Ash studied his undergraduate degree in Film and Theatre Studies here at the University of Reading. While doing so Ash shared teaching spaces with the PGCE Secondary (Drama) course students.
He spent time talking to the trainee teachers and teaching staff and realised that the PGCE Secondary (Drama) course was held in very high regard, and the trainee teachers were really enjoying their time at University.
Drama had always been a passion of Ash's and he wanted to be able to pass this passion on to younger generations, in the hope that they would enjoy it as much as he had.
"When I graduated I already knew that I wanted to go into teaching, and University of Reading was the only choice for me. I had heard so many good things about the course, and how well it set people up for teaching, that there wasn't really anywhere else I would have wanted to train to teach."
"Being able to spend every day working on a subject I loved was really exciting. Drama involves so many important skills, from team work and communication, to organisation and creativity as well as helping to build self-confidence and setting students up with the skills they need to succeed in the wider world."
Ash felt strongly that these were essential skills that students needed, and being able to teach these skills, while also having fun, is one of the main reasons he chose to become a Drama teacher.
Ash also enjoyed being able to work alongside other professionals who shared his passion. He found the network of help and support that came from the other trainees, mentors, university staff and other colleagues in placement schools invaluable.
"These connections have continued since I graduated. There is a real sense of community and camaraderie that is created while training, and I still talk to colleagues and get their help to this day."
Ash found the pastoral support to be excellent too and felt like everyone at University of Reading was really looking out for student wellbeing.
" I felt valued and listened to. The subject leader made a point of checking in with us all on a regular basis and was always an e-mail away if there were any issues. The mentors were also very good at sensing if anything was wrong and were very quick to offer support or put things in place that would help."
Ash trained at two very different schools during his PGCE year, an all-boys selective school and a mixed comprehensive. These placements gave him a very broad experience of teaching and set Ash up really well for his career in teaching. He came across many different situations and learnt very quickly how to adapt to these. Ash still draws upon these experiences now.
He also had a fantastic opportunity to complete his Enrichment period at a Service Children's School in Germany. He had attended the school as a student and spent 3 weeks teaching there at the end of his course.
"This was a very valuable experience, and having been through the Service Children's Education system myself and then training in mainstream state education, it gave me a unique perspective on the educational experience these children were getting. I have been able to reflect on this during my teaching career when I have had children from Service families in my classes, and been able to adapt my teaching to suit their needs."
Ash has been a mentor for trainee teachers from Reading for the last 5 years.
"I find being a mentor is extremely rewarding. I really like that I am able to give something back, having gained so much from doing the course myself."
He is about to start a new position as Head of Drama at his secondary school.