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PGCE resit

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Natalie1591, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. Natalie1591

    Natalie1591 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I started a PGCE primary education course in 2019/20 academic year. Due to personal reasons I was not able to continue with placement 1 (I only did a few weeks) and so I applied for a leave of absence for that semester. A month later the course leader and my uni mentor advised me that I would be better to cancel my leave of absence request and apply for extenuating circumstances instead for that placement module. I did all written assignments. I cancelled the leave of absence request and applied for EC. I provided evidence. However they required a GP sick note. As this was a month later, I could not get a GP note and the nature of my absence was not due to sickness, it was personal reasons so I could not obtain a sick note anyway. As the course leader and mentor knew the nature of my absence and were aware of it in the beginning they said they would write a statement for me as evidence for my EC claim. Long story short, my EC claim was not accepted and I was put down as a fail for placement 1.

    In March 2020 I started my placement 1 resit. I could not continue with this placement because of the Covid pandemic as University had withdrawn all students from placement.

    This academic year 2020/21 I have to resit placement 1 and placement 2. However, I am enrolled as an external student which I wasn’t aware of. Because of this, I am not able to receive funding from SFE as external students are not eligible for it. My question is, is there any other financial help I can receive? As the placements are 12 week block placements, it would be physically impossible for me to work alongside this (I do currently work but would need to give that up to do the placements). I have rent/bills etc to pay monthly so not having an income or maintenance loan is not an option for me. I would not be able to continue with my studies without financial help.

    Had I known that my status at uni would be ‘external student’ for the resit placements prior to starting this academic year, I would have been more organised with my finances and would have saved money to help me through the placement periods. I feel extremely stressed and down because I feel like the past 4 years of studying have been for nothing. My only option (should there be no other financial help) is to withdraw from the course or take a leave of absence for this year and resit my placements next year when I am more financially able to do so. I feel like this would be a waste of a year.

    Any advice would be welcome please.
  2. hankay

    hankay Occasional commenter

    First of all, have a look through this list and see if any of them apply to you. If they do, then there are routes you can take to gain extra funding.

    Aside from that, it depends on the institution that you're enrolled with. Many of them have some sort of "hardship funding" where you have to evidence your financial situation and then lay that against the course fees and expenses. But the amount that you'd get (and likelihood of getting it) varies with each institute. To enquire about that you'd have to speak to your Student Services and see what they advise.

    If neither of the above apply to you, then you would either be expected to get the money to pay the fees from elsewhere (family, work or one of those awful private loan companies), or to drop out and be reimbursed what you have already paid.

    IMO, this sounds like the most sensible thing. If you believe that in a year you can save enough money to support yourself through your PGCE studies, then why not? Especially as within a year we should be back to some semblance of normality - it will be easier to find and gain a placement, less risk of placement being stopped due to lockdowns, etc.

    There's absolutely no shame in taking a LOA for a year and returning. It wouldn't be a waste. Quite frankly, as a PGCE student who graduated this year, it's been a real b*ll*cks year to finish with so many uncontrollable factors blowing things out of the water. I've been left feeling at times as if my whole academic career has been a colossal waste of time and money! But I know it will pay off in time, I just have to be patient.

    Just remember - nothing worth having comes easy.

    Good luck!

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