From education to employment

Newly qualified teacher aims to encourage inclusivity

Dion George

A newly qualified teacher has established a group for young people promoting inclusivity alongside his studies.

Dion George, 26, from Wallasey, Wirral is set to graduate from the University of Chester later this year with a PGCE with Qualified Teacher Status. Dion decided to study for a teaching qualification after working at St Mary’s Catholic College in the pastoral support team. 

He started a diversity group at the school he works at alongside his studies to promote inclusivity amongst the students.

Following his undergraduate degree in Psychology, Dion studied for a Master’s in Sport and Exercise Psychology and started working supporting staff during summer schools.

He added: “I loved my time in this role and I caught the bug for teaching.”

He added: “I started the diversity group to be a voice for ethnic minority students. When I attended the school, I was one of around ten students of colour out of 1,600 students. During my time I always felt welcome and well supported by the school, however, I wanted to make sure that the students that are now in the position I once was explicitly understand that they have a voice within the school and community. I wanted to make sure they have their voices heard, matched by influence in curriculum and policy development, school rules and the school calendar such as celebrations of religious holidays such as Ramadan and months such as Black History Month.

“The school welcomed my idea with open arms and have been really supportive with the group – allowing us time within the timetable to meet as a group and help us secure external funding.”

Funding for the group to continue has been provided by the University of Liverpool in partnership with Shaping Futures and led by Lydia Redican, Widening Participation and Outreach Secretary – BAME Staff Network. 

Dion said: “I want to make a special mention to Lydia who has worked tirelessly for the group to maximise opportunities and impact. She is very humble in her influence, but without her a lot of what we have done, experienced, and achieved, would not have been possible.”

Now he has achieved his teaching qualification, Dion plans to “establish myself as a quality teacher before pursuing the pathway for progression and school leadership positions.”

He added: “I believe a lot of finding success during your PGCE is time management. I had experience of working in a school full-time for two years prior to the PGCE so I feel this helped me. There were some busy days and weeks, but it was all worth it.

“The University of Chester has been an excellent university to study with and the staff have been nothing but supportive. Gaining my PGCE has allowed me to pursue a career I love and have the privileged opportunity to make a real difference to young people’s lives.”

Dion also received a bursary from Excell during his studies after being nominated by his lecturers in recognition of innovation in practice.

Joanna Hall, Senior Lecturer ITE PGCE Secondary Science at the University of Chester, said:”Dion’s actions clearly demonstrate that he understands the impact a teacher has on young people and how he has chosen to make this positive. He is also very humble as his actions were entirely for the young people and not himself. He made no mention of his diversity group during his studies and it came to light during his final assessment, raised by his mentor.

“Dion has a talent for being able to connect with young people and challenge their views on who teachers are and what education is.”

Kevin Maddocks, Headteacher of St Mary’s Catholic College, added that the college community is incredibly proud of the impact that Dion has had at St Mary’s during his training year. He said: “As a former student it is great to see him excelling and we are very much looking forward to him starting as an ECT in September. 

“His work has been crucial in the project with Lydia and we are incredibly grateful for her work with the college.” 

Dion has also worked to build a diversity group across Holy Family Catholic MAT, of which St Mary’s Catholic College is a proud member.

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