In a recent Guardian Article, Sir Michael Wilshaw, regarded teacher shortages as a serious problem, especially in “isolated, coastal and disadvantaged areas”. We wouldn’t describe the Westfield and Watford community as this, but we do know that staffing our school is the key to success for our students and we too have faced similar recruitment challenges, and have felt the impact these shortages have had. However, over the past two years, we believe we have stood tall in the face of such difficulties and worked tirelessly to tackle them.
This is what we aim for, so how have we done it?
The best classrooms are those where nobody feels anonymous, unsupported or undervalued- and that includes the teachers & teaching assistants
At Westfield Academy, we believe that the most successful and diligent teachers can arrive at our door, through various training routes and experiences. This year alone, we have trained 19 members of staff through training routes such as Assessment Only, School’s Direct, PGCE, and training teaching assistants over time. We have also strengthened our links with an Irish teaching Agency, who allocate Irish and Northern Irish NQTs who wish to move to England.
We believe that our innovative approach and vision of ‘Believe, Strive, Achieve’ not only applies to our pupils, but also our teaching staff. We believe that our vision fits into the fast-paced and ever-changing 21st Century climate and enables passionate and promising teachers to receive excellent training and support to enter the teaching profession, at different stages of their career.
Some success stories:
Our fantastic Geography teacher, Miss Hayes, from Ireland, has made a huge impact to the pupils at Westfield Academy. “My journey to England to take up a Geography teaching post with Westfield Academy was made possible by Uteach Recruitment. They supported me every step of the way with training, finding accommodation, getting my lessons planned and all the small issues that came in between. Following on from a long couple of years of supply work in Ireland with little hope of full time work I am so excited to return to Westfield Academy in September as a full-time member of staff. The support from both staff and pupils has been amazing and has made my transition so much easier.”
Mr Lock, our wonderful teaching assistant who works incredibly hard with his year 10 form, knows Westfield Academy better than anyone! “I have been at Westfield for 11 years, 6 as a student and now going into my 5th as an employee. I am currently completing my degree alongside my teaching assistant role and will finish this time next year; I will then go on to complete my teacher training through Assessment Only in the subject specialism of Sport. I am really looking forward to the teaching journey ahead of me.”
Miss Sloan has worked at Westfield for 4 years and started her experience as a Science graduate; working as a cover supervisor for us. Once Emily found her feet, she realised that she wanted to be trained as a Science teacher. 4 years later, Emily is a successful Assessment Only trainee and has just completed her NQT year. Emily is an asset to her Science department and we hope to have her here for many more years to come.
These are just a few of our fantastic staff at Westfield, all of whom make such a contribution to our students’ learning. Recruitment within the teaching profession is tough and a continuous struggle, but also a wonderful opportunity to welcome talented people into our profession. We believe that schools can positively embrace the challenges and look towards different training strategies to support recruitment and retention within their schools.