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PGCEi (international) - insights and advice please!

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Mckk, Mar 1, 2019.

  1. Mckk

    Mckk New commenter

    I am considering studying the PGCEi and wondered if any of you can give me some insight into the course? In terms of ease of passing - would the mentor route or the research route be easier? (I already have teaching experience so I don't care to be observed if I don't have to - I am quite literally doing it for the degree)

    Do you specialise on the PGCEi? The course details in all the universities I've looked at say nothing about subjects or even what curriculum will be studied. Do you get trained in a particular curriculum on the course? How does it work?

    Is the PGCEi applicable for all teaching positions in international schools? Again, how does it work?

    How easy or difficult is it to get a teaching position with a PGCEi (as opposed to a regular PGCE)?

    Note: I am aware the PGCEi doesn't lead to QTS but I also know a lot of international schools will accept you anyway on the PGCEi. I am trying to ascertain how common that is. I am aware some schools may not like it but I just want to know how likely I am to land a teaching job with it, how common is it that schools do or don't mind etc. And yes, I am primarily interested in international schools because I live abroad and won't come back to the UK in the foreseeable future. If I did come back, I'd probably then go for the AO route to QTS then.
  2. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Well, Mckk, what some (not all) international schools may accept and what they prefer might not be the same things.

    I am sorry, but I am not an expert on the PGCEi. There are plenty of posters on this forum who think that it is a bit of a Mickey Mouse qualification. I must say that I have my doubts about most online courses. I have known one or two teachers who have gone down this route and they said that it was very expensive.

    The more reputable and well-established international schools do not have a lot of teaching vacancies every year. This is because they look after their staff properly (and I am not just talking about the salary). This means that lots of staff will want to stay on after their initial two-year contract. Therefore there will be fewer vacancies and more competition for teaching jobs. In turn, this means that the better schools can afford to be more fussy and "picky".

    If you teach Physics and / or Chemistry, then of course the normal rules do not apply to you, but they do to mere mortals like the rest of us.
  3. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    Unless your subject is, as stated above, A-level physics and or chemistry.. Go home and do it properly. It will take a few years but Robin Hood's northern providers will soon be on the banned list in more and more countries, not just certain schools. But if one is happy to work in certain types of ""international"" (double ") schools then go ahead with the PGCEi.

    The market is getting tighter and tighter. The economy is not the same even 2 years ago. It would be in one's long term interest to make sure that their qualifications outshines most of those in a very large pile.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
  4. Doctor_Broccoli

    Doctor_Broccoli New commenter

    I am currently enrolled in one of the online international PGCE programs, and from my research, I believe that they are similar in structure. I am doing a research one, and we have two modules. The first module consists of two assignments - one is based on creating a lesson plan and teaching it to a class. The second assignment is a straight-up research assignment. The second module is one assignment that requires you to undertake your own research project in an academic setting. You choose the topic/focus of each of these assignments, so you can tailor your program to your needs.

    If you already have teaching experience, then this could be a nice addition to your resume. You could also likely continue on with your studies and get a master's. Essentially, the online PGCE (at the universities that I was interested in) is the first year of a master's in education.

    If you are relying on the online PGCE to get a job without having any previous experience, you may likely have to settle for bottom tier schools unless you have connections somewhere. A regular PGCE with QTS would be much more valuable, in my opinion. However, I understand that it isn't a realistic option for some people.
  5. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    The received wisdom is that the Sunderland one is the best. And to all the 'nay sayers' - for some people its a good option, not for every one but for some. Going home and doing it properly might be the best advice in a perfect world but it is not appropriate or possible for everybody!
    bhughesjob likes this.
  6. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

    You know, that bit got me thinking,

    Perhaps unusually for the time, I entered teaching in the mid-90s specifically to go overseas after two years and have an international career. I wonder, in retrospect, how much my UK PGCE and experience prepared for what came next.

    Perhaps an international career path should be an explicitly recognised career goal in the UK. Perhaps the UK should offer International PGCEs to prepare people for it.

    The international school sector is big enough now, I feel, to warrant that level of recognition - not least because it promotes 'Brand UK'. It also helps bring many International Students to UK Higher Education, where last I heard they contributed 10% of the funding.

    Would that be truly 'doing in properly'?

    Just a wonderin'....
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  7. clovispoint

    clovispoint Occasional commenter

    I've mentored Sunderland iPGCE students and we've had several come through our school. The main difference in success on the iPGCE course, leading to employment, is the student. The course gives good people a foot in the door. Unfortunately, some terrible candidates have also passed which devalues the qualification.

    Compared to my traditional PGCE, the students have a much narrower breadth of experience and much less hands on teaching practice. iPGCE students are getting a fairly uniform student catchment. The workload is significantly less (students have continued working while doing the course- completely unfeasible when I did my PGCE).

    On my 'proper' course, we visited numerous schools, across many demographics. We had multiple placements and had three substantial teaching practices- with a full teaching load in the last stint. We were taught subject knowledge, pedagogy, classroom management, behaviour management and much more.

    We lost a good number of students from my PGCE course due to the demands (and realities) of teaching in the UK. In comparison, the iPGCE seems to be a rather nice experience. You are fundamentally better prepared for the classroom on a 'proper' PGCE but no one is a complete teacher once that piece of paper is in their hand. Poor candidates pass the 'proper' PGCE too- I work with some.
    SPC2 and Mr_Frosty like this.
  8. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    In the end it will come down to supply and demand, parent power and visa requirements.

    At the moment in China there are 1000s(I didn't add an extra 0, I mean THOUSANDS) of teaching jobs available in various schools across the country. Luckily visa application only requires a 3 year degree from a Native English Speaking Country, South Africa and the Philippines(as a result of trade talks). Even the rent-a-name schools have their fair share of teachers with "i" PGCEs and this will be more so for the Bilingual schools for Chinese students.

    Parents might start to ask why their children do not have a properly qualified teacher in the classroom when they are paying 30,000GBP plus extras a year tuition fees.

    Many countries are now vetting teachers qualification before issuing work visa, a good example is the UAE. China is in the process of ensuring all ESL teachers have proper Degrees and CELTA certificates and this will move on to teachers next.

    I do know issues of insurance have been raised as been a UK qualified teacher does give you legal status when in charge of students in the UK. If you have an iPGCE and are taking a primary PE class and a student falls over and breaks their arm, will the schools insurance company cover the claims. If you are a UK trained Science/DT you will have Health and Safety training/certificates to cover working in a lab/work shop.

    But as a parent would you want a "None Qualified Teacher" in charge of your children's education?
  9. nemo.

    nemo. Occasional commenter

    It's a no brainer. Do a proper PGCE, even better do the induction year then go back abroad.

    I did that, plus one extra year, in London after working abroad for many years. Long term no hassles with Visa issues and the best schools will consider you.

    In demand subjects also pay large bursaries and a year or two in the UK goes quickly.
  10. fordseries123

    fordseries123 New commenter

    I second what Nemo said above.

    The PGCEi is a reasonable qualification, but doing a PGCE and the induction year back home, will provide you with more opportunities/options in the long run.
  11. clovispoint

    clovispoint Occasional commenter

    I agree with nemo and fordseries123. All of the people I've met doing the iPGCE are 'stuck' in Hong Kong due to relationships, family etc so are looking to open a new career path with teaching. If return to the UK is not an option, go for the iPGCE. If you are looking to make a career of teaching, go do a PGCE and induction. You'll be better placed to move around.
    Doctor_Broccoli likes this.
  12. Hi, i am looking to apply online for Pgcei and is it possible to have the name of the uni ?
  13. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    It's in code, but here you go.
    Be wary as, even amongst iPGCEs, it really isn't worth much. If you must, go the Sunderland route.
  14. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    iPGCE reducing my salary, benefits and professional standing everyday and doing the same thing for every properly qualified teacher on the international teaching circuit.
  15. Ne11y

    Ne11y Occasional commenter

    Another option to consider if it's financial issues that make a return to the UK tricky is to try a SCITT or something similar (work/study at the same time).

    Looking back, it might have suited me more but wasn't a widely available option when I returned to do my PGCE, so I took the more traditional route (iPGCE wasn't much of a thing either and to be honest, I very much needed and benefitted from the UK experience).

    Now its much more popular (cheap teachers in the class!) and it means you earn some (not much, but some) money while you gain your PGCE. It's hard work from what I've seen, so I'd only recommend it to people with relevant classroom experience. However, when completed, it is a full equivalent to a PGCE and gets you hands on UK experience.
  16. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    I'd always say it's better to go back to the UK and do the PGCE / PGDE rather than do the PGCEi. Even when it's done with teaching practice built in, that's only at one school and it doesn't really prepare you for different environments - during my PGDE, I had placements at 2 secondaries, a couple of days in a primary school, and a couple of days in an inclusion unit. As with others, people I know who've done the PGCEi are either trailing spouses or already qualified as teachers in their own country but need to add the qualification for their own needs. The reason for that is it's often difficult to get a job without the qualification - even in China - but you can usually do it once you've got there on a spouse visa.
  17. grdwdgrrrl

    grdwdgrrrl Occasional commenter

    The future is Online. There’re literally thousands of online degrees that are as good or better. Because, your education is what you make of it no matter what. If you think that everyone on a bricks and mortar course is more dedicated and deserving than you, you’re wrong. People stumble through degrees and get them. Some people really want it and don’t happen to be in the bricks and mortar country so what????
    This has been done to death here. Do what you can do that is convenient for you.
    I’m hod and i did and online pgce.
    Bill8899 likes this.
  18. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    Which uni ?
  19. MsBuzy

    MsBuzy New commenter

    I do have to smile at the 'go home and do it properly ' brigade. As if everyone with a PGCE is a good teacher and an asset to their international school.

    Before I am put down by anyone I declare my UK qualifications and QTS, although I qualified before QTS was a thing.

    I know great teachers with PGCEi, some of whom I have had the pleasure of interviewing and employing. I also know some less so good. In my last but one school, three HODs and the deputy have PGCEi, and yes, this is a school with BSO status.

    And let's not forget that you don't need PGCE to teach in private schools in the UK, although many teachers in independent schools do have a teaching qualification, not all have one.

    Going home to blighty for a year simply isn't an option for some people.
    Bill8899 and dumbbells66 like this.
  20. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    I'm not dissing the PGCEi - and yes, there are some good teachers who have it - but I consistently say that for someone new to teaching the best way to learn is to go back to the UK or wherever and do your PGCE and NQT / PGDE and probation year there, simply because any discussion is going to be in native English, there's more likely to be a support network which you can tap into, and the best schools overseas look for two years domestic teaching before moving abroad.

    I get that moving back to the UK is not an option for some - and that's fair enough. And while some independent schools don't need teaching qualifications, not having one restricts your options when applying.

    The problem with PGCEi, as I've said, is the lack of classroom practice and exposure to a variety of schools which you get in most domestic teacher training positions. It is also totally dependent on the school's assessment of you as a teacher and there is no external verification of this - so no tutor observed lessons, just by the school - so there is an incentive for the school to pass the student, especially if they are already working there.

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