Making ourselves clear
The Maths Teacher Training Scholarship Scheme looks for inspirational teachers – those who are going to be remembered for all the right reasons. As a scheme, we know that assessment centres are stressful – they are not a natural environment and we understand the internal pressures candidates put themselves under to show us their potential.
This means that as a Team, we are always looking for new ways to ensure that the candidates who attend the assessment centre are as informed and, as much as possible, put at ease. To help us achieve this we’ve updated our website to have a specific section on preparing for the assessment centre. As we started to create this section, we realised that we weren’t telling potential candidates the policies we have in place to accommodate and adjust for any disabilities they may have.
Of course, there is no requirement to disclose any disability, and that is entirely right. Many of the procedures we have can be put in place on the day if needed and others are just part of how we run our centres – starting with the fact you can request all the information in large print. We also know that for some people, travelling to an assessment centre can be almost as daunting as the assessment process itself. If you’d rather not travel in the morning rush hour, let us know and we’ll give you an afternoon session. On that note, if a morning session is more preferable for whatever reason – let us know and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.
When you are at an Assessment Centre...
Once you’ve made it to the assessment centre, did you know that to help everyone feel at ease all our assessors have name badges and will introduce themselves before the assessment centre begins. Water is available in each session and we make a point of telling you where the nearest toilet facilities are. We can also put in place breakout rooms should anyone need a few minutes to compose themselves. Importantly, don’t forget it’s perfectly fine to bring along notes for use in all the different aspects of the assessment centre.
The assessment centre comprises of three different activities, all of which take place in different rooms. With that in mind, if you can let us know in advance that it would be helpful to you to have all the rooms on the same floor it helps us give you the best venue for your assessment centre. During the assessment centre, if there is somewhere specific you would like to sit in a room, perhaps near a window, or the door, opposite the assessor or any other place either let us know in advance or mention it on the day.
Throughout the assessment centre, the assessors and facilitators will be only too happy to answer any questions you may have – if you’re not sure ask for clarification. Equally, we will do our best to make sure you understand what is required of you and will communicate any changes to the schedule as quickly as possible should something unexpected occur.
To make sure everyone attending the assessment centre can show us their full potential, we have designed the day so that we can increase the time available to candidates for each activity. This can help people gather their thoughts, formulate answers and tell us their opinions, views and answers.
We are here to help...
Two of the activities within the assessment centres are group based – the presentation and the discussion. Everyone is welcome to join in, but if you feel that your hearing, visual or speech impairment means you could more clearly articulate your thoughts in a one to one meeting, or through a written submission we can accommodate your preference.
Over the years that the scheme has run, we’ve developed a helpful box at assessment centre to help us make sure things run as smoothly as possible. Just so you know, amongst other things the box contains coloured filters and coloured paper for use in the written exam (should you be required to sit it) and with advance notice we can even print the exam on coloured paper. Equally importantly, the box has a collapsible water bowl to make sure assistance dogs can have a drink and bags for when they go walking…in fact we have several dog owners in the Team so you might even find a few dog treats hidden in coat pockets. No promises on that though! We are a very welcoming team and any interpreters or assistants who you bring along will be made just as welcome as you are.
Lastly, don’t forget that this brief overview isn’t an exhaustive list. If there is something in particular we can do to help then please let us know – we want you to shine!
By Sophie Carr, Mathematics Teacher Training Scholarships Project Manager