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SCITT vs. University-led route

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by teacher_tony, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. teacher_tony

    teacher_tony New commenter

    Dear all,

    I'm currently a UCAS applicant, who has received offers from both a SCITT and University. I am having an extremely difficult time choosing between the two, despite weighing up the pros and cons with the respective course providers of both routes, my DfE advisor, UCAS and friends and family.

    One of the most important factors in my decision to teach was to obtain a PGCE. This is important to me as I have a desire to teach abroad in other countries (if at all possible, for as soon as my NQT year).

    I have condensed my pros and cons (+/-) down to the few that are of the most concern to me, in order to make the decision simpler.
    Apologies in advance, as some of the way these points read, make me sound very big-headed and full of myself. I assure you that is not the case. They are merely hypothetical situations based on my potential success throughout my ITT year.

    + I already know the schools I'll be working at as I’ve had experience days there, and I'm happy with those schools. I’ve been able to choose the schools I want and in the order the placements will be.
    + There is a better chance at a job offer after the first year, with at least one of the school’s that I’ve already taught at. Possibly, but I will be a qualified Computer Science teacher, so I shouldn’t struggle to find employment.
    + I would have to re-locate to the area between the two schools but I am happy with their location. This even factored into the SCITT being one of my choices.

    - The SCITT’s vested interests are in my teaching ability and commitment to the schools. They have no obligation in supporting me to complete my PGCE.
    - I can't be open about my future intentions to teach overseas.
    - In February, half-way through the initial teacher training year, the SCITT (like most others) approach trainees they are interested in, with job offers for the following year. This is understandable, as they would like to secure those resources for the following year. How will the SCITT react if I decline a job offer? For example, I have an offer from another school. Once they realise that I am a valuable resource they will not be able to retain, will it affect their attitude towards me and the way I will be assessed for QTS and PGCE? I know it sounds that I’m portraying them to be rather spiteful, but if they personally feel that I have wasted their time and loyalty by going somewhere else, their frustration could be vented by jeopardising my capabilities of going elsewhere.
    - The University associated with the SCITT is far away, and as a result, will not be regularly visiting me or the schools I will be working at. It will mostly be remote study online and PCGE support in the form of e-mail correspondence with this University. I feel somewhat cheated out of the tuition and support I feel I should be receiving for the £9250 tuition fees I’ll be handing over.

    + More PGCE Support available as the University are responsible for my study, course, and placements.
    + The University may able to help get a job overseas the year after through their connections.
    + Both the Universities and the schools I’ll be placed at don't care if my intentions are to teach abroad after the PGCE. They have no vested interest in influencing my decision for the following year as I will have graduated and finished with the University. If anything, they are more likely to help me get to where I want to go after my initial year.
    + If need be, the University can get involved if one of my placements is not working out or I am not happy there for some (albeit important) reason.

    - Unknown schools and location. I have no idea where I’ll be placed or with whom. This is obviously a disadvantage from knowing where I will be placed with the SCITT and already knowing that I like those schools.
    - Living location. The regional area around the University (and where the schools I’m most likely to be placed at, being in close proximity to the University) are not appealing. I know the region well, having grown up in it, and I can say neither the schools or the location itself, are not where I’d prefer to be. I would be lucky to be placed at schools that I would consider pleasant.

    These are what I would consider to be the most important factors / sticking points in making my choice much clearer. Perhaps I'm over-thinking some of my points or perhaps there are some other glaringly obvious points I have failed to consider.
    I would love to hear opinions and advice from the community. One of the frustrating things in the whole Get Into Teaching process has been the lack of people either being available or even willing to share their experiences. The SCITT have not made trainees available to share their experiences or talk with me regarding my concerns. Similarly, there is not much the University can really do to alleviate my worries over the unknown.

    If there are SCITT trainees, past or present, I would be very happy to hear from you and how are you are managing with your PGCE and how supportive the SCITT are in assisting you with it. Also, if there are trainees who have had a similar situation where the attitude has changed at the decline of an offer.
  2. PersianCatLady

    PersianCatLady Occasional commenter

    Don't believe the hype about Computer Science.

    I was you last year and now I am realising that computing is treated as a sideline by many schools and many others don't even offer it at all past KS3.

    There are so few vacancies for CS teachers for September that I am already looking for a job in an unrelated field.

    I really wanted to be a CS teacher and it took me six years to get my OU degree but I am not prepared to accept a TA / Cover Supervisor position when I have spent a year training to be a teacher,
    agathamorse likes this.
  3. teacher_tony

    teacher_tony New commenter


    Thanks for your response. So you studied a PGCE/MA teaching degree(?) in Computer Science via the OU? How does that work? Are you still sent out on school placements? If so, what subjects other than Computer Science were you covering?

    With the SCITT, I have already had school experience days at the selected schools and have identified that they have a number of of Computer Science classes from KS3 to KS6. I'm not saying it's impossible that I will have to cover for other subjects, but I have seen there are enough classes for me to initially observe and then gradually work with.

    If there are any SCITT trainees out there, please feel free to tell me how you have managed with the PGCE during your ITT. Were the schools and the SCITT supportive in gaining your PGCE? Did you feel you were given sufficient time to complete your assignments well?
  4. PersianCatLady

    PersianCatLady Occasional commenter

    Sorry I didn't explain very well there.

    I spent six years with the OU studying for BSc (Hons) Computing & IT.

    Once I got my degree I applied for teacher training at a local SCITT where I have been since September.

    I thought exactly the same as you last year. There may well be enough classes for you to observe now and to teach while you are training but it doesn't follow that as soon as you get QTS, the current teacher will resign and you can take their job.

    Whilst you are training the classes that you teach still "belong" to another teacher who at first will need to support you loads and later will leave you to it.

    It is not a guarantee that once you have qualified the school that you train at will have a vacancy in that subject or even if they do you have no automatic right to be interviewed for the position.
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    SCITTS are designed to get local teachers into local schools. PGCEs are designed to empower the trainee to work in any school. If you went to a SCITT you’d be taking a place away from someone who might be interested in working in a local school.
    The HEI led course is more suitable for you in many ways.
  6. teacher_tony

    teacher_tony New commenter

    Thank you very much for your responses. After doing a lot of reading on similar topics and posts within this channel, both of you (@PersianCatLady and @MrMedia) are very knowledgeable and helpful so I'm very glad you have both been in contact.

    @PersianCatLady - Of all the current trainees at the SCITT this year who I have spoken to, 100% of them have been made offers this February for their NQT year. Although this is a very good thing, I am unsure where I would like to be from September 2020. It may well be that I may choose to stay on at one of my placement schools if offered a place, but I cannot say for sure. Some people are sure, and that is why they have accepted their offers.
    Should I receive an offer elsewhere or choose to do something different (I don't know how my first year will affect my feeling and judgement), what I don't want is for their attitude towards me to change should I decline their offer. More importantly, I wouldn't want their change of attitude and interest to have any impact on the way that I am being assessed for QTS for the rest of my initial year.

    @MrMedia - I totally understand that and it may very well be that the University route is more convenient for myself. However, I never contemplated a SCITT choice before visiting the schools I had and the SCITT supporting them. Everything about them seems very suitable for me. After not being at University for many years since my UG, I was apprehensive about going back. After years in my related industry of work, I felt the more hands-on practical approach of the SCITT would be more suitable.
    However, This worry of mine seems to be the only obstacle (if it really is an obstacle and that it could really happen) I have with choosing the SCITT. I'm happy with the schools, the staff and the students I've met. I just don't want it to be soured (and my QTS assessment "ruined") should I disappoint them and decide next February not to stay with them. This is what makes the decision all the more frustrating.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
  7. PersianCatLady

    PersianCatLady Occasional commenter

    It sounds like you are in a very enviable position at the moment in that you have two great offers to choose from.

    Only you can decide which one of the options you will go for but I am sure that you will make the right decision for you!!

    Good luck!!

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