University Welcomes Shadow Secretary of State for Education

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The Shadow Secretary of State for Education, the Honourable Tristram Hunt MP, visited the University of Worcester last week to meet teacher training students and view how the University is engaging and interacting with the local community.

Mr Hunt was met at The Hive – Europe’s first joint University and public library – by Professor David Green, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Worcester; and Ms Ann Jordan, Acting Head of the University’s Institute of Education.

He was then shown around the iconic facility, later explaining how impressed he was with the concept.

“The Hive is spectacular. I love the learning environment, going from kids right up to the academic research facilities at the top,” he said.

“It’s a place of learning and understanding, but it’s also a very accessible facility; you see the mothers with their buggies and children wandering around and you see what an exciting template it is for getting communities engaged with the University and making the most of an exciting learning environment.

“The ethos of the place – mixing the academic and the public and familiarising young children with books is really, really important.”

Mr Hunt then went on to meet six University of Worcester students currently studying on various teacher training pathways, all of whom had the chance to discuss with him their experiences as trainee teachers.

“It was really inspiring listening to the teachers on the training programmes, not least for their enthusiasm for their different pathways into the classroom,” Mr Hunt continued.

“It is really important to have this mix of classroom technique – how you manage a classroom – subject knowledge, and what we see here at the University - academic grounding in how to be a teacher.”

The University of Worcester has earned a reputation as one of the best teacher training universities in the country, currently confirmed by the Institute of Education’s ‘Outstanding’ OFSTED rating and the fact that the University is the teacher training partner of choice for over 500 schools.

Among the students to speak with Mr Hunt was Tom Byard, a third-year undergraduate. Mr Byard said: “Meeting with Mr Hunt was a great opportunity to explore the strengths of the University of Worcester and The Hive.

“We were able to discuss with him the resources that the University has to offer and share the practical experiences we have gained from working in schools as trainee teachers, giving him an insight into why the course is deemed ‘outstanding’.”

Deepthi Vijayan, a Secondary PGCE student, added: “The work of the University and the placement schools is invaluable to the teacher training process, and each step in the course is well-planned with the trainee’s needs in mind.

“It was a great opportunity to be able to share my PGCE experience with Mr Hunt.”

The discussion with students was followed by a meeting involving senior Education figures from the University and local Head teachers, entitled ‘Great Teaching, and How to get it in our Schools’.

Ann Jordan explains: “This was an excellent opportunity to engage in the current debate about how to train teachers. 

“As an outstanding provider of initial teacher training, the University develops excellent and committed teachers who are able to meet the needs of all pupils and students and help raise achievement in schools.

“It was good that Mr Hunt was able to meet a group of students, all of whom spoke overwhelmingly positively about the inter-relationship between the training that they have in the University and their placement work.

“It is this well balanced model of training which provides innovative and intellectually rigorous preparation, meeting the demands of national agendas and ultimately enabling all teachers to support children, young people and their families in a positive and inclusive way.”