Bolton School recognised for mentoring trainee teachers during pandemic

The University of Manchester has given Bolton School Boys’ Division a certificate after mentoring three PGCE trainees, even with remote learning and a socially distanced campus to negotiate

A Lancashire independent school has been recognised for its work in mentoring the next generation of teachers, despite the travails of the pandemic.

Bolton School Boys’ Division received a certificate from the University of Manchester after it began mentoring three PGCE trainees last year, at first remotely and then on a socially distanced campus.

“Beginning their placements remotely was a daunting challenge for trainees, which they met with aplomb after a day of induction in school with mentors,” said Bolton School’s head of PGCE training, Simon Heald.

“Perhaps the greater challenge was upon reopening and for them to gain confidence in the actual classroom, face to face. This could not have happened without the excellent support from mentors and other colleagues.”

The school, both an Initial Teacher Education (ITE) partner and a School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) hub, received its certificate from the University of Manchester with a citation offering ‘grateful appreciation for the welcome and care, skill and professional support extended to PGCE trainees by subject and professional mentors and many other staff throughout the challenges of the pandemic’.

In a challenging year for teacher training, I don’t believe I have missed out on opportunities; all the staff in the boys’ division have been extremely supportive and I feel very privileged to have worked in the school – Janet Steer, trainee

One of the trainees, Janet Steer, said: “In a challenging year for teacher training, I don’t believe I have missed out on opportunities; all the staff in the boys’ division have been extremely supportive and I feel very privileged to have worked in the school.”

The school also carried on mentoring National Mathematics and Physics (NMAPS) SCITT and National Modern Languages (NML) SCITT trainees.

“Throughout the disruption of the last year we have continued to provide regular and purposeful opportunities to teach a cohort of keen and dedicated trainees,” said Deane Lamb, who leads the school’s SCITT training.

“They have been required not only to master the skills associated with teaching but also the emerging technologies and pedagogy necessitated by the global pandemic. By affording our trainees an unbroken learning experience and continuity in delivering lessons to pupils, both in person and via remote platforms whilst in lockdown, we have ensured that they have had consistency in developing their practice.”

Among the cohort was NML trainee, Zoe Janes. “Lots of trainees have talked about missing out this year but I don’t feel like that here,” she said.

“Bolton School has been fantastic and supported me fully throughout. I have had such a positive start to the profession.”


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