The benefits of being a Scholar: The amazing tax-free bursary is just the start

You’ll hopefully have read all the formal, official advantages of being a scholar but what are the not so formal things to think about? Well, if you think your final year is/was hectic, hard work and tiring then be prepared to have to step up the gears even further whilst you are a trainee teacher.

No, I’m not trying to put you off but being realistic! However, it is when a teenager then says something such as a meaningful “Thank you” or an “I get that, why has no-one ever explained it like that before?”  and you’ll remember why you are doing this and feel it is all worthwhile.

Why am I saying this? Well it is because as a trainee, even if you are lucky enough to have 2 or 3 other maths trainees in the same school or on your course etc but you are finding it hard and you need someone to have a moan to, or if a maths topic you need to teach is driving you mad and the other 2/3 don’t seem to have any good ideas, who can you turn to?

Or, let’s be honest, none of us get on with everybody, so what happens if your maths teaching mentor is not quite on your wavelength and you are the only maths trainee  and you can’t ask the rest of the maths department as you don’t know them well enough yet? With the scholarship community you can ask a lot of people who know what it feels like and one or several will be able to suggest something or encourage you.

Plus, even if you are surviving but feel that for all the energy and good feedback from the kids all you get from some colleagues is that this initial keenness won’t last or that “We don’t do things like that here”? Then what could be better than some upbeat positivity that you get when together with lots of other Scholars at one of the CPD events that will reinvigorate you, offer ideas but also stretch you and your maths journey.

Free CPD events!

We get very positive feedback on the events but then we get some of the best maths minds, excellent speakers from a wide variety of organisations, museums, government offshoots etc who tell us about the maths used. We’ve had a session building our own Enigma machine plus a special visit to Bletchley Park. Isaac Newton’s current incarnation came to visit and we’ve looked at the Maths of the Dambusters as well as getting stuck in to cracking codes and encryption. All of this is focussed on stretching you but also gives you activities and ideas you can use with learners!! Independent CPD is very hard to get at in teaching these days so grab it whilst you can!!

More free resources... 

Even more on the positive front is that you get free membership of various maths organisations. Several of them produce magazines/journals and/or specific ideas and resource books for teaching and some of these are amongst the best of their type especially on the development of thinking, reasoning and problem solving. They are not just resources but teaching suggestions and the research that underpin them. You get them cheaper as members so don’t overlook them, they are a lot better and on far stronger pedagogical ground than much found on the internet or in the bought-in online resources many schools use!

So, yes, it’s hard, yes it’s shattering, yes it’s nerve wrecking but also tremendously varied, engaging with no 2 days the same and with a community to support you it’s even more exhilarating, encouraging and supportive, oh and when we all get together we usually get to eat well!

That’s all very well you may think, but I have to jump through the application process hoop. Yes, and we tell you exactly what to do and the questions you will be asked so as long as you can follow the advice you are given, prepare as we suggest and attend the assessment day with your brain awake and engaged then you are in with a high chance, genuinely, of making it, what’s to lose?

So, what are you waiting for? Nothing to lose and yet there is so much to gain!!!

By Anne Fieldhouse



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