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PGCE primary dilemma

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by Cpat1, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. Cpat1

    Cpat1 New commenter

    Hello all,
    I wondered if you had any advice for my tricky situation?!

    I'm planing to apply for a Primary PGCE in Early Years in September and understand that the entry requirements mostly include 10 days experience in a Primary school.
    I currently work in a Secondary school as a member of support staff and am finding it really difficult to secure term-time off without risking my job.
    I've asked various Uni's if there was any alternative experience that you would deem relevant to entry onto the course (such as volunteering at Holiday schemes, after school clubs, childrens centres etc), but they haven't been too helpful so far.

    (I am 28 years old, I have worked within schools for the past 3 years, have a degree and have experience with children outside an educational environment and feel I have much to offer. I understand that experience is necessary, but it seems the system isn't very flexible for more mature applicants with a job/mortgage/responsibilities etc.)

    Many thanks.
  2. I think that while all the alternative experience working with children and being in a Secondary school would look great on your application form, I think that it would not be acceptable as a substitute for primary school work experience. Some universities from what I hear just bin applications immediately if they don't meet the basic requirements that they have stated on their websites. Remember that primary teachers training is heavily over subscribed at the moment so competition is very tough. I can understand your position though.
  3. Also I think that if you have the 2 weeks work experience/ observational experience, it would help you to write a better personal statement and be more confident to talk about your experiences at interview. For example talking about different teaching methods used, different types of learners, what went well in the lesson, behaviour management ...
  4. EcoLady

    EcoLady New commenter

    Volunteering for Scout or Guide Leadership will not do you any harm, and you'd be doing either movement a huge favour as they are crying out for more adults.
    For classroom experience - I can see why it's tough when you're tied to term time.
    • Are you near a different LEA where their hols might not coincide? I know that Feb 1/2 term week is either 2nd or 3rd week of Feb this year in different places.
    • How about INSET days? Are your school's the same as at local Infant/Primary?
    • As you're aiming for Early Years, what about visiting a private nursery that's open during the school hols? They still have to follow the same EYFS curriculum for their pre-school children.
    Good luck!
  5. I have just gone through the highly competitive PGCE interview process and feel incredibly fortunate to have been offered a place. The 10 days experience in a primary school was an absolute deal-breaker and all of the applicants I met at interview had at least 10 days experience. There were so many applicants for every place that the college just didn't have to be flexible, which I agree is very frustrating when you are juggling other commitments!
    Just a thought - why don't you try and get a job as a TA in a primary school? Like you, I'm a mature student and that's what I've done. That way, you continue to earn and you gain the relevant experience in the right environment. (And you could always apply for the GTP if you find the right school.) Otherwise, staggering your experience as several shorter blocks over a longer period might be acceptable to your current employer.
    Good luck.

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