Posted Feb. 21, 2018
So you’ve decided the next stage in your career/studies/life is getting into teaching!
The most obvious way to do this is by studying a PGCE. When deciding whether or not to study a PGCE, like with any postgrad program, you will probably have lots of questions.
Firstly, it’s important to understand what a PGCE is. It stands for Post Graduate Certificate in Education and although a PGCE is not a requirement to teach in England, it can give you an edge when applying for jobs, as well as, being an internationally recognised qualification which generally carries masters level credits. There are a number of other factors to think about when considering a career in teaching.
School-led vs university-led PGCE
When choosing a PGCE you’ll need to consider what type of training best suits your situation, either school-led or university-led. Both approaches involve a minimum of 24 weeks teaching practice, spent in two different schools, and lead to the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). However, there are some important differences to consider. Certain school-led courses are salaried, which may take some pressure off if PGCE funding is an issue. Alternatively, if pursuing an unsalaried school-led or a university-led PGCE in England, you could get a £26,000 bursary. While school-led courses allow you to gain practical teaching experience from the beginning, university-led courses may allow for greater reflection on teaching methods, leading to more efficient learning. Our PGCE student diary gives a greater insight into what it is like to follow the School Direct PGCE route and our article on PGCE funding also contains useful information.
Other factors to consider when choosing a PGCE provider, include practical issues, such as, where their placement schools are and if it will be possible for you to commute or move to the area. In addition, some university-led PGCEs may allow for part-time or distance learning which might suit students with existing commitments. Regardless of which route you decide on, university-led or school-led, it’s vital to research each provider individually. Also, it’s worth pointing out that these training courses are notoriously intensive so be prepared to work hard!
Not only is work experience a requirement for entry into PGCEs, it also gives you the opportunity to test if the job is right for you. When getting into teaching it is essential to seek advice from working teachers and professionals and to explore which age group you are interested in working with. Work experience may be a conventional work placement in a school or it may be activities, such as, mentoring, one-to-one tuition or games coaching and should relate to the age range you wish to teach. Specific requirements with regard to teaching experience vary between courses, so again, it’s important to research well in advance of applying.
Requirements to being accepted as a PGCE student vary between providers, and between primary and secondary level teaching, but the following are general requirements to expect:
A 2:2 honours degree in a relevant subject.
Minimum grade C/4 at GCSE (or equivalent) in English language and mathematics. Minimum grade C/4 at GCSE (or equivalent) in a science subject for primary teaching.
A pass mark in a professional skills test.
A personal statement explaining your reasons for pursuing a teaching career and demonstrating an interest in teaching, as well as, knowledge of your chosen subject and current trends in education .
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (Allow time for this).
A recognised English language qualification, if English is not your first language.
Other tips for getting into teaching
Apply early as spaces can be competitive.
Apply for all entry routes to improve your chances of success.
Apply for one of the many available teaching bursaries to eleviate the stress of funding your program.
Most importantly, research, research, research.
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