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Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Luke007, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. Luke007

    Luke007 New commenter

    Hi Guys/Girls

    My name's Luke and I'm really needing some help in choosing between the PGCE University or School Direct route to gain QTS.

    Firstly, I was working as an English Communications teacher in Mukdahan,Thailand for three years before returning to the UK to complete my post graduate course. However I am unsure which course to apply for. I loved the experience and am hoping to return to Thailand after the course to build a better future for me and my fiancé. We are hoping to return to teaching in England in a few years.

    I am very confused as to which course to choose or if it even matters which course I take as they both lead to teaching status. Does it make any difference which course I take to secure our future?

    Many thanks in advance

  2. fsmc

    fsmc Occasional commenter

    I'm doing exactly what you're planning to do right now, and am a third of the way through a PGCE course after teaching in Thailand for a bit. Based on my observations, I'd recommend the PGCE route.

    - You gain an academic qualification. I don't think this matters a huge deal next to QTS, but it's there.

    - More importantly, I've seen what we do on the PGCE, and what School Direct trainees have to do. The PGCE is a lot easier. School Direct trainees are in school far more of the time, and it's during your placements that you have no social life thanks to the mountains of paperwork and just the general drudgery of teaching in the UK. In short, unless you really suck at essay writing, it's preferable to maximise your time at uni and minimise it in school.
    Kartoshka likes this.
  3. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    It's my understanding that some countries will only accept a university-based teaching qualification and don't recognise things like Teach First/School Direct. I can't remember which ones it is, but it's definitely an issue in some countries.
  4. Stillstayingjohnson

    Stillstayingjohnson Occasional commenter

    You can do a SD course that offers PGCE, QTS and Masters credits. It's just a case of picking the provider. Exeter university are amazing to work with. Writing essays/research projects away from a sizeable library can be an issue, and if you are in a smaller school guidance could be an issue (we're all very busy being super-humans after all). But, if you are resilient and good at trawling through articles and ebooks on databases, SD is a great option. The paperwork will be hideous either way!
  5. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    If the School Direct programme is through a uni, then you do gain an academic qualification (the PGCE), as well as QTS. You also do complete all of the same written assignments as the core uni students.

    It's true that SD trainees are in school for longer periods, and earlier, than their core uni counterparts, but the experience is beneficial.

    That applied to the old GTP, it doesn't apply if your SD course is through a uni.

    First of all, decent international schools will want at least 2 years post-PGCE experience before they offer you a job.

    Secondly, if you want to work in a state school in the UK (and many independent schools as well) you must complete a one year NQT Induction in school after the PGCE - if you leave the UK directly after the PGCE it may be very difficult to secure an NQT position when you return, because you will not have recent experience in a UK school, and you will be in competition with brand new PGCE graduates. So, if I were you I'd think carefully about what order you do things in after completing a PGCE.

    It doesn't matter which course you do, as long as you get the PGCE qualification with QTS.

    What subject/age phase are you interested in?
  6. Stillstayingjohnson

    Stillstayingjohnson Occasional commenter

    lucyrose50 is right. Make sure your SD course offers PGCE accreditation from a university alongside QTS :)
  7. Dubsguy

    Dubsguy New commenter

    Sounds like you're in a similar position to me a few years back, I came back to England and did School Direct and am now in my second year of teaching. I have just been offered an International School position in Bangkok.

    From what I know, the majority of SD courses come with a PGCE anyway, mine certainly did. We had to do less essays than the "ordinary" PGCE students, but had more time on placement.

    It's things like training through Teach First or SCITT that you need to be more wary of as these don't come with a PGCE.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
  8. willow78

    willow78 Occasional commenter

    It doesn't matter, one is more university based and the other school based (Where you will be based in mainly one school).

    I did the old GTP route and it's never stopped me getting a job in state, independent or international schools.

    Which one is cheaper, I got paid for doing the GTP and they paid off part of my student loan?
  9. fsmc

    fsmc Occasional commenter

    If the School Direct course comes with a PGCE then I'm afraid my answer still doesn't change. Sitting in a lecture hall is a whole lot easier than planning out lessons and teaching them while being assessed against the Teachers Standards.

    Reading between the lines a bit, sounds like OP is upgrading his qualifications as a means to an end (i.e. he taught in Thailand, met a girl there, and is now after a job with a higher salary - nothing wrong with this). He should do the easiest course he possibly can. That means maximum uni time, minimal school time, and preferably a university with a high completion rate.
  10. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    There are no words.
  11. Dubsguy

    Dubsguy New commenter

    There's really not a massive difference, School Direct students do a similar amount of CPD as with a uni-based course, just you do it at school instead (I got an entire day off timetable every week for example). I also only had to do 2 essays instead of 6.

    OP should choose whichever course he thinks is best, neither is better in the grand scheme of things.
  12. fsmc

    fsmc Occasional commenter

    While I can obviously only speak from my perspective of one university, it's still my opinion that School Direct is much harder due to the greatly increased contact time. Even at four days a week for a 38 week year, that's still 30 weeks and 2 days teaching time. There's no PGCE course out there to my knowledge that has as much - and no one can seriously suggest writing a few essays is as tough as being on placement.

    I would ask what you specifically disagreed with, but I suggest that you and I are coming from very different places in terms of career motivation, so there wouldn't be much point.
  13. Luke007

    Luke007 New commenter

    WOW! Thank you so much for all your help and advice you have provided. My friend recommended that I wrote on this board and he certainly has been proved correct.

    I am now much more aware of the choices I face and although the PGCE University sounds a great option I am still unsure on whether the essays are for me. Personally I am much more creative, hands on and have a wealth of teaching experiences in Thailand and England already. Therefore I have had little problem in creating lessons and have used a variety of different tools already.

    Thanks to this forum I have learnt that you can also be accredited with a PGCE whilst completing the Schools Direct Programme which sounds an excellent option. I am aware, from my work in previous schools abroad, that a PGCE is much more noteworthy and lead to increased salary and job security. Therefore to know that both avenues will give me this is very comforting.

    I now naturally face a difficult decision on which to apply for. As a Yorkshire lad there is Hull University offering the PGCE University route and a number of providers that offer the School Direct. I have researched a number of applications forms but if anyone has further advice I would love to hear it.

    Thanks again

  14. willow78

    willow78 Occasional commenter

    That's not true, in fact I've got jobs over people who have had PGCE's and all teaching salary scales are based on number of years experience (Although I have seen bonuses given for having a masters).

    I'd look for the best option in terms of location and price, as they both lead to the same thing.

    As a fellow Yorkshire man, good luck.
  15. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    no there are not....at least not all. all of my schools, and all of those i have had direct contact with over the last 10 years have all had a maximum starting point. so as an example, when i started at one school with 1 years international experience, and 4 years total teaching experience, i started at the same point as someone with 20 years international experience, and 25 total teaching experience. the same thing happens at my current school.
  16. willow78

    willow78 Occasional commenter

    Roughly there all have a teaching scale based at least loosely on experience, I have never scene a different scale for someone had a PGCS rather than Schools direct, teach first or a GTP (Which is my point).

    If I was a teacher with 25 years experience and on the same as someone with 5 I would want to know why.
  17. fsmc

    fsmc Occasional commenter

    Teaching ESL in Thailand is absolutely nothing like the UK. Don't think because it's easy at some ESL school it's the same back home - it's not, it's a complete and total grind.

    I'd suggest most people will find it easier to write a couple of extra essays rather than spend a whole academic year in class, plus stil having to write some essays, plus collecting all the associated paperwork for a whole year rather than for around 1/2 of a year. These essays aren't difficult stuff, there's nothing inherently complex about the material you'll need to write.
  18. Dubsguy

    Dubsguy New commenter

    I'm not convinced you understand School Direct very well. They are not on placement for the entire academic year and time is spent in university too. I did a total of 3 university weeks during my course, a week observing in a primary school and the rest of my time on placement, teaching 4 days a week. We also got all school holidays off which was not the case for the PGCE students who were in uni sometimes.

    It works out around 8-9 weeks extra on placement over the course of the academic year, certainly not half a year and not a huge difference. Both courses have their advantages and disadvantages.

    You are right about teaching in the UK though, the PGCE is difficult, incredibly tiring and you will have no life. But if you have a plan and stick to it, you'll make it through. I did.

    Also OP, you should try and get the skills test sorted sooner rather than later if you haven't already done so.
  19. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    It also is important to understand what visa regulations have to say about teacher qualifications and first degrees. I have always recommended the University Based PGCE/QTS and the completion of your NQT year before moving to work abroad.

    Nearly all western countries recognise the University PGCE/QTS and NQT, so if you want to work in North America or Australia this is what you need to work as a teacher. These are the OLD GOLD standard that everybody knows and trusts. All the new ways into teaching just seem to be a quick fix to fill up the breach with the bodies of new teachers to the slaughter of the UK teaching profession.

    You can also return to work in the UK when fully qualified and it was very easy for me to pick up supply work as I could show my letter from DfE. That meant picking up 225pounds a day with the LEA instead of 95pounds as an unqualified teacher with a rip off agency.

    Some countries in the Middle East and Asia only recognise the traditional University based PGCE/QTS for issuing work visas. Countries like China at the moment only require a University Degree to work as a teacher, but this is changing! With the new visa regulations in China I automatically qualify for a B visa, I don't need to add up the points to qualify!

    You can not go wrong with a University PGCE/QTS and you NQT year under your belt!
  20. willow78

    willow78 Occasional commenter

    The school direct route, there is no difference in the end outcome,you get QTS,so everything you have route about the PGCE applies to the SD and teach first route.

    Agree about getting you NQT year done though.

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