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Getting into secondary teaching with a law degree

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by julieabarnett, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. Hi
    I was wondering whether anyone could point me in the right direction:
    I am a qualified solicitor who is looking to move into secondary teaching. I specialised in criminal law, with an emphasis on youth court work.
    When I contacted the TDA helpline they recommended a PGCE in citizenship. Unfortunately, I am based in Manchester and no such courses are available in my area.
    I am looking into the possibility of doing a PGCE in social sciences and citizenship and I'm waiting for clarification as to whether the course provider will accept my law degree for entry onto the course.
    Even if I am accepted I am concerned about whether or not I'll be able to secure a teaching job in law and/or citizenship.
    Therefore, my query is in relation to how constrained teachers are by their PGCE course and whether there is scope to move into other subject areas as a newly qualified teacher. For instance, I have an A grade A-Level in history and would love to teach in this area but I can't do the PGCE in history because I don't have the necessary degree.
    I would appreciate any advice.

  2. charlieeh

    charlieeh New commenter

    I'm only repeating what others on this site have said, as I'm only a prospective PGCE-er myself and don't know all that much about how it works, but someone said that once you've done your PGCE and attained QTS, you can teach any subject and any age (eg Primary or secondary). Although, obviously, schools will only let you teach a subject they think you're adequately competent in!! I've been told that it's difficult to move into otehr subjects, but not unheard of.
    Another thing that might be of use to you is knowing that at my PGCE interview at Birmingham University, for Secondary English, someone with a law degree was invited to be interviewed. It says on the Birminghm website that although they expect at least half of the candidate's degree to be in English. - "If you have no English in your degree, you will first need to complete at least two Open University modules in each of English Language and Literature."
    So at least that shows that you might be able to get onto a different PGCE course other than Citizenship.

    Hope that helps a little!
  3. Thankyou for your response. That does help a lot.
  4. Hi
    Don't know if this helps especially as you're looking at secondary PGCE. I too have a law degree and have been accepted onto the primary pgce at MMU for September. I looked into secondary as an option and was told that I could apply to do citizenship but I didn't feel that it was for me (plus I have never actually seen a job vacancy to teach this subject - not in Derbyshire anyway!). I am sure you could try to apply for other PGCEs and argue that part of your degree covered those areas (which was what I needed to do in my application as I have a non NC subject). Have you considered Primary? Don't think that you're excluded because of your degree subject, something else to think about maybe......
  5. Thankyou so much for that. I will have a think about primary. It's good to know that there are options.
    Good luck with your course!
  6. Hi ,
    I read your posting and wondered if you could help me. I too have a law degree and have been working as a teaching assistant for 2 years now. Initially, I was at a secondary school and I am now working at a primary school.
    I have now applied to do the Primary GTP and would be grateful if you could give me some tips as to how I could argue the relevance of my law degree to the NC and teaching. I have bags of enthusiam and school experience, my only worry is justifying my degree.
    Please help...

  7. Hi
    I did expect to get grilled about this in my interview, but it never really came up. In the GTTR application you were asked to put in percentages of your degree that covered NC subjects. I put that English was approx 30%, as obviously you need to have a good grasp of the English language as well as literature. I also put that approx 20% was history as a lot of the law is based on past events? I also mentioned ICT as I covered a lot of my degree using ICT even though it was a number of years ago. You should refer to your A levels and any other qualifications if they are relevant.
    I do believe that your experience in school will count for a lot as I am currently a teaching assistant as well, so let them know that you have a good grasp of the national curriculum through your everyday work and are able to show good understanding of this. They will probably be more interested in your enthusiam, passion and school experience. They may well ask you about your degree as I believe that the GTP interviews are quite gruelling, you should be prepared for this and relate it as I did to the NC.
    I honestly believe that the most important thing is that you are confident, (I know this is hard) because they are looking for almost a finished product (especially since you are doing the GTP), so you have to show them you are capable of standing in front of a class of 30 children and can deliver a lesson.
    Good luck with your application, hope all goes well

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