Press Office


Educating the next generation of North East teachers


Celebrity teachers Vic Goddard and Stephen Drew of “Educating Essex” fame were in the region this weekend to inspire a new generation of teachers.

The Head and Deputy Head of Passmores Academy in Harlow became 2011’s unexpected stars of reality television for their no-nonsense, realistic and yet compassionate approach to today’s teenagers.

And this weekend they accepted an invitation from students at Newcastle University to speak to the teachers of today and tomorrow about their views on education, the highs and lows of teaching and the day-to-day challenges of educating the next generation.

Denise Todd, Kayleigh Swan, Chris Blakey and Craig Wright, all Secondary PGCE students training to be teachers at Newcastle University were the key drivers for this weekend’s seminar.

Denise, from Haltwhistle, said: “We all found the Educating Essex team really inspiring.  Seeing professionals like Mr Drew and Mr Goddard deal with some of the challenges that we will be facing was brilliant, it give us some great coping techniques.

“It highlighted that as challenging as the job can be it also has its upsides, things like relationships with the students, the patience of the teachers and their determination to help learners achieve really motivated us to strive for excellence.”

Chris, from Newcastle, adds: “It seems as if everyone has an opinion on education; long holidays, early finishes and gold-plated pensions. What Educating Essex showed the nation is the reality of teaching. - it showed that teaching isn’t a job for the faint hearted!”

Mr Goddard, Headteacher at Passmores, said it was a “privilege” to have been invited to speak to the team.  “The students have shown just how dedicated they are about becoming the best teachers that they can be; their passion is beyond doubt.

“It was a privilege to have the opportunity to share some of our thoughts and experiences of teaching and hopefully help to motivate the outstanding school teachers and leaders that young people up and down the country deserve.”

Kayleigh, from Billingham, near Middlesbrough, said: “Teaching isn’t just managing a class.  Educating Essex showed that it’s about the complex web of activity that occurs within a school and how the teacher manages that web.

“The programme was on at the time when the media was focussed on the negatives of education: striking teachers, failing comprehensives and Government cuts.

“What was great about Educating Essex was that it highlighted all the positives of school life. Passmores is an outstanding school and for us to witness, as aspiring outstanding teachers, was reassuring.

“They showed that the essential ingredients for an outstanding school aren’t just the pass rates, it’s about dedication and hard work from all members of the school community.”

Craig, from Redcar, adds: “Teacher training is under more pressure to be different and help a new generation of teachers overcome the challenges of 21st century education.

“We’re hugely grateful to the PGCE Secondary Team at Newcastle University for their innovative, pro-active approach to helping us overcome these challenges.”

published on: 30 January 2012