What’s Changed in Schools?

M​ichael Goves, Education Expert explains what has changed in schools to help career changers can get ready for Initial Teacher Training

Who runs schools?
State schools used to all be run by local authorities but since 2000 many have become academies, independent charitable organisations. Many are now part of larger trusts with a central team directing strategy. Academies don’t have to follow the national curriculum and can set employment conditions and term times. The intention was to improve schools by giving headteachers more autonomy and has had some success. The day-to-day experience for students is not very different. For staff, it depends on the academy and the culture of its trust.

Teacher responsibilities

Teachers have wide pastoral responsibilities with accompanying training: anti-radicalisation, sex education, sexting and safeguarding, anti-bullying and, increasingly, mental health support. Teacher training also reflects a greater understanding of how children learn, addressing memory, cognition and how to meet needs like dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and autistic spectrum disorder.


GCSEs still exist but numbers have replaced letters. The new ‘1’ corresponds to a G (the lowest pass), a C is now a ‘4’, an A is a ‘7’, and the new ‘9’ is better than the old A*. This differentiates more at the top and, with making the curriculum harder, is intended to drive up standards.


Technology is everywhere from the classroom to the canteen. If you have school-age kids, you will know some of this but perhaps not the full scale. Managerial and legal tasks, such as registration, sanctions and student achievement, are generally done on a computer or tablet. Communication to parents and students is often done via an app and for colleagues, its emails. (If you’ve worked in large organisations before, you’ll know to be grateful for those who use ‘cc’ correctly!)

PowerPoint is widely used in lessons – so I recommend some YouTube tutorials if you haven’t used it before. Tip: keep things simple and clear. Then there are the apps used in student assessment – you can Google ‘Kahoot’ and ‘Plickers’ to get an idea. Smart white boards project your PowerPoint slides and let you and students write answers via special pens. This will not always be straight-forward, so get a crash course before your first lesson.

COVID-19 has also led to changes – online teaching was accepted as a necessity during lockdown but online lessons, such as provided by Oak Academy, have become more accepted. Things have changed a lot but the key thing to remember is that everyone in your school and training provider is there to help you learn teaching.

Learning to put your hand up and say, ‘I don’t know!’ is one of the most powerful ways to successfully change career.

N​B: article originally published by our partner Now Teach.

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