Lee Parsell, Lecturer in PGCE Secondary Mathematics at Bradford College, McMillan School of Education

After working as a teacher in secondary schools in Bradford for 32 years I am honoured to work with all Bradford schools as ITE partners. Bradford has long been labelled a city of high deprivation and low academic standards and yet I have seen how hard staff work to deliver high quality lessons to students to support them to make progress and aspire to succeed in further training or employment.

These same teachers also inspire our trainees and work with us to support the practical element of our provision. They have adapted to all the changes the pandemic has thrown at us and not only delivered lesson on line but mentored online, met online and continue to give time to individual trainees to share the ‘secrets’ of good teaching.

The schools have supported us and we have jointly observed face to face with social distancing, through observation windows with the door open, joining virtually online, via TEAMS and also completing ‘unobserved observations’. The mentors have been wonderful and have always been up for trying something new, overcoming the intermittent Wi-Fi and other issues.

Bradford schools, Bradford students and Bradford need and deserve good teachers who stay and work and support the diverse and changing communities of Bradford. Bradford schools and students need each other as they have so much to offer and can share new ideas and skills.

Student teachers get the theory from use at college alongside some practical micro teaching but then enter schools and get exposed to hours of great and outstanding practice and have the opportunity to watch and learn from good role models. They can experiment, never at the detriment of student progress and always under the watchful eye of a mentor, and find their style. Teachers in schools also pick up a few new ideas from trainees, and often the reflective conversations encourages everyone to reflect on what they are doing and have those important conversations about teaching.