Two professionals from Spencer Academies Trust’s first-of-its-kind primary internship poised to start initial teacher training

Matilda Daley and Geraldine Waterton have plans to begin their Initial Teacher Training with Spencer Academies Trust after spending three weeks interning at Chetwynd Spencer Academy.

After participating in a three-week internship through the Spencer Alliance for Leadership and Teaching (SALT), Matilda Daley and Geraldine Waterton are positioned to begin their School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT).

Ms Daley and Mrs Waterton worked with pupils in Years 4 and 3, respectively, for three weeks, shadowing teachers and participating in workshops designed to enhance their understanding of the techniques they were learning in the classroom. Ms Daley, who will graduate from university this summer, plans to spend a year abroad teaching English as a foreign language before enrolling in the SCITT; Mrs Waterton will begin her training at Chetwynd this autumn.

Drawing on the success of the DfE-funded secondary internships, the programme is designed to give participants a broad overview of primary education, including opportunities to support pupils in their learning, explore curriculum development, and work in pairs to plan and deliver a short session and group intervention. Though they are placed in middling years, interns also spent a day with early years to gain exposure to what it’s like working with younger children.

“That was really useful, actually, because you saw. . . where they start off from,” Ms Daley explained, adding that the older students are using the same processes and building blocks they established in early years.

Time spent in-classroom is complemented by sessions in which interns are introduced to educational theory. “Alongside [were] the conference days, [which gave] us the backbones to teaching that we could then implement,” Ms Daley said. “And when we watched in the classroom, you can understand not just what the teachers are doing, but why they’re doing it in that specific way. It was really helpful.”

Mrs Waterton had interviewed for two separate SCITT programmes; after spending her internship at Chetwynd Spencer Academy and gaining direct insight into what the training would be like, she chose to accept the George Spencer Academy SCITT’s training offer. “I got to experience one of the academy schools at Chetwynd, and the culture and ethos and the quality of the teachers was just really impressive,” she added.

Overall, the internship was an enormously positive experience. “I knew I’d enjoy it,” Ms Daley said, “but I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I actually have done.”

“It’s amazing to have an opportunity to really get underneath the role,” Mrs Waterton said. “I’m under no illusion that the job’s not hard. . . but from the experts that we had speaking to us [at the conference centre], who are all teachers, and from the teachers that we’ve seen in the school, the upsides are worth it.”