How the University of Brighton use CENTURY to support their trainee teachers’ subject knowledge

Posted on 17th June 2024

Posted by CENTURY

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes


The University of Brighton, recently graded ‘Outstanding’ for their teacher training, uses CENTURY to support the subject knowledge components of their initial teacher training for secondary science teachers. We spoke to Sarah Poore, Senior Lecturer in Science Education, about how they harness CENTURY’s flexibility and adaptiveness to get the most out of their trainees.

How do you use CENTURY at Brighton? 

We introduce it early on in the course through a training session. We set expectations of one hour of independent study on CENTURY per week. Trainees complete diagnostics on the key topics in biology, chemistry and physics. They concentrate on the key concepts they need to know even before they go into school. After the diagnostics, we then set them regular tasks.

CENTURY is framed as something for them to develop their subject knowledge. We can easily see if they are taking the time to develop their knowledge. CENTURY can help them diagnose and resolve their own misconceptions before they go into the classroom to teach the content. 

What impacts and benefits have you seen with CENTURY?

100% of trainees have engaged with CENTURY and over 90% percent have had a continued engagement with it throughout the course. A key benefit is it’s flexible, they can do it on their phone or their laptop. They can do it on the way to school, which our trainees appreciate. 

The other big thing for us is the bespoke nature of the platform. Every trainee comes in with a different requirement for subject knowledge, which has always been a challenge. They can follow their own journeys, depending on what they have to teach in their school. The fact that it responds to the needs of individual trainees and their starting points makes it really helpful.

Everything is all in one place and it’s reliable. We know they’re engaging with good quality content. The platform also gives us the reassurance that the trainees are studying the right stuff. CENTURY seems to be able to do better than I would be able to do.

For us, the monitoring is really helpful as we’re able to see how they’re doing over time. Before, we used to have subject knowledge scrapbooks and folders. Now when they need to show how they have improved their subject knowledge, they will be able to demonstrate it using CENTURY.

Has CENTURY proved particularly useful in any other ways?

Often trainees seem to have the basics, but we need to understand why that isn’t translating into the classroom. 

We had a school raise concerns about the subject knowledge of a trainee, so the first thing I did was log in to CENTURY to see what they had been doing on that particular topic area. They were actually getting high scores on CENTURY. So when we went back to the school, we could say that the trainee had the right subject knowledge. The issue was surrounding their explanations and the vocabulary they were using. We were therefore able to pinpoint a tangible target for that trainee, giving them something to work towards. 

I also really appreciate the weekly insight emails as it gives us a little snapshot of who’s doing what. It offers a moment in the week to check in. 

How have your trainees found the platform? 

They seem to really enjoy it as you can work independently and the engagement data speaks for itself. 

We’ve got a good handful that have done days and days on CENTURY. I suppose you call them ‘early adopters’ and it’s only benefited them.

They like the ease of accessibility. It’s just one space for all your subject knowledge. If they’ve got the basics in place, then they can grow beyond that, and that’s what they need. 

Trainees also appreciated being able to use CENTURY as a resource within their lessons whilst on placement.

How do you see CENTURY being used moving forward? 

I think our next step is to influence the way that the subject knowledge component is taught on the course. We don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to teaching actual subject knowledge, so CENTURY will be able to help us to be smarter with our time. 

We have separate days dedicated to biology, chemistry and physics, and then we have a few other bits sprinkled throughout the course. Before each subject day, we always set particular CENTURY assignments to do, so trainees come in primed about what to expect. Moving forward, we want to use the diagnostic data more strategically to influence which practicals and other concepts we integrate into our subject knowledge sessions. 

To find out more about how to use CENTURY as part of your teacher training, book a demo here.