AN expanding North-East  training provider is aiming to develop the future generation of education professionals in the region.

Based at The Work Place in Newton Aycliffe, Durham Secondary SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training) has been successfully developing teachers for our region’s classrooms since 2005.

The training provider has now been given the go ahead from the Department for Education to expand the courses it offers, including brand new provision for primary trainees.

Course director Michael Longstaff said: “We are really excited about the prospect of being able to support even more trainee teachers in achieving their potential.

“Our plans to expand are a testament to how successful Durham SCITT is at providing outstanding teachers to outstanding schools, right here in the North East.”

“You might imagine that the proposed changes to teacher’s pay, conditions of service and holidays are putting off applicants to the teaching profession; in our experience this is not the case. The increase in applications to Durham SCITT demonstrates that for teachers, it is about the students and making a difference to their lives, or, as the trainees put it, “giving something back”. The Government would do well to focus on this, instead of taking apart the profession piece by piece.

Whilst it is based in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, the training provider is a successful partnership of more than 40 schools and colleges from North Yorkshire to Newcastle and Teesside.

The SCITT provides practical, hands-on training in a range of subjects, including: mathematics, history, art and design, health and social care, chemistry and biology.

This academic year, it began training routes in English, geography and modern foreign languages (MFL) and expanded its partnership to include schools in Newcastle, North Yorkshire and Darlington From September 2014, Durham SCITT will also offer design technology and the opportunity to train to teach Primary age students. The number of trainees will increase from 50 to more than 80.

Former Science trainee Catherine Bruce, who now teaches at The Meadows School in Spennymoor said: “My training year at Durham SCITT provided a fantastic foundation for my teaching career. The course offers a diverse range of opportunities to develop skills as a reflective practitioner within the classroom and in the larger school community, through sessions with the SCITT team and with experts in a variety of fields including positive behaviour management and working with pupils with EAL. Teaching is the most interesting job I have had, allowing me to support young people in achievement and learning. “The challenges of teaching are both diverse and rewarding and I have continued to draw on my experience at Durham SCITT as I have developed my practice. I recommend Durham SCITT to anyone looking for a comprehensive, supportive, outstanding preparation for a career in teaching!”

Durham SCITT has been given the Government seal of approval after securing a “good with many outstanding features” outcome from education watchdog, Ofsted at its last inspection.

It also has strong support from Durham County Council and its lead school, Woodham Academy, based in Newton Aycliffe.

Christine Forsythe, head teacher of Woodham Academy and chair of the Durham SCITT Steering Group said: “We are delighted with how the SCITT has grown since it was established in 2005.

“The standards are improving year-on-year. In 2013, 55 per cent of the trainees were graded as ‘outstanding’ and 39 per cent were ‘good’.

“These were our best results to date and we strongly believe our 2013-14 cohort will perform even better.”

Current trainee Nicola Juncar, who hopes to become an English teacher, added: “I applied to the SCITT because I had heard about its fantastic reputation amongst schools in the region. The practical, work-based training route appealed to me, as I wanted to be developing my skills as a teacher in the classroom, not in a lecture theatre in a university setting. The application process was extremely efficient and the level of support on offer is second to none. I believe, with the SCITT’s support and guidance, I can look forward to a long, happy and successful teaching career.”

The SCITT provides two training routes, known as core and school direct. Both routes are full-time and run from September to June.

On successful completion, trainees are awarded qualified teacher status (QTS) and a PGCE validated by Sunderland University.

To find out more about the courses on offer, or to discuss the application process for 2014, call Durham Secondary SCITT on 01325 308918.

Alternatively, you can e-mail or log on to the website, where you can also access testimonials from former trainees.