1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Teaching at an independent school without a PGCE?

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by freddyj66, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. Hi,

    I am a graduate student, coming to the end of my PhD, and I am considering a career as a Maths teacher at an independent secondary school. I was wondering if anyone could offer any advice, particularly about the following things:

    1. I do not have a PGCE, and don't particularly wish to do one (I feel that I've been a student for too long now!). To what extent will this count against me when I apply for jobs? I do have extensive teaching experience at university level, as well as a first class degree, and I will soon have a PhD too (both from Oxford University). Given this, do I have a reasonable chance of securing a job at an independent secondary school?

    2. My bachelor and masters degrees are in Chemistry, and my PhD, whilst carried out in the Chemistry dept, has been in Theoretical Physics. Pretty much all of the teaching I've done at university has been in Maths. I was wondering if the fact that I don't have a degree in Maths (even though I've spent a lot of time studying/teaching it) would count against me when applying for Maths teaching jobs?

    2. I have heard that the first year of teaching is hard work, and I imagine for me this would be particular true, given that I have no experience of school teaching. I am not averse to this, but could anyone give me an idea of what is involved in the first year/term? Particular I am interested in how many lessons a new teacher typically gives a week, how many hours of lesson planning are required etc.

    3. I realise that this would vary from school to school, but is it very common for independent schools to offer accommodation to their teachers? If so, is it often subsidised?

    4. Outside of the usual school hours, what is typically involved in teaching at an independent secondary school? I am thinking of house responsibilities, sports, field trips, etc. Is much work typically required outside of term time?

    I realise that these questions probably seem quite ignorant, but I'm just trying to get as much information as possible before deciding whether a teaching career is for me. Any help anyone could give would be much appreciated.


  2. I'm no expert on Independent schools, but if you have a PHD and Oxford first in a shortage subject in Maths I'm sure many of them would be very interested. Given that you are reluctant to train they shouldn't be interested though.
  3. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Hello there Fred, welcome to our forum.

    First things first: most independent schools will have appointed most of their staff for September by Easter, so you may be a bit late here.

    Q1 Read this, it may give you hope:


    Q2a It might. So why aren't you applying for Physics or Science posts?

    Q2b (Was it Maths you are going to do? I don't have two twos when I count! [​IMG]) The answer is that the number of lessons will vary, but about 20 hours might be an average. There will be a considerable amount of preparation, especially as you will have absolutely no idea of how to do it, as you will not have done a PGCE.

    There is also marking which will take almost as long again, plus the co-curricular activities that you will be involved in.

    You should count on a 60-70 hour week.

    Q3 Only the boarding schools, and it is usually free but a taxable benefit. So that is a minority of schools of course.

    Q4 A lot. A generous contribution is how it is usually described. Only the occasional stuff outside term time, but can be very intense in term. Especially in a boarding school, where you have to earn your free accommodation! Evening duties, weekend duties.

    Actually, it is more than just a career, it is a profession , it's a dedication, a vocation.

    You need to be devoted to the idea of helping children and young people, to drawing them out, to seeing them progress on the long road to success.

    Are you sure that this is what is drawing you towards teaching?

    Go to the Independent Forum and read the information in the Welcome Thread for more specific information on Indy schools.


    Meet Theo on line on the TES JobSeekers Forum, or in person at one of the TES Careers Advice Service seminars or individual consultations
  4. Thanks very much for your comments, and particularly for the link to the article.

    In response to Ken, I am not reluctant to train, but I understand that it is possible to "learn on the job" at (some) independent schools, and I think I'd prefer this, even though it would involve a tough first year or so (as Theo points out). Do you think that this is a bad idea? I don't mean to sound aggressive, I'm just curious to hear your thoughts.

    Theo, I'm planning on applying for jobs in the new year, with a start date of September 2014. I would prefer to teach maths, because I think I would enjoy it more than the sciences. I also think I would be better at teaching maths, because I understand it better and have taught it quite a lot (a few classes a week to first year undergrads for the last 4 years) at university level - although obviously teaching at school level would entail a whole new set of challenges.

    As I say, I've taught a fair amount throughout my PhD, and I've enjoyed it immensely, more so than my research work. I have found it very satisfying seeing my students progress, both intellectually and personally. I think that I've done a good job in my university teaching - at least, I've had good feedback and my students have (generally!) done well in their exams. I've always thought that a good teacher can make a real difference (I certainly had some teachers to whom I'm very grateful), and I would like to do something positive with my life - if that doesn't sound too idealistic. This is why I think teaching could be a, let's say, vocation, that would suit me, that I would enjoy, and that I would be good at.

    Thanks again for your comments.
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Then I wish you luck!

    Once you have read and digested all my words of wisdom on the Indy Forum, you should then start thinking seriously about your application.

    You should go at the top of the page to the BLOGS and read everything in Applying for a job. Start with How to get shortlisted. People say that it has helped them, it could help you! If it is useful,then Red-Heart it to show that you like it. Then you can read How NOT to get shortlisted, and any others that look relevant to you.

    There is also one there about references . . . Red-Heart all the blogs that you think are useful.

    These tips - especially about the executive summary - are what are helping people get interviews and jobs.

    Now go and read and Red-Heart the blogs!

    I have started writing Blogs - have a look, click on the BLOGS at the top.

    If a Blog is helpful, then Red-Heart it by clicking on the black heart at the end.

    Best wishes


    Meet Theo on line on the TES JobSeekers Forum, or in person at one of the TES Careers Advice Service seminars or individual consultations
  6. I'm curious. Why an independent school? State schools would also be able to support you with "on the job" training too and many would snap up a highly qualified Maths GTP.
  7. The majority of independent schools I have applied for (Science/ Chemistry) expected QTS. Even if you manage to find a school that does not require QTS to take you on, at some later point in your career you may be disadvantaged by your lack of QTS. The first class degree and PhD from Oxford will obviously count in your favour.

    True, but independent schools often have the advantages of higher salary, long holidays and better behaviour. The poster has also mentioned interest in accommodation, which would generally only be available at a boarding school (most of which are independent)
  8. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    You might consider trying to get some work experience. Some schools might let you have a few days or a week with them, perhaps shadowing a teacher, and perhaps giving you a chance to do at least some work. My limited experience of this has been of people who are well-known to a parent or a member of staff who are introduced to the Head by that person. Most of the interns (is that the right word in this context?) went on to teach. There would inevitably be bureaucracy - CRB and the like - but the experience would be worthwhile.

    It's fair to say that most staff who are new to teaching do have QTS now; some have come in through GTP.
  9. Thanks everyone.

    There are a few reasons that I'm primarily considering an independent school, the first being that I think that without a teaching qualification it would be easier to get a place in an independent school. Perhaps I am wrong here - I will have to look into the GTP (soon to be the School Direct programme) more thoroughly. The salaries, holidays, student behaviour and the level of student engagement are all factors, as well as the greater scope for getting involved in extra-curricular activities, which I would be keen to do. On site and/or subsidised accommodation would also be a big plus for me.

    I would certainly consider getting QTS at a later stage, at would definitely not want to rule out a move to the state sector at some point. I am in the process of organising some work experience, shadowing a teacher, and have emailed a few local schools.

    Thanks again for your help.

Share This Page