Trainee Stories

Sophie Morris
Early years teacher

“I love walking into the classroom and seeing those children’s smiles every day”

Sophie always knew she wanted to work with children. She completed a college course in childcare and worked in a nursery, before deciding to ‘go for it’ and become a Primary School Teacher. She completed a Foundation Degree in Early Years, applied for the training programme, which focused specifically on teaching Early Years. She completed her training, and is now a reception teacher at Fibbersley Park Primary Academy in Willenhall.

Sophie’s Story

I did a college course in childcare and this gave me lots of experience of going into schools, where I worked with children in reception, year 1 and year 2. I went on to get a job at a nursery, but because I had enjoyed my experiences in the classroom so much during my college course, I eventually decided I wanted to work with young children by becoming a primary school teacher. I loved the atmosphere of the classroom, and being able to watch children grow and develop over time, so I decided to go for it! I went on to complete a Foundation degree in Early Years, and then started looking for the right teacher training course for me.

I did some research online, but found that there were very few teacher training programmes that offered a course tailored specifically towards teaching Early Years. Then I came across the training programme within the trust, who did offer a training route focused particularly on teaching Early Years. The course also offered the opportunity to train in a really hands-on way, learning ‘on the job’. Since I’d already been working for a while, this seemed like the best route possible for me. I didn’t want to go back to having lectures all the time. I wanted to get into the classroom and start working with children as soon as I possibly could.

Everybody was so friendly! There was a real emphasis on forming strong relationships with your tutor, mentors, staff at the schools, and with your fellow trainees. The support network around me was amazing. One of the reasons for this, is that there is a small number of trainees each year. You all get to know each other really well and we became a very close-knit group. We were able to share ideas, advice, and our experiences, including our highs and lows. We all supported one another.

Another benefit of being part of a small group of trainees was that it meant that our tutors were able to give lots of individualised attention and feedback. The tutors help you to deal with any issues as soon as they come up and are always available at the end of a phone call or email. My tutor was always there for me when I needed them.

I would really recommend the training programme, especially to people who want to spend as much time as possible in the classroom, rather than sat in lecture theatres! I would also recommend it because all of your training is conducted by teachers who are currently in the role. They know first-hand what works in practice, and can share that with you their best advice and strategies. By the time I had completed the training, I felt extremely well-prepared for my first teaching job.”

As trainees, we were made to feel like a real part of the Trust family, through visiting all of the different schools, and getting to know all the different members of staff. I was so pleased when I secured a job in one of the Trust schools, as I had already formed strong relationships with staff within the Trust and knew how well I would be supported in my NQT year. A number of other trainees also secured jobs within the trust, and it’s been great to work alongside them. Victoria Academies Trust has a strong emphasis on being a ‘family’, it a central value of the Trust, and you can really feel that in all of the schools.

Now I am a qualified teacher, working in reception, and it is brilliant! I love walking into the classroom and seeing those children’s smiles every day. It is such a privilege to be a part of their journey, and to help them grow.

Watch Sophie’s Video

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