An Appetite for Success

Combining a cream tea, enthusiastic new teachers and lots of summer sunshine for the new Astra trainee induction on 6th July 2015 seemed like the perfect recipe for success.  Kicking off on the terrace of Cafe Africa, our 16 new recruits for September 2015 spent time chatting informally to each other and their new mentors, as well as posing for a few pictures before the more formal part of the programme started!


The Astra trainees for 2015/16 get to know each other over a cream tea at Challoner’s in July

Trainees have been placed across our seven partner schools - Dr Challoner’s Grammar School, Chesham Grammar School, The Misbourne, Dr Challoner’s High School, The Beaconsfield School, Chiltern Hills Academy and The Wycombe Grange Pupil Referral Unit - for 2015/16 and in a wide range of subjects areas (English, Drama, History, PE, Music, Physics, Biology & Art).

Our two PE trainees, Sam and Jack (see below), were among the first to be recruited for the Astra School Direct programme in November 2014, working in collaboration with The University of Reading.  Both will do their main school placements at Dr Challoner’s Grammar School.   Speaking on camera about why he chose to train with the Astra Alliance, Jack commented that he applied to train with Astra because he was impressed by the “brilliant reputation” of the Alliance, as well as our “wide variety of schools”.  He described the application process as “straightforward” although offered wise advice about carefully researching schools before making an application, and knowing exactly what is needed on your CV to meet the application criteria.

A short video featuring Jack speaking about about the application process can be found here.  Additionally, a film of our 2014/15 trainees talking about their experiences can also be viewed here.



Astra PE trainees, Jack and Sam, speak with Lionel Warner of Reading University


Having made new contacts, new friends and consumed some truly enormous scones, the induction party retired inside for some informative sessions, including the in-school Professional Studies programme for 2015/16, which will run weekly for two hours and cover a wide range of areas, from behaviour management to the use of data and differentiation.  Trainees were also given a comprehensive overview of the university-based QTS and PGCE programmes by Lionel Warner of Reading University.  


During the session, both mentors and trainees were able to ask questions and share their excitement and concerns about the year ahead.  Perhaps most importantly, our Astra trainees were equipped with Chromebooks and Astra Alliance (Google) logins, acknowledging the vital role of technology in teacher training for the future. All trainees will have access to a vast online library of resources next year, as well as Google cloud-based systems for storing and submitting their work.


Getting down to the details: the Professional Development programme for 2015/16

At the end of the sessions, the Astra trainees for 2015/16 left Dr Challoner’s slightly more weighed down in terms of reading material and technology hardware, but hopefully feeling a little lighter in terms of concerns, and hungry for more in September!  Astra staff very much enjoyed hosting the event - and thanks to all who attended and contributed to making it such a success.


Be part of the future!

Applications for the next round of School Direct / SCITT recruitment with The Astra Alliance opens in late October, with an open afternoon on 7th October 2015 at Dr Challoner’s Grammar School.  Please see our website for more information.  Having gained School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) status from 2016, we will be recruiting for both QTS and PGCE (with University College, London) in the following subject areas / phases, and would love to hear from you if you are considering a rewarding career in teaching from September 2016:  

 Secondary: Art & Design; Biology; Chemistry; Computer Science; Drama; English; Geography; History; Maths; Music; PE; Physics

Primary General; Primary with Mathematics; Primary with 50% PE

 For more information, please contact either Stephanie Rodgers or Gill Byrne at: / Twitter: @AstraAlliance / Tel: 01494 787573

SCITT balls