Meet our Team

Nicola Jones

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What did you enjoy about your School Direct course with Outwood Institute of Education?

The eclectic mix of sessions were not only beneficial to my understanding of the educational field, but they were thoroughly stimulating and inspiring. We were given the opportunity to speak with a diverse mix of professionals, all of whom had their own experiences, tips and expertise to share.

Meeting weekly with the other trainees allowed us to share our experiences as well. We built a community in which we were able to comfortably voice our misunderstandings, concerns and share best practice.

Why would you recommend training with Outwood Institute of Education?

The focus of the course is where it should be – in the classroom. I was given ample time to shape myself as a teacher with my own style and techniques. I was also given the opportunity to build fantastic relationships with an array of pupils in both of my placement schools, which allowed me to develop more understanding, patience and creative means to engage all pupils.

The support I received from the Outwood Institute of Education staff and my colleagues in my placement school was outstanding. At times, when I felt doubt or insecurities, I was given beneficial advice, along with time and guidance to how I can improve and adapt. The course progressed along with my progression – we were given the stepping stones to success in well-planned, methodical teaching sessions.

What support was there for you as an NQT?

Fortunately, I was able to complete my NQT year in my placement school, which meant that I had the same mentor who continued to share her knowledge and ideas with me, whilst allowing me to flourish in the profession with my own style of teaching.

We talk on a daily basis and meet formally once a week to discuss observations and any queries I may have, and set targets focusing on my individual areas for development. I also meet with the Academy’s NQT Coordinator regularly. She has organised several bespoke events to ensure that my training as a teacher continues to develop my skills beyond my ITT year.

My department are amazing! I am able to turn to any of them for help and guidance. They have encouraged me to progress further in my career with support in training programmes and promotions.

What opportunities for professional development have you had since finishing the course?

Since achieving QTS, I have completed the Transforming Middle Leaders course under the guidance of Outwood Institute of Education along with colleagues from several local Academies. This course allowed me to develop a better understanding of the intricate workings of Academies and understand the processes aspiring leaders can undertake to progress in their careers.

In January, I was also successful at interview for the post of Third in the English Department. This role entails overseeing the curriculum for Key Stage 3, organising cover work for the department, supporting my Head of Department and organising various school events. So far, I have taken a group of pupils to Teesside University to meet a well-known children’s author and hosted a poetry workshop as part of the T Junction Poetry Festival in Teesside.