Aldridge Education


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Welcome to our new blog series!  From September 2024, Aldridge Education are going to be offering School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) across our Brighton, London, Salford and Darwen secondary schools. In this series, we explore the subjects on offer and key people who will be a part of this exciting new programme!




To celebrate new Beginnings, today we meet Rachel Johnston who will be leading the SCITT as our Trust ITT Lead Mentor.  Read on to meet and get to know Rachel!


Why did you want to become a teacher?

Teaching is always something I have considered as a career path, ever since primary school when I played a teacher in a school play. As I grew older, I got involved in working with young people in various different clubs and summer camps, and gained so much fulfilment and enjoyment in that work. I’ve always found it to be such a privilege to be able to open learners’ eyes and worlds to new knowledge and different opportunities; becoming a teacher seemed like the natural choice. 

So many of my friends' parents were teachers though that we all rallied against the prospect as a very small act of teenage rebellion. I ended up following a different path to begin with!

What in your career path has led you to this role?

In secondary school, I decided I wanted to be a doctor (mainly as I was obsessed with ER), but didn’t quite get the grades I needed at A-level, so decided to study Pharmacology at University instead, with the aim being to go to medical school as a graduate. I found myself really enjoying the raw science and research element of my degree, so instead of going to medical school, I then chose to study further and completed a PhD in Pharmacology, which was an incredible few years where I had the opportunity to work both in academic and industrial lab with some outstanding scientists. 

However, I found the day-to-day lab work to be quite lonely, and I wanted to move to a role where I could work with people every day, so my mind went back to my original idea of teaching. I completed my teacher training and worked as a Science teacher and leader at schools in Liverpool for seven years. I loved working with my pupils, seeing them flourish from nervous year 7s who were terrified of Bunsen burners to confident, accomplished and impassioned scientists ready to take on the world. 

As I progressed as a teacher, one of my favourite parts of the role was mentoring new teachers, and I was lucky to be able to move to a role as a Development Lead at Teach First, where that was my main responsibility. I spent several years working with lots of trainee teachers, visiting them in their varying school settings and supporting them and their mentors as they progressed towards achieving QTS and completing a PGDE. I have since worked as a Programme Support Manager at Teach First, and have worked on various teacher development programmes including initial teacher training and early career framework. I am absolutely delighted to now be moving to work with SCITT mentors and trainees at Aldridge Education as lead mentor. 


What about the new Aldridge Education SCITT most excites you?

Definitely the structure of the Teach First programme and the privilege to continue working with this experience provider. Aldridge Education have been a valued Delivery Partner of Teach First since 2021, who are the largest provider of Initial teacher training in the country and have over 20 years of experience working with trainee teachers. The SCITT is a research led, classroom based one year course that enables trainees to start making a difference for pupils in their communities from day one in the classroom. Through hands on classroom learning and guidance from expert mentors, trainees will work towards achieving qualified teacher status and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education.

Additionally, I can’t wait to meet all the fantastic mentors who will be supporting our trainees and work with them to understand the needs of pupils in their schools. I’m really keen to build a community of ITT mentors across the trust who utilise their collective expertise to focus on the vision of providing an evidence based, supportive environment for trainees that enables them to thrive as teachers, both during the course in their teaching careers beyond the course. 

What should trainees on our programme expect to experience?

You will be placed in one of our schools and be paired with a skilled subject specific mentor. The course will begin with two weeks of intensive training on key classroom skills such as planning and behaviour management. 

You’ll take things step by step, shadowing other expert teachers in your school, and then leading lessons with guidance of your mentor and others. You’ll meet weekly with your mentor, and will have regular progress reviews with me as lead mentor. 

As part of your training, you will also attend weekly training sessions that are sequenced to be focused on what is most relevant to your development across the academic year. You’ll also complete self-study modules each half term to support your development, and attend seminars where you will have the opportunity to collaborate and network with other SCITT trainees across Aldridge Education. 

You will also experience six weeks of placements in educational settings other than your placement school to ensure your training enables you to experience a broad range of environments. 

Why should trainees apply to train with Aldridge Education?

You will work with various colleagues from Aldridge Education: your mentor, teachers, senior leaders and support staff in your department and school, your lead mentor and other trainees on both the SCITT programme and other routes into teaching. All of these colleagues want you to succeed, and all of them are focused on providing high quality education for our learners, including those hardest to reach, ensuring no learner is left behind. We aim to empower learners, so they appreciate the value of learning and ensure their time in school and beyond equips them with the knowledge and skills that enables them to have choices for their future. Although the SCITT course is ideal for people who want to make a difference in a school in their local community, by training with Aldridge Education, you will be part of a trust which includes provision from primary to adult education, and educational settings across the country in a range of geographical environments, meaning you will benefit from a wide range of expertise in education as part of your training.


 Does this sound like the right pathway for your training? Apply today! Visit and choose Aldridge Education as a provider. Please visit to see our school locations and subjects on offer. 


Train to teach in your local community, and power up your postcode. 




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