My ATS experience: Oxana Nikitin

Why did you decide to undertake Advanced Teacher Status (ATS)? 

I have worked in Further Education for 12 years and ATS was a logical step for me to take after successfully completing Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status. After reading about ATS and those who had completed it on SET’s website, I realised that the way to maximise the impact on my learners’ progress and achievement was to improve myself as a practitioner and master my teaching methods and pedagogy through educational research. 

Oxana Nikitin head shot

Can you tell us more about the research project that you undertook as part of ATS? 

I wanted to find a way to add value to vocational and mathematical learning. Poor motivation to learn maths is the one of the major barriers for vocational progress and the overwhelming majority of our vocational learners are returning, de-motivated learners.  

I decided to use modern technology to improve the attainment and engagement of learners completing GCSE maths again alongside their main programme. As my organisation, East Surrey College (ESC), utilises the Century learning platform to enhance learning experiences, I chose to use the Century Planner to create flexible and concurrent maths and vocational modules. 

How did you find the ATS process? 

I found it rewarding for me and my learners, although I had a bit of a bumpy start. ATS is a self-guided process, and very different from any studying programmes I have done before. However, I managed to find my footing after a few weeks and started to enjoy it.  

What impact has ATS had on your role and your organisation? 

I mentored a colleague this year, which was a brand new skill for me, and I was encouraged to work collaboratively with tutors across the college. ATS gave me an opportunity to cascade my knowledge and professional skills among my peers, colleagues and organisation, and it allowed me to share my experiences and help others to develop their professional practices. 

Undertaking ATS also helped towards the ESC’s goal as an organisation: to change the culture of teachers’ professional development towards a community of collaborative practice in which every practitioner is supported and able to reach their full potential. 


How has your teaching practice changed as a result of ATS? 

As a result of my professional development this year, I have adjusted my teaching methods. My teaching has become much more learner-focused, have adapted different strategies to develop my learners’ communication and employability skills, and now plan activities based on the mastery approach. I also learned how to reflect on my practice and use these reflections to grow and improve as a practitioner. 


Do you have any advice to anyone considering undertaking ATS? 

Stay calm and focused. Know your goals.  


Finally, please can you tell us a fun fact about yourself? 

I have a young house cat, which is very curious and mischievous. He fascinated by birds, wind and raindrops. I bought him a fancy waistcoat and take him for walks outside on a leash! 


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