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PGCE Psychology - interview disappointment - advice needed

Discussion in 'Social sciences' started by smetcalfe, Mar 8, 2010.

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm writing for some advice and reassurance...

    I graduated with a 1st class honours degree in psychology from The
    University of Manchester in 2006. From 2006-2007 I worked as a Teaching
    Assistant in a secondary school in Wiltshire and thoroughly enjoyed the
    experience, but wanted to build on what I'd learnt and have a more active role
    in the classroom. I decided to move to Barcelona and do a one month intensive
    training course in EFL teaching. I then spent 2 brilliant years living and
    teaching English in Barcelona.

    I'm now back living in the South West of England, working as a TA again and
    trying to strengthen my CV further by supporting the Spanish club and netball
    club at the school, as well as familiarising myself with the Psychology syllabus
    through reading the set text-books and observing psychology lessons.

    I applied to do a PGCE in Psychology last October and was informed by the
    GTTR in December that I had been offered an interview at my 1st choice
    institution (I won't say which). Two weeks before the interview, they sent me
    details of the day. I was told to expect a 30 minute interview, and given a
    list of areas that would be discussed. I spent a significant amount of time
    researching the areas and preparing for the discussions.

    As I was travelling up north the night before the interview, (it was a
    4 hour train journey), I checked my emails only to find one from the University
    informing me that they had already filled all the places on the course. I was
    told that if I was successful at the interview, I could be put on a reserve
    list or I could defer until 2011. I was extremely disappointed, but decided it
    would still be worth going to the interview.

    The interview day started at 11.30 am,
    with registration followed by a general presentation on the structure and
    demands of the PGCE course. Finally, at 13.45 we were called into subject
    groups. Psychology was the last group to be called. We were told that being put
    on a reserve list was no longer an option; we could either defer if we were successful,
    or agree to switch to a social science and citizenship PGCE. However, in
    hindsight I feel that these options were not realistic; they were trying to
    avoid an argument on the day and simply going through the motions. In the end,
    each applicant was given a 15 minute interview. Basically, it was an informal
    chat which covered only 2 of the areas we were told we would have the
    opportunity to discuss. I felt like I was being rushed through the whole
    process without being given the chance to demonstrate any of my skills or
    knowledge, or share any of my experiences. I was unsurprised to receive an
    email the following day saying that I had been unsuccessful.

    I’m sorry that this has been a very long-winded post! I wanted to display
    how I’ve committed four years to gaining valuable experience in education and to
    express how disappointed and let-down I feel by the whole system. I just want
    to teach psychology – I’ve been told that schools are crying out for psychology
    teachers – why does it have to be such a fight to become qualified?!

    I would really appreciate any feedback on my experiences – is it normal to
    be treated this way by a university? Have they broken any rules? Should I write
    a letter of complaint to the GTTR or the university? Would I be justified in
    asking for a refund for my travel expenses? Has anyone else had a similar
    experience and feel like having a rant?!...

    …Also, if anyone has any advice about what my options are now, it would be
    great to hear from you. Is it too late to apply for GTP or SCITT? Does anyone
    know of any schools that offer these employment-based training routes in
    psychology? I really don’t want to have to wait yet another year to train!

    Thanks for your time,

  2. Hi there Sofie,
    I'm sorry you had such a miserable experience. That sounds like a really bad day. I suspect that the demand for places was so high. that they had their pick of applicants. It doesn't excuse their behaviour.
    My advice is to let it go. Use your time to find yourself a school that is willing to take you on as a GTP or SCITT. Get on the internet, research all your local schools etc look at the in-school training programmes and start asking. Phone them up, send emails, make yourself unmissable. The more high profile you are the more chance you have of getting a place on a training programme.
    What can your current school do for you? Can they help you train? Be open to the possibility that you may have to train in psychology and perhaps something else too, like RE or citizenship; flexiblity will work in your favour.
    Good luck, I hope you have some better luck and meet some people with better manners.
  3. Hi
    Thanks for your advice. You're absolutely right - I just need to move on from that one bad experience and look at all the other options. My current school has been really supportive. I managed to speak to the head today as well as one of his assistants who is head of training.
    I'm now looking at the possibility of getting on a science pgce course to start in september, as I guess that there's a much higher demand for science teachers at the moment. I just need to prove that at least 50% of my degree was science based. I'm going to get on to my university tutor to help me with that one. Also, I might look into training in FE. Apparently it's possible to top-up your qualifications to gain QTS (through working in a 6th form college and collecting a portfolio of evidence - something like that.
    Any more advice much appreciated.
  4. A possible alternative would be to apply for posts in FE/SFCs, do the Cert. Ed. and get QTLS through the IfL. Talks are afoot to achieve parity between QTLS and QTS so that there can be freedom of movement between colleges and schools - this will take some time to sort out (if they manage it) so there is an element of a gamble. The potential upside is that a college would generally take you on to teach and then get you to train on the job, so you would earn a real salary whilst qualifying.
  5. I trained in FE and moved from that to a school where I did the GTP. I have both sets of qualifications now, and the experience was really helpful.
    I started out on a few hours a week at an FE college, and bulit up from there. I got direct experience in teaching psychology and used that to help me get a job at a school.


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