How to Achieve Your QTS: A Guide for Students

Author(s) Neil Denby
Publisher Sage Publications Ltd
Published 2008
Pages 248
Price £17.99
ISBN 9781847872852
Reviewed by Dr Liane Purnell
Newman University College
Review published 12 December 2008

I approached this book with some trepidation expecting it to be a formulaic tick box exercise and was delighted to find that it wasn’t. It has an intended audience of students in any key stage and on any route and it certainly appears to meet their needs effectively. It includes contributions from arrange of contributors who are clearly appropriate and who engage with the audience; the notes introducing each are helpful. The introduction is very up to date and clearly signposts content. There are very clear and explicit links to the standards which are grouped sensibly and embedded rather than added on. Each chapter has a consistent layout, which usually includes ‘a thought’, application to teaching, group exercise and individual reflection boxes which are appropriate and useful. The references at the end of each chapter are up to date and include journals. References are also embedded within the text of each chapter providing a good model for students. I do feel that the book would have benefited from more e-sources, although some chapters do contain several. Every Child Matters is embedded as well as having status in its own right. The Masters level chapter is useful but limits itself to PGCE, thereby potentially excluding undergraduates working at Masters level, but this is an exception to the inclusive nature of the book.

I will certainly promote this book to my undergraduate and postgraduate students who are on the challenging key stage 2/key stage 3 route as it caters for all key stages. It will provide a useful resource in promoting independence for those who are struggling. For example it addresses the somewhat challenging Q13 ‘know how to use local and national statistical information to evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching, to monitor the progress of those they teach and to raise levels of attainment’ through a fluent introduction, a very useful list of acronyms, several tables clearly illustrating data with helpful commentary and challenging but attainable individual and group exercises. There are many other examples which could be quoted and which are designed to engage students on different routes and with differing experiences to date. There are parts which I will certainly use in my teaching such as the extremely simple but effective A4L example provided as ‘application to teaching’ in the well written chapter on understanding assessment and feedback.

Occasionally a standard is listed in relation to a chapter such as Q7b: ‘identify priorities for their early professional development in the context of induction’ which is then not as securely or explicitly embedded as other standards but these are rare and, perhaps, understandable.

This book otherwise has the standards firmly embedded in it, indeed they are at the very heart of it, rather than the ‘add on’ or written to address style that is so often met in other books. I recommend it wholeheartedly to students, to teacher educators and to school based staff who are involved in supporting students. It encourages reflective and individual thinking and surely, the use of it, would help evidence the standard Q7a ‘reflect on and improve their practice, and take responsibility for identifying and meeting their developing professional needs.’