Steve Sandwell, School Direct Lead at All Saints RC School, York

All trainees receive high quality training with support from the University of York and York St John University; validated by Ofsted, self-review and trainee feedback. Each University harnesses the unique features of School Direct providers including here at All Saints. With the support of the Universities we offer high quality training in a unique setting that is All Saints. We have a close working partnership enabling the smooth and impactful running of teacher training. Trainees are able to develop their confidence and competencies aligned with the Teacher Training Standards.

The current model provides a choice for trainees to decide where they would like to thrive during the formative phase of their career. A regular phrase, which is applied with sincerity to reassure candidates is “you can’t make a wrong decision”. The trainee can choose which offer to accept, secure in the knowledge that the common denominator amongst each University partner is the high quality of training each provides.

Recruitment is not driven by figures, the calibre of a candidate’s potential always takes precedence. We are uncompromising on this, rather than the rigorous process limiting the number of potential candidates, engagement and recruitment has multiplied because of the track record of high quality training and outcomes. September appointments are consistently above 90%.

Our motivation is to serve all schools within our existing networks and beyond. As a school our motivation is firmed up by each University. We work closely through Yorkshire Teacher Enrichment Partnership (YTEP) which consists of key strategic partners including universities, providers and the LA. Strategic planning and implementation are regular features of meeting agendas and action points. The catalyst for the forming of the body was the trust and commitment exemplified by the University of York and York St John University to work and bring together strategic partners to recruit and train high calibre trainees for the benefit of all schools. We enjoy shared values where the systems are about people and relationships where quality training and diversity is valued has the highest priority.

Each University is an advocate for teacher training by the way in which they care and nurture potential applicants as under-graduates. This provides a local draw to teacher trainees whether they eventually remain in the immediate locality of not. Each University is dedicated and confident in reviewing their existing practice and provider input is welcome and incorporated into future practice. Challenges are faced together evidenced by the current Covid-19 arrangements. The depth of relationships and working practices are tested by the most unprecedented of circumstances.

Currently no trainees have withdrawn from the School Direct programme because of the effectiveness of the adapted arrangements implemented by the Universities, our partners and ourselves. Trainees have ‘stepped up’ to the challenges, enabled by the very same personal characteristics exhibited during the recruitment process because of the Universities’ protocols and attention placed on attributes and value of each candidate.

The reputational profiles of the Universities, that have been earned and grown over time, need to be protected, developed and supported. The current ITT market and system is able to sustain the capacity to deliver enough high-calibre trainees and flex to future priorities. The Universities and ourselves implement a consistent and effective recruitment process which is thorough and supportive. No short cuts are taken because of the level of professional and pastoral care granted to all those involved in the recruitment and training programme. We recruit in-line with demand and with the expert guidance provided by the Admissions Teams. The Universities possess an insight and regional knowledge always with trainees and schools at the heart. A one dimensional, ‘one-size fits all’ approach would be detrimental to our local and regional ITT market.