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Mature student teachers....is there a maximum age?

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by deleted623, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. Do universities set an age limit on mature students wishing to study for a teaching degree?
    Thanks to those who may know!
  2. No, that would be illegal.
    On PGCE, there are usually some in their 40s, a few in their 50s.
    For undergraduate teaching degree, it would be similar but the majority of students will be younger, either straight out of school or in their early 20s.
  3. There is no age limit. What matters is the ability to gain QTS and meet the demands of the course. You could say that it is preferable to train someone who is able to give 10 years of high quality teaching of children than take someone who could give 30 years of, at best,barely satisfactory teaching.
  4. pilko

    pilko New commenter

    Hi JillyE
    I have just finished a 3 year BA in Early Primary aged 41 and secured job for September. On my course there were several students in their thirties, two of us now passed the 40 mark and 1 in their fifites. I didn't experience any problem on course or placement or in applying for jobs regarding age however when I visited universities, I was more comfortable in some than others.
  5. mysterycat

    mysterycat New commenter

    It depends on what subject you are doing. For the shortage subjects such as Maths and Science you will get more mature NQT's as there is a bursary and for mature people there is generally a need to pay bills and support a family. On my PGCE Secondary Science course there were actually very few students who were just out of University and quite a few of us were well into our forties with at least one person over fifty. Twenty or thirty years ago most PGCE students were in their early twenties but in the changing world in which we live, lots of people opt for career changes late in life. I had thought about teaching for some years but whilst paying a mortgage and supporting a teenager through school I was unable to take up the challenge until relatively late. I haven't regretted it...well not YET anyway!
  6. I will be 40 during my PGCE year and would like to think I am not 'past it' yet!!! I am hoping that my years of experience working with children, bringing up my own two and the tenacity to complete a degree would work in my favour. Children come up against different people in the real world so why shelter them by only having 'young' teachers? Us 'Mature' students have alot to give in terms of experience and should be given as much chance as anyone else [​IMG]
  7. nemo.

    nemo. Occasional commenter

    The best teacher I ever had was in his early fifties and had been an Engineer for 20 years before becoming a Maths teacher. I am coming up to the big 40 and I haven't found any problems getting a job (Science). The only problem is that the kids think I am an inspector lol.
  8. I am 44 but will be 45 by the time I start my part time primary PGCE, a good 20 years since I completed my degree. I would have done it sooner but had a well paid part-time job as a qualitative researcher and 3 kids, the youngest of which has Down Syndrome, which I thought would take up a lot of my time. The introduction of the part-time PGCE over 2 years was what made this possible for me, so that I can gradually get my kids (and me) used to me being around less.
    I must admit though that I am feeling really nervous about being the oldest student on the course....but also hope that all those years of rearing children will come in handy. I have certainly already read most of the books on the reading list to my own kids! And having one in Year 8, one in Year 2 and my little girl in Reception has given me a parent's insight into the curriculum across the range of Primary education also.
  9. I have a place to start my Secondary English and Drama PGCE at Cambridge in September and I am older that any of the other "posters" so far. I see my age as a bonus and not a negative. I have experienced the world and this is invaluable when you need to explain how the real world works. I have always wanted to teach but in my case life got in the way. I actually like teenagers, however grotty they may be, and want to make a difference to their lives in the way that only some of my own teachers tried. I do not think I would have made an effective teacher in my 20's but now in my later (No I am not going to say exactly how old I am) years I feel that I can cope much better. Many teachers "burn out" after a time and I am hoping this will not be the case. It is my second career and I am going to give it my all.
  10. May I give some tips for a successful PGCE for more 'mature' students?
    1. Hard though it may be to accept, most people you meet - uni staff, mentors in school, class teachers etc - aren't really interested in your former career. To them you are just another student, who needs to be trained and moulded into an effective beginning teacher. There are some who do and encourage you to use your life experience and other professional knowledge in your teaching, but they are an exception.
    2. Don't expect any special treatment, and don't be dismayed if you have to start at the bottom. You are no different from an 18 year-old trainee straight out of school or a graduate fresh out of degree. You will be treated equally, provided you don't cause trouble by disagreeing with experienced teachers or criticising them, pretending you know better (you don't) or just coast along without appearing to be putting in maximum effort.
    3. Don't express your opinion on contentious matter, on school policy, on pupils or other teachers. This is a big no-no, and I will guarantee you will get into a lot of problems and can even jeopardise your place on the course (a school can terminate your placement, which can lead to a fail). Only let your hair down and speak your mind in the company of your fellow students only.
    4. Work as you have never done before. PGCE is really tough, an emotional roller coaster, and sometimes us oldies can take longer to recover. Seek help at the first sign of difficulty (about anything), and use your support structure - uni, union, family, friends, here at TES - to get you through a sticky patch (which you will have). Always get back to basics and remember why you have embarked on PGCE in the first place - to become a qualified teacher, and that endless tasks you are required to complete - seemingly pointless - are a means to an end. Once you get the QTS certificate (and hopefully a job from September), it will all seem worthwhile. PGCE is only 9 to 10 months long, not eternity (though sometimes it feels like!), and will change your life for ever, for good I hope!
  11. Thanks for all your replies! I was just inspired by a friend who, at 40,was beginning a full time honours degree in Sciences with the view of becoming a science teacher. I was curious really to see if other people had success as mature student teachers.

  12. Students can join for free, join them all and make your mind up which one to stay with when you start your NQT year.
  13. I have just completed my first year of 3 or 4 at Winchester. I am the oldest student in my year at 43 but I don't feel it holds me back. I have life experience and the experience of my own children to offer. I would not have been a teacher when I left school but now I feel ready to take the challenge of a degree and cannot wait to start teaching in primary school.
    So, yes I am surrounded by young people at uni but I see that as a positive. You are as old as you feel - so if you want it bad enough, then go get it!
  14. My only thoughts would be is a lot of it depends on attitude.
    I have just finished a PGCE and I am in my early 30's however some of the older students on my course have struggled with adapting to how students are these days. Not by any way has it been across the board and lots of those who are coming to it in their 40's have been fine but some really struggled to adapt from how they behaved at school.
  15. Wouldn't many of the 40+ students be parents of pupils this age? Therefore, why would they struggle with or be shocked by their behaviour? They have, after all, brought the little darlings up!
  16. Hi,
    I am just starting my second year on a three year course (age 39). The first year was not easy by any means but you learn to just accept the fact that most of the students on the course do not want to be friends with you. They smile and walk on by. I spent the first term sitting on my own worrying about it more than the work. If you are lucky (hope I will be next year) you might be put in a group with some other mature students.
    I am lucky that I have lots of friends and a family to feed and run around, so friendships at uni are not the be all and end all but it can be upsetting. Women are harsh sometimes!
  17. Seriously, though, does anyone actually know the answer to this question? I spotted one contributor saying 'No' it would be illegal but I saw age 50 quoted on one University site.
    I'd really like to know as my partner's life plan always involved retiring from current work as IT Consultant at 50 (coinciding with mortgage paid off) and then retraining as an ICT teacher (already has 2:1 in Applied Computing). hopes to then contribute 10-15 years to something more interesting than compiling reports on database performance for filthy lucre.
    If 50 is cut-off we both really need to know. We've googled our socks off but can't find anything definitive!

  18. There is no age limit. The oldest person I ever accepted onto the PGCE course I run was 58 when he began in 2003. A successful Solicitor with his own business, he decided to sell up and 'give something back to society'. He is still teaching (Citizenship and English), now aged 65, in a challenging inner city comprehensive, and thoroughly enjoying himself. He claims that working with kids has made him feel 20 years younger, and he has no intention of retiring just yet. Go for it!
    STMarks2 likes this.

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