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University leading the way in developing centre of excellence in teacher training mentoring

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Published on 16 November 2022

Professor Lynne McKenna
Professor Lynne McKenna

The University of Sunderland is once again leading the UK as it sets out its aspiration to develop a National Centre of Excellence in teacher training and mentoring.

It is no secret that the Initial Teacher Training and Education (ITTE) sector is going through turbulent times.

Teacher training providers now find themselves facing a plethora of reforms and changes, not least submitting the requirements for the second phase of oDfE reaccreditation in the new year.

One of the key changes from the introduction of the DfE’s Early Career Framework introduced in 2021, is the entitlement to mentor support for newly qualified teachers in the first two years of their career. The elevated status of mentors and their role in developing entrants to the profession is integral to the reforms.

The new Early Career Framework has introduced a requirement for the school sector to provide compulsory training sessions for mentors. Alongside that, there is the strong suggestion that mentors of ITTE students will now attend at least 20 hours of training. This means that mentors require more guidance and support than ever before.

The University is currently leading the field in the UK and internationally in this area, with their aspiration to develop a National Centre of Excellence for Initial Teacher Training and Education in Mentoring, spearheaded by the School of Education’s Principal Lecturer and Teacher Development Mentor Lead, Haili Hughes.

Recognising the mentoring talent there is in the north-east and across the sector, Haili has created a mentor support group for those who are leading mentoring at scale, in ITTE organisations.

The online space is a place to collaborate, get advice and share good practice, so that the support mentors are providing for trainees helps them to provide the very best teaching for our students.

The group has over a hundred academics, teaching school hub directors and SCITT leaders in it from providers across the UK and internationally and is already proving to be a vibrant community of practice with members sharing ideas, resources, and interesting research.

Haili said: “I believe that we all must unite across the sector and pool expertise to get mentoring right. Effective mentoring is a vital ingredient to counteract the grim recruitment and retention statistics currently experienced by the school’s sector.

“I believe that if we work together, we can support trainees and in turn, give our students the best possible life chances.”

Professor Lynne McKenna, Dean of the Faculty of Education and Society, said: “At the University of Sunderland, we have a long-standing commitment to providing a tailored training and support package for our school-based mentors.

“We work in very close partnership with our schools to integrate a comprehensive package of support for our teacher trainee students which ensures that they leave the University of Sunderland suitably prepared to begin their teaching career.

“This year, we have a total of 524 mentors supporting our teacher trainee students: 485 mentors in the UK and 39 mentors internationally supporting our International Qualified Teacher Status (iQTS) students.

“I am delighted that Haili has ambitions to create a National Centre of Excellence for Initial Teacher Training and Education Mentoring here at the University and am happy to support and continue to monitor this exciting development with great interest.”

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