen Duffy

New partnership sparks foreign language speaker drive

Foreign language speakers are being offered a career change in a unique partnership between the state and independent sectors

Posted by Hannah Vickers | May 18, 2017 | Teaching

A unique partnership between the state and independent sectors will see some of the country’s leading schools at the forefront of a national drive to recruit, train and develop more teachers of modern foreign languages.

French, German and Spanish speakers are being encouraged to consider a career change: training to become teachers in the UK.

Trainees will have placements in the state and independent sectors, thereby increasing their career options once they qualify. The first year will see hubs developed in both London and Bolton, at Dulwich College and Bolton School (Girls’ Division).

The scheme, which has major backing from the Government, is being launched to help address a shortage of modern language teachers in the UK. It aims to open up opportunities for people with linguistic skills, whether they are living in the UK or elsewhere in Europe.

This partnership between the state and independent sectors is truly unique and exciting - Gaynor Jones, Director of the National Modern Languages SCITT 

“This partnership between the state and independent sectors is truly unique and exciting,” said Gaynor Jones, Director of the National Modern Languages SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training).

“There may be people who speak French, German or Spanish – in the UK or abroad – who would like to consider a career change and go into teaching.

“For some, it could be an opportunity to experience a different culture as well as using their talents for the benefit of students keen to learn a new language.

“Our message is that we need your skills, we’ll welcome you and we’ll support you every step of the way.”

One year programmes – where each trainee will work and study at two schools – will start from late summer this year.

The programme is being delivered by the Sheffield Teaching School Alliance based at Silverdale School – an Ofsted rated Outstanding school in the Top 20 of comprehensive schools in England with a track record in modern language excellence.

It is building on a proven track record in teacher training, professional development and support in all subjects, thanks to highly qualified leaders, teachers and mentors, and partnerships with Sheffield Hallam University and a network of schools across England.

Brogan Lawton, Trainee Teacher; Nathan Flaherty Trainee Teacher

The Government’s National College for Teaching has chosen Sheffield as the focal point of the initiative because of its longstanding and pioneering track record in teacher training, professional development and support through schools.

“There is a shortage of language teachers in state and independent schools across the country, and this scheme aims to harness our expertise to address that,” said Gaynor Jones. “We have got the team to help.

“At the same time, we want to enthuse children about languages, opening up a world of opportunities for them.”

The programme is distinct from other teacher training courses. It focuses specifically on how to teach modern languages, drawing in experts in this area. This is particularly valuable considering how young people are expected to work in an increasingly globalised economy and society, and will depend on modern language skills.

Initially, the emphasis is on teaching European languages in state and independent schools, but a longer-term aim may see the likes of Chinese and Urdu being added to the teacher training curriculum.

“The vision is for Sheffield to become a centre of excellence for language teaching, with other hubs around the country,” said Gaynor.

We have the experience, the understanding, the support and the flexibility to see trainee teachers emerging with an internationally recognised qualification and having made good use of their skills to help young people - Gaynor Jones Director of the National Modern Languages SCITT

“We have the experience, the understanding, the support and the flexibility to see trainee teachers emerging with an internationally recognised qualification and having made good use of their skills to help young people.”

Applicants must be graduates and go through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) to access National Modern Languages SCITT. Interview days will be held and successful applicants will be given training in two schools during the year.

Teacher training will be balanced with academic study, leading to the award of a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). All types of practical help, such helping overseas students to find accommodation, will be offered by the National Modern Languages SCITT. Student loans will be available – and there is the possibility of bursaries of up to £25,000 for successful applicants based in the European Union.

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