This page includes a number of success stories from our past trainees. We hope you will enjoy hearing about their experiences and their success following the training with WWLCSD.
Z. Fox – Subject leader of Citizenship and teacher of RE
Originally, I started out as a School Chaplain, so I was already familiar with the life and ethos of a Catholic School. The schools that are part of WWLCSD, throughout the training process, explore teaching as a vocation and put the teachings of Jesus at the centre of life and learning. WWLCSD considers this further through the CCRS element of training for its teachers. When deciding upon a training provider, it was this distinctive Catholic nature, which made it feel like the best choice for me. I was placed in Our Lady Queen of Peace as my home school and St John Rigby Sixth Form College as my away school. Both placements offered fantastic support throughout the training year. You are welcomed from day one as part of the staff and are encouraged to take part in aspects of school life both inside and outside the classroom. It was a privilege to work and train with RE departments in both schools, which their students hold in such high esteem and have highly skilled practitioners to observe and learn from. Both schools provided me with outstanding subject mentors, who were a key day-to-day support and a listening ear. All department staff offered help and advice as well as fully understanding the training process and provided useful feedback for me. Additionally to be able to develop skills and subject knowledge across three key stages was a highlight as it allowed me to experience Religious Education at KS5.
I successfully interviewed for a position teaching RE and Citizenship at my home school Our Lady’s. It was great feeling knowing I was joining this community on a permanent basis along with three other colleagues from our WWLCSD cohort that year. Our Lady’s has helped me go from strength to strength and when the opportunity came up to lead and coordinate Citizenship… I jumped at the chance! For the past three years I have been subject leader of Citizenship, a role that is my absolute passion within teaching and I am constantly amazed in the development of our young people into active citizens through our GCSE Citizenship option. Additionally I have had the opportunity to help plan, with our Senior Leadership Team, our whole school Curriculum for Life programme and I lead the Citizenship strand of teaching.
Undoubtedly, training with WWLCSD was a fantastic choice; it gave me the tools to develop and grow into the role of classroom teacher and from that, I have been able to develop further my skills into leadership roles within teaching. WWLCSD embeds teaching as a passion and vocation which its course leaders and professional mentors fully embrace and model.
D.Smith – Learning Manager – Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Engineering College
The WWLCSD programme has provided me with an excellent platform to launch my teaching career. The course gives trainees both the essential knowledge and practical experience in school. I feel the time I spent in school was vital and helped me to gain confidence and develop my own teaching style. My Professional Mentor was also very important to me as I felt she advocated on my behalf within the school and ensured that others knew about my progress, achievements and potential. I was employed by my placement school and recently I have been promoted into a Learning Manager role. I believe the broad range of content covered in the Continuing Professional Development and Catholic Certificate for Religious Studies programme developed me outside the classroom and was a major factor in my success.
In summary, I feel that School Direct was a great choice for me and that the WWLCSD gives you the experience and guidance needed to become a successful teacher.
M. Oakley – Teacher of Science – St. Bede’s Catholic High School
Everybody says the NQT year is the toughest one to be faced, and as I embark on my own NQT year I’m under no illusion as to the challenge ahead of me. Thanks to WWLCSD I qualified as an “Outstanding” teacher in June and have been lucky enough to secure a permanent teaching position at St. Bede’s – the school in which I spent my home placement. Starting as an NQT, I am at a very exciting point in my career. The school is striving to become “world class”, and that is something that perfectly mirrors my own ambitions.
Thanks to WWLCSD, I received the best possible training. I was fortunate to have excellent mentors throughout, both subject mentors and professional mentors at St. Bede’s and St. John Rigby – my away placement. I was able to explore many different teaching methods, observe excellent practitioners, and begin to mould my own teaching style. This has given me a great amount of confidence and instilled a passion for innovation and quality.
From the first day at St. Bede’s I committed to the life and ethos of the school. I got involved in the Science department, Chaplaincy and extra-curricular sport. Through this contribution during my training year, I have opened the door to further opportunity as an NQT which I don’t believe would be possible without the guidance of WWLCSD mentors. I have recently delivered my second year of Lourdes assemblies to each year group in school, the first having been done as a fresh-faced trainee. I have just returned from my first residential school trip with the History department to visit the WWI battlefield sites in Ypres and the Somme. That in itself was an incredible experience, offering the chance to experience something so powerful and also share those memories with the Year 10 and 11 pupils. Again, thanks to the School-Wide Development training provided by WWLCSD mentors I relished the opportunity to travel and get involved. I’m due to travel to Salzburg in Austria as part of the school Music tour in Half Term, which I’m sure will be another fantastic trip! I have also continued my involvement within the PE department, helping to run the Hockey club at St. Bede’s, which will involve taking teams to local tournaments in the future.
As one of my promises during the interview for my position I promised to re-establish a Science club at St. Bede’s, and that is something I have delivered on already. It is still early days, but the lab has been full of budding scientists so I’m sure the club will thrive throughout the year and future years to come! Establishing the STEM club, as well as taking on other duties within the department has led to me taking up the role of STEM Co-ordinator. This is one of the most exciting opportunities I have been given, so I am relishing the opportunity to further inspire a love of STEM in our pupils at St. Bede’s.
WWLCSD provided fantastic training, giving me the confidence and skillset to thrive as a qualified teacher. As I settle into my own role, in my own classroom, at my own desk, I can only talk positively of my time as a trainee. It was an amazing experience that I’m sure I will remember for a long time, but what I am most excited about is what’s yet to come. I don’t know what the future holds as I start my career at St. Bede’s, but I fully believe the sky’s the limit.
T. Alston – Head of Computing – St Peter’s Catholic High School
When I was at University, I actually wanted to be a Police Officer, but I needed something to fall back on if for whatever reason this didn’t work out. So I studied Computer Multimedia as I also had an interest in Computing. I was in the Police for 2 years and really enjoyed it, but I had friends and family who were teachers and I always found myself being envious of them.
I therefore did a bit of research into various different ways to get into teaching and thought that Catholic School Direct was the best option for me. This is because I had never stood in front of a class of students and taught before, and with CSD, you start on the first day of the academic year with all of the regular teachers, (so the pupils think you’re just a normal teacher and not a trainee). You also get ‘eased’ into teaching, so you’d have a mentor who you’d observe and help out for the first few weeks, and then you gradually start teaching, (starting off small) by maybe delivering and introducing an activity to the class for example. When I was ready, I was able to start teaching full lessons and within no time, it started to feel natural standing in front of a whole class and teaching full lessons.
At the end of my training year, I went to an interview (which CSD fully prepared me for) and got a job at the first school that I applied for, which was St Peter’s Catholic High School.
I’m extremely happy to be teaching here and I’m very fortunate to be teaching in such an amazing school. It can be challenging at times, but I make a huge effort to always be organised and not to put anything off to the last minute, which has been a key factor in my success.
In the middle of my NQT year, there was a Head of Department position in my department available and I was debating whether or not to even apply for it, (thinking “no school will appoint an NQT as head of department”). However, I worked really hard to prepare for the interview. I went over and over what I was going to say etc, and I was obviously really pleased to be offered the Head of Department role.
I’ve obviously learnt so much since starting my teacher training, and if someone said to me 2 years ago that I would be head of department in a secondary school, I would have laughed, but having put a lot of hard work in throughout the last 2 years into my new job as a teacher, I feel I’ve done myself proud and that I can enjoy the entire summer holidays knowing I’ll be returning to my new position as Head of Department next September.
A. Newton – Assistant Director of KS3 / Teacher of PE at St. Mary’s Catholic High School
I have always wanted to be a secondary school teacher. After gaining my honours degree in 2014 from the University of Birmingham in ‘Sport, Physical Education and Coaching Sciences’, I researched about becoming a secondary PE teacher. After some extensive research I became skeptical about training in this subject, due to the extremely competitive job market.
My auntie, who is a Head Teacher at a Twelve Apostles Primary School in Leigh, told me about Catholic Schools Direct. This programme appealed to me as it provides a unique insight into working full time in local Catholic Schools giving me an advantage over my competitors training in PGCE courses. My training offered me both a subject and professional mentor in both my ‘home’ and ‘away’ school. These mentors offered specialist support in relation to lesson planning, behaviour management, subject knowledge and personal reflection. This allowed me to gain vast experience teaching in KS3, KS4 and KS5 Physical Education.
I was lucky enough after my training year to be offered a job at St Mary’s Catholic High School in 2015, my home school. The support and backing from my training year continued into my NQT year. During this year I was successful in my application to become Head of Bernadette House and towards the end of the year was appointed Assistant Director of Key Stage 3. This pastoral role has allowed me to take a lead with year 7, 8 and 9 in relation to their behaviour, progress and attainment. My line manger continues to stretch and challenge me giving me experiences across a range of educational contexts which are consistently continuing my professional development. St Mary’s are supporting my development even further through an ‘aspiring leadership course’.
I truly believe WWLCSD have allowed to me to progress extensively due to the fantastic training and support they offered, which has continued well past my training and NQT year.
M. Webster – Teacher of RE / Head of Bernadette House at St. Mary’s Catholic High School
After studying for my degree in ‘Theology, Religious Studies and Sociology’ at Leeds University, I heard an advert on Wish FM advertising Catholic School Direct. The programme appealed to me as it was based in my local area in local schools I already knew much about. I was intrigued by the contact between the trainees and the different schools and the amount of time spent training inside school settings.
My training offered me both a subject and a professional mentor in both my ‘home’ and ‘away’ placements. The support of the mentors encouraged me to grow in confidence and subject knowledge, supported me to take risks in the classroom and reflected with me on my teaching journey and how to improve my practice.
I was lucky enough to be appointed after my first year at the school as Head of Bernadette House working with the local community. This role has allowed me to take a lead in the behaviour and achievement of pupils from Year 7 through to Year 13. I worked with pupils within my house to create new community projects and raise money for different charities each term. St Mary’s supported my development even further through allowing me to continue my CCRS modules through the Archdiocese.
After a year the role of Head of House changed and I was now in charge of a large number of disadvantaged students in the school. This allowed me to work closely with certain students, build a rapport with them and assist them in achieving their best in their education.
An opportunity arose in another school belonging to WWLCSD, Holy Cross High School Chorley. I applied for the job as 2nd in the RE department which I began in September 2018, this allowed me to bring new ideas and initiatives to assist in new systems of tracking students, enhancing the curriculum and ensuring assessment shows clear progress. This was pinnacle in our ‘outstanding’ Section 48 review by the Archdiocese. During my time at Holy Cross and becoming more familiar with the students of a new school, I was granted the position of Assistant Head of Year. This gave me the opportunity to complete pastoral work alongside work on the RE curriculum as well as teaching and learning.
I do believe WWLCSD has allowed me to learn the skills, knowledge and confidence to get me where I am today. I continuously feel supported by the programme and would recommend anyone who looks into the teaching profession to choose the WWLCSD programme.
E. Veivers – Teacher of Mathematics (NQT) St. Peter’s Catholic High School
I chose to train with the Wigan and West Lancashire Catholic School Direct as I had heard that from the very start you are treated as a teacher and not a trainee. This was 100% the case. From the very first day you are in school involved in all the normalities of a teacher and I feel the pupils see you straight away as the teacher instead of a trainee that they can run rings around. I feel the training process has prepared me so well for my NQT year and I have felt really relaxed about the whole transition.
The best thing about my NQT year is having a classroom of my own to decorate however I want. This freedom felt good and it was great to get the kids involved in making my displays and turning the classroom into a bright and happy environment! This makes the world of difference!
My advice to trainees is to stay organised and manage time effectively by prioritising. Yes, the workload is a lot and sometimes you can feel overwhelmed but if you prioritise your jobs then you are using your time effectively and the task won’t feel as big. Good luck to anyone training in the future!
A. Beeley – Numeracy Coordinator across the Curriculum and Mathematics Teacher at St John Fisher Catholic High School
After completing a Mathematics and Management degree at the University of Leeds, I quickly decided that I wanted to use my degree to teach. I found out about the Catholic School Direct course through St Mary’s Catholic High School, and researched the course before deciding it was the best route into teaching.
I started my training at St John Fisher Catholic High School on the first day back after summer with all the other teachers and this was great because the pupils thought that I was a regular teacher. I observed lessons for a few weeks and then slowly took on my own classes. I received so much advice and assistance whilst I was training and everyone was so welcoming and supportive. The course offered me both subject and professional mentors, who gave tremendous support and guidance throughout my placements and helped me to reflect on my teaching practice and technique.
I secured a job at St John Fisher for my NQT year, and half way through this, I was appointed Numeracy Coordinator across the Curriculum. This role has allowed me to interact more with other departments across the school whilst enhancing my own knowledge and awareness of the presence of maths in other subjects. The School Direct course definitely prepared me for this role, as I felt confident as a teacher and ready to challenge myself further with an additional responsibility.
I would definitely recommend the WWLCSD course to all who wish to get into teaching.
B.Harvey – Teacher of Religious Studies at St. Mary’s Catholic High School and Sixth Form College
Teaching is a career choice that runs through my family, however I still believe it to be a vocation. I knew that I wanted to be a teacher from a young age, through my own love of school and the outstanding example that my teachers set me. I decided to train with WWLCSD as I was already familiar with some of the schools involved, and felt that the emphasis on the Catholic nature of these schools being celebrated was important to me. Throughout my training year I was fully supported at every stage, by the brilliant mentors at both my ‘home’ and ‘away’ schools, and the friends that I made whilst on the course.
Having just finished my 3rdweek as an NQT, I still wholeheartedly believe that this is the right career for me, and that WWLCSD fully prepared me for the job. Over the past 3 weeks I have gotten to know my Y7 form well, met and taught my ten classes, and been fully immersed into school life – I have absolutely loved it. Of course, each day has its challenges, but I feel that I have learned from them and am becoming a better teacher every day. The support from my training year has continued into my NQT year. I feel blessed to be in a lovely department and enjoy each day that I am spending in school.
A highlight of the past couple of weeks has been a comment made by some students in my form. When asked who had supported them during their transition to high school, they responded with “Miss Harvey”. This was the moment that made me feel like a ‘proper teacher’, and brought it home to me that you can make a difference to the lives of young people. This is something I feel very passionate about.
I am under no illusions that the rest of the year will not be filled with challenges, but I feel that I am ready to face them because of my training with WWLCSD, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year will bring.