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Case Study on School Direct Impact

The impact of School Direct Teachers

This study will focus on two year groups in a two-form entry East London primary School, in one of the most disadvantaged local authorities in the country. The children have a low base on entry to EYFS with 74% being below ARE and had 16% pupil premium children (2018-19).

Two School Direct (SD) students, AG and FC, were employed in Year 2 and one, RK, in Year 5 during the academic year 2018-19. Over the course of their training year, SD students build up to an 80% whole class teaching commitment by the summer term.

All students were mentored by experienced leaders who all expressed the view that they found the experience very beneficial to their year group and the school as a whole. At the beginning of the year, the students were able to support individuals and small groups in class to address misconceptions, plug gaps in understanding and challenge the children to think more deeply.

As time went on, whilst the SD was teaching, the class teachers were able to work with those children in need of additional support to achieve ARE or to challenge to ensure a greater depth of understanding. From the end of the spring term, particularly in Y2, the year group was split into 3 ability based groups allowing for highly personalised precision teaching in core subjects and afternoon interventions to take place to address misconceptions. Evidence is clear that interventions should be based on class work to avoid cognitive overload. What was taught in the morning core lessons, is best revisited or pre-taught verses one off interventions that use different content. By having two adults in the class, this practice is made much easier and children are not pulled out of learning for interventions.  The difference between TA’s offering support to children and a School Direct teacher offering support to children is the quality of the education they receive. All of our School Direct students must achieve their PGCE as well as QTS. As career changers, they bring a host of unique skills to the school.

In addition, these senior leaders were able to be released to carry out their whole school roles, as well as support other teachers through team teaching and coaching. This ensured consistency of teaching and behaviour management in the classes where an SD was working and had an additional whole school benefit.

The children in these year two groups made accelerated progress as evidenced by the data capture below.

In Year 2, there was a 20% increase in the number of children achieving ARE within the year and this figure rose by 29% in Year 5. 


(see data below)


As one Year 2 teacher said, ‘Working with my School Direct teacher was a great experience, and to see her to develop over the year into a strong teacher was a pleasure. But most importantly, the progress the children made was amazing and this is all credit to the team, especially our SD’s.’

Furthermore, all three of the School Direct teachers were employed as NQTs in. This resulted in a saving in recruitment costs and, more significantly, the pupils have benefitted from being taught by strong NQTS who were already inducted into the way the school works, the children and families in the community and expectations. In the first review of NQTs, those who had undergone the programme where remarkably strong in their practice in comparison with those who were new to the school.

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