Tes – An Ecosystem For Teacher Training
Tes is the biggest teaching community in the world supporting, inspiring and connecting eight million education professionals worldwide. In 2014, they entered into the Teacher CPD marketplace for the first time with a new business unit, Tes Institute.
Teacher shortages called for innovation in the sector; a way to not only increase the amount of teachers receiving adequate training but keep hold of teachers already trained and experienced. In order for Tes teacher training courses to work in alleviating the on-going shortage of talent, they needed to provide a modern, flexible and dynamic way to learn.
Tes acts as a teaching partner for schools offering a variety of services. Everything you need to support your teaching career is all in one place, whether you’re looking for a new job in education or to hire your next staff member. But teacher shortages in the UK have given rise to a call for innovation throughout the sector.
Not only do we need to train more teachers, but teachers within the profession need to be retained and those that have left need to be tempted back in. Former Education Secretary Lord Jim Knight led Tes in their efforts to help solve the ongoing crisis through lifelong learning. This work started with the founding of Tes courses in 2014.
The initial Tes courses team searched the entire education technology marketplace for a tool that embodied the pedagogy Tes believes in. Having nearly given up and resolving to build a tool for themselves, HT2 Labs was recommended as a potential source of inspiration. A few months later, Tes courses launched with Curatr as its underpinning technology, enabling a new brand of social, gamified online learning to take place.
It turned out to be the exact tool that Lord Knight and his team had been searching for. A tool that put social learning at the heart of the experience, promoting engagement with content and with peers. And all put together in an interface that was seamless, mobile ready and globally available.
The Tes courses team set to work building innovative courses within the Curatr platform. Teachers would be able to see the latest course offerings through the Tes website and sign up for courses using either an e-commerce mechanism or using a pre-paid voucher code from their school or academy. This was all facilitated by Curatr.
Tes courses gained two major wins in early 2016. First, the latest addition to the course catalogue, Growth Mindset, went viral. Thousands of teachers took up the opportunity to learn and network with one another through Curatr.. This was followed up with a win at the prestigious BETT awards for web-based ICT tools for Learning, Teaching and Assessment Tools for Schools; a win borne out of the work delivered via Curatr.
In the autumn of 2015 Tes Institute expanded to include other forms of teacher training, including subject knowledge enhancement courses, School Direct PGCE, and a Straight to Teaching programme. The existing partnership with HT2 Labs bred a level of trust that brought Tes Institute to become a launch client for Red Panda, helping to co-develop an expanded platform that took in the requirements of delivering accredited online qualifications, with HT2 Labs.
“A great deal of thought has been put into the content and technology behind [our courses] and they are proving very popular with teachers, including our most recent course on growth mindset. This win underlines TES Institute’s position as a real innovator in all areas of teacher training.”
Today, Tes Institute uses the full HT2 Labs ecosystem, bridging the gap between formal and informal learning. Tes Institute now offers CPD on-demand, as well as fully accredited, distance learning qualifications, using the same system.
Pathways created in Red Panda link together multiple learning sessions in Curatr, giving the ability to provide personalised programmes of study for Initial Teacher Training and career development. . Activity throughout the ecosystem is recorded in Learning Locker, giving teachers a lifelong learning record store, tracking progress from trainee to leadership.
This learning evidence can in turn be accredited as prior knowledge for other qualifications. The innovation inherent in the new approach was once again recognsied at the BETT awards, gaining a nomination for the 2018 awards in the Secondary Content category for the new English Subject Knowledge Enhancement Course.
Tes Institute is now taking their offering on the road, giving the global marketplace access to the Tes platform for teacher training. With a little help from HT2 Labs, Tes Institute has established itself as a key business unit within the Tes Global offering, within just 3 years of starting.