Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) welcomed Professor Catalina Barragán from the University of Almería in Andalusia who was visiting the UK to find out more about the systems and processes which underpin the English primary school system.

Teaching is a highly respected profession in Spain, with most primary teachers staying in the profession until they retire, and the English primary school system is held in an equal high regard.

As part of her trip Professor Barragán visited two locals before spending time with BGU’s PGCE students to experience their training. This was a rewarding experience for both groups and Professor Barragán noted the focus given to teaching standards by all of the PGCE trainees whose seminars she had attended being particularly impressed by their professional manner and the genuine commitment to a career in teaching they communicated.

Based on her experiences in Spain and her time exploring English primary education and teacher training, Professor Barragán’s was able to identify a number of key areas where English and Spanish practices differ, along with others where both nations followed similar approaches:

“I found the emphasis given to the core subjects, reading, writing and maths, in the first years to be very different from schools in Andalusia. For example, in Almería and Andalusia as a whole there is much more focus on integrating the study of a modern foreign language from the earliest years, and this is often integrated in to the whole curriculum so that areas like maths or science can be taught in English.

“In addition I was interested in the use of Teaching Assistants in classrooms as this is unknown in both my region and Spain as a whole. Schools employ trained teachers to support groups of children with special needs or linguistic diversity. In England there is also an impressive focus on outdoor learning which does not get such an emphasis in Spain.”

“However I have found that in both countries there is a shared focus on the need to teach strategies to recognise and support the emotional well-being of children, including a recognition of the valuable role of parents, and the need to develop effective anti-bullying strategies.”

While at BGU Professor Barragán worked closely with Dr Mark Larrad, Senior Lecturer in Primary, whose own research is focused on the different approaches in Andalusia and England to the training of teachers. Both are hopeful that her time at BGU will lead to further collaboration between the two institutions possibly including exchange visits for trainee teachers, joint research and shared practices.

If you’d like more information on how to begin your adventure in the world of education, visit our website or contact our Enquiries Team today to find out more about our range of PGCE and Primary Education courses.

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