Hi everyone, I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place right now and would really appreciate some advice from strangers on whether I should apply for the PGDE Primary course starting next September. I have read a number of threads devoted to this subject and the overall consensus is that you would be foolish to leave a steady well paid job in the pursuit of a teaching qualification just now as there quite simply aren't any new grad jobs out there, but surely it isn't all bad, there must be some jobs out there and some positive stories? I would like to give you the facts for my situation, some you may find irrelevant but I have read about them all on various other threads, and would genuinely appreciate any feedback or opinion, no matter how forthright, on whether I should continue down this route or just suck it up and stick to my day job. I have read the scare stories about 500+ applicants for a job in Glasgow and having to leave Edinburgh to find work in the Highlands and I'm constantly changing my mind about this based on practicality versus desire, head ruling heart kinda thing. This is what I really want to do with my life but I don't know if I'm prepared to risk my family's wellbeing to pursue it, although I have their full support. I have all the entrance requirements for the course including time spent in a Primary School shadowing teachers. I also currently work, in a volunteering capacity, with children who are victims of alcohol abuse. I have spent a considerable amount of time discussing my application with the admissions department of the two Universities where I would like to study and am pretty confident that I would be accepted on to the course and for the purpose of this post can we assume that I have been offered a position to study. So this is me: I am a married 30 year old Roman Catholic male with one child who is 8 months old. We are planning to have another child in the next 18 months so let's say I'll have two children under 3 by the time I start my probationary year. I currently work in a 9-5 office job and earn £35k a year. I sit at a computer most of the day, my job has no stress and I find it easy. I have been doing this kind of work for eight years and have never once woke up and dreaded the thought of going into the office that day. I currently commute 45 minutes each way to work, I get the train and although it's expensive it's an easy ride. In my "dream" of being a teacher I would work in one of the seven primary schools in the town where I live or at worst within 20 minutes drive of where I live, this would open my catchment area up to 6 or 7 towns and roughly 35 Primary Schools. My wife will go back to work two days a week in February earning approximately £13k a year, in my probationary year our combined salary will be roughly £34k, half of what our combined full time salaries are now so I am certainly not doing this for the money. It will take me seven years in teaching to even get the salary that I earn now and I would most probably be promoted to director level here in the next five years. We live in flat that is big enough for another child, if I didn't quit my job we would move to a nice house, if I do move into teaching we couldn't move for say 5 years. Our mortgage is small, we have no other debt and our monthly outgoings are manageable, we will survive on my wife's salary and savings while I study for a year and will be comfortable when I start my probationary year. We couldn't survive me being out of work for more than a year (while I study) so if I didn't get a teaching job after my probationary year I would have to get another full-time job and it would be very difficult to get back into my old career in the current climate so I would most probably be looking at unskilled low-paid work. I'm honest enough to say that not only is teaching a career that I want to pursue but it is also a lifestyle choice that I want. I appreciate that I will work twice as hard as I do now and believe it or not that is a plus point for me. I don't want to work in an office, I find it soul destroying working with middle class people who are motivated by money and I genuinely do want to make a difference and help children in anyway I can. I want to be a part of the community, I want to live and work where I do just now and also want to enjoy the school holidays traveling with my children. I grew up in a rough council scheme and have managed to educate myself and have worked and traveled all over the world, I always succeed in whatever I set my heart on and I know that I will be a great teacher if given the chance. So that's my life story and here are the questions that run through my head almost constantly and would appreciate your thoughts. What would you do in my situation? Am I nuts to be even considering this? I know I have a great life and am taking a huge risk but that's what makes me think I'm doing the right thing, and for the right reasons but is the risk to great? On a practical point, will I get a probationary placement in a school close to where I live, or at worst close to where the University I study is? Not a big deal I guess but it would be nice to know what the likelihood of this is. Is it practical to think that I will get a new grad job in Angus? From what I've read you must be prepared to go anywhere, including abroad, if you want to secure permanent new grad employment and even then it is not guaranteed but as I said, a huge part of this change is to settle and raise my family where we have chosen as our home. Do I stand a better chance of getting a permanent job purely because I am male? I find this incredible but the vast majority of teachers I speak to, all of whom are female, say that it gives me a head start and that if my experience, interview and references are on a par with a female applicant I will get the job every time. Today a deputy head told me that it was "positive discrimination" and men are being actively recruited. I think (as I can't find them again to refer to) Executive figures state that only 7% of teachers in Scottish primary schools are male. Do I stand a good chance of getting a job in a R.C. school? Obviously there are far fewer Catholic schools than nondenominational schools but again is it in my favor being a male Catholic graduate? I can't study at St Andrew's College so do I need to complete a Catholic certificate of education to get a permanent job in a Catholic school or is this just for secondary school teachers? Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this and for any comments left. ABFL.