Sally RobertsEnglish

Becoming an English teacher is often driven by a passion for literature, drama and a love for language in its many forms. There is, of course an innate desire to make a difference to the lives of students and prepare them for their futures. The English course here at the National Forest Teaching school has been designed to give you the skills and confidence to be successful in the classroom, and become forward thinking and creative in your delivery.

For the last eighteen years I have been an English teacher at John Taylor High School. I am the Assistant Curriculum Area Leader for the English Department and the Lead Teacher for Key Stage Four. I have experience mentoring both trainee teachers and NQTs who have since taken on leadership positions. I work alongside a talented team of teachers and we are constantly developing, revising, and sharing innovative ways of teaching both English Language and Literature to 11 to 18 year olds. This experience has enabled me to create a successful programme of study for the English SCITT training programme over the last four years.

Should I be concerned about subject knowledge prior to starting the course?

It is important to have a good subject knowledge of English, but at the National Forest Teaching School we understand that no one can know everything. Many degrees are specialised and you may have been out of education for a few years. Initially, I will ask you to complete a subject audit so I can give you the support you require. The Subject Development Programme is also flexible, and whilst there is a full programme of study it can be adapted and personalised. You might qualify for a Government funded Subject Enhancement course and we may ask you if this would be a good first step for you prior to your September start.

Throughout the course you will update your subject knowledge audit so that I can provide you with the relevant provision and ensure your subject knowledge continues to develop.

How are the subject knowledge sessions structured?

The Subject Knowledge sessions take place in a dedicated room on Fridays from 1.30pm to approximately 4pm. There will be a different focus each week covering all aspects of the English curriculum. The programme is committed to the development of subject knowledge and the teaching and learning skills required to deliver excellent lessons. There is an emphasis on sharing and you will leave every week with a bundle of resources and strategies to support you in the classroom.

How do you help trainees across the subject areas gain employment?

We have a 100% employment rate on the English SCITT programme and there is a dedicated subject session on applying for a job, personal statements and interview questions. The National Forest Teaching School is committed to making you employable and my role as subject leader for English is to support you closely. At the end of the course you will feel confident to make me your first port of call for a subject reference.

Why do you enjoy working with trainees?

Training teachers who will in turn teach the next generation of society is exciting and rewarding. I enjoy passing on my experience but also relish the opportunity to hear new ideas and explore possibilities with people who share my passion.

“He who opens a school door, closes a prison.” – Victor Hugo

What the trainees say…

‘Sally’s training sessions were useful, informative and interesting. I would always leave the session with a wealth of ideas and resources to use in my lessons, both to engage my students and allow them to make exceptional progress. I would not be the teacher I am today if it was not for Sally! ‘

‘Sally’s subject knowledge sessions were helpful and were designed to focus on our areas for development. I still use Sally’s resources as they were interesting and engaging. Sally gave me a number of practical ideas that were useful for my lessons’.

‘Sally was very supportive and her abundance of subject knowledge was invaluable. The sessions were always fun but highly structured and informative.’



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