Pictured L-R: South Tyneside College’s Principal Professional and Vocational College, Alison Maynard and East Durham College Principal Suzanne Duncan.

Colleges Add Up Together For Ground Breaking Programme

A pilot programme to encourage maths’ brightest brains to work in further education is to be pioneered in a ground-breaking North East partnership.

South Tyneside College and East Durham College have secured £50,000 to fund a trial to attract four top undergraduates into the classroom and train them to become specialist teachers. (Pictured L-R: South Tyneside College’s Principal Professional and Vocational College, Alison Maynard and East Durham College Principal Suzanne Duncan.)

The programme aims to overcome key recruitment barriers to develop a ‘bank’ of expertise in a new wave of opportunity based on financial support and broad experience of the FE sector.

High-level graduates will be offered a bursary package to rival offers they would normally attract from employers, such as accountancy firms, which usually pay wages during training.

They will also achieve academic teaching qualifications while gaining integral experience of working in a classroom and how the FE sector functions.

The programme will also pay to train existing mathematics teachers to become qualified ‘mentors’ to provide on-going specialist support.

The colleges will work with partners and other FE providers to maximise the programme’s potential of creating a new layer of sector-wide expertise amid the Government’s prioritising of maths on the education agenda.

And they believe the basic funding and training model will be transferable to other sectors, including engineering and manufacturing where a skills gap exists in the North East despite an upsurge in economic activity.

Alison Maynard, South Tyneside College’s Principal Professional and Vocational College, said: “We will prepare new maths graduates to develop into effective teachers in FE, ensuring we harness opportunities to extend their experience as broadly as possible during training.

“We intend to use this pilot to develop greater aspiration in the undergraduate community to work within the further education sectors and therefore greater capacity for the teaching of maths.

“Career opportunities provided by the sector often aren’t well understood and by this support we will grow the aspirations of undergraduates to work in FE and compete against blue chip organisations.

“These types of organisations have long understood how to attract the best abilities and attributes from undergraduates and are seen as the employers of choice – we must act to change this.

“We want to develop a high-quality skills base that can be shared with partner providers in order to ensure a wider impact in the sector, marking the beginning of the development of a high quality teaching team for maths within the region.”

East Durham College Principal, Suzanne Duncan added: “This is a fantastic project to be involved with.

“We hope to work alongside South Tyneside to help to develop a set of highly talented undergraduates and bring them into the FE sector.

“We believe this will be a great development for teaching in the north east region”

The colleges will work with higher education institutions, including Peterlee-based The Academy at Shotton Hall Teaching School Alliance - a partnership of 28 education providers - to raise interest from final year students and identify suitable candidates.

Should the pilot be extended, South Tyneside College, in South Shields, and East Durham College, in Peterlee, hope partners may even modify their own curriculum to better align undergraduates with the FE sector.

Graduates, who will undergo a formal interview, will experience ‘days in the life’ of a maths teacher in college as well as with training providers who are reliant on effective maths teaching for their occupational and study programmes.

They will undertake the Certificate in Education, as well as supplementary qualifications where possible, and will also learn how FE is structured and look at key attributes of good teaching.
Maths will also be taught at a vocational level, such as how it applies to navigation, through South Tyneside College’s South Shields Marine School.

The programme will even support the graduates when they have become teachers, through continued access to mentors.