In over 20 years of education, successful, effective partnerships have been integral to my own journey and those I work alongside. Considering the strain that a global pandemic has placed on school communities, it is a testament to the profession and to the strength of our partnerships that they have never been stronger.
I say this as a lecturer in Initial Teacher Education who, until recently, worked as a senior leader in a Primary school, working in Partnership with Liverpool John Moores University. Ours was ‘a teaching school’, in all but name. Trainee teachers were just part of our provision. With supportive mentoring from both the school and our provider trainees made a striking impact on our children’s learning. In turn they were learning and so were our staff.
Our partnership was excellent, and now that I work as a Lecturer myself at Liverpool John Moores University, I can see from the University perspective too, just how central Partnership is to the success of Initial Teacher Education and Training.
Having recently joined the University staff team, I have had the benefit of seeing the importance of partnerships on a broader scale, from varying perspectives, across a variety of schools. I know now that my experiences as a school leader are replicated in the schools across the city and no doubt the country. School leaders share a desire to help shape the journey for our new teachers, combined with benefitting children and supporting current school staff. This is what great Initial Teacher Education offers.
There is no doubt that 12 months of a global pandemic has brought increased stress for education as a whole, in ways that we have not previously ever had to consider. Suddenly, highly knowledgeable teachers, with their wealth of experience were cast into the world of remote learning. A little over 12 months ago, I had never heard or used Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams. If we had VLEs they were a supplementary tool in supporting education.
Has there ever been such a rapid, immediate change in education? As ITE providers, during this pandemic year, we have forged stronger partnerships, which will no doubt be needed as education adapts to the ‘new normal’.