Sally Tinkler, Former Gateway Alliance Trainee 2016-2017

Four years ago I was a cleaner and completing my OU degree hoping to kick-start the career I had always wanted. I was lucky – Gateway Alliance offered me a place on their School Direct Midlands Programme. I was apprehensive – I’m in my 40’s and thought I’d be the oldest amongst lots of younger people but this wasn’t the case.  There were a real mixture of ages but there was a bond between us all which was formed through our shared experiences and the fantastic teaching team at Warwick University and on Gateway’s CPD courses. Gateway School Direct gave me so much hands on experience in school in differing year groups and different socio economic areas that when I qualified I knew I had been shown the tools to become a great teacher. I am now a subject leader and UNCRC Rights Respecting School lead.

Chantelle Daly, Former Gateway Alliance Trainee 2017-2018

Before joining the Gateway Alliance (Midlands) School Direct Programme I had worked for 8 years as a Mortgage Specialist. I had read about this program and decided it was something I would like to consider to support a career change into the education sector. I left the bank and took a full time role as a teaching assistant in one of the partnership schools linked to the Program. During this time I completed my BA Honors Degree in Early Years Childcare Education.  I completed 2 years as a teaching assistant and decided it was the right time to apply as it was the final year of my degree. I decided to pursue a career because of my own positive experiences as a child- primary school gave me some very fond memories and I remember the difference my teachers made to my life. I wanted to make the same difference and have a positive impact on the children of the next generation. What better way to do that, than to become a teacher myself? I was successful in gaining a place on this high quality teaching program and started the following September.

Right from the start I was made to feel like a teacher. The support I received was excellent and I settled quickly into the school environment in this new teaching role. The Gateway Alliance (Midlands) School Direct Program was more than just a provider of higher education, it soon became like a family. The relationships built through this program were strong and are still very much alive 3 years on. All the people involved truly want you to succeed and be the best you can be and this was evident by the thorough the constant acknowledgment of my hard efforts.

One thing that has stood out for me with this program is the hands on approach you are encouraged to take from day one. I got to teach straight away and this meant that I was able to reflect on my teaching from the get go, allowing me to think about different styles that best suited me as a teacher. I felt very prepared entering my first teaching post as I had managed a workload throughout the year that reflected the life of a true teacher. I completed my NQT as a Year 4 teacher and am currently in my second year of teaching in Year 1. I have been able to progress this year to take on further responsibilities and am now the PSHE subject leader for my school. This has always been an area of real passion, one that I had shared with my school as something I would like to have done in the future during my NQT year, and here I am now successfully achieving this additional responsibility. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Gateway Alliance team and hold some unforgettable memories that I cherish dearly. 

Whether you’re a career changer, graduate or are currently working in a support capacity within school, we can provide you with the best possible training experience to equip you with the skills, knowledge, experience and confidence to be a fantastic teacher. Train to teach with Gateway Alliance.

Begin your teaching journey

Liz Harris, Former Gateway Alliance Trainee 2017-2018

As a ‘career change’ candidate, when I was first researched teacher training options, it was important for me to find a programme that felt professional and offered a positive atmosphere to support what would be a huge change to my entire life.

At the very first interview with Gateway, I met Helen and Lisa, who immediately made it clear that supporting trainees to transition from a professional career back into University and training was a real strength of the organisation. There were such a diverse group of people working for and training with Gateway that I never felt that I was behind due to not being a TA or having years of education experience. This was important to me as I had never worked in a school before.

The additional training and support you receive from Gateway is a huge benefit and bonus. I loved training through the School Direct programme; the focussed additional training Gateway offered was invaluable to me personally as it is targeted to key areas and complemented the University input well. 

It was from a Gateway training session that I realised I wanted to work more with EAL children. We had an amazing training session in a wonderful school that was majority EAL children, and I think about elements of that session most days in my classroom now.

After I completed my NQT year, I moved abroad to teach in an International School so I could develop my skills and knowledge of teaching EAL children – now my whole class is EAL and it is so much fun developing new ways to support them and we have so many wow moments based around language! When I return to the UK , I hope to work in a school with a lot of EAL children and my ambition is to become a lead in this area.

I strongly believe that the supportive approach of the Gateway School Direct route enabled me to secure my position in an International School before I had even finished my NQT year. Showing them evidence from the extra training sessions and the amount of hours I had taught for in school during training gave me so much more confidence to follow my dream of working with EAL children.

Zoe Niblett, Former Gateway Alliance Trainee 2018-2019

I was working as a Brand Manager within a hairdressing wholesaler and had been working in and around sales for the best part of 20 years.  Ironically, I had never wanted to work in sales, but life had other ideas at the time, and I found myself at 43 needing to make the jump to a new career before my sanity cracked.  The only other consistent in my life had been my love of working with children and had been doing this voluntarily since I was 17.  I decided to pair my experience of mentoring, training and coaching with children and teaching was a natural progression.  BUT I lacked a GCSE in Science……initially I felt that this path was not meant to be and was gutted.  However, I spoke to various organisations to see if I could work round this and one lady said “I’m sure you can get your GCSE no problem!” and this got me thinking… hard could it be?

After lots of research and buying of books I found an independent organisation that would allow me to sit the exams so I paid my fees and I had 6 weeks of study till the first exam.  I crammed the various topics in the GCSE revision books, learnt the various types of questions by sitting past papers online and wrote copious amounts of notes right up until D-day.  I sat both exams and then it was in the lap of the gods. Thankfully, all the hard work paid off and I passed achieving an A*! Throughout all of this, Gateway were by my side encouraging, supporting and mentoring me on what I needed to do next and when.  They kept me on track, willing me to do the best that I could; I know that without them helping me I would have been at a loss.  They opened doors for me that would otherwise have been closed due to the lack of classroom experience that I had.  They saw the potential cross-over of skills from the private sector to the classroom and championed me every step of the way. 

Once my course started the regular Gateway meetings to talk through the high points as well as the low points were invaluable and being part of a team also meant that you felt like you were part of a bigger family unit all willing you to do well.  Gateway were also able to extend my learning with additional training, such as, an MFL day and a full SEN day at the partnership schools; these were brilliant and I still use what I learnt on those days in my day-to-day teaching.  I cannot recommend the Gateway Alliance enough to potential new recruits – the support they offer and the schools within the partnership are both amazing.  I am now entering my second year of teaching and have been offered a place on the middle leadership course already. Thank you Gateway Alliance I am indebted to you for the opportunities and support you gave an “older” student. 

Whether you’re a career changer, graduate or are currently working in a support capacity within school, we can provide you with the best possible training experience to equip you with the skills, knowledge, experience and confidence to be a fantastic teacher. Train to teach with Gateway Alliance.

Begin your teaching journey

Amanda Ridgeway, Former Gateway Alliance Trainee 2017-2018

I always held a desire to teach but when I was younger I didn’t feel I would have the confidence to stand in front of a class of children and teach successfully.  Years later and I had moved from working as an IT auditor for big firms to being a child minder and working in a pre-school as a way to remain close to my own children.  At the age of 39, when my children were 8 and 10, I realised that now was the time to take the plunge and go for teaching as a career.

Being a mum and a trainee teacher are not easy jobs to reconcile and at times it was very difficult.  This is where Gateway Alliance provided the most benefit to me – the additional training and meetings outside of my training school and University sessions provided me with more people to talk to and find support. I found all the people working for and with the alliance to be incredibly supportive and understanding – they always took the time to find out how you were doing. 

Outside of this, the training programme itself was great and provided great extra training outside of the university training which, critically, were school-based.  Most of the training sessions were held in schools which gave me more exposure to different schools and ways of working.

I secured a job working for my school through this programme and remain working there.  I am currently completing my third year post qualification and I am Reader Leader (in charge of Early Reading using the RWI scheme) for the school.  Working with children is a fantastic career and I firmly believe that training with the Gateway Alliance’s support was a key part of me successfully achieving my dream job.

Whether you’re a career changer, graduate or are currently working in a support capacity within school, we can provide you with the best possible training experience to equip you with the skills, knowledge, experience and confidence to be a fantastic teacher. Train to teach with Gateway Alliance.

Begin your teaching journey

Heloise Oliver, Former Gateway Alliance Trainee 2016-2017

Gateway offer outstanding teaching and support which provide you with all the tools necessary to take on the utterly rewarding job that is teaching.

During my training year, Gateway and Warwick University ensured I was supported through regular mentor meetings, tutor visits and lesson observations. The programme is tailored to your training needs and placements are well thought out to give you contrasting experiences.

Gateway provide additional training throughout the year which gives trainees greater opportunities and experiences compared to some other providers.

Gateway’s high expectations of trainees have led me to become the teacher I am today. These high expectations are something that I aim for in my own practice and have helped me make rapid progress in my career. In just three years, I have become part of the senior management team, leading lower key stage 2 and supporting trainee teachers. Thank you Gateway and Warwick University.