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Reviews on new iPGCE courses please

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Morris1976, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. Morris1976

    Morris1976 New commenter


    I have been tasked with finding a suitable iPGCE course for teachers in my school. I'm well aware they can't be used at home. I literally need a reasonably priced iPGCE that can be used in a mid-level international school when applying. By this I mean, we know our standards and the development we require and we know the top international schools are out of our reach so we are looking to add iPGCE to our CV's and gain some theory along the way.

    Please can anybody with expertise in this subject tell me if the following courses are of a good quality? It seems everytime I settle for an option my boss comes up with a cheaper one.

    1. University of Derby - https://www.derby.ac.uk/online/education-courses/ipgce-online/
    2. University of Cumbria - https://www.cumbria.ac.uk/study/courses/postgraduate/postgraduate-certificate-in-education-non-qts/
  2. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    They still don't qualify you for QTS!
  3. Morris1976

    Morris1976 New commenter

    I do not desire QTS. I want a PGCE to use in an international school, as per my thread.
  4. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    I like that you are honest from the start re: the lower standard of both expectations and piece of paper your school is willing to accept and invest in.

    For your sake OP, so that you and your colleagues don't limit yourself in terms of future employment. Stay away from all online (education) qualifications. In some regions, to obtain a working visa, your teaching qualifications must, not only match what you are teaching. But also has to be a face to face course. Online courses will limit your ability to cast a wider net. Well.... You can cast it, but pulling it in (visa approval) will prove difficult. Best of luck.
    nemo. likes this.
  5. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    You may not want British QTS but the parents of the children you are teaching will definitely want you to be a ”Qualified Teacher”.

    Try standing up at a school open day and explain about your online teacher training compared to the traditional PGCE with QTS and see what the reaction is from the parents and the school principal.
    nemo. and teachtronic like this.
  6. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Well, Morris1976, I understand that you want an appropriate iPGCE course for your school, but the harsh reality is that many international schools prefer "the real thing". I am not trying to be rude or deliberately unhelpful, but the unpleasant truth is that so-called "online courses" are rather clever money-making schemes and that is just about all they are. All of the online courses I have ever done have seemed to me to be glorified comprehension exercises, that anyone with a good grasp of the English language could whizz through (and then forget). In fact a monkey could often get the certificate at the end, as they usually have multiple choice questions and so you just have another go if you get the wrong answers.

    Let me put it another way. If you were the principal and you had to give a job to a new teacher, to whom would you give it? To a teacher with an iPGCE? Or to a properly qualified teacher with a "normal" PGCE? Would you want a doctor with an online qualification to perform surgery on you? How about travelling as a passenger on an aeroplane and the pilot only has an online licence?

    For some reason or other, online courses appear to be rather popular in Dubai and perhaps that is all you need to know about them. If you want to know more, you could scroll through some of the many scathing comments about the iPGCE that you will find on this TES forum.

    And there is a good reason why the iPGCE does not give QTS. It's because it's rubbish. And your school must be ****** awful, if that is the main qualification that most of the teachers are going to have.
    nemo. and T0nyGT like this.
  7. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    I hear that they're available in Bulgaria for $2-50 but that might just be a rumour
  8. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Unfortunately an iPGCE usually costs a bit more than that, bigfatgit, but that is probably what they are worth.
    teachtronic likes this.
  9. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    Totally agree, hippo

    The only people I've met who had bought (oops, "earned") one, were pretty c@rp "teachers"

    My online weight loss programme seems to be written backwards as I am steadily gaining weight but, hey, it's a qualification!
    MathMan1 likes this.
  10. nemo.

    nemo. Occasional commenter

    If you school wants the cheapest option a KSR cert (in Bangkok) is super cheap.....

    Some will say the ipgce is about as valuable as a KSR one. It obviously is better than nothing, but some sharp MOEs are realising it's not a 'proper' PGCE so it will gradually be put on the 'doesn't count for a Visa's list.

    Why does your school want this? Visa hassles?
  11. reg_mcledge

    reg_mcledge New commenter

    I'd like to mount something of a defence for the iPGCE although it does come with a caveat or two! It should also be known that I entered the teaching profession in the more typical 'degree --> PGCE' route in the UK.

    I agree that many of the iPGCE courses that can be completed online contain nowhere near enough detail, content or practical elements included. However, I think they can certainly be useful and the important thing to do is to look at an individual's potential as a teacher, their character and whether you could see them becoming a good teacher. I work at a very well respected international school where there are 2 or 3 teachers who have completed the iPGCE. The key thing was that a) they were identified and supported because SLT could see talent, enthusiasm and drive and b) they were supported and worked alongside a mentor and properly structured 'NQT' style year. Our teachers are given mentors, support and reduced timetables to observe others, in order to help give them a valuable introduction to teaching.

    In terms of quality of teaching, I have met dozens (if not more) teachers who have qualified the traditional way and have been next to useless. This is before you even think about passion, dedication, professionalism etc. I would much rather employ a teacher who shows potential and a desire to learn, rather than a cynical, demotivated teacher with a 4 year BEd +QTS.

    So, I think there needs to be a balance when looking at the programme and the teachers that rely on it. The course is certainly not comprehensive by ITP providers standards in the UK and other parts of the world, but that should not mean it be discounted as a route into teaching for some. How these qualifications are relayed to parents and their feelings is another issue...however, the parents in my experience have been more than happy with the examination grades and progress made in our school and, whilst it is available on the school website, it is not routinely part of conversation as to each individual's background.

    I hope that gives a slightly different perspective.
  12. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    The cheapest option for your school, Morris1976, would be buy some pieces of white card and then get a real PGCE certificate, or maybe a BEd certificate. Then use something called "Photoshop". (In fact, "Paint" on your laptop might be even cheaper.) Scan the original certificate and then delete the name that is already there. Then you can add whatever names you like. This would be just as good as an iPGCE and a lot cheaper!

    Yes, some teachers do get fed up, tired and discouraged. This might happen to anyone, whether they have a iPGCE or a proper qualification. And yes, reg_mcledge, there even might be TAs with no certificates of any kind who still work fantastically hard and do a really good job for their students. But that does not hide the fact that the iPGCE is a money-making scam and it is not surprising that schools in the UK think that it's pants.
  13. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Good to see some balance with someone pushing the Govian view that anyone can be a teacher if they are trained by anyone. That’s most certainly one of the views on the spectrum. It’s not mine, but it’s one of them.

    First, the iPGCE is a magic money tree for us at university. Effectively, we give you the opportunity to submit two essays and get the two lots of thirty credits and we don’t have to spend a fortune teaching you. I should point out that you can get a PGCE from anywhere like this. The first year of a masters course part time is a PGCE, but there are lots of standalone PGCEs. The iPGCE is masquerading as the PGCE that people do when taught by university tutors as part of a combined QTS with PGCE course.

    On such a course, no single view should be peddled. Instead, a vibrant criticality is cultivated so that you are aware there are a spectrum of ideas in any particular domain and you critique these ideas against the likelihood of them being suitable for one of your classes. The whole purpose, theoretically, of a PGCE is to enable you to join the profession and be in a position to critique the ideas you meet in school. So there is a lot of social constructivist work where the ideas from your placement school are challenged and you challenge the ideas of others as you learn how to operate in a profession.

    The difficulty of replicating this abroad is naturally that you don’t leave the 'bubble' and become exposed to a range of contrasting ideas in a place where it is safe to critique your host school and its ideas. It’s not impossible to achieve abroad (harder, but certainly achievable) which leads us to the real reason that a UK based QTS is desired both in the UK and abroad.

    School is a product which is bought by parents for their children. They don’t want knock off copies of the real thing, they want the real thing. This is a transaction, a sale - you are a commodity being sold to parents. Yes, they could buy an iTeknik TV or they could buy a Sony TV. Quite possibly underneath, the technology is very similar. There is a lower risk associated with a brand that they trust. For you, that is the traditional PGCE with QTS. However, some parents with less cash might will think that a cheaper school with fewer traditional PGCE educated teachers might be good enough for them.

    To answer your question I think the Sunderland course is often said to be the better one. But the criticality you are seeing above is that which is cultivated by doing the traditional PGCE - they are trained to see the limitations in everything and to articulate it. It’s a sign of a healthy teacher. Good luck.
  14. lilyflynn

    lilyflynn New commenter

    The teachers I met with iPGCEs were really honestly ****. Go home, get qualified, go back, if that's what you want.
  15. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    How do you know if someone has an iPGCE?
    They tell you....
    the hippo likes this.
  16. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    The salaries for ”teachers” with an iPGCSE start at 16000rmb and for teachers with QTS start at 26000rmb here in Shanghai.

    The glut of teachers with iPGCSE is driving down the pay and conditions for ”fully” qualified teachers here in China.
    the hippo likes this.
  17. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Good point, february31st. With friends like iPGCE teachers, who needs enemies?
  18. reg_mcledge

    reg_mcledge New commenter

    It's great to see so many open minds on the forum...!

    I certainly don't have any disagreement on the academic and practical criticisms of the course. However, it is somewhat naive to think that the iPGCE is the only money making scheme/course and is frankly laughable. In what is a much wider issue, the privatisation of the higher education market in the UK has had precisely the same effect! Sure, the content in courses from ITTPs in the UK is largely much better but it is still a huge money-making enterprise!

    Perhaps I have just been lucky in that I have seen several success stories. Whether this is in spite of the iPGCE or with the help of the it is debatable. I do refer back to my previous point though that the culture and ethos of the school is crucial. Any teacher who is new or recently new to the profession needs high-quality mentoring, support and guidance, irrespective of where they have come from.

    I do not feel it is anywhere near the best way into teaching, but it works for some.
    Bill8899 likes this.
  19. reg_mcledge

    reg_mcledge New commenter

    Correction - Whether this is in spite of the iPGCE or the help of it is certainly debatable!
  20. JamesBondGibbon

    JamesBondGibbon New commenter

    To give a slightly more balanced view from somebody that's actually completed a pgcei and can answer the question asked.

    Given the qualification doesn't grant QTS it's prudent to select a course at a reputable university for the lowest cost with the least work required - assuming you're already confident in your teaching abilities and only need the piece of paper.

    I can vouch for the fact that on completion I received an immediate pay increase of about 5K GBP per year (in the currency of the country I was working in at the time). So far I haven't had any issues with finding employment in strong second tier schools (i.e. mainly local students, excellent pay, respected brand schools). I do teach a shortage subject though so millage may vary.

    The whingers here are correct in pointing out that the level of academic rigour is fairly low. That being said, it doesn't mean you can't be a great teacher and/or delivery on what parents want, which is often stellar external examination results and entry to western universities. If you can deliver on that and the school can market you as being western, they don't give a hoot about your slightly different looking piece of paper.

    Deliver for one school and you can use your 'i'M a ReeL TeacHR' certificate and references to get into 95% of international schools. Don't waste your time and money going home for something you can do in your spare time on your laptop.
    Bill8899 likes this.

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