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Teaching maths without a relevant degree

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by lau_bellagamba, Jun 17, 2020.

  1. lau_bellagamba

    lau_bellagamba New commenter

    Hello everyone! Hope you are all safe and sound during these very peculiar times.

    Just joined the tes community and looking forward to sharing ideas and experiences!

    After using the "search" function of the forum I could not find a similar question to what I am looking for. If there is, my apologies for the double post.

    Looking for advice on how to get into teaching. Now... to be honest with you I am not sure if I prefer Primary or Secondary, but to simplify things let's just say Secondary Maths (I want both QTS and PGCE).

    Being a European citizen (Italy) I hold a European B.A. in Linguistic and Cultural Mediation, not sure if it was 2:1, 2:2, I contacted Naric to confirm and awaiting their reply. The degree dealt especially with English-Chinese relations (kinda like the old translation-interpreting degree), with elements of translation/interpreting, business, geography/politics and law.
    After moving to the UK in 2015 I obtained an ESOL certificate (C1), a TEFL, a CELTA.

    Now... after looking at the demand/offer of subjects (and scholarships) it became pretty clear that some of the subjects I could offer are either not requested, not in high demand, or are not part of the curriculum (ESL, Italian, Chinese). Since there is shortage of teachers in some subjects, like we all know here (maths, physics, chemistry) I thought why not retrain to teach one of these subjects?

    I contacted Get Into Teaching but they were not able to answer my question "What can I do with my qualifications?", but I understand they are probably just admin and genuinely not know. Via other forums, articles and blog I found some hope from other people who were able to "get in the system" without a relevant degree, meaning they are teaching maths without a relevant degree. I spoke to this nice gentleman who told me his degree is in Sports Science, but was able to get an offer and a SKE in maths. He now teaches secondary maths.

    So with this bit of hope I enrolled myself in a GCSE course, taking both maths and double science, exams to sit in 2021 if all goes well. But after speaking to another friend of mine, seems like to apply for teacher training you would need a first subject you are strong in (possibly the one of your degree), and only then you may get a SKE in the second subject you want to offer.

    Was any of you in a similar position, and could get a funded SKE course in math, even if their degree was not related to maths? Care to share a school or alliance that is more likely to be flexible regarding this?
    I really hope enrolling for 2 GCSEs was not a waste of time and money.

    If anyone has a specific provider in mind, or school in the area around Bromley, it would be of great help. Although I must say I am willing to relocate.

    Thank you everyone again for reading this and taking the time to answer!

    P.S.: I forgot to add some work background! At the moment I have a full time job in the gaming industry. Before this job I had worked via teaching agencies mostly in Special Needs schools, as TA or LSA. Despite my frequent requests to be put in non-SEND schools, I had to accept SEND offers to pay the bills. I had also worked as an examiner, GCSE examiner, and independent tutor.
  2. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    lau_bellagamba likes this.
  3. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

  4. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    What is your subject knowledge of maths like at the moment?
    lau_bellagamba likes this.
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Do you not already have something fairly GCSE-equivalent in maths? All teachers in this country are supposed to have GCSE or something equivalent, not just maths teachers, who will normally have A-level as a minimum. SKEs are aimed at people who have A-level, so I doubt they'd take you if you're still doing GCSE. I think you're looking at a longer path than you'd thought.

    Another route might be to study with the Open University. That's part-time distance-learning, and open entry, so you don't need any GCSE/Alevels to start, and the courses start from scratch. That way you could get on your way to a degree in maths, whilst still working. You probably wouldn't need to complete the whole degree to get onto a PGCE, just enough to prove you've got sufficient maths knowledge. I don't know what the fees would be like for you and whether you'd qualify for a student loan, but you can ask.
    lau_bellagamba likes this.
  6. lau_bellagamba

    lau_bellagamba New commenter

  7. lau_bellagamba

    lau_bellagamba New commenter

    Hello and thank you for replying!

    At the moment I am studying for GCSE at Higher Level, by myself via nec. I just finished the "angles" section and just started the "patterns" section. Hopefully, by May/June next year I will have finished all the sections and topics in Higher Maths.

    Does that answer your question? :)
  8. lau_bellagamba

    lau_bellagamba New commenter

    Hello, and thank you for replying!

    Well, I do have a "high school diploma" obtained in Italy, which is equivalent to GCSEs since it is awarded at the end of mandatory education, when one is 18. This, however, sometimes is not considered as enough by some.
    I had looked at the Open University, and a part-time degree takes between 6-8 years. Their shortest Certificate takes 2-3 years part time. I am not sure which level is this Certificate, but to be useful as you said, it would have to be the same or above A-levels, so Level 3 or above if I'm not wrong.
    There are also individual courses, but I'm not sure they are above Level 3, and not sure if schools would consider them. I had enquired about one last year, but its cost was more than than the 3 GCSE I am taking at the moment, and it was not clear if any qualification would be awarded upon completion.

    I would love to study for a Cert. or Diploma but that would delay the whole process, and I was hoping to start Teacher Training in Sep. 2021.

    Does it make sense? Am I missing something?
  9. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    If your maths knowledge is only at GCSE level then that is not going to be enough to train to be a maths teacher. You need to have the knowledge to at least to one level above the age range you are aiming to teach, and ideally higher than that. An SKE is not going to get you there as it is not a replacement for other qualifications.

    The GCSEs arenot a waste as you need GCSE Maths and English (and Science if you go for primary) at level 4 and above (or equivalent) to train to be a teacher.

    You say you are not sure if you want to teach primary or secondary, so I would suggest when schools are back next year you try and get some time to observe what it is like in both. They are quite different, not least because in secondary you teach one subject to many different classes where as in primary you teach every subject to one class. If you are looking around Bromley talk to LSBU and Kings about the PGCEs they offer and what they would look for.
    phlogiston and lau_bellagamba like this.
  10. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    All good advice. Unless you can prove that maths was in your degree you are going to need an A level in Maths. You say you are good at maths so you should be able to take that quite quickly and easily, with an A level in maths and your degree you would get the SKE place you want. (But note, you do need to check equivalency for the GCSEs in maths and English - any university admissions officer can check that for you).
    phlogiston and lau_bellagamba like this.
  11. lau_bellagamba

    lau_bellagamba New commenter

    A-levels... yeah. I thought about that but the expenses are quite high for me at the moment, since I am already paying for the GCSEs, and will have to pay for the actual exams. But yes, I am definitely looking at other Maths qualifications.

    I will look into LSBU and Kings in the are though!

    Thank you for the tips! :)
  12. lau_bellagamba

    lau_bellagamba New commenter

    Hello and thank you!

    I just contacted Naric again for my B.A. and High School diploma, which should be the same as GCSE. My certificates are on their way, let's see when they get here.

    Thanks! :)
  13. lau_bellagamba

    lau_bellagamba New commenter

    Hello everyone and thank you again for all your messages!

    I have contacted some schools about the possibility to teach Secondary Geography with my degree, but most said no. It looks like I will have to go for Primary, which I don't really mind. At least the science GCSE will be useful. :)

    I have another question for you all: is it possible to apply for a PGCE+QTS course with little or no teaching experience, with very little entry requisites? I have looked at some local providers and some can be very demanding and picky about the people they select. So I was wondering, is there a course which I can enrol in, ask for a loan either at the bank or student finance, and they just accept me? :D
  14. armandine2

    armandine2 Established commenter

    Couldn't follow your written question -however, maths isn't a sophisticated subject at this level and can be successfully taught by European (first language) teachers who have mathematical/teaching skills.
  15. armandine2

    armandine2 Established commenter

    Tell me this is a real degree -
  16. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    I am surprised that you are not able to train as a MFL teacher of Chinese and Italian. Do you speak Mandrin? It is taught in many uk schools. Italian less though, so but some.
  17. lau_bellagamba

    lau_bellagamba New commenter

    Hello and thank you for your reply!
    Agreed, I guess every school/provider can set their own rules and decide what's acceptable and what's not :(
    Not sure what you mean by European first language.

    I thought so when I started. By the end of the last year it looked more like a joke, with professors telling us "you'll never find a job". :D
  18. lau_bellagamba

    lau_bellagamba New commenter

    Hello there!
    So was I, indeed. And it doesn't help that I keep hearing about people "my friend got into teaching MFL with a psychology degree". I contacte UCAS, get into teaching, spoke to different consultants and people on the phone, and they all told me I need an official document in one of these languages: French, Spanish, German. Contacted some local schools as well, asked them if they would accept me anyway, with a conditional offer maybe, they said no.

    Maybe in some remote part of the UK there is a school that offers Chinese, I just need to find it. But to be honest, I lost fluency and would need to re-learn it.
  19. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    I'm in London, and its commonly taught here
  20. lau_bellagamba

    lau_bellagamba New commenter

    Interesting. Out of curiosity, I went back to the gov website and searched for a training program with Mandarin. There are 2 across England. One is European Languages and Mandarin, and "The European language element must be French, German or Spanish. All PGCE language students must have a working knowledge of French."
    The other program does not specify MFL "If this is not in a subject aligned to MFL then you may be required to complete a Subject Knowledge Enhancement Programme (SKE) to ensure you meet the minimum subject expertise to begin your Initial Teacher Training.". It's in Lancashire, quite far from where I am, but I could get in touch for next year.

    Just for fun I researched a Secondary program with Italian, there are only 3: one is the program above, and the other two are "French with Italian": :D

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