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One-to-One Guidance for Prospective Teachers

Delivering of One-to-one Guidance Service for Prospective Trainee Teachers and a Teaching Experience programme in Fenland and East Cambridgeshire.


Head Teachers / School Leaders, Local Authorities

Aimed at



Workforce: Recruitment, Retention and Development



Why was the project needed?

Despite there being numerous websites and recruitment fairs, there was still confusion over what routes to take and how to go about applying to teacher training. Within the Opportunity Area, there were many teaching assistants who were interested in becoming teachers but did not have the required qualifications, or necessarily know how to get them. The number of graduates living in the area was lower than the national average and the number of interested individuals in teacher training who were actually eligible was therefore low. These factors combined to create a shortage of teachers within the OA.

What happened and what was the impact?

Our primary aim was to encourage individuals to consider a career in teaching, focussing specifically on those people who might not have considered it an option before. We aimed to achieve this through offering impartial advice of the wide offer of teacher training routes in the area rather than a narrower view of specific advice from providers that our target audience might contact directly. This allowed us to signpost potential candidates to courses that best suited their needs in many cases this was a course they had not previously been aware of.

In order to recruit suitable, local participants, we focussed our recruitment campaign in Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Opportunity Area. Our primary approach was through local advertising in the target area: local newspapers, free doorstep magazines and online news outlets that serve the target area. Furthermore, we made use of “Teach in Cambs” and “Teach in Fenland and East Cambs” websites and Twitter feeds. We created our own Facebook and Twitter pages for this project and used Eventbrite to help use manage our events. Finally, we contacted specific schools in the local area, asking them to spread the word throughout the school, e.g. to Teaching Assistants and to Parents via emails and newsletters.

  • Guidance Materials: We developed a range of guidance materials to support people in making a decision about the course that was best and most appropriate for them.
  • 1:1 Guidance and advice:We provided impartial, bespoke, relevant guidance on a 1:1 basis enabling potential trainees to:a) Discuss their individual circumstances, understand the options that most suited them, to see which courses were available to them (including signposting to providers who deliver part time degree courses and GCSE tests/equivalency).
    b) Be guided through the process from initial search to application, including helping with personal statements and interview advice.
    c) Take up the opportunity to gain some experience in schools in their locality through a Teacher Experience Programme (TEP).
    d) Be signposted to relevant sites if they needed to gain further qualification (GCSEs, Degrees etc.).
  • Information Events: We hosted evening Information Events to give impartial information about routes into teaching and allowing delegates to ask questions. These featured the widest possible range of accredited providers active in and around Fenland and East Cambridgeshire alongside local colleges offering part-time degrees so they could offer advice and information and answer questions.
  • Teacher Experience: We arranged a Teacher Experience Project (TEP); giving potential candidates the opportunity to experience some days in school to understand the job more fully and to speak to experienced teachers. We selected and enlisted a range of primary and secondary schools in the Fenland & East Cambs area (maintained and MATs) who were able to showcase outstanding teaching and provide the relevant experience for each candidate. The candidates were each offered up to 5 days’ experience which was tailored to their interest i.e. appropriate phase and subject. Guidance was given to host schools with expectations of what this experience should include i.e. to provide experience of the school environment and an opportunity to ask questions of teachers. This opened up opportunities for schools to see potential trainees, and for potential trainees to decide whether teaching was for them, and, sometimes, to decide their favoured phase (primary/secondary).
  • Links with Providers: We developed strong links with a wide range of providers including those who offered Initial Teacher Training (ITT), apprenticeships, part time degrees, GCSE equivalency testing, and schools who were willing to offer experience days. These links grew over the 2 years of the project so we have been contacted by businesses dealing with schools who have heard of us and would like to be involved or have sought advice from us (e.g. a TA supply company who have asked how to become teachers and would like us to provide advice).
  • Links with Universities and Colleges: We forged connections with local universities and colleges to help form a long-term strategy to encourage and support people to start degree courses with the intention of applying for teacher training once their degree is complete (3 to 5 years).
  • Raising Awareness: Through promotion and advertising, we were able to effectively engage people in the service, and our name is now known. Advertising through school parent mails, local newspapers, free doorstep magazines and online news outlets that serve the target area, along with the and websites and Twitter feeds. We also created project-specific Facebook and Twitter pages for the project.
  • Meeting Local Needs: These approaches allowed us to reach as many people as possible within the Opportunity Area through as many means as possible, in a range of formats to suit the different ways people gather and absorb information. We wanted to make the process as straightforward and centralised as possible, so potential candidates could gain clear impartial information and ask questions relevant to their own circumstances.



Ingredients For Success

  • Very experienced and well-informed leader of the 1:1 guidance service. 
  • Established and extended very strong networks with local ITT providers but also local colleges offering degrees and GCSEs. 
  • Impartial advice matched to individual need. 
  • Willing to spend time with each individual potential candidate (often several conversations) over time to support them in finding the right course but also in completing their application, writing a personal statement and advice for interview. 
  • Centralised, well managed Teacher Experience Days service; we built very strong links with schools in the locality. 
  • Strong presence in the local press, online and in local (East Cambs & Fenland region) schools’ mail services to promote the service and attract potential trainees and those who thought they would like to teach but were not sure if it was right for them.  
  • Determination to provide the service to as many people as possible. 

How is the Project Sustainable

By the end of the 2020/21 academic year, a process was put in place enabling sustainability of the support offered, through the establishment of a robust network.

Area Most Impacted


Next steps to do something similar yourself

Read the EEF Guidance Report on Effective Professional Development here

See the full range of guidance reports available from EEF here

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