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School Direct Case Study

Meet teacher Lucy Marsh

Having developed an interest in education from a young age, Lucy Marsh’s route into special needs teaching has been a journey but the support she has received every step of the way has meant her passion for education is as palpable as ever.

Lucy is currently completing her school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) in Hertfordshire. After completing a child development GCSE course at school and studying Early Year’s development at college, she started teaching swimming at Nascot Wood Junior School with special needs children.
It was not long before the school offered her the opportunity
to become a qualified teacher.

Teach in Herts spoke to Lucy about what it is like to go through school-centred initial teacher training and why Hertfordshire is the best place to start your teaching career.

How did you get into your current role as a trainee teacher?

Last year I was working as a teaching assistant (TA) with a child 1:1 who had additional needs. Because of this experience, Nascot Wood Junior School thought it might be something I was interested in so they asked me if I wanted to complete my training to become a qualified special needs teacher. So, without hesitation, I accepted.

Why did you want to take the leap from teaching assistant to teacher?

Teaching is something I have always been interested in, but I never had the confidence to complete my teaching qualifications. Having worked at Nascot Wood Junior School for a few years, I have received amazing support from the headteacher, leadership team and all the staff, who have encouraged me to take the next step and given me the confidence to think I could actually fulfil my dream.

Why did you decide to follow the school based route to get your qualification, rather than study full-time at a university?

When I decided that I really wanted to become a teacher, I knew that I did not want to leave the school to study full-time at university. I really enjoy the practical learning aspect of being in an actual school classroom. I have been able to train on the job through a School Direct / SCITT route with the support of the school, university and Herts for Learning.

What support and training have you received?

As well as attending St Mary’s University one day a week, I have received initial training in September to support visually impaired children on four specific training days. During one of the training sessions provided by Herts for Learning, I was blindfolded so I got to spend time in their shoes. It really helped me focus on the important things for a visually impaired child; things that you would not think of as a fully sighted adult. Your initial reaction is that they just cannot see; the training teaches you there is so much more involved and affects so much more than just sight loss. The resource pack provided with the training was so useful; I am able to constantly refer back to it. I have also been able to email the team and contact them for additional support and guidance after the initial training.

Why do you want to be a special educational needs teacher?

In my previous role, I worked with a pupil with autistic spectrum disorder, from year 3 onwards; he was non-verbal and found it difficult to control his emotions. Through working closely with him, he started to speak and made huge improvements to the point where in year 6 he got an award for the most improved student in maths. He did really well. It is the most rewarding job you could ever have. The spark in their eye when pupils are interested in something or finally get something is amazing to witness.

What is teaching in Hertfordshire like?

Teaching in Hertfordshire is great fun. There are so many opportunities to develop in school, through school-to-school support and via training courses at Herts for Learning. There are great trips to go on around Hertfordshire; recently the school has been to Harry Potter World, Cassiobury Park and Cheslyn House and Gardens. There are many great places to visit locally in Hertfordshire, you do not have to travel miles and miles for great experiences.

What would you say to anyone that potentially was looking to work in a Hertfordshire school?

Whenever you start a new role, you are always offered courses and training. The opportunities that you are given are brilliant – you are always supported to improve and be the best you can be.

For more information about Getting in to Teaching via  the school or university-based routes please visit: