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Secondary PGCE Job Prospects-RE v English

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by jones2012, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. Firstly may I say I'm not sure if I am posting this correctly/in the right place as I am new to TES. Basically, I have always wanted to go into teaching and during my time at secondary school I gained much classroom experience in both Religious Education and English: observing, teaching small groups, presenting etc. I once taught an entire A Level English Literature lesson on behalf of the teacher who was ill. Anyway, now that I am starting university and researching career prospects I am highly alarmed at the amount of unemployed and highly qualified teachers that exist. It seems a great struggle for anyone to secure a post. Despite the fact that the government teaching agency website suggests that there is a shortage of RE teachers, the internet is full of RE NQTs who cannot find jobs. English on the other hand is not considered a shortage subject, but NQT's seem to find it at least slightly easier to find job, in my school there was a far higher turnover of English Teachers than RS. I am finding myself doubting my current path, despite my absolute love of RE, i wonder whether I should be pursuing English instead, as I have achieved equally highly in it in the past and have enjoyed it [almost] as much as RS I have am studying Theology and Religious Studies at a Russell Group university, my A Level grades were A*AA and at GCSE I achieved 7 A*s and 2 A's. Upon leaving I was presented with two Leaver's Award's for academic excellence in RE and English Literature. I volunteer once per week in an inner city school. My university have informed me that I can switch to a joint honors degree in English Literature and Religious Studies at the end of this year and that this would allow me to continue with either for a PGCE. However, I am aware that joint honors applicants are often considered less desirable than single honors applicants who have more specialist knowledge, both by PGCE providers and schools. So, what do people with more experience/further along their career path than I think I should do? PGCE RE, or transfer to a joint honors degree and try to gain a place on an English PGCE, or even forget teaching due to the awful job market (I do not want to do this at all)? Thank you for any advice.
  2. Phew!
    Well where to start? I am an RE NQT. I didn't secure a post after completing my PGCE so I worked for a year as a cover supervisor and interviewed successfully during this academic year. It is true that the job market has been rubbish recently but this happens every few years from what I understand. We are, however, currently entering the years where the 'baby boomers' are gettting ready to retire- my new school had about 10 NQTs starting this week as so many retired at the same time. So the market will pick up.
    What I will say is that being an English teacher and being an RE teacher are two very different things. My advice would be go with your gut and study which ever one sparks something inside you. You need passion for your subject to teach it.
    Finally I would say relax!! You are only beginning at university and while it is great that you have such vision for your future you will change a lot during your time at uni. These early semesters and years will take up a lot of your brain space so stop worrying. [​IMG]

  3. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    No doubt that there are more openings for English teachers due to turnover and demand particularly London and South East. The reality of teaching is that once you are employed in a school then the abilityto take classes in another area such as RE is often useful for timetabling and many student teachers do try out other subject areas even during teaching practice. I have not experienced any untoward issues with joint honours degrees particularly from good universities and once teaching you are judged by the quality of that teaching rather than other factors.
  4. glenn_xp

    glenn_xp New commenter

    Just an observation. My School has five full time English teachers and zero RE teachers. That might not be true of most schools but I'm sure its a pattern in many.

    I would err on the side of English myself.
  5. If you feel that doing a joint honours would help you to get onto an English PGCE then I'd go for it (you could always apply for RE as well as your second choice). I did a RE PGCE and have found employment as an NQT so it's not impossible and although neither subject are shortage subjects, by the time you've finished your degree and training the landscape will probably have changed.
    Also, have you considered doing a GTP (or similar) I know people who are training in two different subject areas, if you've got experience at a particular school they would probably be willing to take you on as a trainee.


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