School of Education news

group of art and design PGCE trainees sitting around a table in art classroom

Learning about alternative teaching settings

As part of their ongoing learning (Secondary) Art and Design PGCE trainees recently explored teaching art and design in alternative school settings.

Julie Howard, course leader said:

“This day was designed to teach the students about alternative school settings that differ from the 11-16 mainstream, and how the pedagogy for teaching our subject can be adapted for this.

“The students began to see the possibilities and many opportunities, that their PGCE qualification opens up for them and how they can bring some of their pedagogy into their own teaching in order to engage all learners”.

The day started with trainees being joined on campus by guest speakers from three local alternative settings:

  • Danni Smith, an Early Career Teacher for a pupil referral unit / alternative provision
  • Daisy Francis an Early Career Teacher at Northease Manor, SEND school
  • Caz Laing who is art and design coordinator at Westdene Primary School.

Each spoke about their role in the school, a typical day, the best and most challenging parts of the job, how it differs from a mainstream school, and how they deliver art and design to their students. They also brought in examples of artwork from their school to share and answered questions.

Trainee, Josie Gibert said:

“It was interesting to hear how art can differ between types of schools as well as noticing the similarities. As well as hearing about art, the speakers told us how working in smaller class sizes can make forming relationships with students easier, which was thought-provoking as it made me question where I would want to end up teaching. I hadn’t given much thought to working anywhere other than a mainstream secondary school so this information was all very useful as it broadened my options”.

In the afternoon, trainees were then given the opportunity to spend time in one of three settings: Bantridge House School (SEND), Carden Primary School or BHASVIC college.

Trainee Emily Powling writes up her reflections on the afternoon visit to BHASVIC:

“I spent an afternoon observing both the teaching and learning at BHASVIC sixth form college and came away feeling excited and inspired. I hadn’t considered teaching in a college setting until then, and now feel that it would be a strong option.

“A small group of us were fortunate enough to observe lessons within all creative disciplines, in a fast-paced, speed-dating style. The short yet informative slots of observations gave us a brilliant insight into post-16 teaching.

“It was incredibly eye-opening to get a feeling of how art is taught in a college environment. Students were treated as artists and adults, with lots of independence and freedom. From the conversations I had with select students, they appreciated this independence coming out of a perhaps more rigid and structured school environment.

“The way in which briefs were delivered in lessons felt very much like university level. This sets the students up for success, preparing them for either university or other creative paths. The classroom atmosphere in general was very positive, with all pupils wanting to be present and engaged.

“I am very grateful to have had this brilliant opportunity, and felt truly inspired by how BHASVIC teaches the next generation of artists”.

Josie Gilbert decided to visit Bantridge House School:

“I have little experience with SEND/SEMH schools, and it intrigued me. We started with a tour where we met some of the pupils and teachers and got to understand how the school worked in terms of class sizes, routines, class dynamics, and additional support.

“We then had the opportunity to work in some of the classes which was an amazing experience as I got to immerse myself in the environment and learn how it differs from mainstream schooling. We rotated around the classrooms, working from year 1 up to year 7 to see how art is taught across the different school years. I was slightly apprehensive at first but very quickly got stuck in and I enjoyed every second of it.

“By the end of the day I was considering applying to work in an SEMH next year as I know, I would find it very rewarding and I think I would get a lot of joy out of it. This was not something that had crossed my mind before this day so I am very grateful to have had this experience.

“It showed me that I am capable of working in all kinds of school settings and it once again illustrated the importance of art for young people as it is a way of expressing themselves in a creative and therapeutic manner”.

Interested in studying (Secondary) Art and Deisgn PGCE at Brighton. Find out more on our website.

Christina Camm • February 27, 2023

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