Elena Lengthorn – Senior Lecturer in Teacher Education, University of Worcester

I want to celebrate the strength and quality of ITE partnerships as they are at the very heart of our communities! ITE partnerships connect committed, knowledgeable and skilled trainees with dedicated, experienced and hard-working mentors and, of course, our next generation of learners.  


Trainees, mentors and pupils alike, are encouraged to aspire, strive and achieve. They have opportunities to develop their values and understanding of our local and global interconnectedness and interdependence.  


Lockdown three provided a perfect partnership opportunity with the 5th Worcester Sea Scouts, which enabled our PGCE Secondary Geography ITE trainees to hone their virtual teaching skills, between placements, by delivering weekly Scout meetings when face to face community working was disallowed.   


The Geographers specialist knowledge was perfect in designing and delivering evening sessions for the Scouts ‘Environmental Conservation Badge’. With activities ranging from teaching the Sea Scouts how to use the Ordnance Survey Geographical Information System, Digimap, to a hands on practical biodiversity session creating Bee habitats for the Scouts own gardens.  


The Sea Scouts were so very helpful in sharing their own experiences of being taught on Teams and they were very happy to share their expertise on its functionality. 


The partnership left our trainees buoyant, having conquered their fears of running virtual sessions, and excited having had an opportunity to re-connect to young people, as well as their own sense of purpose as emerging educators. The Sea Scouts not only completed their Environmental Conservation Badge and had the opportunity to share their own virtual skills, but also heard about higher education and had the chance to ask their questions about studying at university.  


It felt like a community win-win-win! 


My own experience of ITE, at Goldsmiths College in London, connected me to some of the enormous challenges young people in the inner-city can face during their education and gave me the confidence to ask difficult questions. 

In a post-pandemic landscape, I’m hopeful that ITE partnerships will continue to play crucial roles, particularly in:  

  • Reshaping our environmental trajectory and balancing the deepening inequalities facing humanity.  
  • Recognising our interconnectedness and modelling community working. 
  • Working in partnership to deliver the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Going forward, I would like the Department for Education to keep the following issues at the top of the agenda when it comes to priorities for ITEs:Climate and Ecological Emergency.
  • Social justice 
  • Mental Health 
  • Collectivism