My name is Emily Clapham, I teach Maths for The Evolve Trust at The Brunts Academy.
I completed my undergraduate degree in 2017, at Sheffield Hallam University, in Mathematics. I studied a wide range of mathematical topics across the three years, finally focusing on forming pictures in the complex plane through iterations for my dissertation which was subsequently published in a mathematical magazine.
I have always loved Maths as a subject and found an inherent joy in working through a problem and achieving a correct answer. For this reason, after completing my degree I could think of no better career that would allow me to share my enjoyment and knowledge of the subject with pupils every day. Maths isn’t an easy subject to get pupils excited about, but I enjoy the challenge of finding innovative ways to capture pupils’ interest. Through incorporating real-life scenarios and problem-solving questions into my lessons, I am able to aid the students in developing an in-depth understanding and to appreciate the application of Maths.
I chose to apply to The Brunts Academy for my initial teacher training as I was previously a student at the academy, from age 11 to 18. Having had an excellent education as a pupil I thought it was only fitting to complete my training within the trust. As I had prior connections with the academy, I was aware of the excellent department that I would be joining and their reputation for supporting trainee teachers in gaining QTS.
I choose the schools direct pathway instead of PCGE as I wanted to dive straight in and gain as much teaching experience as possible, as I have always progressed better though actively doing. On the school direct scheme, I spent 1 day in university every week for a term and then it dropped down to 1 day over 2 weeks. This allowed me to spend the majority of my time in school to focus on my teaching practise and gaining first-hand experience. Although, I spent little time in university, I was well supported by both my university tutors and in school mentor.
The university part of the school’s direct course is split into two areas; subject specific development and teaching as a whole. In the subject specific lectures, we looked at a variety of aspects of teaching Maths such as teaching the curriculum using mastery, purposeful assessment for learning and the components of the GCSE. For the professional section of the course we discussed topics such as behaviour management, adapting lessons to meet the needs of all learners and creating a purposeful learning environment. Over the year we were assessed against the Department for Education teaching standards both in formal observations and written assessments. The Brunts Academy also supported me in my development in relation to these professional standards with CPD sessions, which were held throughout the year, looking at both school specific things like policies as well as sessions on innovative teaching techniques.
For the in-school part of the course, I was assigned a timetable with a range of classes of different year groups and abilities in order to gain a well-rounded experience. In addition, to a school mentor, who supported me with my development across the year, each class had an experienced teacher, who initially I spent time observing and learning from. As the year progressed I started to take over the teaching of the groups; the teachers supported me with planning lessons and observations to help me develop my practice. The quantity of lessons I taught gradually increased throughout the year. As Brunts has a large Maths department I was paired with multiple experienced teachers, this allowed me to learn from a wide range of professionals whom each had different styles of teaching.
Upon successfully completing my school direct course I was offered a job within the trust. Hence, I was able to complete my teacher training by passing my NQT year. Similar to my SD year, I was provided with a mentor to support my development throughout the year. During my NQT year I taught 80% of a teacher’s timetable, this was a considerable step up from my initial training year, however, the school’s direct pathway prepared me well for this. It was beneficial to me to stay in the same school that I completed my SD training in, as I was already familiar with the procedures of the school and the curriculum which supported my transition to solo teaching.
During my NQT year I was able get involved in the wider school community, going on and planning school trips, as well as experiencing more advanced teaching of my subject. I am currently in my RQT year at Brunts, and have gained invaluable experience during my 3 years here. I have been given an opportunity to work with members of my department to develop our KS3 scheme of work, focusing on mastery objectives and to further develop the curriculum to best support the development of our students.
I would highly recommend starting your teaching career with The Evolve Trust.