Füsun was born in Turkey but moved as a child to England, where she was educated and trained as a teacher. On completion of a Bachelor of Education degree, she returned to Turkey in order to reclaim her language and culture. Here she taught English, English literature and Art at an independent school.
In 1984 Füsun returned back to the UK and completed her probationary NQT year before obtaining a job at the Centre for Bilingualism in Haringey, which offered community languages to mainstream schools. Here she taught Turkish to both native and non-native speakers in Primary and Secondary schools.
After a further spell of teaching Turkish to GCSE and A Level students, Füsun moved to a position of bilingual support teacher. Here she produced differentiated bi-lingual materials in Turkish and English for a range of curriculum subjects, which were disseminated to other secondary schools in the borough. She also continued to assess all Turkish speakers to establish their levels of literacy and general ability. After this, she returned to teaching Turkish in a school with more than 400 Turkish speakers.
The national teacher shortage in 2001 led to an influx of overseas trained teachers, and this led to an increase in people taking up the OTT and GTP programmes. At this time Füsun was appointed to the post of Graduate and Overseas Trained Teacher programme manager, to work in partnership with LoNoCo. Here she took on responsibility for about 15 recently appointed graduate and overseas trained teachers in various subjects, without Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in the UK.
In total, Füsun managed to help more than 40 students gain QTS. Moreover, she managed to overcome some initial resistance from teaching staff by offering formal recognition of the work of school mentors that would contribute to their own continuing professional development (CPD). By doing so the integration of the employment based initial teacher training programmes became viewed as a ‘whole school initiative’.
It was through this work that Füsun was offered her current position as Secondary Programme Leader for Employment Based Routes into teaching with LoNoCo.
Füsun comments on LoNoCo
"The consortium will do all it can to secure a fair and appropriate training environment and training experience for all students. The support systems are in place to prevent or deal with any potential barriers."
"In order to ease any initial anxieties of a new cohort, our policy is to select two recently qualified trainees to deliver a joint session at induction on how they managed to meet the requirements of the programme, their schools and families, as it can be a very demanding year for some trainees. These students are awarded with a certificate and a letter of recognition for their input, which they place into their professional portfolio as part of their Early Professional Development."
Advice to anyone considering QTS
"If anyone is considering going into teaching, remember that subject content, curriculum content, planning, behaviour management, differentiation, inclusive practice and assessment for learning can all be taught; you can learn the generic skills but you need to make sure that you have the qualities and Professional Attributes required to teach."
"Create the opportunity to spend quality time in a school. Many of our trainees are in posts as teaching assistants or working in a support role on application to the programme and have already secured their knowledge, skills and confidence."
"If you are an overseas trained teacher, it is paramount that you too spend some quality time in a school as the concept of ‘behaviour management and respect’ may not be what you are accustomed to back in your homeland. You will need to find out all you can about the UK education system and the National Curriculum and National Strategies. Opportunities in the UK now are huge compared to the 1960’s."
Some final words
"Having taught in some very challenging, culturally diverse secondary schools in North London for over twenty years, I feel privileged that I now have the opportunity to share all my knowledge and skills and to nurture and train a new generation of high quality teachers for a profession which has given me so much satisfaction and happiness."