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Dear Theo-subject dilemma!

Discussion in 'Independent' started by raharo, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    I have just graduated from the University of Southampton with a BSc Geology Degree First Class Honours. I am starting the process of applying for a PGCE commencing in September 2012 and ultimately aim to work within the independent sector. Due to the nature of my degree, I have been looking into becoming a Science teacher with a specialism in Chemistry. However, I am concerned that when applying for a teaching post the fact that I do no hold a degree in Chemistry would count against me especially as competiition is fierce for positions within good independent schools.

    As a result I am wondering if it would be better for me to specialise in Geography as my degree is more heavily weighted to that subject.
    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    Do you want to work in senior schools or prep schools? If a prep school I can't see it being an issue for the majority of schools.
    Most independent schools whilst they want you to have a degree and to be able to teach the subject(s) that they want don't really care what uni/course you did. Often it is the other things that are important, e.g. what you can offer besides teaching. For many schools the ability to offer the ability to coach a team/take games is important.
    Personally if Science is your first choice then go for the science, as it's a more specialised subject, you can always teach Geography as well (or offer it)
  3. I want to work in senior. I had thought going for science and teach geography later as my degree covers a lot of the subject material but was not sure if that would be possible. Thank you for your reply, it has helped confirm that maybe I should do what I had thought!
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Now actually, you have no degree in any recognised school subject . . . which makes it a tad tricky perhaps for one of the Top Schools.
    Certainly an option to offer chemistry - with geography as a second subject - would be appreciated by many schools. The opposite might not be so welcome, but offering two subjects would nearly always be seen as a bonus.
    There you have it. I have no clear guidance to give you, I'm afraid.
    Best wishes
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Seminars. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
  5. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Some indies and grammars offer A level geology. Worth looking for a school that offers this when applying for a job.
    Personally I have worked with trainee science teachers who have geology degrees and it isn't easy.
  6. I am good friends with the HoD for chemistry at the local top independent school and for their latest chemistry vacancy they did not shortlist anyone without a chemistry degree. That meant that those people who considered themselves to have related degrees eg, biochemistry or conversion courses etc did not even get a look in.
  7. Syria1

    Syria1 New commenter

    There are still A-levels available in geology - both OCR and the WJEC offer the subject. A good (solid) subject too.I've always had a soft spot for geologists[​IMG]
  8. Two possible approaches to this:

    Which do you enjoy more? Stick with that- trends in education are something of a rollercoaster and you've got to enjoy what you're doing, especially in a job like teaching.
    Do you have a shortlist of schools you very firmly know you'd want to teach at? Worth enquiring as to which they'd prefer, whether one route would be better.
    Personally, I'd do the Science, as it makes you more versatile and it seems to be your initital choice. But worth bearing in mind that I'm only a PGCE-er, come from a state education background and have matchsticks propping my eyes at the moment.
  9. (Plus, maybe worth bearing in mind that Science is compulsory to 16, with more hours per week allocated to it than Geography- non-compulsory past KS3 and with not a great deal of time allocated. Therefore, Science jobs might be less scarce? Again, this might be entirely different in indies.)
  10. What A levels did you study? If you have 2 sciences go for chemistry.....
    An alternative might be to do some OU chemistry courses to build up/demonstrate your knowledge (sign up for January courses and you won't have to pay the higher fees coming into effect in September).
    Unfortunately, as a previous poster has said, many schools won't consider non-chemistry graduates (as a biochemist I have had this problem too) but if you are a good science teacher there are also plenty of schools who don't feel this way.

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