Launch of Suffolk teacher training hub sees former students return to old classrooms

  20 January, 2022

Suffolk hub co-director Mr Cox and Evie, former student and now trainee teacher

A former Ormiston Sudbury Academy student will be turning the tables and training as a teacher at her past school, thanks to the launch of an innovative new training programme.

The new Suffolk teacher training hub is partnered with Ormiston Sudbury Academy and is part of The OAKS, an Ofsted Outstanding (2016) and innovative SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training programme).

The hub is welcoming former students back to their old academy to train. One of those former students is Evie Smith, who finished at the academy in 2019, and then went on to undertake a degree in performing arts at the University of Bedfordshire.

Evie will begin training as a drama teacher in September, after being inspired by her own time at the academy and by the support of now-head of performing arts and The OAKS co-director Leo Cox.

Evie is looking forward to returning to Ormiston Sudbury Academy to share that same enthusiasm and encouragement with students locally that she benefitted from herself. She sees Drama lessons as an opportunity for young people to develop life skills and increase their confidence.

The OAKS links Keele University and OAT (Ormiston Academies Trust) with a long-established partnership of schools. There are currently seven hubs across the UK, including this latest hub in Sudbury, Suffolk.

From September 2022, the programme will be offering secondary placements in a large range of subjects, including across the arts, sciences and more. Once participants have completed the programme, they will gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and have the opportunity to be accredited with an academic PGCE award.

Any young person who is interested in the programme and looking to find out more can do so at

Evie Smith, incoming The OAKS Suffolk hub student said: “I’m really looking forward to starting The OAKS and getting stuck into teaching. My time at Ormiston Sudbury Academy showed me how much of an effect teachers can have on young people’s futures, and I want to have that same positive impact too.

“The programme itself will give me a chance to immerse myself in teaching through a variety of different work-based placements and will be an opportunity to work with and learn from schools and staff across the region.”   

Leo Cox, The OAKS Suffolk co-director and head of performing arts at Ormiston Sudbury Academy said: “When we set up our Sudbury hub, part of the reason was to ensure that young people in the area who are interested in a career in teaching will have really excellent provision available. We want to offer great opportunities locally which in turn will mean we can continue to recruit great teachers.

“It’s brilliant to be able to welcome former students like Evie back to the classroom, and we are really pleased that our academy is somewhere our students want to return to. I am very much looking forward to watching our new cohort take these next steps into teaching.”

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