My ATS experience: Abby Bruce

What motivated you to undertake Advanced Teacher Status (ATS)? 

I gained a PGCE about 10 years ago and undertaking ATS gave me the opportunity to showcase my professional development since, to prove my continuous commitment to improving my learners’ experience, and to helping develop others, as well as myself. It was a great opportunity to gain recognition for the level of work and experience I have gained in further education. 

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

I developed a project on using online platforms to improve engagement during periods of lockdown. I used software such as Nearpod and 360 tours to immerse my learners in an interactive educational experience to promote achievement and engagement. This led me to develop my own instructional videos to mitigate against vocational learning, which proved particularly difficult to replicate during periods of lockdown.   


How did you find the ATS process? 

Gaining ATS was a lot tougher than I expected. The workload is not easy to juggle alongside a teaching role, but the reward is high and feels like a substantial achievement and something to be proud of. The portfolio is varied and demonstrates the vast range of skills an advanced teacher needs. I particularly enjoyed the regular observations and developmental discussions with my mentor. 

Abby Bruce

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

I am proud to wear my ATS badge, and my organisation is keen for more staff to undertake the programme and gain this distinguished award. Since achieving ATS, I have helped and advised others within my organisation, and further afield, who are embarking on the same challenge. Furthermore, the videos I created for my ATS project are now used as part of our recruitment process as we can give prospective students a taste of our facilities and teaching experience from the comfort of their own homes.  


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

I continue to strive towards creativity and innovation. I have recently completed a further project on a virtual reality experience for my learners. This has been recognised within my organisation and I have been asked to showcase the resource at an upcoming development day. I continue to reflect on my practice regularly and encourage others to do the same. 


Do you have any advice to anyone considering undertaking ATS? 

Make sure you have the time to dedicate to the programme to truly gain the most from it. 


Finally, please tell us a fun fact about yourself 

My students call me the hedgehog lady due to my love of wildlife and background in rehabilitation!