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Harriet Bennett – University of Reading

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  • Harriet Bennett

    Shaping the lives of children

Harriet Bennett

"You should teach if you have a passion for making a difference and shaping the lives of children. When you explain something to a child and their eyes light up when they understand, it's an amazing feeling."

HBAt the age of 16 Harriet worked with children at an afterschool club which is where her interest in teaching children began. She then took on a teaching assistant and art technician role before deciding to undertake a formal QTS qualification.

When asked why she chose Primary School Direct Harriet said:

"I chose this pathway because I wanted to learn how to teach first hand by working in a school. This pathway is great because you have a certain amount of time spent at university, having academic lectures which you then put into practice in your training school. For me, it is the best way I learn!"

She also liked that, as a School Direct trainee she would be offered extra training through her local cluster of schools.

So, why this university? Harriet is from the local area and had heard good things about the University of Reading. This prompted her to attend an open evening which in turn cemented her decision to do her studying element of the course at the University. She felt the programme looked well-structured and the academics she spoke to were friendly and approachable.

When asked what has been particularly inspiring Harriet said: "Learning from experienced teachers in different schools and having university lecturers who are well versed in teaching themselves was super beneficial and informative."

She continued: "We were lucky to have an amazing lecture on R.E by a current teacher and R.E coordinator. My main training school is a catholic primary school, so having this lecture gave me lots of fantastic ideas and confidence to teach R.E."

During her first term, from September to December, Harriet worked in school Monday to Thursday and then came into the University on Fridays. This was a great opportunity to talk to the other students, take a breather from class and reflect on what went well and what could have gone better. She then had 7 to 8 weeks in a contrasting school and is now back on campus for a week of lectures. "Even when it's been intense I've had such great support from the school, especially my school mentor and my personal tutor at the university."

As a School Direct trainee Harriet is based in a main school and then has completed 7 to 8 weeks on a placement at a contrasting school. "It's been great seeing how different schools work. My main school is a smaller, religious school and my second school is a larger, non-religious school. It's been quite varied and rewarding working with children from a variety of backgrounds."

Harriet has already been offered a job working for her main placement school and eagerly waits to know which year group she'll be working with. When asked what her plans are in the future Harriet said:

"In the future I'd like to promote art in schools because I completed my undergraduate degree in Costume Design and I have a real passion for creativity in learning."

Harriet is also contemplating coming back to the University of Reading to do an MA in education one day.

Finally, when asked what advice Harriet would pass onto anyone who wants to work within in a primary environment Harriet said:

"For me, it was so important to have some experience within a school before applying to the course. Ideally, having first-hand experience with children in their learning environment and to visit a variety of schools to see how differently they work and which one suits your needs best."

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