Last month, our 2016/17 trainees celebrated completing their training year with a graduation ceremony at Ark All Saints Academy.
On Tuesday 11 July, our 81 trainees came together in south London to look back over the past year, celebrate their successes and receive their certificates.
Their journey came full circle with the ceremony being held in the same place they begun the programme, almost a year ago, when they attended the two-week summer school.
The evening saw speeches from trainees, tutors, principals, Ark Teacher Training alumni and Ark trustee Anthony Williams. Ark’s new regional director and former Regional Schools Commissioner Rebecca Clark, also addressed our newly qualified teachers to share her advice about the five lessons they should take into their NQT year with them.
Kate Henney, English teacher at Ark Burlington Danes Academy, west London gave a speech to her fellow graduates on the evening; “It has undoubtedly been a hard year – and at times, this evening has felt like an unattainable goal. But here we are. We have worked hard to transform outcomes for the children we work with, but this year has also transformed us. It has been a privilege to be part of this aspirational, caring and motivated cohort, and I am proud of how we have supported one another to this point of graduating as qualified, and transformational, teachers.”
All 81 trainees successfully passed their training year, and are staying in teaching next year.
For all trainees there have been ups and downs, but Craig Smith, PE teacher at Ark Kings Academy in Birmingham, said his highlight was inspiring his students; “I’ve loved teaching a subject I’m passionate about and passing that on to my students. It’s been great to see the progress they have made not only in their PE performance but also as individuals overcoming their own personal barriers.”
Most trainees said they would miss their weekly training sessions, as it gave them a chance to catch-up with the rest of the cohort and share stories from the classroom. Bryony Biamonti, history teacher at Ark Helenswood Academy in Hastings, also said the guidance she’d been given by previous trainees has been invaluable; “I had excellent advice from the previous cohort before starting Ark Teacher Training last year. Acting on their advice made my training year immeasurably easier. This is the proudest I have ever felt; getting through the year with my classes was one achievement with the PGCE and QTS elements as their own success! It was tough, but I had excellent support from my tutors at Ark and my placement school.”
We wish all our graduates luck as they embark on their NQT years in September and look forward to welcoming our 2017/18 cohort to summer school on Monday 7 August!