New teacher training centre coming to Banbury

Alison Woodworth-Sturla will be in charge of the Banbury centre of Oxfordshire Teacher Training
Alison Woodworth-Sturla will be in charge of the Banbury centre of Oxfordshire Teacher Training

An outstanding-rated teacher training organisation in Oxfordshire is opening a new regional centre in Banbury, set to open in the new year.

Oxfordshire Teacher Training (OTT) is a provider of school-centred primary and secondary training on a salaried and non-salaried basis to recent university graduates and also people who are seeking a change of career.

Oxfordshire Teacher Training graduates

Oxfordshire Teacher Training graduates

OTT, which is rated outstanding by Ofsted, will continue to be based in The Cherwell School in Oxford, but it is opening a northern training hub in Blessed George Napier Catholic School.

Alison Woodworth-Sturla, who is director of teaching school at BGN, said that the new hubs would make OTT’s training programme more attractive for people living in the north of the county and those in parts of Northamptonshire and Warwickshire.

“People train in our network of partner schools, and these are usually located close to where the trainees live," she said.

"But they then all have to come into Oxford for the bits of training that don’t take place in their school.

“That is obviously not going to be that convenient for someone living in the north of the county.

"Common sense tells you that this makes the scheme less attractive to some people, and the new hubs are designed to tackle that problem.

“Research also shows that people training to be teachers want to do it in their communities, and this is an expansion that will allow OTT to provide even more local training.

“It’s an Oxfordshire scheme, but you don’t have to live in Oxfordshire to take part, so we are looking to appeal to people who live within a half hour or so of Banbury. If you live in Leamington Spa or Stratford, then OTT is not a realistic option, but the regional hubs change all that.”

Nationally, the Government has missed its target for the number of people training to be teachers for the last six years in a row.

But the Department for Education’s most recent survey of newly qualified teachers revealed that school-centred and salaried scheme providers offer the most popular forms of training.

At present, OTT has just under 100 people in training in around 50 partner primary, secondary and special schools as part of its 2018/2019 academic year cohort.

Over 90 per cent of trainees on the OTT scheme go directly into teaching jobs in Oxfordshire state schools after they have qualified.

Among the schools that OTT works in partnership with are Banbury Aspirations, Dashwood Banbury Academy, Harriers Banbury Academy, Orchard Fields and Frank Wise.

Part of the River Learning Trust multi-academy group, OTT was accredited as an initial teacher training provider by the Department for Education in 2014, and rated as 'outstanding' by Ofsted last year.