Portsmouth Primary SCITT began training graduates to become primary teachers in September 2000. A successful bid was made in that year and validation for a PGCE was granted by the University of Portsmouth. At that time there was a shortage of primary teachers in Portsmouth and the programme was seen as a way of training high quality teachers, who would predominantly work within the boundaries of the city. We have run an Early Years course alongside the Primary Course since 2009.
Our training rooms are situated in a building adjacent to Beacon View Primary Academy, Portsmouth. It is a one year course that qualifies successful primary trainees to teach children aged 5-11 years, and early years trainees to teach children aged 3-7 years.
This is a full-time PGCE course; Trainees spend 60% of their time in local schools and 40% in our training centre participating in workshops. Trainees have the opportunity to observe good teachers at work and be able to work alongside them, gradually developing their own teaching skills. They receive high quality mentoring, together with support from the SCITT team to enable them to develop into a competent and confident newly qualified teacher.
Portsmouth Primary SCITT Consultants and Expert Colleagues, as well as the SCITT team undertake much of the training. This enables excellent continuity for the many trainees who subsequently take up their first teaching appointments in Portsmouth. Now the programme has been running since 2000, many ex-trainees are taking on the role of mentoring new trainees.
Trainees can qualify under either the Professional or Postgraduate route; the Postgraduate route also awards trainees 60 Masters Level credits.
What many of our trainees have found especially motivating is the excitement and stimulation of learning to teach in Portsmouth. Many of them feel it is not just a job. The course helps them grow personally.
The city includes areas of social deprivation, and this means teachers here need high levels of commitment and skill. They have to expect a lot of themselves and of others. Trainees usually feel that meeting the challenge brings a powerful sense of achievement and reward.
A strong feature of the course is the mutual support that the trainees give one another. There will only ever be a maximum of 36 within the cohort – a good size for cohesion and diversity, whilst small enough to be friendly and for everyone to know each other personally. Trainees forge lasting friendships and their learning about team work serves them well when they graduate to become Newly Qualified Teachers.
The majority of our trainees find jobs in the Portsmouth area, but not all. Some people go into Hampshire, some to Sussex and some further afield. There is no requirement to teach in Portsmouth once Newly Qualified Teachers have finished their training.
Category ‘A’ Provider
The first years of the partnership have been highly successful, culminating in 2004 with an OFSTED inspection that made us a Category ‘A’ provider. We have since maintained this status, which is a tribute to the considerable amount of hard work that has gone into creating and maintaining excellent teacher training provision by the whole of the Portsmouth SCITT team.