Turn to Teaching was established, thanks to funding from the HEA and Maynooth University, in 2017 with an objective to develop a number of initiatives to, ultimately, enhance and diversify access to careers in education.
We have had many successes in the first stage of our work from 2017-2020. Through our innovative and high quality foundation certificate course for ITE (Think about Teaching) and the two year school outreach and CPD programme (Rising Teachers Rising Leaders Programme), we have engaged with close to 120 participants from under-represented groups who are, or aspire to be, teachers.
In its first two years 49 students from the foundation certificate programme (Think about Teaching) and 30 students from 20 partner schools (Rising Teachers) successfully completed their respective programmes. Even with incomplete data for the Rising Teacher cohort, we can acknowledge that at least 85 participants across the various strands of the project are in ITE or on ITE pathways in Maynooth University and various higher education institutions. At least 28 participants have already started their ITE programmes.
The numbers tell one side of the success story. However, the deep and profound impact on participants’ lives, sense of identity and development of confidence to pursue a professional pathway as teachers were clearly articulated in the qualitative evaluation of the project across its various activities …
"… after completing the TTT course I feel like I will be just as good as anyone else on the [ITE] course and feel confident that I will make a good teacher."
Carole (pseudonym), Foundation Cert graduate
As well as these successes, the programme has worked closely with a group of teachers from under-represented groups (Rising Leaders) who have successfully completed a Level 9 Postgraduate Special Certificate in Leading Transformative Education at Maynooth University. This committed community of emerging educational leaders are central to the continuing work of the project. The project has also supported many of the Rising Leaders to progress to further postgraduate study in educational leadership at Maynooth University.
As the project moves into its second phase, it seeks to embed the ground-breaking work of phase one into the structures and practices of partners work within and across the Maynooth University, schools, FE centres, community-based organisations, communities and wider society.