What happens on a school experience day?

Bryan Stephenson, teaching school director for The Academy at Shotton Hall

School experience not only gives you a greater understanding of teaching, it also strengthens your application. We asked Bryan Stephenson, teaching school director for The Academy at Shotton Hall, to explain what a prospective teacher will gain from a school experience placement with them.

What should aspiring teachers expect from school experience?

“Potential trainees will get a real taste of what it is like to be a teacher, spending time in different lessons with different age groups and abilities, alongside our team of outstanding teachers. 

“The bulk of school experience is observing lessons and seeing the tactics and techniques teachers employ to engage and energise children. However, in many of our lessons – especially if the potential trainee has spent several days in school – they will be able to actively take part, assisting children with tasks and encouraging participation, and in many cases helping to deliver parts of the lesson themselves.

“We also hold special monthly back-to-school days where, in addition to the regular school experience classroom observations, potential trainees are able to speak to current trainees and newly qualified teachers (NQTs) as well as members of our student council. There is also an opportunity to speak to the course directors and ask any questions about the programme, teaching training courses and funding.”

What sort of tasks would potential trainees get involved in?  

“Typical tasks may include helping children in small groups to debate and work through problems, working with an individual child to differentiate a task to help them understand better, delivering a lesson starter to energise the class or assisting the teacher to prepare resources for future lessons. 

“Depending on the time of year and what is going on in school, you may even be asked to get involved with less usual school tasks such as dressing up for World Book Day and taking part in ‘flash mob’ reading to children, or helping organise school plays and concerts.”

How long is your average school placement?

“You can have up to 10 days in our school or in schools across our teaching school alliance.”

Getting experience in a school is essential to a good application and is the perfect way to demonstrate your passion for teaching and learning. Read our tips on arranging your school experience independently or let us do the hard work on finding your first placement through the Get School Experience service.