Nearly a fortnight after pupils in England returned to the classroom, trainee teachers from the University of Sunderland are helping them adjust to the new normal.
Twenty trainees have started their placements at Monkwearmouth Academy in Sunderland last week, to help pupils catch up after months of remote learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Among them is Adam Goodbody, who is training to be a History teacher.
He said: “The school has done a really good job to try and get students into good learning habits again, which have been affected by Covid.
“They have brought us along to provide extra support, so the teachers here are doing their jobs to try and continue with the curriculum and we are there to fill the gaps.
“The aim is to get some of the not so confident students with us so we can help them get back to the standard they need to be able to pass their exams.”
For Adam, and the rest of the trainees, it is also an opportunity to develop their own teaching skills.
“A few of us are concerned about how to deal with classroom management and different levels of ability,” Adam explained.
“I think this is the perfect opportunity because there is a mixed group of kids here all with different abilities and personalities.
“Through that, we can learn from the students.”
The trainees are working across 10 subjects, providing one-to-one and small group tutoring and will move on to teaching full classes after Easter.
Monkwearmouth Academy Headteacher and Sunderland graduate, Michael Grummett, said: “We are really excited to work with the next cohort of teachers from the University of Sunderland to support both the graduates in their development, who in turn will support our students with gaps in their knowledge caused by lockdown.
“Our students have been looking forward to moving from online learning to normal face-to-face teaching and the graduate trainees, who are specialists in their area, will provide that personalised approach and the right support, which is bespoke to our school.
“We are a strong community school and working closer with our local university is a great opportunity for us to forge even stronger links.
“I am incredibly proud to have graduated from the University of Sunderland myself and it is a real privilege to support the university that helped me earlier in my career.”
Susan Edgar, Head of School of Education at the University, said: “We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Monkwearmouth Academy to support the education of their students.
“Special thanks should go to Monkwearmouth’s Assistant Headteacher, Narinder Sandhu, and the University’s Partnership Development Officer, Danielle Oliver, who have designed this excellent opportunity to both support pupils in the school as well as the training of our trainee teachers.
“The University is looking forward to working closely with Monkwearmouth Academy in the future in the development of both trainee placements and CPD (Continuing Professional Development) provision.”