Institute of Education runs unique climate change activities for over 300 local school children

The Institute of Education at the University of Reading is welcoming more than 300 school children for an exciting and innovative programme of climate change activities which combine science, maths, history and modern languages.

Over the 3 week  programme, which began on the 3rd June, students aged between 9 and 15 are debating, experimenting and interacting to learn about the history of climate change, the main causes, and the overall impacts that climate change might have on them and the wider world.


The activities see children working in teams with coloured balls to simulate the way that carbon moves between atmosphere, ocean and plants in the carbon cycle. Washing up liquid bubbles filled with methane are exploding in a burst of brilliant yellow flame to give a dramatic demonstration of the amount of energy in fossil fuels (all within Health and Safety – of course).


The coupling of the arts and sciences is a particularly unique element of the activities. Groups of children are debating climate change in French, German and Spanish and tracing the history of how water ends up in bottles on our supermarket shelves.
Children are exploring the concepts of heating, cooling and friction by reading Michael Rosen’s poem “Granma’s hands”, a quirky and hilarious mix of science and poetry, as well as science experiments following instructions in French and Spanish.  These activities formed part of the Reading Poetry Festival 5-9 June.

The activities are being organised by four trainee teachers under their Further Development Placement which forms an integral part of the postgraduate teacher training offered by the Institute of Education.

Two science and two modern foreign language trainees who have excelled in their previous school placements have teamed up with staff at the Institute of Education to design, deliver and evaluate teaching activities and workshops that help young people understand issues related to climate change.

One of the trainee teachers taking part said: “This is a great opportunity to teach new knowledge in a different language and is especially important for those students not interested in the traditional language topics of ‘the home’, ‘shopping’ and ‘school’ etc.”

Jane Fieldsend, Lecturer in Science Education at the Institute of Education and one of the key organisers of the programme, says: “Developing and delivering these activities is providing our trainee teachers with fantastic practical experience that they can take forward through their teaching careers – we’re really impressed with what they are achieving over the three weeks.”

John Oversby, leader of the EU Changing with the Climate Project, says: “This unique collaboration between outstanding teachers at the start of their careers is a shining example of the kind of creativity and innovation in education that we encourage at the Institute.”

Barbara King, Lecturer in Modern Foreign Languages, says: “A unique aspect of these activities is that science and languages are integrated so that the students develop understanding of both subjects through climate change. This provides a fresh and engaging way to approach modern foreign language teaching.”



About the Institute of Education
The Institute of Education at the University of Reading is one of the leading providers of teacher training in the UK offering PGCE Secondary and Primary, BA (Ed) and the Graduate Teacher Programmes (GTP). In addition to those who achieve awards at Master’s and PhD level, every year, close to 500 or our students become newly qualified teachers (NQTs). The University has excellent partnership arrangements with over 300 local schools which employ the majority of our graduates.

About the Further Development Programme at the Institute of Education
Near the end of their teacher training course secondary trainees are offered a unique opportunity to widen their experience of education by undertaking a special project either in one of the partnership schools or an associate institution. Over the past few years we have built excellent relationships with a number of special schools, pupil referral units (PRUs), museums, field study centres and educational trusts all of which now offer our students the opportunity to widen their experience in an educational setting.
About the Changing with the Climate project
These activities form part of a 3 year EU funded project, led by Institute of Education, called Changing with the Climate, which aims to: establish a network of schools across Europe; enhance climate change teaching and learning and encourage positive action to address climate change.

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TROOPS TO TEACHERS @ the Institute of Education, University of Reading

The University of Reading is delighted to announce that it is offering a selection of new training courses for British Armed Forces personnel wishing to embark on a teaching career once they have left the forces.

Reading is part of a consortium of six universities, led by the University of Brighton, who will offer the Government’s new Troops to Teachers Programme. The programme aims to support a smooth transition into the civilian workforce for those Service members who are exiting their military careers and have the potential to become outstanding teachers. The consortium will enable former Service personnel to train to teach by accessing newly created Initial Teacher Training (ITT) routes.

Reading is working with a range of outstanding primary and secondary schools in the region to support the development and delivery of the programme.  The programme will have a school-centred approach which will immerse trainees in high quality teaching environments, combined with specialist expertise and evidence-based research from one of the leading teacher training providers in the country.  Details of our current partnership schools can be found here.

Professor Andy Goodwyn, Head of the University of Reading’s Institute of Education, said: “We are extremely pleased to be involved in this important new scheme which intends to help members of our armed forces retrain to become exceptional teachers.  The programme will only select the very best candidates who show a genuine aptitude for, and commitment to, teaching.  Our geographical location, close to many British Armed Forces establishments, is a mutual advantage for all involved and shows that as a major international university we can still demonstrate real commitment to the region and its community.”

The Troops to Teachers programme, funded by the Department for Education, aims to recruit the best Service leavers into teaching, including those with the highest qualifications, qualities and experiences, who have the potential to become outstanding teachers. It has been designed and developed with a group of outstanding schools and ITT providers in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence and the Career Transition Partnership. Those Service personnel who are in the two years before discharge or in the two years post discharge from the Armed Forces are eligible to apply.

The consortium is directly involved in two programmes:

Pathway 1 is a School Direct salaried / School Direct training programme resulting in QTS.  Graduate Service Leavers interested in undertaking teacher training can apply for a one year, School Direct salaried, School Direct training, Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) programme.

  • The School Direct salaried route into teaching is available to high-quality graduates with at least three years’ work experience.  Trainees are employed as an unqualified teacher by the school. Previous experience in the Armed Forces will count towards meeting the School Direct eligibility criteria
  • The School Direct training route into teaching is open to all high-quality graduates and funded by tuition fees paid by the trainee, who may receive a bursary from the Department for Education. PGCE and SCITT programmes are fee-paying routes in partnership with universities and also offer bursaries for eligible graduates.  For more information, visit the Department for Education site

Pathway 2 is a two-year non-graduate honours programme incorporating QTS

  • Trainees will enter this already holding some HE credit
  • Cohort 1 will start in January 2014 and cohort 2 will start in Jul/Sept 2014
  • This programme will be based around the University of Brighton’s existing 2 Year BA(Hons) Secondary Education with QTS programme, although it is being redeveloped to include an employment-based mode of study through it, to add additional secondary subject routes, and to develop a primary age phase programme

For details about how to apply for this pathway, go to Troops for Teachers



For further information please visit:


Graduate Service Leavers


University of Reading.  Email: or call: 0118 378 2624

For general enquires please contact the DfE Teaching Line 0800 389 2500 or visit:

TAEDS: The Scottish Play at Coombes – Summer 2013

Two TAEDS Year 2 students and their tutor, Cathy Wardale, devised and facilitated a series of four drama workshops at the Coombes School, with the stimulus of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Their task was to explore the play and broaden the Year 6 children’s understanding of the concepts and themes, whilst also showcasing for the teachers which roles each child would be most suitable for in their very own end of year production of the piece, to be staged in July. Traditionally Coombes uses drama workshops as an alternative to auditions because it gives all the children an opportunity to not only grow as performers but also for the staff to get a much better idea of what each child’s strengths are within the performance environment.

As the workshops progressed, the activities became more focused on performance skills. The children gained in confidence and contributed some very moving and innovative ideas that will be used within their end of year performance, for example the ghostly dagger speaking key lines. This was important, as they had the satisfaction of seeing their own input to the devising process. It was delightful to see individuals come out of their shell and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wishes to work in Theatre in Education groups or train as a teacher. For me as a student it was an extremely enjoyable and valuable experience to take part in a progressive workshop, where I was able to build a relationship with the children.

Roxanne Scotten