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Teacher training offers but advice needed please

Discussion in 'Independent' started by londonrunner, Dec 2, 2015.

  1. londonrunner

    londonrunner New commenter

    Hello, this is my first posting on this forum.
    I am in the fortunate position of getting offers from my 3 UCAS applications for primary teacher training.
    Now I need to decide where to go and train. I am posting in this section because in about 3 years time I would like to work in a private prep/ junior school.
    I have PGCE offers from Goldsmiths and the IOE and a salaried Schools Direct (which includes a PGCE) offer.
    Would private schools put more value on any of these routes? Do they look at where the PGCE comes from?
    I have been working as an LSA in a local state primary for a few years and I'm an older candidate.
    My academic background is not that fantastic as I did not apply myself as much as I should have done in my teens and early twenties. However, I do have a 2:1 degree although it only from a College of Higher Education rather than a "proper' university! I keep thinking that private schools will only want Oxford and Cambridge graduates.
    What do you experts recommend as the best route into this sector for someone starting out on the wrong side of 40 :)?
    Thanks for any advice offered.
  2. stevejp65

    stevejp65 New commenter

    Not an expert view, but just to provide words of encouragement - I have just started my first job at an independent, aged 50, after nearly 30 years in the state sector. Just an ordinary B.Ed degree from an ordinary polytechnic. Ignore any preconceptions and doom-mongering about the sector, and go for it, if it is what you want. I'm working harder than ever, but loving every minute of it and happier than I have ever been, as it is all about the children and teaching - which is what all of education should be about!
    londonrunner likes this.
  3. pennyh.

    pennyh. Occasional commenter

    Prep schools want (like any primary) lots of enthusiasm. They also want to run lots of extra curricular activities-so if you bring that then it counts for a lot. Sport music drama science clubs tech clubs etc etc .Yes if up to 13 and doing common entrance exams then depth of knowledge really kicks in. However many preps end at 11. Some pay well some don't- depends where you are in the country. Always check out contracts and pension details and expectations of duties esp. if a boarding prep. . ATL seems to have most independent advice.
    londonrunner likes this.
  4. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Depends a little on the prep schools you want to apply to. Some are more fussed about appearances than others.
    Similar to the poster above, I've just started in a prep school after 20 years in the state sector. I have just a 2:2 and PGCE from a standard university.
    Schools will want, above anything else, for you to be an excellent teacher. Where you elarned to be that is less important.
    londonrunner likes this.
  5. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    There's a lot of talk about grade inflation. A 2:ii these days might raise eyebrows. A 2:ii 20 or 30 years ago...


    In the early 1980s, when fewer people entered university, about 60% achieved a lower second class degree, a 2:2, making it the most typical degree grade.

    Now it is awarded to only about one in four and many major graduate employers use getting at least a 2:1 as a cut off for recruitment.

    @londonrunner You will need to be a good teacher with enthusiasm for the teaching and welfare of children, pastoral care, and life outside the classroom. That's it, pretty much.

    And why do you want to wait 3 years? Get a PGCE and then apply to independent preps straight away, if that's what you want! Independent schools welcome NQTs as warmly as any others. :)
    londonrunner likes this.
  6. londonrunner

    londonrunner New commenter

    Thank you very much for taking time to reply and for the words of encouragement.

    Caterpillartobutterfly and stevejp65 I am pleased to hear you are enjoying your roles after moving from the state sector.
    Pennyh I agree with what you say about the extra activities so I had better get myself a worthwhile hobby ;)
    jarndyce, I suppose I was thinking that I needed to build up a few years experience before I could apply - but there is no harm in trying straight away once I've got the PGCE. Interesting what you say about degree classifications too. Mine is from 1994 so I'm somewhere in the middle.
    We live in an area with quite a few large private schools which go from prep to secondary so there should be lots of places to apply to.
  7. never_expect_anything

    never_expect_anything Occasional commenter

    Oh, how true!
    I've applied for and had several interviews in prep / independent schools over the years, and the one interview question that stands out for me, many years later, is still: "So, you got xxx A*s at GCSE and yet no As at A Level; what happened there?" (Or words to that effect.) o_O Considering that I have a 2:1 degree from a good university and a Cambridge PGCE, I thought that was a rather ridiculous question! (If they were worried about my A Level grades, why bother inviting me to interview?) Needless to say, it put me off wanting to stay for the rest of the day or accepting the job if it were offered, and unsurprisingly I was not offered the job (obviously my explanation of my 'poor' A Level grades was unsatisfactory)!

    Although I technically work in an 'independent' school now, it's not the type most of you are talking about (I'm in SEBD alternative provision really), and before this I've only ever worked in mainstream state schools, so what do I know?

    Don't get me wrong. I don't mean to suggest that I believe all prep/independent schools are so particular, and I'm sure I would have loved to work in some of the others I've visited (and still might in the future), just as there have been mainstream state schools I've liked more than others. I'm just saying, be prepared for such interview questions if you do have an 'imperfect track record'...;)

    Oh, and good luck with your PGCE and future teaching career!:)
    londonrunner likes this.
  8. londonrunner

    londonrunner New commenter

    Thanks never_expect_anything. I hope you are enjoying the job you are in.
  9. never_expect_anything

    never_expect_anything Occasional commenter

    Yes, thanks, londonrunner. Never would have seen myself in SEBD, ended up here by accident. But love it, and no intentions of returning to mainstream (or private), despite the pay disparity.
  10. londonrunner

    londonrunner New commenter

    Thanks for the responses. I went for the salaried Schools Direct offer in the end. I imagine it will be alot more work than full time study as I will be working in the school and studying for PGCE but it seems like the best option as we will have the salary. Thanks again.
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Good luck in your start on what, for me, has been a wonderful career, although it can be hard at times.

    Best wishes


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