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Having trouble deciding which subject for PGCE

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by paddington_bear, Jan 17, 2016.

  1. paddington_bear

    paddington_bear New commenter


    I'm new to the forums and I'm hoping to apply for my PGCE shortly, however I'm currently having some trouble picking a specialism and hope someone who has experience can offer some advice!

    I have a bachelor's degree with a joint major of English / Philosophy and Ethics. At the moment I'm leaning towards applying for PGCE English as I have astrong interest in this subject and I think it will be easier to find work after my PGCE if I choose a core subject as my specialism, but I would also like to still have the option to teach RE in the future.

    Does anyone have experience of teaching outside of the subject area that you completed your PGCE in? Is it possible to complete the PGCE in one subject and then apply for a role teaching a different subject? Are schools likely to be receptive to this or is it difficult to move easily between?

    Any advice at all would be really welcome as I keep switching between the two subjects and can't seem to make up my mind either way!

    Many thanks.
  2. Findlotte

    Findlotte Established commenter

    When you apply for a PGCE they usually want 50% of your degree to be relevant to your chosen subject. So you'd have to stick to one during your PGCE year.
    Saying that, if you have experience of both and are happy to work in either role, I doubt any school would say no, and would probably give you 0.8 Eng 0.2 RE (or something like that)

    For example, I know teachers who did a Psychology PGCE but did a few Health and Social classes and now is teaching Health and Social because they overlap, or shortage subjects that are covered by teachers who have too many frees - it happens all the time. I've applied for Psychology PGCE but my degree is combined with Sociology, I've already been asked if I'm able to cover Sociology if needed.

    I'd advise you to apply asap as some courses are full already. look here for updates (https://www.ucas.com/ucas/teacher-training/find-programme/availability-training-programmes)
    English has limited spaces left.
  3. paddington_bear

    paddington_bear New commenter

    @Quitoon thanks for the all the info, very helpful and much appreciated! Yep I definitely need to get a wriggle on and apply soon!

    Thanks again!
  4. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    The advantage to you is one of your subjects is core. Do you have a religion? If so, someone who has a religion and can teach it would be gold dust for a faith school.
  5. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    I have known plenty of teachers who have a PGCE in, say, Dance, but ended up teaching Geography, Citizenship and Science, among other things, to make up their timetable!

    Also, there are some schools who label RE differently and build several subjects together, like Philosophy and RE (I have just finished an MA in RE and spoken to other students who teach in such departments), so it may well be your joint degree will stand you in good stead in that regard.

    Do you have an A Level in RE? That may be of some benefit.

    I will also say that it will depend on the school. Some will be pleased to take on a teacher who can and is willing to teach another subject, others may let you teach KS3 RE but nothing higher if you don't have an A Level or degree in the subject, some will not even consider you for RE teaching if you don't have a PGCE or degree in the subject.

    Oh, and primary teachers can move to teach secondary, even if their PGCE is in Primary, if they can demonstrate a very good understanding of the subject and show a HT that they are the right candidate.

    So it can be done! I would say choose English and look to boost your RE in other ways if you can, but it is your choice.

    Good luck!
  6. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    I am an English NQT who is also teaching RE! I have no qualifications in RE, the reason it's on my timetable is because my school has a shortage of RE teachers, and I replaced someone who wasn't full time so I was available. Several other colleagues in my dept also teach RE or PSE. If you state on job applications that you're keen to teach other subjects, in particular RE/Philosophy, that might make you more desirable to certain schools. One of my colleagues teaches RE to GCSE even though it's not her main subject, so that can be possible too. Good luck!
  7. Matthewdavenport1985

    Matthewdavenport1985 New commenter

    I have PGCE secondary Business Studies. I am currently teaching Geography, RE, Citizenship and a yr 10 Modern World History. The school doesn't even have Business Studies as a subject. Think it depends on the school
  8. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    Once you have QTS, you are qualified to teach anything... In theory!
  9. VeronicAmb

    VeronicAmb Occasional commenter

    I graduated with an English Literature and Philosophy degree. I've always taught English more than RE/Philo. I used to teach A-level Religious Studies alongside English when I first started out 15 years ago. But there was just too much English to teach, so I had to give it up.

    Interestingly enough, I have been given the opportunity to teach Philosophy at A-level again for next year. But being HoD for English I really have to consider whether I can put in the effort to brush up on my knowledge.

    Saying that, it's not impossible to crossover philo and English. When I'm teaching top sets for GCSE I tend to get into some (very) very light philosophical debates. But when I teach lit A-level, I will use the the same level of philosophy at A-level when teaching texts like Dorian Gray, Paradise Lost, Shakespeare, Frankenstein, etc. So don't be too disheartened because philo can really overlap with English. I've taught more English Language at A-level than I have philo. Saying that, I've also taught metaethics and the problem of language in English Language before when teaching pragmatics. You will most likely get the opportunity to incorporate philo/ethics in English for sure.

    I think it just comes down to experience. But at my school, every applicant form has "main subject" and a "second subject" that you can put down. So, I don't think it's impossible. However, don't expect to teach both subjects anytime soon. English at the moment is just too heavy to dedicate your time between that and another subject.
  10. Sysyphus

    Sysyphus New commenter

    I was an RS head of dep in the UK.. Also taught philosophy. Now teaching English in a country that does not offer RS in public schools.Do the English.;)English jobs come up abroad. Rs does not. English tutoring in demand. Rs not so much.Philosophy A Level involves a huge amount of prep and only the brightest students ever have a chance of an A or B grade.Much easier to pick up RS on the side as an English teacher rather than the other way round
    And I enjoyed teaching RS but teaching English is less prep I am finding.
    More marking though.
  11. Sysyphus

    Sysyphus New commenter

    If you think you can enjoy both equally. I think they are similar disciplines. I have enjoyed teaching both but wish I had thought through the fact RS may be on the curriculum in the UK but it is not valued as a subject in other countries. I have to hide it on my cvhs in the country I am in now to prevent assumptions I am devout in some religion and want to proselytize!!
    English. Don't give it any more thought))

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