We had been thinking of putting together a podcast pretty much since the charity first launched. Radio 4 had featured Lucy Kellaway in the successful docuseries “Could Do Better” and we knew people would be interested to hear about the wonderful, brilliant people that retrain as teachers.
However, wanting to do something and doing it are two very different things. Websites, emails, and indeed, life got in the way.
The pandemic changed everything. In March 2020 the country went into lockdown. Suddenly millions were having to reconsider their future. Many chose the most important job in our country: teaching.
With schools unable to host visits we knew it was incredibly important to provide an honest and insightful source of information where people could find out about the hot topics in education prior to retraining. We wanted to show people who were in school decades ago just what happened since they left – inspiring the episode about “The Education Revolution” of recent years.
We moved quickly and efficiently. The whole production from start to finish took 3 months. First, we pulled together a first-class team of journalists, producers and promoters working with freelance talent agency Passionfruit.
Our first decision was who should host the podcast. We knew we wanted an experienced radio voice. Someone our audience trusted. We said, someone like Jenni Murray. In our wildest dreams did we think we could work with Dame Jenni Murray. But we gave it a shot and asked her to front the show. And we could not believe it. Sad as it may seem, audible whoops were heard in Croydon and Newcastle. Jenni was on board.
Katie Waldegrave was next to take the lead. Katie picked up her little black book of contacts and went to secure a few “small” names.
These small names turned out to be heavy hitters such as former Education Secretary David Blunkett, Covid Catch Up Tsar Kevan Collins, as well as UK Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel De Souza.
With our experts in place, we wanted to showcase our brilliant Now Teachers. They are at the core of everything we do. They provide a real-world voice to proceedings and in recordings, they would bring to life the importance of topics such as innovation or attainment. Alongside our Now Teachers, we had pupils from schools in Bermondsey and Hampshire read the credits.
The podcast launched with a bang across Apple, Spotify and all major podcast platforms. The audience subscribed in their thousands and crucially kept listening – they enjoyed it! We were not surprised; we knew we were onto a winner.
However, we have been totally taken aback by the number of 5-star reviews, culminating with the Best Use of Audio Award at the recent RAD Awards.
The podcast has been a labour of love, and we are incredibly proud to have turned it from being something we would “like to do”, into something we have done and done well.
More episodes to follow? We shall see. In the meantime, if you have not yet had a chance to listen in, click here.