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How useful is the DAEFLE for applying for a job as a French teacher in English independent schools?

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by nsajadi, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. nsajadi

    nsajadi New commenter


    Has anyone in the private school sector heard of the DAEFLE (Diplôme d'Aptitude à l'Enseignement du Français Langue Etrangère) which is a professional qualification for teaching French as a foreign language, co-organised by the Alliance française in Paris and the CNED (French national centre for distance learning)? As far as I know it is quite a well-established teaching qualification; however, I'm wondering whether private schools would consider employing someone with this rather than a PGCE.

    I understand that it is more and more difficult to find work as a teacher in the private sector without a PGCE, but I am still hoping to find a way as I already have 12+ years of experience teaching (including 5 years teaching undergraduates in the UK, 5 years teaching in France both in schools and at university). My qualifications include a degree in translation, an MA and a PhD in French literature, as well as a postgraduate certificate in teaching in higher education. I understand that these are insufficient for applying for a job as a French teacher and that I should really be applying for a PGCE.

    I'd be really interested to hear your views and hope there are other avenues for teachers like myself. My current circumstances would allow me to do a PGCE over 2 years, or through distance learning, but I cannot find any openings. Hence, I thought about applying for the DAEFLE instead.

    I'll be very grateful for your thoughts/reactions/advice.

  2. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    I'm tagging @sabrinakat as she teaches in the Indie sector and has a background very similar to yours. She'll be advised you better than I, as I have taught in the Indie sector myself with a PGCE - but I also have an MPhil and taught in a University. Your qualifications are only insufficient for a maintained school really - indies and academies, and free schools,, can hire without a formal teaching qualification.
    sabrinakat and nsajadi like this.
  3. nsajadi

    nsajadi New commenter

    Thank you so much - it will be very helpful to hear more. I applied for jobs a couple of years ago when I returned to the UK, but every time the indie school wanted someone with QTS. That's why I eventually did just contract teaching for the army, tutoring, translation and editing... but I would really love to get back into full-time teaching...
  4. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Yes, it is entirely possible to get a job in an independent school without a PGCE and indeed, many schools would jump at you and your qualifications. The big questions would be:

    1.Are you familiar with the UK secondary system?
    2. Do you have knowledge and experience of the GCSE (new) and A-level/IB curriculum?
    3. Could you with a PhD also teach KS3 (years 7, 8 and 9)?

    I don't have a PGCE myself but hold many similar qualifications as you do, eg. M.Phil, PhD and a CELTA (teaching English) but I was also educated here (postgraduate/Oxford), so that was helpful (I'm American).

    In my own case, I put on my application cover letters that whilst I did not have a PGCE, I would be more than happy to do the Assessment Only QTS, if it was needed but I made it clear up-front that I was aware there might be a problem but I was already discussing solutions.

    What you need is a foot in the door -someone who will give you a chance - I secured a one-term temporary, then a one-year and now, a permanent position but it was hard at times. I preferred one-type of independent school (girls) and had some luck that that one-term temporary was at a brilliant school - I built on that and along with extensive pastoral success (a student who had struggled has just finished her second year at university), it was easier to get the next job, etc. You might consider temporary or maternity contracts to begin with (to get some experience as well as hopefully, good guidance from more established colleagues); plus, the Assessment Only QTS requires experience at two schools. My one-year was a bit harder but it was invaluable (it was a mixed grammar with 1200 students) but it meant that for the next job, I knew exactly what I wanted (a girls independent) and had the experience and references to show employers.

    I do also think that there is more flexibility in independent schools for our kind of experiences, especially in languages (I teach Latin/Classics but also a little bit of EFL) as most schools would greatly welcome a native speaker such as yourself.

    Good luck!

    nsajadi and CWadd like this.
  5. nsajadi

    nsajadi New commenter

    Thanks so much for your encouraging reply. Yes, I have taught both the French GCSE and A level (not the most recent one - this was in 2011 and 2012) when I was in France, and this was to expat children who wanted to add to their regular French secondary education. And I'm now tutoring GCSE students so I have to be familiar with the syllabus.

    I like your suggestion to be upfront about what I have to offer, which is what I've done so far, but I guess, as you say, I have to find "a foot in the door". Thanks for the info regarding options for obtaining QTS.

    Many thanks!

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