Hello everyone, I’m in a dilemma here and would appreciate your suggestions. I sailed through my BA, MA and PhD degrees without owing a penny. I’ve always wanted to teach. Sadly, the government no longer funds PGCE in my subject area. And, because the government permits independent schools, academies and FE colleges to employ highly qualified graduates with no teaching qualifications to teach in those sectors as unqualified teachers, I have unsuccessfully sought positions on account of not having a PGCE+QTS. Lately, I started exploring non-traditional routes into obtaining the PGCE+QTS. Sadly, however, places on schemes like Schools Direct and Teach First, particularly in my field, have all but gone. Even so, I am awaiting decisions on two other non-traditional schemes.
The only green light I have, so far, is an unconditional offer of a place on a non-funded PGCE which would set me back (or leave my account in red) by £18,000 (9k in fees & 9k for maintenance). I recently received the Student Finance offer of approximately £14,000 (£12800 in loan; £1,200 as a grant), leaving me with a shortfall of £4000. My dilemma is this: if I gained my BA, MA and PhD without incurring a penny in debt why should I (or any graduates in similar situation) incur such a staggering debt in a bid to obtain a teaching qualification and certification. And, what happens if I can't secure a permanent position after obtaining the PGCE. The irony of this matter is that the very year I commenced my PhD, I turned down a fully funded PGCE place to enable me take up a fully funded PhD position. Absolutely no regrets, though!
Your advice, as ever, would be highly appreciated, folks.
I did a PGCE a couple of years ago. 9k student loan for fees + 9k bursary (which is subject and degree classification specific; I got a first in a core, but not a shortage, subject). Most people on my course received 5k bursary (for having a 2.1 in a core subject) and took the rest in loans. I think the situation was the same then and that certain subjects received no bursaries and were dependent on student finance. What you've been offered is not unusual at all. Those who tend to do other routes often have experience in schools (such as having been a TA or having worked in the particular school in some capacity).
Whether or not it is worth the investment depends on two things: subject and location. As I mentioned in another thread recently, there was plenty of work for me and my fellow graduates, and it was a worthwhile investment. But as someone else pointed out, that is not the case everywhere, and I am aware that teachers of some subjects struggle more than others (such as PE, ICT, Art, based only on my observations and talking to teachers).
Might I just add though that if you do well on the PGCE, your PhD will make you a very competitive candidate. Schools will value it, not above your ability to be an effective teacher, but assuming you have that nailed, it will give you an edge over your peers.
Firstly, I think it's terrible that PGCE funding has been cut so savagely. I've been teaching for nine years, there's no way in the world I could have paid to train.
Have you considered teaching at post-16? That way you could work and do a DTLLS part-time. I teach in a sixth-form college and they're always keen to recruit people with higher degrees like yours.
Yes I'm talking about the UK in general. Some PGCE do not involve teaching in schools but even the ones that do I find that it's overrated (from several of my mates who talked about their experiences). Patseya if the jobs you're looking for ask for it then I guess you should consider it. If you were simply curious about benefit/cost, then that's what I think.
You dont mention your subject so it is hard to give specific advice but there are ways around this. Don't apply to pgce in your subject area if you have other/secondary quals that would entitle you to train in shortage subjects e.g. if you have A level maths you can do teach first maths pgce! Once you qualify you can then teach in both subject areas. Second,work as a teaching assistant and approach the school to put you through the training. Finally, apply to school advertised training (these are usually advertised on the schools own website and are usually academy/free schools). Get some volunteer experience first to check its def for you. Or teach post 16. Work based learning providers are less strict about employing with teaching certs, in fact most work based learning provider staff are not qualified teachers.
Patseya do you want to be a Secondary teacher even though you have a PhD?
I find your post a bit confusing. Are you a) someone who wants to be a secondary teacher or b) someone who wants to be a lecturer at University?
If you want to be a secondary teacher really you should have a PGCE - I can't see Secondary Head's employing you without one. This seems like a very strange idea to me and I am surprised it is possible.
If you want an Academic career my advice would be to not do a PGCE. For an Academic career this idea sounds like a total, absolute, complete waste of money. I have an MA English and a PGDE and have nearly now finished my MLitt. I will then be doing a PhD because I want to be an academic. My only regret is wasting time doing a PGDE and spending time in Secondary schools. Secondary is horrible.
Without being rude, if you want to be a secondary teacher why did you do a PhD?
Thanks everyone! To set the record straight, and in my personal experience, in spite of the government’s directives that academies, independent schools and FE colleges are allowed to employ, as subject teachers, highly qualified graduates with no teaching qualifications, heads and HRs are simply not inclined to do so! Also, some seem to be confusing PGCert in Education (a 3rd of an MEd or MA in Education which requires no teaching placements) and PGCE/PGDE/i-PGCE (which requires substantial and compulsory teaching placements that must be passed to gain the qualification/certification. PGCert in Education and PGCE/PGDE/i-PGCE are different qualifications with different requirements.
@ wowzers: Broadly speaking, my discipline is classified under the subject area known as theological, religious and philosophical studies. More specifically my work focuses on religion and society. Drawing on sociological, legal, philosophical and educational theories, my work specifically focuses on: religious freedom in schools; the faith school controversies; religion in schools’ curriculum (e.g. whether or not beliefs like creationism, intelligence design, etc, should be accommodated/tolerated in science classrooms; how, if at all, religion could be taught in public schools) etc, etc. So, my teaching subject is religious and philosophical studies—a subject no longer funded by the government. Nonetheless, I’ll look closely at your suggestions. I’m already exploring some of them.
@ Timmy. I’ve always wanted to teach and I remain, as ever, committed to teaching either in the 11-18 Sector (i.e. Secondary Education, inclusive of post 16 or Sixth Form) or in the Higher Education Sector. I dreamt of pursuing my BA, MA and PhD successively and the dream came to a fruition. Having achieved my dream, I naturally wanted to pursue my career ambition: teaching at whatever level. University Lectureships in my field is dire, sometimes, non-existent. Whenever vacancies are advertised, the competition seems extremely fierce and the negative outcomes—in spite of me having a number of REF-able publications—seem to be soul-destroying. But, I’m not giving up! Conversely, whilst vacancies are always advertised for secondary and FE teaching in my field, lack of PGCE, QTS or QTLS meant that I was never shortlisted. As aforementioned, one thing is for the government to permit independent schools, academies and FE colleges to employ high calibre graduates with no teaching qualifications/certifications to teach their subjects in certain school/college categories. The stark reality, in my personal experience, is for these educational institutions to mandatorily require a teaching qualification and recent, relevant experience from applicants.
@ incognito: An agency is currently helping me find a school where I could work as an unqualified teacher seeking to gain the QTS through the Assessment Only (AO) Route to becoming a Qualified Teacher. Fingers crossed.
Hi. Yes funnily enough your subject is a shortage subject but it is not funded as such anymore! It really depends if you want to teach? I've spent most of my 20 year career in teaching and whilst the gov are trying to de-regulate you will find very very few schools that will appoint without a teaching cert. Basically, they stick with what they know and they trust the teaching cert as the route into teaching. I have QTLS and donkeys years experience but still couldn't get a job teaching pre 16 as the job specs mostly all say you must have experience of teaching the national curriculumn for that age range, so whilst theoretically you can get a job without having been an NQT in reality it's rare it happens.
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