It is important to have a realistic awareness of the demands of the profession you are seeking to join, otherwise you might start the training and pull out when you realise that the role of a teacher is not at all what you expected.
For anyone applying for a programme at a special needs school, existing experience of children with special needs would be a significant advantage.
We therefore require all candidates to demonstrate some understanding of the role of a teacher and an awareness of some current issues facing the profession.
Spending a couple of days observing relevant lessons in a state secondary school would help to support your interview answers, but we understand that this may be hard to arrange if schools are still limiting visitors into classrooms.
We would not reject a candidate based on their lack of observational school experience if their application was otherwise good, but we do also have some top tips for good alternatives listed below.
WATCHING VIRTUAL LESSONS
You may be able to watch some virtual lessons in your subject, using the link below.
HOW TO ARRANGE A DAY IN SCHOOL OR PHONE CALL WITH SUBJECT TEACHER
First look at the vacancies on our website and read the relevant course documents thoroughly, including opening the links within them to read about the schools and look at where they are on our map. Use that to make an initial judgement about which schools you prefer.
Then email us (but be aware that we will be forwarding your email directly to the school, so write it formally and check it).
Your email should be short (no CVs) but should demonstrate that you are a serious potential applicant by confirming that you have read the information on the WLTTA website and have looked at the course document and have read about the different schools. You should name the school or schools (perhaps 2) that you are particularly interested in. Then you could ask for the opportunity to come into school to observe lessons for a day, but if that is not possible, could you at least speak to someone in their [subject] department to ask some questions.
You should add a sentence about your degree and whether you already meet the GCSE requirements perhaps. You must include information about your availability and your phone number.
We will then forward your email directly to the right people at the school/s in question.
Remember all our schools are looking for applicants who aspire to work for them so do not ever say in the email that you don't mind which school you train in. Our schools want you to be thinking about where you might like to work. If you are struggling with this, just call us and we can help.
Be aware that it doesn't matter which school you get experience in or talk to. It certainly doesn't need to be the school that you are applying to. We are simply suggesting that if you are finding it hard to speak to a subject teacher, you will have a better chance if you target schools who are actively looking for trainees in that field and they are more likely to take the time out of their busy day, if they are aware that you are likely to be applying for the place at their school.
THE DFE SCHOOL EXPERIENCE PROGRAMME (SEP)
You should also be aware of the DfE’s School Experience Programme. This is a portal where some schools upload available dates for giving candidates school experience. As long as you have registered on the DfE’s Get Into Teaching website, you can book experience days through the SEP for many subjects. See more information through the following link: https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/getting-school-experience