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Do I have to teach A-level?

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by lolo06, Mar 29, 2019.

  1. lolo06

    lolo06 New commenter


    I am embarking on my PGCE Sept 19 and I am all set to start.
    My subject is computer science and I think I would be comfortable to teach students up to GCSE but not A-level.
    What I would like to know is will I be forced to teach A-level? If I dont want to will that hinder my job options?
    Im confused as to whether my QTS qualification covers post 16.

    Many thanks
  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Most secondary teachers find time with older, usually maturer students to be one of the highlights of the week.
    It is rare for teachers to be "forced" to teach A level - far commoner to find young teachers feeling that their older colleagues are blocking opportunities.
    I would advise that it is worth looking at the paperwork for A level computer science, and working out where your skills deficit is. However, many areas just have 11-16 schools, where you cannot be forced to teach A level.
    QTS normally covers post 16. It's up to the head how you are deployed.
    As far as I know my QTS covers all ages - I could work in a KS1 school. This would be a bad idea, as my skills base and tolerance of loud high pitched noise don't match with the job.
    Flanks, 51cfys, tb9605 and 1 other person like this.
  3. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    I'm guessing your worry is subject knowledge? In which case as @phlogiston suggests, work out where as this can be developed over your course. You'll probably come to realise as you develop your pedagogical skills, the gap isn't as big as you think and I certainly wouldn't worry at this point.

    If at the end it's still a concern - most schools don't have a sixth form, so those won't be a worry. Those that do, well you can find out easily enough if they're looking for someone to cover A-level as well (they may not even have CS as an A-level option). In which case don't choose to go there, It's not a hinder to your job options any more than other reasons to discount a school. Every school is slightly different, and you'll be looking for one that works for you as well as you for them.
    SundaeTrifle and strawbs like this.
  4. lolo06

    lolo06 New commenter

    Thank you both for your reply, I will keep your advice to hand, and make sure that I end up at the school that right for me.
    51cfys likes this.
  5. 51cfys

    51cfys New commenter

  6. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Certainly there is no need to worry about it now. However, I would advise seeing if you can develop the skills to teach it at A-level during your PGCE. Some jobs will need that skill, and there is no guarantee that you will find one that doesn't. If nothing else, understanding of a subject at A-level helps in teaching in KS4. From a personal perspective, I would say that having A-level in my timetable made the job a lot more interesting.
    phlogiston likes this.
  7. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    Most secondary PGCE courses are 11-16, meaning you'll teach and be observed in KS3 and 4 classes. You may be given KS5 classes (we certainly would) but if you don't want to teach them, then say so. Mind you, without my year 12 and 13, I think I'd go mad!
    SundaeTrifle, Piranha and phlogiston like this.
  8. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    Why don't you get you ask the Course provider for more guidance on this?
  9. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    I was worried about A level when I first started teaching. I was happily teaching it in my second year and was in charge of department ( me and a supply teacher) in my third year. It's not as bad as you think it's going to be. I think I'd have not lasted 32 years if Imhadnt had A level classes in almost every year of teaching.
    But if you are dead set against it then you are judicious about the types of school you apply for it shouldn't be a problem.
    And yes QTS qualifies you to teach A level. Indeed you don't really need qualifications to teach at any level these days.
    SundaeTrifle likes this.
  10. SundaeTrifle

    SundaeTrifle Occasional commenter

    If you get the opportunity to teach A level CS then take it. There is a good range of topics and you should be able to find something you feel comfortable with that the head of dept will be happy for you to teach. Your could also observe and assist in some lessons.

    You may feel daunted at the moment, but throughout your teaching career you will continually need to develop your subject knowledge. It is an ongoing process in CS.
  11. rgblackett

    rgblackett New commenter

    You are unlikely to be given responsibility for A level classes in your first year or two. I would never put that responsibility on an NQT. However you may be asked to share a class. I would normally allocate parts of the curriculum you would be comfortable with and add a couple of bits for development. My degree is CS yet there are obviously bits in every new curriculum that I have no idea about. It's still fun to learn and deliver new stuff. I have to restudy A* pathing algorithms every year but YouTube is my friend and will be yours too. Do the A level. You won't regret it. It's nice to have a break from KS 3 and 4.
    SundaeTrifle likes this.

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