Pioneering teacher-training can raise aspirations of urban pupils
TEACHING in an inner-city school is not for the faint-hearted. Children's aspirations can often be low and their behaviour can be challenging.
Teachers spoken to by the Post said difficulties they've faced include being threatened, sworn at and having objects thrown at them.
A new scheme being launched in Nottingham aims to help tackle these problems.
For the first time, it will see schools taking direct responsibility for training their own teachers – rather than taking them on after they have completed university courses.
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The Lead Urban Teaching Alliance will see 15 city primary schools and two schools in Leicestershire teaming up to deliver their own in-house training.
Diana Owen, head teacher at Huntingdon Academy in St Ann's, will lead the project.
Schools will hand-pick would-be teachers and train them under the eye of the University of Nottingham's School of Education.
Other similar teaching schools have been set up across the country, but this is the first which will specifically train teachers in how to deal with children who are misbehaving in the classroom. Training will also be given in raising children's aspirations.
Mrs Owen, chief executive of the alliance, said: "The results of schools in some urban parts of the city are not good enough. "We hope that with this training, this can change.
"It is common that teachers starting their career in an urban school find it difficult coping with some of the issues they face.
"The issues can range from behavioural problems to low aspirations.
"By training them ourselves they will be fully equipped for this."
"We are working with the University of Nottingham so we can train our own teachers using our own programme.
"We will be doing normal teacher training but helping teachers develop a specific set of skills."
These include more challenging behaviour which occurs in schools in urban areas.
"We often find teachers come in and are not prepared for times when children behave badly. This has a knock-on effect for all pupils.
"And we want to make sure children have high aspirations. No matter where they come from, we want them to set their goals high."
As well as Huntingdon, the other schools in the scheme are Edna G Olds Academy in Lenton; St Ann's Well Academy, Rosehill Special School, Hogarth Primary and Blue Bell Hill Primary in St Ann's; Hyson Green St Mary's RC Primary; Warren Primary in Top Valley; Windmill Primary in Sneinton; Welbeck Primary and Greenfields Primary in The Meadows; Walter Halls Primary in Mapperley; Dunkirk Primary; Sycamore Academy in St Ann's; and Mellers Primary in Radford.
Schools can become teaching schools if they have been rated "outstanding" by Ofsted.
The new scheme has been made possibly by a change brought in by the current Government, replacing the old Post Graduate Certificate of Education qualification. Trainees work towards qualified teacher status.
The training at the Lead alliance schools will last for a year.
One city teacher, who didn't want to be named, said challenging behaviour from children from inner-city areas was difficult.
He said: "I've had bags thrown at me, kids swearing at me, and then storming out the class. It is stressful, because you're there to try and offer them the best education possible. I don't think this extra training is a bad idea."
Another Nottingham supply teacher, aged 54, who also wanted to remain anonymous said: "I have been supply teaching for about five years at various schools around Notts, and have been shocked by the behaviour of some of the pupils, especially at some inner-city schools.
"From talking to other staff, the situation is getting worse. I have had pupils jump out of ground-floor windows while I am taking a lesson. I have heard of teachers being spat at and I have been sworn at and threatened."
Carol Norman, head teacher at Welbeck Primary, said: "It is important not to become isolated working in schools with high levels of demands.
"We all have many strengths and areas of expertise which need to be shared."
Parents have also backed the move.
Dawn Munroe, who has a child at Huntingdon, said: "'As a parent I think it is really positive to know that teachers will be trained to such a high standard."
Virginia Rochester, a parent at Edna G Olds, said: "I can see my children thriving in a creative, inspiring environment where they are being given more opportunities."