Bringing army skills into the classroom: Euan’s story

A new Government programme is offering army-leavers a route into a classroom career, bringing their invaluable skills and experience with them. In the latest expansion of this “Troops to Teachers” scheme, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced the University of Reading as one of seven partner Universities to roll-out the programme across the country.

A soldier for 24 years, Euan Andrews’ whole working life was spent serving with the airborne forces in the UK, which included operational tours of Iraq, Kosovo and Northern Ireland. Originally trained as an Army chef, over the years Euan rose through the ranks, finally being put in charge of catering for all soldiers in the UK.

By 2014, Euan was ready for his next move – life after the Army. He faced this equipped with a unique skill set and a drive to serve others, a legacy of a life devoted to the Services and one that would stand him in good stead in his chosen new career of teaching.

Teaching had always been an aspiration of Euan’s during his Army days, but the sheer level of other commitments meant that it was one he never achieved then. It became the obvious next step as his service neared its end, so during his last few years in the Army, Euan paved the way for his dream by studying with the Open University. There, fired with a renewed passion for education and mathematics, he set himself firmly on the road to his new career as a maths teacher.

Euan’s change of career was enabled by the Government’s “Troops to Teachers” programme that targets service-leavers with the potential to become outstanding teachers. The prestigious two‐year, employment‐based ‘advanced standing’ programme leads to an honours degree with Qualified Teacher Status.

From the beginning of his Troops to Teachers training, Euan has been supported in both mathematical and teaching skills by the University of Reading.   He started his new life equipped with a “link tutor” from the University’s renowned Institute of Education, who became both his principal point of contact and a source of support and advice.

Like other trainee teachers enrolled on the programme, Euan will spend four days a week in his school over a two year training period. During this time, he will also engage in degree-level scheduled learning activities on ‘Study Fridays’ and attend intensive residential study weeks.

As a teacher, Euan points to his years of Army training as a huge resource. He sees many similarities between the Services and teaching:

“A teacher works extremely hard, often putting others before themselves. They are extremely loyal to their students and devote their time to achieving goals and targets. This has huge similarities. My confidence and people skills have also been extremely useful.”

When asked what skills translate most helpfully from the Services to schools, Euan is humorously quick to dispel any myths of parade-ground sternness spilling into the classroom:

“Soldiers are not the autocratic disciplinarians that some stereotypes portray! For instance, I am a family man who can play many parts; a good actor when required and very capable of using my judgment to determine which part I need to be playing in order to achieve the desired effect.”

A skill that is key to classroom success, as every teacher in classroom 2

IoE leaps up Complete University Guide 2016

The Institute of Education has further strengthened its national and international standing through its excellent results in the recently published Complete University Guide 2016. The IoE is now ranked as 14th nationally, up 18 places from the 2015 table.

Professor Andy Goodwyn, Head of the IoE, commented: “This significant jump up the table demonstrates how hard we are working to ensure our students are successful, secure excellent jobs and are studying in truly supportive and exciting environment.”

The University of Reading as a whole is listed among the top 25% of universities nationally, higher than several Russell Group institutions, including Cardiff, Glasgow and Liverpool. It is now ranked as 29th nationally, up eight places from 2015.

Other news from the Guide reveals that UK universities have increased their spending on facilities during the last five years, while there has also been a sustained rise in the percentage of graduates in professional employment or engaged in further study six months after graduation.

The Complete University Guide, published since 2007, uses nine criteria in its assessment, including:

  • Academic services spend
  • Completion rate of students
  • Average UCAS tariff score of new students under the age of 21
  • Expenditure per student on staff and student facilities
  • Proportion of firsts and upper seconds
  • Graduate prospects – or the employability of graduates
  • Average quality of research
  • Student satisfaction (from the National Student Survey)
  • Student to staff ratio.

Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell said:

“We are making good, steady progress thanks to the hard work of our staff and students. Reading is a university with international reach, so I am encouraged by our continuing strong global reputation in the latest subject rankings. I am also pleased that our strong REF 2014 results, which reflect our world-class research, have helped to boost our profile in these new national rankings.”

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IoE ranked 8th for Education in Guardian League Table

The IoE has achieved a highly successful 8th place among the very large number of Education departments in the just-published Guardian League table. The University of Reading moved up 5 places in the league, to 25th in the country. Head of the IoE, Professor Andy Goodwyn said: “Another excellent indicator of our hard work, success and appreciation from our students. Well done all round.”

See the full Guardian League Table for Education here.


Second annual Reading Guild of Artists Summer Show at the Institute of Education

You are warmly invited to the second annual Reading Guild of Artists Summer Show at the Institute of Education: Art building L04: Thurs June 18th to Friday June 26th, 10-4 (closed Sunday). This year the show includes an amazing selection of extremely accomplished undergraduate final degree work from years 3 and 4. ALL WORK IS FOR SALE and as last year will also include the sale of greeting cards.

Accompanying workshops are now fully subscribed except for ‘A Taste of Acrylics’ with Karen Carter Wed June 24th 10.30- 15.30 (free to IoE members of staff).
So if you would like to try something different, please message us or email Gill Hopper:



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IoE’s Dr Richard Harris wins prestigious and competitive University Teaching Fellowship

The IoE’s Dr Richard Harris has been announced as one of three winners of the prestigious University Teaching Fellowship (UTF).

The UTF is a competitive award that is conferred on an individual who has demonstrated individual excellence and contributed to the development of teaching and learning within the University. The Fellowship is designed to support staff to further develop and progress in this area.

On receiving the news, Dr Richard Harris said:

‘The university is fortunate to have so many excellent teaching staff, who have been recognised in this way and I am delighted to be joining them. Sharing and developing our teaching practice is really important and I am looking forward to new opportunities to work with colleagues across the university.’ 

Congratulations to all three winners for 2015-16:

Dr Richard Harris – Institute of Education

Dr Tabarak Ballal – School of Construction Management & Engineering

Dr Karsten Lundqvist – School of Systems Engineering

An awards ceremony will take place on 23 September 2015 to formally celebrate the winners’ achievements.

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L-R Dr Karsten Lundqvist,Dr Tabarak Ballal and Dr Richard Harris