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Deciding on an ITT provider from abroad - Help!

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by nessadertnig1, Apr 28, 2020.

  1. strawberry056

    strawberry056 New commenter

    Hello there!

    I live in Austria (but am American) and have applied to do a PGCE in the UK. When I started the application process I assumed I'd be able to (or have to) visit the universities for interviews, and then would be able to get a sense of the place, the staff, and fellow students, and get some advice in person. But then COVID-19 came along, and now I'm in the position of having to make a decision without any real sense of each place. Maybe someone here can help?

    Here's my situation - My family and I (husband, two kids) may relocate to the UK in the next couple of years, but that's up in the air now. (If we don't end up relocating, a PGCE will enable me to get a job in an international school in Austria, plus it's accepted in the USA, should we ever move back there. I want QTS, so a PGCEi is not the route I'm going to take). If we move to the UK it's more likely that we'd settle in Wales or Scotland than in England, but we really don't know yet. (Doing teacher training here in Austria is not an option.)

    At this point, I have unconditional offers for the PGCE Primary at Aberystwyth University and for the University of Nottingham School Direct with PGCE program (with Transform Teaching School Alliance), both with a 3-11 age range. At Aberystwyth I'd have two primary school placements (10 weeks, 9 weeks) and a 4-week secondary school placement, which seems like a super interesting perk. At Nottingham I'd be in the same school for the entire school year, except for 5 weeks at a second placement (both primary age range). I had a good feeling during both interviews, though the Nottingham one was vastly more in-depth and lengthy. (Also, although there's a chance we'd end up in semi-rural Wales, I have a very very hard time seeing us ending up near Nottingham - so local connections I'd make through the SD program there probably won't help in the long run, in terms of a future job.)

    I was late with my application and missed the deadline for a Scottish PGDE. I did end up applying (at the beginning of March) to the University of West Scotland and Univ. of the Highlands and Islands because they seemed to be the only ones still accepting applications, but have not heard anything back from either of them.

    My questions:

    - Generally speaking, I see that Aberystwyth is lower on the league tables than Nottingham, but still seems quite decent. Does anyone have experience with initial teacher training at either of these universities? Can anyone speak to the reputation of these universities for teacher training?

    - How is mid-Wales in terms of accepting foreigners? Any idea how it might be there for me as an American?

    - If we end up in Scotland, would it be better to have trained in England or Wales? Or does it not matter? Or does the university itself matter more than the country?

    - Does the prestige or "name value" of the university where you got your PGCE matter in an international setting? Is a PGCE from a Welsh university as widely accepted one from an English one?

    - Does anyone have experience with teacher training at UWS or UHI in Scotland? I can't find UHI on the league tables at all and UWS seems to have some fairly bad reviews, and is low on the tables in general.... Also, is it normal that I haven't heard anything yet, since I applied so late?

    Thanks so much for reading all this and for any thoughts or hints you have to offer!
  2. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    To be honest - for schools hiring they aren’t very fussed about where you got your PG. The first degree carries some weight. The best advice I can offer is to do the PG in the area you are most likely to live.
    My advice, as a course leader, is that Aberystwyth looks the best fit for you.
  3. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Won't the OP's (presumed) lack of Welsh be a problem on placements?
  4. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    I agree with MrMedia do the course at the uni nearest to where you live. If you are living in Wales you can't commute to Nottingham every day.Remember all 3 countries have different education systems and you may find getting a job in one harder if you trained in the other due to lack of experience in their system.
  5. strawberry056

    strawberry056 New commenter

    Thank you for your input, MrMedia. And it seems to me that the new Welsh curriculum that's coming out in a year or two is more simliar to the CfE in Scotland than the English curriculum is. Any thoughts on that?

    harsh - Speaking Welsh is not a requirement for becoming a teacher, though I was told I'd probably be put in placement schools more in the south, where it's apparently less of an issue.

    Wotton - I don't live there yet, and am not sure where we'll settle (if we ultimately move there). Thus, the quandary!
  6. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    @nessadertnig1 Yes I understand you don't live there yet so unless you are planning on living away from your family I'm not sure how you can choose a uni until you know where you will be.How will you attend a uni if you don't relocate
  7. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    I know that the UHI is set up to address the needs of many who live in more isolated areas and don't want to travel too far or where travelling is difficult, hence the many campuses.
    The UWS has a campus in my old town though when I lived there it was just a college.It has a good reputation.
    When do you think you would start, 2020, 2021, 2022?
    It's quite a trek from Aberystwyth to places in south Wales like Swansea or Cardiff.
    My text got mixed up in the quote so I've put it here as a follow on from #6
  8. strawberry056

    strawberry056 New commenter

    Wotton, I see what you mean now. My family will either come with me to where we/I decide I should go, or I will do the school year there (wherever “there” ends up being) without them (with all of us doing as much visiting as possible). Fall 2020 is my start date.

    Thanks for the input on the Scottish universities!
  9. rolls

    rolls Occasional commenter

    You don’t say what you want to teach. Different universities have expertise in different parts of the curriculum if it is secondary. As was said earlier finding somewhere you are happy to live is probably more important that where you train. School Direct May give you a more limited experience in terms of placement and the other students and tutors that you will meet.
  10. strawberry056

    strawberry056 New commenter

    Goodness, you’re right! Primary school is what I’d be training for. If I went to Aberystwyth and therefore also got the chance to do a secondary placement, that would most certainly be in MFL, as my undergraduate degree is in French and I am also fluent in German.

    Thanks for the thoughts, rolls!
  11. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    With QTS and a post graduate qualification you can teach any curriculum you wish. Indeed, with the languages you are very hireable as a teacher in any phase. The Welsh are copying the Finnish in softening the hard borders between subjects. At primary level it won’t have that much impact compared to secondary.

    70% of my cohort get jobs in local schools. If it’s not from a placement it’s from my local connections. People tap me up every week for trainees, NQTs and experienced alumni to fill their jobs gaps. That’s a big reason to train where you are most likely to live. Your networking will give you a good ground for job hunting.
    nessadertnig1 likes this.
  12. strawberry056

    strawberry056 New commenter

    Thank you for that insight, MrMedia!!
  13. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    The advantage of Scotland is that graduates are guaranteed a job for their probationary year. Not sure how easy it is to get it in the area you want.
    My nephew's daughter was lucky she was kept on by the school after her probationary year, this does not happen for everyone.
    I assume you would relocating with your husbands job?

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