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New PGCE Student at Cambridge Looking for Financial Advice

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by nataliamk, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. Hello all,
    I'll be starting my PGCE at Cambridge next fall (2013) and I'm trying to figure out what my maintenance costs will be. So... if anybody is on the PGCE at Cambridge now, or knows anything, I'd love to benefit from your experience. My college will be Trinity, but I haven't yet decided whether I want to live on campus (I'm 27, like cooking my own meals, don't really want to be surrounded by 18-year-old undergrads.) Basically, I'm wondering:
    1. How much are you spending on books?
    2. How much do you spend on travel to your placements? (I do not have a car.)
    3. What is the "college fee," and do PGCE students have to pay this?
    4. If you live in a flatshare/houseshare, what is typical for rent + bills?
    5. Have you run into any Surprise Costs? (Unexpected admin fees, etc)
    6. When/how is the £9000 training bursary paid out?
    Okay, I think that's all, for now. Much appreciate your input!
    Natalia
     
  2. Hello all,
    I'll be starting my PGCE at Cambridge next fall (2013) and I'm trying to figure out what my maintenance costs will be. So... if anybody is on the PGCE at Cambridge now, or knows anything, I'd love to benefit from your experience. My college will be Trinity, but I haven't yet decided whether I want to live on campus (I'm 27, like cooking my own meals, don't really want to be surrounded by 18-year-old undergrads.) Basically, I'm wondering:
    1. How much are you spending on books?
    2. How much do you spend on travel to your placements? (I do not have a car.)
    3. What is the "college fee," and do PGCE students have to pay this?
    4. If you live in a flatshare/houseshare, what is typical for rent + bills?
    5. Have you run into any Surprise Costs? (Unexpected admin fees, etc)
    6. When/how is the £9000 training bursary paid out?
    Okay, I think that's all, for now. Much appreciate your input!
    Natalia
     
  3. Can't help with some of the Cambridge PGCE specific parts but I lived in Cambridge for 3 years as an undergraduate and it is a fair bit more expensive than other places in the country. (I'm living alone now and paying £20 less in rent than when I shared a house; plus, my bills are lower.) I paid £360 all inclusive in my first year for a tiny room and shared kitchen in private halls (there are 3- Tripos, Varsity and Masters; Masters is, as sounds, the one aimed at postgrads, whilst Tripos is mainly international students and Varsity is a mix). In my second and third year, I paid £420 and an average of £50 a month on bills for a large room in a shared house. Mill Road is fairly studenty; for the love of god, avoid Arbury like the plague (it's cheap but for a good reason!)

    Travel will depend on where you get placed, to be honest, same as with any provider. If you get placed at one of the city schools, it could be that you could cycle/walk to the school; or you could be placed somewhere you can get to by bus/train, which will vary; or a lift share- again, costs will vary.
    Books- I've found that university libraries are well stocked (and Cambridge city library is well stocked too; enough for me to roundly abuse every time I head back there)- some basics are good but books can generally be borrowed or bought cheaply second hand. What I'd suggest investing in instead is a cost-effective printer and a portable hard-drive.
    I don't get the bursary (wrong year, wrong subject, grr to Gove) but the people I know who do get it are paid monthly- like a salary. So £1000 a month if you get the full 9k.
     
  4. Hello,
    I'm doing mine at Cambridge at the moment.
    In terms of college choice, if you did choose to live in college, you'd be with other postgraduate students, not undergraduates, so they'd be at least 21+. You'd have to ask the Trinity MCR about the exact facilities in the different accomodation that they offer, but my general impression is that, unlike for undergraduate, colleges are happier for postgrads to look after themselves in terms of meals.
    There are lots of advantages of living in college accomodation, for example your rooms will be cleaned, you can just go to the buttery for a dinner rather than having to bother to cook, and there's only one bill to deal with per term, which makes managing money easier. Basically, it can remove some of the stresses of living out, and let you concentrate on your work, which you'll really appreciate when it comes to essay deadlines, or you're in the middle of a placement working 70+ hour weeks! I've found the other members of the MCR (at Downing) to be a very nice, ecletic bunch of people with a very good mix of nationalities, and it's been great fun to get to know them. I'd imagine Trinity is quite similar, you do get a good variety at postgraduate level. Because you're doing teaching, you'll be doing something very different to the vast majority, and you can have fun with it- I like to joke around using my teacher voice, or give them stickers just like the children get, which is pretty good fun.
    The only faff I have found is with admin. Because there's not many PGCE students at Downing (3) and not too many at Trinity, I don't think, you might come across small problems. For example, I couldn;t attend any of the (compulsory) safety talks and the matriculation ceremony because it was the same week as a (compulsory) placement; and, because the PGCE starts with the school term early in September, not the University term in mid-October, I had to ask repeatedly for my University card which I needed to access the Faculty, and some other bits of paperwork. It's not insurmountable though.
    Here's a couple of answers, as best as I can give, to your specific questions:
    1) Books- I've spent about £150 on books, although colleges will give you book grants if you cna be bothered to fill in the paperwork. I could have spent nothing at all if I wanted, I just like having them and being able to read them when I want to. The Education Faculty library is absolutely supurb, but there are certain texts that are in demand.
    2) There is a travel subsidy available, but it's not well advertised. I don't have a car either, but have shared with my placement partner for the first two placements, and the subsidies that we both received covered her petrol costs. It did mean travelling for about 2-3 hours per day, as I had to get to her house then travel to placement. The Faculty are generally very fair about travelling, if you're a long way away for one placement, you'll be closer for the next- I'm currently a 15 minute walk from my front door and it's amazing.
    3) Yes, there is a fee to be affiliated to a college, but it's not much. I've paid £45 per term facilities charge to Downing, and you can pay a Kitchen Fixed Charge of about £130 per term to eat more cheaply in the Buttery. There are generally various other miscellaneous college fees too, it's best to check with the individual college to get exact amounts you'll need to pay to help budgeting.
    4) Cambridge is pretty much London prices for housing, although I live in a very different way with my girlfriend which has worked out cheaper. Trinity's rents are shown here- http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/index.php?pageid=483 although I can't give many details of renting privately and sharing.
    5) No real surprise costs. The subsidy covered my travel which is nice, but others I know have not been so lucky and are paying a fair whack.
    6) I don't know as I didn't get a bursary! (Primary, no bursary this year). You're eligable for the Cambridge Bursary as a PGCE student, the amount you get will vary depending on how much Maintenence Grant you get.
     

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