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Choosing a PGCE course

Discussion in 'History' started by emma-c, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. Hi all,

    Apologies if this is in the wrong place, but thought my fellow historians would be the best people to ask!

    I'm currently looking into PGCE courses (to start in 2012), and I'm finding it a bit difficult to differentiate between the courses other than location. I was wondering if there is anything I should particularly be looking for when I'm reading through course information?

    Any other tips or words of wisdom are very welcome!

    Thanks in advance,
  2. katnoodle

    katnoodle New commenter

    Ofsted grades ITT providers but the reports online are often quite old. Location can be a good way of choosing, but bear in mind that you will spend more time on placement than at university and most ITTs struggle to find enough placement schools for their students. So, you may well pick your 'local' uni (as I did) but find they place you miles away, because they've got no choice! Try to go to some open days, and if at all possible, find out what previous students thought of the course. Organisation, relevant lectures and seminars and a good support structure are all very important.
  3. Hi Kat, thanks for the advice, I've been in touch with a few Uni's about making visits to them. What's your take on the extra courses that some Uni's offer, such as the ones on using interactive whiteboards etc.? Would you say they're worth taking into consideration?
  4. To take a different angle of advice here is a list of places where in my experience there is good stuff going on, the people in charge know their stuff and the people they send to interview seem to know what is going on in history education, are trained intellectually and practically and are exciting and innovative etc!
    Leeds Trinity and All Saints
    Obviously this is opinion and depends on where you want to be based. Where have you been at uni?
  5. mnh2510

    mnh2510 New commenter

    I chose my PGCE purely on location, so I could live at home after the expense of living away during my undergrad. Everyone's placements were within an hour (both of mine took me 15/20 mins to drive to) and those who had a longer travel time were the ones who used public transport (I would have been lost on this course without my car!)
    I was lucky that my course is also fantastic, and that I got a lot out of it. I would say try to speak to ex-students of the courses that you're considering because they're likely to be able to give you a real indication of what the course is like. I did work experience in a couple of schools and the teachers all sung the praises of the course I just finished.
    Good luck with the applications, my best advice would be to get the application in as soon as it opens in September 2012 as they fill courses up quickly and they don't wait for all of the applications to be in before they give out offers!
  6. I've been studying at Bath Spa for the past couple of years. Really enjoyed my time there and would love to stay but realistically it's a very expensive place to live and with the bursary being cut I don't know if it's an option!

    My Mum lives in Buckinghamshire and my Dad lives in Oxford so living with either of those two is an option, or I have considered moving further up north because of cheaper living costs. Leeds Trinity is a course I really liked the look of, and I have booked myself on an open day up there in September, it's good to have it endorsed!

    I considered Cambridge and Oxford but was put off by the calibre/prestige of them so to speak, am I wrong in assuming it is just as tricky to get onto a PGCE there as it is to get onto an Undergrad course?
  7. Thanks for the advice mnh2010, I'm definitely worried about the number of people I'll be competing against. Do you mind if I ask where you went?
  8. Don't be put off...I did my PGCE at Cambridge but I didn't go there as an undergrad. It is not the same as getting in for a first degree. They are looking for people who are enthusiastic, up for a challenge and who have a potential to be good teachers. Also you will be interviewed so it is about how you come across rather than qualifications per se...
    The Cambridge course is amazing (I would say that!) and you should definitely apply for it if you are really into becoming a history teacher. Along with Leeds Trinity it is the centre for thought and practice in history teaching...
  9. That's encouraging to hear, I just hope I have done enough to get to the interview stage!

    I was also wondering about how recent the in school experience has to have been. At the end of year 13 I spent 3 weeks working with the SEN department of my secondary school, and I also worked as a tutor for Kumon for 8 months in that time.

    Since then though, I have only spent one week in a school, working with the History department of my old secondary school (at the start of my second Uni year), where I was given a few observation tasks to do and I was lucky enough that they trusted me to have a chat with their sixth form students about methods of research.

    Since then though, I haven't had any school experience, and although I will be working with the education department of a museum in Bath in September, I'm worried that my experience isn't recent enough. Do you think it will be a problem? Sorry to bombard you with questions, I'm just very eager to get everything sorted before September!
  10. I did my PGCE at Bath uni. I also did my undergrad at Bath Spa. They still did a histiry pgce when I was there but the whole uni was very primary orientated hence why I applied for Bath uni.
    I loved my course, my school placements were fantastic (I was lucky) and I got a job straight away. Granted I left that job after my NQT and spent 3 months dfoing supply but it's definitley worth being somewhere you like living and around people you can spend time with and are supportive.

    I had quite alot of school experience to apply with. I did a joint History and Ed studies undergrad and spent every wednesday during Yrs1 &2 in my old secondary schools History department. It's definitely worth getting in to a school, even sporadically. The competition is so fierce and everything helps. Give me a shout if you've any more questions!! :)

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