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New 2-in-1 degree to tackle demand for secondary English teachers

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A new three-year course being launched by the University of Bedfordshire (@uniofbeds) will enable undergraduate students to study English at degree level while also attaining Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), allowing them to graduate with the option to immediately enter the teaching profession – the only course of its type currently offered in the south of England.

The BA (Hons) English (Secondary) (with QTS) degree has been devised to help address the subject’s teacher shortage faced by schools across the country. With the number of pupils choosing to study English Literature and English Language at A Level on the decrease nationally, the deficit of English teachers has recently been addressed by training non-English graduates as teachers of the subject. However, this brand new pathway offered by Bedfordshire has been designed to open up more career options and encourage English degree graduates to consider taking up teaching positions within secondary schools.

Graduates of this new course will obtain QTS after just three years rather than having to complete an extra fourth year of study. This specially devised course will be the only three-year route to Qualified Teacher Status offered by a university in the south of England, making it a convenient and excellent-value route into the teaching profession.

Dr James Shea, Principal Lecturer and Portfolio Leader with the University’s School of Teacher Education, commented:

“As a former local Head of English it gives me great pleasure to see this undergraduate secondary English course enter the market to address the lack of English teachers in the region and nation-wide. English is seen by parents and employers alike as one of the most important subjects in schools and it’s vital we secure a strong supply of highly qualified English teachers for local schools.”

The success of this new course will be a joint effort between the University and local placement schools with sixth forms. Dr Shea continued:

“So far we have had teachers and senior staff from English faculties within fourteen regional secondary schools join our community of practice, pledging to work alongside us to help make the curriculum as contemporary and relevant as possible.

“Together, we look forward to bringing through a new generation of English teachers through the spirit of partnership.”

The programme will be taught by highly qualified professionals with extensive school-based experience. Students will study a balance of traditional and contemporary English Literature and Language, building their subject knowledge alongside developing the teaching skills they need to be a confident, inspirational secondary school teacher.

With a focus on imaginative approaches to English – such as creative writing, media and drama – students will also gain a transferable skillset valued across a range of careers including journalism and the creative industries. Students will also put their learning into practice on placement in partnership schools across the region, supported by subject mentors who know what it takes to have a transformational impact on the learning and lives of young people.

Juliet Fern, Executive Dean of the University’s Faculty of Education, English & Sport, said:

“We already have substantial experience in the training of English secondary school teachers at postgraduate level and this course provides a new and exciting opportunity for students to attain Qualified Teacher Status as part of a three-year undergraduate degree.

“The Initial Teacher Training Partnership that we form with secondary schools in the region will enable students on this new course to develop their teaching skills and subject knowledge in an integrated way, producing teachers for the local area and beyond.”

For further information about the University of Bedfordshire’s School of Teacher Education, visit: www.beds.ac.uk/howtoapply/departments/teacher-education

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