At Castle Hill we take professional development very seriously and strive to ensure all teaching staff are given opportunities to develop their teaching and leadership skills. We also offer a real career pathway for our teaching assistants and strive to nurture and develop talent. Nine of our current teaching staff began with us as teaching assistants and another three are currently following degree courses with a view to progressing to Qualified Teacher Status.
We are proud of our partnerships with Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), the University of Manchester (UoM) and Hope University and take several secondary trainee teachers on full placements every year. Both trainees and university tutors invariably comment on the high quality of support that trainees receive whilst at Castle Hill. Seven of our current teaching staff began with us as trainee teachers on placements from MMU or UoM. In addition to full placements we also offer shorter SEND experience placements, running from one day to several weeks, for trainees wanting experience of the special school environment.
Since September 2012 we have been a member of the Altius Alliance, a group of schools in the South Manchester area set up to train future teachers using the School Direct model. Cheadle Hulme High School is the lead school and other members of the alliance include Kingsway High School, Marple Hall High School, Altrincham College of Arts, Copley Academy and the Pendlebury Centre.
In 2021-22 we took a total of 63 trainee teachers on placements ranging from a few days SEND experience to 16-week teaching blocks.
In addition to trainee teachers we also regularly offer placements to students on health and social care courses.
Feedback from trainees who recently undertook placements with us included:
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the placement – the best thing MMU could have done to help improve my teaching!
I know I will be a better practitioner as a result of my time here.
It was an utter joy to be made so welcome from the moment I walked through the door.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my placement at Castle Hill; the range of experiences, learning opportunities and support from staff went far beyond what any other school could offer.
Further details of the Altius Alliance and School Direct programme fo teacher training can be found on the Altius Alliance website:
We offer a volunteer placement experience for individuals who plan to work as teaching assistants or learning mentors. We assess their potential and, providing they are prepared to commit to an accredited learning pathway, we will mentor and guide them through practical experience and training.
Anyone considering volunteering with us should contact our Deputy Headteacher, Glyn Thomas: firstname.lastname@example.org