Welcome to all of the new students on the College's PGCE programme. This post is intended to point you towards some of the Web resources that will be most helpful to you during (and hopefully beyond!) your course, so it may be worth bookmarking some of the links below if you haven't done so already.
It's likely that you'll quickly realise the importance of the Times Educational Supplement (aka TES). Their website gives you free access to thousands of news stories and feature articles on all aspects of school life that have been published over the last 15 years. The site also contains job listings, lesson plans, a discussion forum, and other interactive features. For further news and features about the profession, try looking at the teaching section of the Guardian website.
The DCSF has set up the Teachernet website to support the teaching profession, and so it contains a mass of information about all aspects of the job, from classroom management and ICT to whole school issues and continuing professional development. The site also contains plenty of links to other useful sites, and can be used to download official education-related publications. Teachernet is also home to the bi-monthly Teachers magazine, which can be read online in full.
If you've ever flicked through the channels on Freeview, you may have stumbled across channel 88, which is home to Teachers TV. This broadcasts programmes on all aspects of school life, and often has themed weeks where a series of programmes on a particular topic are shown. All of the channel's output is available to watch at any time from the website.
The Teacher Training Resource Bank contains materials to help support your professional development; these can include news stories, research reports, government guidance documents, QTS standards and much more. The 'Glossary' section of the site is also very useful in helping you to make sense of all of the jargon that you'll need to get to grips with during your training.
Other teaching-specific websites that may come in handy include the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA), which is responsible for the professional development of the school workforce. Also worth a look is Teaching Expertise, an "information and learning website for teachers and other education professionals" which has been put together by the publishers Optimus Education.
As the PGCE contains a significant element of SEN content, you may want to familiarise yourself with the work of the National Association for Special Educational Needs (NASEN). Students can access their publications through the library's online resources, but the NASEN site is also worth viewing as it provides news stories, research summaries, and links to the websites of similar organisations. Teachernet also has an SEN area with important information, and the Guardian's Special Educational Needs area contains relevant news stories.
For reference purposes, you may also want to occasionally check the National Curriculum and Early Years Foundation Stage sites; these contain detailed information on what skills children are taught at different levels, as well as providing supporting materials.
Finally, don't forget to check this blog regularly for details of new reports on teaching as and when they're published. You can view a list of previous posts relating to teaching by clicking this link, while the 'Useful Links' area in the right hand column lists some more generic education and child-related sites which are worth a visit.
That should keep you all going for now. If any readers are aware of a particularly useful teaching-related site that isn't mentioned here, why not share it by putting a link to it below this post in the form of a comment? Here's how to do it.