Can Graduates make a significant difference to your school?

Wednesday, 26th July 2017

There are many articles in circulation waxing lyrical about how graduates can make significant differences to businesses. But how can they make a difference to schools?

Two years ago, I took the risky step of employing twenty graduates into positions across my school. They managed the pupil referral centre, worked in the pastoral department, acted as learning assistants and behaviour mentors and supported pupils with examination preparation and small group intervention work.

Additionally, the graduates were tasked with completing one period of staff cover per day. Meaning that with twenty graduates on hand we could cover, if needed, up to four members of teaching staff per day without bringing in any outside agency workers. As you can imagine, the supply budget reduced to near zero. They basically paid for themselves. However, the benefits were not just financial. High quality people employed by the school, who knew the children and were familiar with the systems and procedures became a major contributor to the schools rapid improvement and a decrease in parental complaint.

This additional school staffing also allowed for flexibility at crucial times in the school calendar. Extra resource was channelled into exam invigilation, providing staffing for extracurricular activities and providing support for those students who were struggling on a 1:1 basis.

I now have the privilege of working with graduates first hand. The thing that always strikes me most when you source and place the correct graduate into a suitable school is how committed, diligent and ambitious they are. They really want to make a difference to young people’s lives. The relationships that they build are often long lasting and contribute to keeping difficult students on track.

Finding graduates that fit schools is not easy. By trawling graduate fairs and placing online ads a high number of candidates make enquiries and register, but not all are appropriate. We want graduates coming into our industry who are passionate about becoming teachers for the right reason and not just because they cannot find an alternative profession or to just pay bills.

At Castles Education we have designed a two-year graduate training programme which has the sole intention of providing schools with a constant talent pipeline. Grow your own teachers. How many secondary schools are not looking for English, Maths and Science teachers on an annual basis? How many primary schools have a readymade placement for a maternity cover or unexpected resignation? I would encourage schools to plan further ahead with staffing and consider a graduate two-year placement. In Year 1 the candidates sample school life, build up their experience and CVs and immerse themselves in teaching and learning strategies. In Year 2 they take on a substantial teaching load, complete an online portfolio providing evidence towards the teaching standards and when appropriate take a QTS assessment.


Here at Castles Education we’re keen to receive comments and advice of how other teaching colleagues have utilised graduates in similar ways, or how you feel we could improve our offer further.

Contact us on 0161 914 9185 or email me