What's It Like Undertaking Initial Teacher Training Via The Schools Direct Route? By Liam Slater 


The School Direct Route to Mathematics Mastery 

As I reflect on the decision to embark upon my initial teacher training via the School Direct route, it feels like only yesterday I was weighing the myriad of factors between the traditional university-led path and the more school-centred approach. Having now begun my School Direct training, I can offer some insights into the pros and cons of the School Direct route, with the hope that my experiences might illuminate the path for future mathematics teacher trainees. 


Pros of School Direct: 

1. Hands-On Experience from Day One: There is an undeniable immediacy to the School Direct programme. I found myself in the classroom from the outset, which was both daunting and exhilarating. This immediate immersion allowed me to connect theory to practise in real-time, fostering a deeper understanding of the practicalities of teaching. 

2. Building Relationships: Being placed in a school for the majority of my training meant I could cultivate lasting relationships with staff and pupils. These bonds have been invaluable, providing me with a support network and mentors who have guided my development as an educator. 

3. Tailored Support: The personalised support structure is one of School Direct's most significant benefits. My mentors and fellow teachers were always on hand to offer advice, feedback, and encouragement, which helped me hone my teaching strategies and classroom management skills. 


Cons of School Direct: 

1. Intensity: The School Direct route is, without question, intense. The expectation to perform from the get-go, coupled with coursework, can be overwhelming. Time management and resilience are crucial to navigate this challenge. 

2. Less University Exposure: While I gained extensive in-school experience, I sometimes missed the broader exposure to different educational philosophies and peer networks that a university-led programme offers. 

3. Variable Experience: Your experience on the School Direct programme can vary significantly depending on the school. It's essential to research and choose a school whose ethos and support systems align with your learning style and needs. 

In conclusion, the School Direct path to becoming a mathematics teacher has so far been challenging yet deeply rewarding. I feel the immersive experience has equipped me with the practical skills necessary for the classroom and instilled a profound appreciation for the art of teaching. For those who thrive in a hands-on learning environment and are ready for the rigours of an intense training programme, School Direct is an excellent gateway into the teaching profession.

By Liam Slater 



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