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.
Trevor 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.
Andy 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.
Melissa Webster – Teacher of RE / Head of Bernadette House at St. Mary’s Catholic High School
Whilst studying for my degree in ‘Theology, Religious Studies and Sociology’ at Leeds University, I was undecided what path in life I would take after I graduated. I had always loved school and spent lots of my time volunteering in both primary and secondary schools to gain experience during my studies.
Emily 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!
Abigail 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.