Astra is providing a highly effective and professional local route for local people to train to be teachers. This is certainly having a significant contribution in supporting the teacher supply issues that we have in this area of Buckinghamshire
Kevin Patrick, Principal, Chiltern Hills Academy, Buckinghamshire
Dr Challoner's Grammar School is the lead school in the Astra SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training) and the Astra Teaching School Hub, Buckinghamshire, working across over 250 local primary and secondary schools, as well as Alternative Provision and Special Schools. This status as both a SCITT and DfE accredited Teaching School Hub ensures outstanding networking and high quality resourcing for teaching staff, including the deployment of expertly trained and specialist colleagues from Dr Challoner’s and other schools across our region, who contribute significantly to the partnership.
Our Qualified Teacher training programmes build on nearly a decade of initial teacher training (ITT) experience and are based on the Core Content Framework to cover the most effective pedagogies and classroom interventions. Our ITT curriculum aims to enhance teachers’ capabilities and understanding in order to improve pupil outcomes over time through synchronous and asynchronous learning, creating communities of practice with trainee workload and wellbeing in mind. Astra teacher educators are selected for their ability to model effective pedagogy and work with trainees to set timely and realistic targets that are monitored through weekly mentor meetings, formative assessment points and QTS assignments. Links to our PGCE provider, Goldsmiths University of London, are strong, and this provision is seamlessly integrated into our QTS programme, benefitting all trainees.
Our Assessment Only route to QTS also provides a clear and flexible framework for colleagues with two years planning, teaching and assessment experience to gain QTS outside our core QTS training programme. Links to our PGCE provider, Goldsmiths University of London, are strong, and this provision is seamlessly integrated into our QTS programme, benefitting all trainees.
Colleagues designated as Astra and Buckinghamshire Leaders of Education (ABLEs) are also deployed into the SCITT and Teaching School Hub. They are rigorously trained in the fields of leadership development, mentoring and cognitive science. Additionally, skills of our ITT mentors are further enhanced through both centre-led training and our twilight mentor certification programme, co-facilitated by Buckinghamshire New University, which has been operational over five years.
Distinctive features of the Astra SCITT include:
To find out more: