We are thrilled to report that the Faculty of Education PGCE programme has just received an Outstanding rating from Ofsted – and the Faculty Library Service has been singled out for praise by inspectors.
The Ofsted Team found that the Library Service is “firmly at the heart of the Faculty” and central to the academic life of PGCE trainees. Library staff were delighted to be recognised as a “team of highly professional, dedicated librarians” who work “closely with subject lecturers to ensure that trainees have access to relevant and up-to-date literature”.
Inspectors spoke to us in detail over the course of their visits and received glowing comments about our service from the PGCE trainees, so it was particularly pleasing to see the report really reflecting how central the Library Service is to the Faculty and to the success of our teacher education programme. We liaise closely with academic staff, but our own in-depth understanding of the course (from assignment criteria and deadlines to the timing of teaching placements) and our specialist knowledge of Education, is also key to ensuring the trainees receive a high quality, relevant service.
The finding that “Knowledgeable librarians provide trainees with precise guidance and support” sums up precisely what we aim to do: the team not only supports trainees in person but also via the Library Moodle Site, where we curate course-specific information and electronic resources relevant to each assignment, together with interactive reading lists. This support – though it isn’t as visible as our work within the Library – is just as crucial, as trainees spend at least 120 days on placement in schools all over East Anglia and rely on this ‘virtual’ library service when completing their academic work.
We’ve come up with other ways to make sure our service helps trainees while on placement: we offer loan periods for the duration of the course, for example, so trainees don’t have to worry about renewing or returning books whilst they are learning to teach. Our ‘No Fines‘ policy also contributes to their positive experience of the Education Library Service and their well-being: we think learning to manage a class of 4 or 14-year-olds presents enough challenges!
We also offer a ‘search & collect’ service (think Tesco but with resources not groceries) so that trainees can email or text while on school placement and ask for items to be put aside for collection in the evenings after school. When they’re in the Faculty they have quick and easy access to physical resources as we make sure academic texts, classroom-teaching resources and professional magazines are all shelved together in curriculum subject sections.
The Library Team tailors information literacy skills training to specific PGCE assignments to help trainees quickly turn theory into practice. We also provide follow-up one-to-one study support in person and online step-by-step guides on the Library Moodle Site. We’re delighted that the inspectors noted that “Consequently, trainees are very well supported in their academic research as well as in their teaching practice.”
If there’s a secret to our success here, we think it’s the fact that our location within the Faculty and close relationships with academic staff and students allows us to offer a highly tailored, dedicated service to our officially Outstanding PGCE trainees, the teachers of tomorrow.