Hayley Clayton

Hayley joined Arden Grove Infant & Nursery School as a 1:1 Teaching Assistant in 2012, and is now a Year 1 Teacher.

How did you come to join the Wensum Trust?

I first joined Arden Grove 9 years ago as a 1:1 Teaching Assistant in Reception class, and I worked with an individual child for 3 and a half years, until he moved on to Junior School. I was then offered a classroom Teaching Assistant job in Reception, where I worked for 4 years. 

In my fourth year, I decided to start a degree in Education Primary Studies with the Open University – I covered classes in Reception and really enjoyed being able to fully commit myself to the qualification. I completed my degree in 3 years, working in Reception for the first year, before moving up to Year 2 to complete the second and third year. I’d worked in EYFS for a long time so this allowed me to get some professional development across the stages.

I then had a year-long break, which gave me the chance to consider whether I wanted to commit to pursuing a career in teaching. I found a QTS apprenticeship with the Norfolk Teacher Training Centre (NTTC) and I really felt it was the ideal career path for me. I spoke to the Headteacher about the apprenticeship opportunity and she immediately filled me with confidence and was incredibly supportive of my choice.


Tell us more about the apprenticeship... 

Every Friday we take part in training sessions where we have other professionals deliver lessons in various subjects. I also have a mentor at school who has been amazingly supportive. We started the year team-teaching, which worked really well because I could just observe her teaching all the time and when I taught a lesson I could do it in such a way that meant we remained consistent – which is really important for the children. 

But I do all the teaching now, and she’s TA-ing for me sometimes! 

What are your plans for September, once you’ve received your QTS qualification?

I was offered the position of Year 1 Teacher here at Arden Grove!  It will be my first official teaching job, and I can’t wait to get started.

Are you part of any Trust-wide activities?

I regularly chat with members of the Trusts’ SENDCo network, and other outside professionals like Speech and Language therapists. I’m also part of the Emotion Coaching working party, which is made up of members from other Wensum Trust schools. When Emotion Coaching was first introduced it was new to all of us, but Anne Oakley and Daniel Thrower have really pushed the benefits of the coaching and staff have enjoyed it.

Looking ahead, what do you think the next 100 years of Education should bring about? What change would you like to see?

I don’t think children should be put under the pressure of irrelevant tests and exams. I think children can perform differently from day to day, and it would be nice to be able to say, you know what, they might not hit all the grades but they’ve got life skills. I think education needs to do more to help children to be more accepting of themselves - to help them understand how they feel, why they feel that way, and that it’s okay to feel like that.

And finally, how has your career and experience been impacted by working at a Wensum Trust school?

Being able to undertake an apprenticeship with the support of the Trust was great. I don’t feel like I ever have to ask for support from staff - it's always offered before I need to ask.

I feel fortunate to have been in a school that’s got everything in place already and that's made my journey much easier. I’ve got everyone on hand – I’m surrounded by people like Anne Oakley, who is an expert in Emotion Coaching and executive functions, and the level of training we have had has been really beneficial.  I think it would have been a completely different experience for me if I was at a different school and a different Trust.