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Train to Teach

The Spires College is proud to be a partner in the South West Institute for Teaching (SWIFT). You can find more details about SWIFT, including information about Initial Teacher Training on their website

Teaching school hubs provide the opportunity for all schools to learn from the very best. They have a leading role in the training and professional development of teachers, support staff and Headteachers or Principals, as well as contributing to the raising of standards through school-to-school support.

The South West Institute for Teaching (SWIFT) was formed in March 2021 and is led jointly by Kingsbridge Teaching School Hub and Colyton Teaching School Hub.

SWIFT has six main aims:

  • To strengthen recruitment into the teaching profession by increasing the number and quality of trainee teachers (ITT)
  • To improve retention of Early Career Teachers by ensuring they have access to receive high quality training and support
  • To enable teachers and school staff to continuously improve throughout their career through mapped research, training and support pathways
  • To support the development of outstanding leaders through networks, training and coaching
  • To support schools to be consistently good or better by supporting access to high quality early school improvement support
  • To become a premium organisation by putting the best of regional, national and available evidence at the heart of its work.

SWIFT membership is drawn from across primary schools, secondary schools and higher education institutes in the South West.

Initial Teacher Education

The Spires College has developed strong working relationships with a number of higher education institutions including the University of Exeter, the University of Plymouth and Plymouth Marjon University. Each year we support a number of trainees on Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) courses and other, school-led programmes across a broad range of subjects.

We have a large team of dedicated and highly skilled mentors with a wealth of experience and subject knowledge, as well as a designated Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Coordinator who leads our programme.

Our trainees have their own large and well-equipped workroom, enabling them to work and socialise together should they choose to do so. The space has a number of workstations with computers as well as a CPD library tailored to teacher training. This is an important aspect of the professional and collegiate culture we value. Each department also has its own subject office and trainees are encouraged to use these spaces to get to know colleagues.

For more information, please contact our Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Coordinator, Rachel Cane:

Early Career Framework and Early Career Teachers

Supporting teachers in the early phases of their career is both a pleasure and privilege. We recognise that the first few years in teaching can be challenging but are also hugely rewarding. Our package of support for Early Career Teachers (ECTs), therefore, is comprehensive and designed to support each individual to develop holistically.

Alongside the timetable reduction for ECTs (10% in the first year and 5% in the second year), we also have an extensive programme of professional studies for Early Career Teachers, planned and delivered by highly skilled and experienced teachers and leaders. Sessions are led by specialists in each area and provide an in-depth examination of the relevant research, a discussion of the challenges and opportunities linked to each topic, as well as practical ‘take-away’ strategies to improve practice. This programme is supplemented by regular self-directed study sessions with materials provided online by Teach First. ECTs are encouraged to maintain a reflective journal to track their progress and record any questions that arise. These are used to inform weekly supportive mentor sessions that provide an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate successes, probe areas for development, set precise actions, and plan the week ahead.

Our ECT mentors receive regular training and support to maintain their knowledge and skills in this role. We also timetable the weekly meetings between mentors and ECTs to ensure these development opportunities are prioritised and consistent.

Our Early Career Framework programme, and the support for our Early Career Teachers and mentors, is co-ordinated by a highly experienced and knowledgeable member of our Extended Leadership Team. We confidently believe that the support we offer to our Early Career Teachers is exemplary; we go beyond delivering the requirements of the Early Career Framework to ensure our Early Career Teachers experience a package of support that is uniquely tailored to our vision and values, as well as the social context of The Spires College. In this way, our Early Career Teachers receive personalised support and professional development that is specific to the needs of our students.

All schools that offer a statutory induction for Early Career Teachers are required to have an Appropriate Body (AB). As of September 2021, our Appropriate Body is the South West Institute for Teaching (SWIFT). Their role is to conduct fidelity checks, ensuring ECTs are receiving a programme of support and training based on the Early Career Framework.

For more information, please contact Tom Hayden: