1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Is a car a necessity for pgce?!

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by lucycook87, May 3, 2011.

  1. Hi everyone,

    Had some rather bad news today - my car has died and there is absolutely no way I'm going to be able to afford a new one! Just wondering if anyone on/ done their pgce could tell me whether they managed to get around to placements and stuff without their own transportation? At my interview they said you need to be able to travel within a 40 mile radius and even asked if I had my own form of transport! Bit worried, probably unnecessarily, but some advice would be appreciated!


  2. Hi Lucy,

    I'm not on a PGCE, but in the process of applying, but I don't think having a car should be a necessity for a PGCE. For my course they certainly said that if you don't have a car, they will try and place you closer to the city centre, or help you arrange to get a lift with someone.

    If I were you, I'd contact your course secretary and explain your position, and hopefully they will be able to offer some advice regarding your placements (or even arrange for them to be closer.)
  3. Ahh, see that's exactly what I've been worrying about! Yeah, I live in bromsgrove which isn't very far from the uni, we have a train station, but it's a bit out of town and is pretty useless! Public transport is pretty poor, don't really want to be reliant on it. Hopefully can sort something out over the summer :/
  4. Ahh, that's exactly what I'm worrying about! I live in bromsgrove which isn't that far from Worcester so getting to the uni would probably be ok it's just the placements. We have a train station but it's not great! Public transport is pretty poor and I really don't want to be reliant on it! Hopefully sort something out over the summer :/
  5. Yeah that's the problem, getting to the university will be fine but it depends on your placement! Though at least you're in a decent size town with the train station etc. so hopefully they'd be able to place you somewhere convenient for you to get to without a car. I live near Bridgnorth in a little village with buses every 2 hours between 8 and 5.30 so I'd have no chance without a car! If my car dies during my PGCE I have no idea what I'll do!!

    Do you work now? You could always try to save up some cash to either repair or get a new car in September and then top it up with a little from your student loan when you get it? Apparently the university give everyone a bursary of between £500 and £800 too. I don't know what your situation is now though, so don't know how easy it would be for you to save. The other option is when you get to University, you can apply for the Access to Learning Fund which might be able to help you out if you can explain that you need a car for your placements.

    How much will it cost to fix your car?
  6. I didn't tell my uni I have a car, and one day when it was in the garage and I had to make my way to school by public transport, I had to leave at 6am. I know a guy who has to leave at 5.30 every morning to get to his school due to having no car.
    It'll depend on your uni and the size of your course. Mine's a big course and they have placement schools throughout West Yorkshire and into North Yorkshire. Therefore they see a 'reasonable' journey as anything less than two hours each way.
    Then again, a friend pleaded to the university that he was moving house and didn't have transport, and they gave him a placement a 10min bus journey away! So tell them. It may not be necessary to drive but it IS necessary that they know you aren't driving.
  7. Yup, Worcester say up to 40 miles is reasonable!
  8. It would be so much easier if the government hadnt cut their £4000 bursary for Primary, but instead i recon ill be worse off than I am doing my undergrad degree, the only bonus being ill be at home and therefore much much cheaper rent!!

    I really hope they take into consideration where we live in relation to our placements, surely if our lives are mad easier then we will have more time to work so surely gives them better results!!! Its daft!!! 40 miles is a long way, when they asked in our interviews you could hardly say, oh no i dont want to travel that far!!

    Do you know how many will be on our course??
  9. I think im going to give them a ring next week, this week im just concentrating on getting all my work done and dusted! I really hope they dont say that they want me to do it in the next week as Im at uni in Huddersfield so its a bit of a treck down just for the day!!

    I know worcester have some schools in Redditch so hopefully you'll either get one there or close to you!!! x
  10. Yeah at least we do have a train! It's so annoying that we have to rely on these expensive cars lol.

    I'm travelling at the moment but hopefully be able to get some work over the summer and save some money up. Bit annoying as I went travelling before we found out the big bursary was to be cancelled - probably wouldn't have recklessly gone and spent all my savings otherwise! Oo didn't know we could possibly be getting a small bursary from the uni though, that would definitely be a big help! My mom said it would probably cost a couple of £100 to get the thing fixed, but it's really not worth it, it's so old and decrepit lol would be a total waste. She said they could help me out a bit so maybe with that, some savings and student loan might be able to afford something! What's the access to learning fund then?

    Are you going to travel into uni or move a bit closer?
  11. I'm sure they could accommodate you, can't expect you to come all that way just for one day! Hopefully like you said, they won't ask you to re do it, fingers crossed.

    Yeah, the school I did one of my ore interview placements at was in redditch and they said they often had Worcester students. They were so nice there too, be nice to get put there! Though getting there by bus from where I live would still be pretty hard on the bus .. Doesn't help that you have to be there for like 8.30am or earlier. Sure I'll figure something out though!

    Bet your well excited to be finishing your uni though, hope your last bit of work goes well! X
  12. Hopefully they will say I dont have to do it again!! Fingers crossed, it would save a lot of hassel and petrol costs cos im not planning to go home betweeen now and graduation!! Ahh which school in Redditch was it? Id love to get one in Redditch it would be ace! Nice and easy to get to!
    Yes I am very very excited to finish, 4 assignments of 12,000 words is pretty rubbish, but ive pretty much finished everything now so its just checking it all and handing it all in then 2 weeks in school :) happy days. How long have you got left travelling now? x
  13. Hi everyone,

    Thanks for all the advice! Think I'll get straight onto the uni then and inform them of my situation. Ha ha, I like the idea of getting a bag on wheels, a nice tartan one!!

    Thanks Caroline for the hint about the access to learning fund, don't know how much luck I'll have but definitely worth a try! I'm not particularly looking forward to going back to a student budget either! When did you finish your degree then? Fingers crossed for you that you get on the course, sure you'll be fine :). I live in bromsgrove, so probably well off your radar in terms of lifts - thanks for the offer though.

    Hi Sarah, yeah I live in bromsgrove, but I'm going to Worcester - typical! Would have been great to share lifts! I used to work in Birmingham and it was a pain having to get the train everyday, but the only alternative was paying a fortune on parking. Does your uni have lots of parking?
  14. Yeah redditch would be perfect for you! It was holyoakes field first school, everyone was really nice and the kids so cute lol, would definitely like to go back.

    That's so cool, not long till it's all done and dusted then you can look forward to the start of more hard work in September lol.

    Not much longer to go travelling now, back 4 weeks Sunday. Fly to Indonesia on Saturday. Gone so quick it's crazy! Quite eager to get back though now and sort stuff out and see everyone :) x
  15. I finished my degree last year, so not that long ago really. But since then I've spent 6 months teaching in Thailand and was paid pretty well, for Thailand anyway! So I managed to have the life of a Queen! Well, maybe not a real Queen but seemed it in comparison to uni haha

    I'm lucky because I've had someone who went to Worcester last year go through everything with me so I THINK I'll be ok at interview! I've been looking at possible interview questions and in my head I know my answers to all of them, just have to make sure they actually come out of my mouth instead of gibberish though!! Did you get asked much about current educational issues?
  16. When doing my under grad I used to work in my universities student services and I don't think the Access to Learning Fund is going to be suitable for your needs. It's there to help students who will have to drop out of their course if they don't receive financial help. It's normally used if some one has a change in their circumstances and they can't afford their rent or child care for example. Not having a car won't prevent you from completing your course as there are alternative forms of transport such as the bus or train.

    Although unis do there best to try find you a placement with a reasonable traveling distance placements can be hard to come by so I'm affraid you do need to be prepared to travel. I was lucky and only had a 42 mile round trip for my placement (I'm FE) so traveling time wasn't too bad as it was just a 25 min train ride and a short walk away. However there were a few people on my course who struggled getting a placement and have ended up with a two and a half hour journey each way. This is why universities tell you the possible traveling distance when you sign up as it could become a reality and you do need to be mentally prepared for the situation.If you read the student teacher forum there are people who have had traveling times of 2.5 hours each way this year! It's tough but then the job situation is tough so if you do end up in that situation at least you will be more prepared when looking for jobs for your NQT year. The closest vacancy that I've found in my subject area is a 50min car ride each way.
    You need to think about your priorities. Whats more important a short traveling time or your ideal career? The PGCE is only a year so I'm sure you'll be able to suck it up and cope if it's going to get you where you want to be. If you find travelling too streessful you can always move once you find a permenant post.
    Good luck with next year. I finish my PGCE next week and the year has flown by.
  17. It would but im not holding my breath on getting one close!! haha. ahh yes, ive never been in but heard its a nice school!
    Ive finished all my work now :) just off to hand the last piece in and then i can relax :) happy days! Not looking forward to the hard work of next year but at least it should be more intersting that my degree!!
    Ahh your travelling sounds fab! Hope your enjoying all the sun!! In no time at all you'll be back, I cant believe how fast these past three years have gone never mind this past year! x
  18. Well I got the Access to Learning Fund in my first year, I wouldn't have had to drop out without it. I also know someone that got help during their PGCE for transportation. When you live in a fairly rural area, not having a car WILL prevent you from being able to complete your course well. I got a small amount in my final year of uni as well towards repairing the radiator and water pump on my car as I couldn't get to uni without it. So it is possible to get help and it varies hugely from uni to uni obviously.

    I understand what you're saying about the traveling time or ideal career and which one's more important but it's not necessarily that simple. I know that personally, without a car a PGCE would not be feasible for me. To be honest, to put an extra 5 hours a day on to a PGCE students already heavy loaded day is absolutely ridiculous and I don't understand how that can be expected of anyone. The Government doesn't count anything more than an hour away as 'reasonable travel distance' so why should Universities?
  19. You only got a small amount though not enough for a car! I doubt any uni would or could afford to pay £750+ for a new car for every prospective student who had to undergo regular placements - they'd have to fund nursing students, medical students, social work students etc. It's ridiculous! If they did they'd have everyone trying it on.
    Even with a car if I wanted to drive to placement I had to leave my house at 6.30am and didn't get till after 5pm as the traffic was so heavy as I was based in a city. So it actually cut hours off my day by getting the train.
    I'm sure in an ideal world all university would love to place all of their students within an hours travelling time of the university. It would certainly make placement visits a lot easier for course tutors. However, there are around 250 students studying for a PGCE in Lifelong Learning at my uni and there certainly isn't enough colleges offering placements within an hours travelling time for everyone.
    Schools and colleges don't have to take placement students so your university will have to place you where they can, they're not doing it to make your lives harder there doing it to provide you with the opportunity to become a teacher. For example would you rather have universities saying we have enough funding and tutors to take 250 students this year across all secondary PGCEs but we only have schools offering 150 placement places within an hours travelling time so we're going to have to turn a 100 of you away? I'm sure most of those student would rather spend extra time travelling rather than put their career on hold for a year.
    Uni's do the best that they can for their PGCE students and a few extra hours a day for a couple of months isn't that bad. If you do get placed a fair distance away I'd check with your uni if you can claim travel costs back. At my uni if your placement was further away from your home than the university was you could claim travel expenses - it's saved me a small fortune this year.
    I guess I'm just more motivated than some people. I grew up in the countryside so I'm used to horrendous public transport so traveling a few hours to realise my dream really wouldn't be all that bad for me .

  20. For that I only got a small amount yes, in my first year I got over £1000, if I remember correctly it was £1240 or something like that. I wasn't even saying about getting them to pay for an entire new car, I'm talking about a little extra to help towards it and getting the extra either through saving up some money or using student loan. I don't know about at your university, but my university went through quite an extensive process to see whether you did actually need the money, including looking at bank statements which you had to explain every incoming and outgoing money. So it wouldn't be possible for people who just wanted to try it on to get money.

    Getting the train might have cut hours off for you but for some people that's not actually possible. Without my car, I wouldn't have been able to do my degree and I wouldn't be able to do my PGCE. I live in a place where buses run every 2 hours between 8am and 5.30pm and moving isn't a possibility.

    Well then maybe universities shouldn't take on more students then they can place within a reasonable distance? I wouldn't mind travelling a bit over an hour but 2 and a half hours is ridiculous, by anyone's standards. I'm not sure how that's maintainable without burning yourself out with all the work load and demands on your time that you already have as a PGCE student or teacher.

    If universities allow students to claim back the travel costs for a placement further away than the uni is that would be great, I didn't actually realise that they did that. To be honest, I'm not sure how feasible a PGCE would be for me if I had to spend 5 hours a day just travelling, both in terms of time, energy and finances. Obviously if the uni helped with finances for that it would make a huge difference for a lot of people I think.

    I don't think it's a matter of motivation to be honest. It's not as simple as that. As a person with health issues, I'm not sure how well I'd cope with spending 5 hours a day travelling. I'd have to leave home at 5.30am getting home who knows what time and then still having to do work. I just think that there are far better ways to be using your time. If you're doing that on a train then you can use that time and it wouldn't be quite so bad but doing that in a car, that's 5 hours wasted from an already pretty stretched day. If I was offered a PGCE with the condition of a 2 and a half hour commute or no PGCE, yes I'd probably still take it. But I do still believe that it's an unfair demand to put on already stretched to the max students.

Share This Page