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Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by Trainee16, Feb 12, 2016.

  1. Trainee16

    Trainee16 New commenter

    Hi everyone,

    I would LOVE some advice and opinions on both programmes. I am very aware that alliance/providers as well as universities differ on delivery of programmes. However, I want to make an informed decision. I have been offered both unsalaried school direct and PGCE but I am unsure about which route to choose. I really wanted salaried to save myself the student debt but I was told I did not have enough experience so was offered unsalaried. As both routes still need student finance funding. I have to make a big decision.

    School direct is fantastic because of the practical side you get invaluable experience but PGCE is great for you to network with other colleagues who are doing the same assignments as well as similar placement experiences. So, my question is, what did you do? And did you enjoy it?
  2. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    Does the SD route include a PGCE?
  3. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    From the National Audit Office:

  4. Trainee16

    Trainee16 New commenter

    The SD does come with the PGCE yes.
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  6. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    I did the SD, salaried though.

    I liked it because I was in the classroom from day 1 and still had 1 day a week to meet others.
    My tutor, who happened to be on SLT at another school said they preferred SD candidates over PGCE because of the experience.
    My SD did not come with a PGCE so I am doing that this year as a "top-up".

    A friend of mine who did the same SD course as I was at a school without much support. He quit halfway the year and is now doing a PGCE this year which he likes a lot more than the SD.

    I think a lot depends on your previous experience. If you are new to teaching, a PGCE might be better. If you are an experienced TA or unqualified teacher and mostly need the qualification, the SD might be the better option.
    We have a SD student at our school this year without school experience and she struggles quite a bit.
  7. rugbylovingmum

    rugbylovingmum New commenter

    I haven't started yet but I was also offered the SD(unsalaried) and PGCE routes this year and I have opted for the SD route. It's difficult to compare SD with PGCE because different SD programmes seem to run really differently. I wanted to know how well I would be supported on each program and what would happen if I was struggling on the course. I have taught part time in FE for 2 years and I had a terrible time with one class last year - lots of bullying, bad behaviour (including one incident when a student threw a table), absences etc. It was very tough and I needed support from other members of staff to find ways of dealing with them. By the end of the year I could manage them without any problems but I needed help to get there. At both my interviews I asked what would happen if I was struggling with behaviour (or some other aspect) or if I felt I wasnt fitting in/being supported in one of my placement schools. The head of the SD program could list all the different people I would have contact with, how often I would get feedback and how they would help me work on weak areas, how they would support me through any problems and what happened when their student teachers were struggling with a placement (and the student teachers agreed that's what happened) whereas on the PGCE they just gave vague assurances I would be helped but said that they didn't expect any problems. I spoke to one student on the PGCE who said that she had really struggled but her university mentor wasn't interested and just told her to get on with it! The SD students also said that they were given lots of help finding places for their NQT year. I was amazed how many had places lined up already.

    I think that getting the right support for your training is more important than the route. What impression did you get of the places during your interviews. Where you able to speak to any current/past trainees?
  8. sockknittingtubes

    sockknittingtubes New commenter

    don't do it . Why do you want to go into teaching ifyou are already worried about your classroom control and your rellationship with colleagues? I would seriously look for another career. It is tough these days and no point putting yourself in for aserious challenge where it could go badly wrong. It will make you ill and you will take years to recover before you enjoy getting up in the morning.
  9. rugbylovingmum

    rugbylovingmum New commenter

    Was that for me sockknittingtubes? Surely it makes sense to assume I might struggle at some point. Teaching is a tough job and I'll have a lot to learn. I think it would be foolish to assume there won't be tough times. I've had stressful jobs before and managed to deal with it. If my mental health is suffering I'll leave (I'm fortunate that we can afford to do that) but I love my FE teaching and I've reached the point where I have to try this and see whether it's the right job for me.
  10. Trainee16

    Trainee16 New commenter

    Thank you so much for your replies. I think you made a good point, it is definitely about the support you receive. I made that very clear in the interview that some people feel like they are in the dark but due to SD being quite intensive, I needed reassurance that I would have consistent support. They said you have your mentors but you would also have the programme leaders which apparently mine is AMAZING. She is known as the mother bear which is good, knowing she has that reputation. With a LOT of research I am very leaned to the SD route especially because I'll be gaining experience whilst 'studying'. This is always a plus.
  11. Trainee16

    Trainee16 New commenter

    I've worked three years part time in a school as a TA/EAL assistant and have vast experience in the early years. I do cope well with pressure but like you said everyone finds the programme different.
  12. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    I think you will find very little difference between the mentoring and support on a PG and an SD. They are often the same people and the same networks. The PG offers independence and an ability to move placement, change mentor etc. The SD are fixed so if you don't like your placement or mentor you could struggle.
    The university route is not for everyone - if you lack confidence in your academic work then a QTS only SD is a good route.
  13. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    Not all SD programmes are fixed to one school - it's a legal requirement, in fact, for trainees to be placed in two schools across the year (although only for a short time in the second). The predecessor course to the SCITT which I now run was SD and we have around 20 partner schools to call on for placements, so we can move things around if needs be.
  14. Trainee16

    Trainee16 New commenter

    Yes, that is good. I've heard so many horror stories from SD alumni who did not like the placement schools or their mentors but had to stick with it for the year. As opposed to the PGCE which is more flexible. My programme leader has assured me they are very flexible and they do consider people's feelings when things like this happen. Which is good to know. As I am sacrificing a whole year without working, I guess the SD is giving me an upper hand in experience for the NQT year as well.


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