Teenage Teachers Royal Approval

The Co-operative Academy has trained up almost 100 of its students to become teachers so they can deliver lessons to primary schoolchildren.

The 11 to 16-year-olds specialise in different subjects and plan the class work themselves.Now the scheme has won praise from Ofsted inspectors for helping pupils to gain ‘valuable skills’.

And last week, the ‘Co-operative Young Leaders’ met Prince Charles when he visited the school to see its innovative approach to education.

Altogether, 94 young people – one in seven of all the Academy’s students – have been trained to run the sessions for primary pupils on a rota basis several times a week.

Fourteen-year-old Samantha Humphries, from Tunstall, said: “I really enjoy it. We use planning sheets that a normal teacher would use and organise a starter and a main activity.

“It’s helped us understand how much work goes into a lesson. We’ve taught children from year two up to year six.

“It’s also helped me with my own schoolwork, because I’m now more confident to answer questions and deliver presentations.”

Fellow young leader Melissa Cain specialises in coaching the primary school children in ICT, science and sport.

The 14-year-old, from Tunstall, said: “In science, we’ve done sessions about light and electricity. For ICT, we are getting them to create their own computer games.

“It’s made me want to become a teacher when I’m older.”

Most of the lessons are delivered in the primary schools and range from basic French through to supporting children with reading.

Eight of the Co-operative’s feeder schools are involved and it is now being extended to primaries further afield.

Academy pupils stay behind one evening a week to catch up on any work they have missed in their own lessons.

Programme co-ordinator Liz Garrity said: “We’ve also developed an accreditation system, so they can earn certificates and bronze, silver and gold awards for the hours they volunteer. They can put it on their CV.

“I didn’t expect it to be this successful. We started the programme 18 months ago with 25 sports leaders.

“But when I saw how their confidence, self-esteem and communication skills had grown, I thought we could do it with other subjects.”

Students work alongside the Academy staff to learn how to plan lessons, project their voice and manage a class.

Staff from the primary schools also suggest the topic areas so they fit in with what schoolchildren are studying for the national curriculum.

One of the recent sessions saw Mill Hill Primary pupils learn how to design computer game characters.

Nine-year-old Ifzal Nadeem, from Tunstall, said: “The students teach you more stuff.

“They know things the normal teachers don’t know.”

Classmate Alex Hodgson, aged eight, from Stanfields, added: “I feel like I’m learning something new every day with their help.”

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