‘ITT providers should offer trainees specialist subject training to develop the necessary knowledge and understanding of their subject(s) and related pedagogy, which will enable them to teach their subject(s) across the full age and ability range of training.’

Initial Teacher Training Criteria and Supporting Advice, Department for Education

Throughout your training year, there are programmed Subject Knowledge Days, when you will work with your Subject Knowledge Lead and other outstanding practitioners in your discipline to develop the pedagogy of your subject.  These dedicated days will focus not only on what you need to know in terms of subject content, but the specifics and nuances of teaching those topics effectively.  Generally, these days will look at each of the Key Stages, so typically you will have bespoke days spent on Key Stage 3 teaching, bespoke days spent on Key Stage 4 teaching and bespoke days on Key Stage 5 teaching.  However, the provision of these days can be flexible and responsive to the individual needs of the trainees and content is often adapted through negotiation and feedback from the trainees. At the very start of the programme you will have a sustained period of time in your Subject Lead’s school working with him or her and the other trainees in your subject area.

Upon commencing the course, all trainees will be required to complete a Subject Knowledge Audit.  This document will be a working document that will be added to and amended throughout the course of the training year, and hopefully beyond.  Completing the initial Subject Knowledge Audit should be an honest, critical and reflective process that highlights both areas of strength and areas for development.  Through liaison with the Subject Lead and Subject Mentors, any deficiencies in subject knowledge can be accounted for and strategies put in place to ensure that upon completing the course trainees are fully equipped and their required subject knowledge is replete.  However, we acknowledge that subject knowledge is a continuum and reflective practice is a necessity for a successful teaching career.

Typically, we would encourage trainees to make links between their weekly training in the General Education Sessions (GES) and their own subjects.  Possible exemplification of this is shown here.

GES topic Subject Knowledge Pedagogy
Planning for Learning in a subject

  • Short, medium and long term planning
How is planning best used within your subject area? Are there any specific requirements for your subject? How does a department use a variety of planning methods?
The Child at the Centre: SEN/D

  • What is/isn’t inclusion?
  • What does inclusion mean for the child
  • How is inclusion managed?
How does your subject area ensure that all pupils are in receipt of the same standards of education? How are topics, texts, lessons, resources differentiated to include all pupils within the classroom?
Assessing Learning Look at a range of subject specific assessment strategies:

  • Exam boards and the differing criteria for the same subjects
  • Exam rubric
  • Assessment for Learning
  • Assessing Pupil Progress
Reflecting on Social, Moral and Spiritual Issues in the Classroom What impact does your specialist subject have on the wider curriculum? How does it affect the whole school? How does it affect the community? How does it shape an individual’s life?

As a school-based trainee, subject knowledge can also be enhanced on a day-to-day basis.  There are numerous school led seminars and CPD sessions that take place within the placement schools and trainees would be able to access these.