A big welcome to all of the new PGCE students at UCB. As promised in this morning's session, here are some of the websites out there which have particular relevance to your chosen course...
Hopefully you've already realised the importance of the Times Educational Supplement (aka TES). The TES website gives you free access to thousands of news stories and feature articles on all aspects of school life that have appeared in the weekly publication since 1994. 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 previous Labour government set up the Teachernet website to support the teaching profession, and 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. Like many government webpages its future is currently uncertain, but for now at least it remains a useful resource.
Also very useful is Teachers TV, which broadcasts programmes on all aspects of school life, and often has themed weeks where a series of programmes on a particular topic are shown. Although the service is now based purely on the internet (until earlier this year it could be watched on Freeview), the channel continues to produce new programmes of a high standard.
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, and the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) , the professional body for teachers; again, both of these organisations face uncertain futures, with the GTCE likely to be abolished by the end of the year. 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.
A recent publication which has caused a stir is A Systematic Review of Research on Early Childhood Programmes: A Best Evidence Synthesis. This is a report which was published by the CfBT Trust that examines 28 different early education programmes around the world and concludes that instructive and teacher-led programmes are more effective than play-based ones. Some organisations have already queried the findings, what do our readers think?
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 on 'Teaching' in the 'Hot Topics' list on the right-hand side of this page, while the 'Links' page available at the top of the screen contains 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.