Elena Ragusa, School Direct PGCEElena Ragusa is one of a new generation of trainees studying for their PGCE while they work, as part of the School Direct programme available at LSBU
The School Direct programme, which is growing in popularity as teachers look to earn while they learn, has been designed by LSBU in partnership with a network of schools. Doing so ensures that the delivery of the course is well-suited to trainee’s specific needs and when they qualify as teachers a great start to their careers.
“I applied for the School Direct programme because I realised it was a great opportunity to work while I study,” explains Elena. “Colleagues and friends recommended LSBU to me, and the fact that it is close to home and work made it the ideal choice for me.”
Those recommendations have proven accurate since Elena started the course, as she herself explains. “The course has been the perfect combination of academic and practical on-the-job training,” she says. “Studying at LSBU is already preparing me to face the daily challenges in schools, and has encouraged me to reflect on different aspects of teaching in London,” she says.
Challenging but rewarding
Elena spends Monday to Thursday working in her primary school, and attends lectures and seminars at LSBU on a Friday – a workload that she feels provides her with a challenging but rewarding balance between training and learning. “Working alongside a class teacher and receiving feedback from tutors at LSBU has really helped me improve my teaching practice,” she says of the experience. “The sessions are really interactive, and offer lots of ideas for great lesson planning.”
As well as working at her primary school, the School Direct course has also given Elena the chance to train in one other school, teaching different age groups. She was also given the opportunity to choose an Alternative Education Setting, to observe teaching and learning out of the classroom. “I chose to be part of the learning team at a small museum,” says Elena. “It was an invaluable experience and I really enjoyed it.”
I’m really enjoying being part of the School Direct group of students. We work together as a team, sharing experiences and providing a great support network for each other.
Great support network
That support network forms an integral part of the Schools Direct course at LSBU, as Elena is quick to point out. “The best thing about studying at LSBU is the personalised support that the course offers,” she says. “I receive support from two different professionals who guide me through my next steps and how to achieve them.”
With such a positive experience behind her, and so much valuable experience already under her belt, it is little surprise to find Elena in optimistic mood when it comes to her future. “I haven’t started looking for a permanent role yet, but I will soon,” she says. “I feel I have a very good chance of getting a job as a newly qualified teacher because this course, which is challenging yet rewarding, has an excellent reputation – and having studied it myself, I can really see why.”
Find out more about the PGCE School Direct programme.