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PGCE Dilemmas - Help!!

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by crazycatlady123, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. crazycatlady123

    crazycatlady123 New commenter

    Hi there,

    Apologies is in the wrong discussion - I'm completely new to this so I don't know my way around...

    Basically, I need some pearls of wisdom from you all.

    A bit about me: I'm a Psychology graduate currently studying a masters in Family and Child Psychology. Before uni I achieved mediocre A levels in Psychology, English Language and Biology at BBC grade. Fortunately, I managed to get into my 'firm' choice Uni.

    soooo, I have always been set on applying for a PGCE Further Education course in order to teach Psychology A level - but now I'm unsure on what PGCE to do.

    I still ultimately want to become a Psychology A level teacher at the end of my training, but PGCE Further Education or PGCE Secondary Biology???

    The attraction of PGCE further education was that I will train to teach my desired age group in my desired subject which seems to be a no brainer really. However, I'm unfortunate enough to live in an area that offers one PGCE of this kind nearby, and that's actually a very long way away. Additionally, this particular institution has been known for only offering placements close to the institution, which I could not facilitate given the distance. I'd consider moving, but I won't get a bursary - just the standard funding you get from the Government. Luckily, I have since been for 'work experience' at my old sixth form college, and my old teacher was kind enough to offer his supervision during my PGCE, so I could potentially have a placement local to me. Can placements be arranged by the student or is it just something provided by the University?

    Also, there is a PGDE further education course a little closer (a little little bit closer!!!) so I could do that, but is that equally recognised to a PGCE, does it mean tonnes more contact in a Uni that would take me 2-3 hours to get to and is it worth doing with a Masters already?

    Also, I've been made aware that it is not a requirement to have a further education PGCE in order to teach A Level. My teacher has a Psychology degree like me, from the same Uni, but did Biology Secondary PGCE.

    So this makes me feel like I should do Biology PGCE. I'm tempted by the £26k bursary of course. There are courses in Unis closer to me, so that's great, but, and forgive me for saying this - I don't really like the idea of teaching younger kids. I likened my high school to the Bronx and I was very used to seeing teachers crying in the classroom - it just haunts me, to be honest.

    I know, I'm being very particular!! I covered many biological modules in uni i.e. neuroscience, so I'm familiar with a fair bit of terminology.

    I just want some advice on whether a Further Ed PGCE would be worth doing, or shall I bare with the Biology PGCE? Also the differences between PGDEs and PGCEs?

    Sorry for the long post!!

    Helen :)

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    Yeah - about that £26k bursary....

    A secondary PGCE qualification is fine for teaching A Level. Just go with whichever is easiest and best funded.

    But don't believe those lying, lying adverts....
  3. crazycatlady123

    crazycatlady123 New commenter

    Hi, thanks for replying! What do you mean? Last time I checked it said £26k... Didn't look as though it was based on previous quals i.e. 1st class degrees, masters etc. unlike my boyfriend's history PGCE - seemed almost too good to be true. I must admit, I have only glanced at it. That's awful if it's not as advertised!!
  4. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Is it possible to make a living just teaching Psychology A-Level? It seems a very narrow career path to me.
  5. crazycatlady123

    crazycatlady123 New commenter

    Yeah that's a concern too... Obviously, they're the teaching positions I'd be drawn to applying for over any other subject and level but I might be self restricting. Would Further Ed PGCEs give me good stead in teaching GCSE if I get QTLS over QTS? It's all very confusing! If I can do Further Ed and be open to the same opportunities then that's brilliant!

    Also school direct vs. PGCE? Teach First? It's a minefield! I'm hoping to get insider info from teachers about what teaching routes are more valuable than others, because I'm so worried I'll apply for the wrong course/take the wrong route.
  6. ThereAreBunniesInMyHead

    ThereAreBunniesInMyHead Occasional commenter

    A further Education PGCE will often restrict you to only working in colleges / sixth form centres rather than secondary schools. Secondary schools will often prefer someone with a more generalised secondary PGCE rather than a further education specific one. This is because on your PGCE you will inevitably get experience working with Key Stage 3 and 4 students which makes you more employable. However if you then choose to work in secondary schools it is highly likely there will not be enough A-level Psychology for you to teach that subject full time so probably you will get allocated other subjects that the school see fit such as Key Stage 3 science, or indeed ANYTHING. Sometimes, like in our school, the Psychology teacher will also teach A-level Sociology or something similar too to bulk out their timetable.

    If you do a PGCE in Biology, you have to be prepared for the fact that schools will make you teach that subject as well as Psychology. And you also need to be aware that in fact schools can make you teach ANY subject once you have a PGCE. So I have an arts based degree and PGCE but I've been made to teach English, Citizenship, History, RE and even French at one point!!! Teachers are not given a choice about this sort of thing, particularly if the school can't fill their timetable with their chosen subject.

    If you were to choose to work in a further education environment e.g. a college, then you might be more likely to only have Psychology on your timetable, but you also might be more likely to only be able to secure part time positions rather than full time ones.

    From my point of view, doing a PGCE in a subject that isn't your passion, in order to get bursary money, probably won't work out well. a PGCE year is tough. It will be tougher still if you don't really love the subject you are teaching. Many people I have know do this, have ended up dropping out of there PGCE's as a result. Its worth looking into the small print. If this happens do you have to repay it? How much?

    Bursaries are great and all (I didn't get one!) but the government could withdraw them at any moment. You must make sure you know the small print / terms and conditions about if and when it could get taken away. My friend had a bursary for Maths years and years ago, but she dropped out of the course and they demanded all £20,000 back which she had of course already spent.

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