Middle school PGCE - good idea or not?

(18 Posts)
fussychica Sun 04-May-14 17:38:54

DS knows he wants to teach, he's just been working as an English Language Assistant with 12-18 year olds in France for the last year and loved it. However, he is torn between undertaking a Secondary MFL PGCE and the Middle school MFL (7-13) option, as he likes the idea of teaching other subjects as well as languages but knows he doesn't want to teach those under 7.

On the plus side he thinks the increase in the call for primary language teaching will begin to offer more job prospects but is worried that the middle school PGCE will mean he falls between two stalls - neither trained to teach the full primary nor secondary age range and schools may not be keen.

Any views / advice would be gratefully received.

Curioushorse Sun 04-May-14 17:44:45

Secondary. There are going to be more jobs going with the engbacc. Technically you can always teach younger kids.....not sure you can teach a-level. How many middle schools are there? To teach primary, wouldn't they prefer a primary pgce?

fussychica Sun 04-May-14 17:55:02

Thanks for the quick response. The aim wouldn't necessarily be to teach in one of the 200 middle schools but have the option of teaching 7-11 in a primary school or 11-13, or even 16 in secondary but the concern is that schools won't be keen.

SuffolkNWhat Sun 04-May-14 17:59:09

I am middle trained (in English) and work in a middle school. My advice would be to do a secondary PGCE. The middle school system is being shut down across the country and the qualification is becoming obsolete.

SuffolkNWhat Sun 04-May-14 18:01:27

Also once your son has QTS he can work in any kind of school, however it's easier to move from secondary to primary apparently.

Thetimes123 Sun 04-May-14 18:20:16

Go for secondary, then he can teach A level.

fussychica Sun 04-May-14 19:15:25

Thanks both. He isn't bothered about A level teaching - is there a kudos to teaching that level? He just fancied teaching a wider range of subjects yet specialising in MFL Spanish (poss with French & German)

HamAndPlaques Wed 07-May-14 23:01:54

There are very few middle schools, and consequently very few jobs in middle schools. Secondary schools will be put off by a middle-years PGCE. There are plenty of schools without sixth forms if he really doesn't want to teach post-16.

TheGruffalo2 Thu 08-May-14 07:06:52

It depends on the area of the country he wants to teach in. There are very few with middle schools and I think some of those counties with them have or are closing them. Middle school PGCE may limit options as secondary schools with a strong field of candidates may be more interested in those with a secondary PGCE.

fussychica Thu 08-May-14 19:44:43

Thanks for all your comments - pretty unanimous for sticking with Secondary then, which was his original plan. It was only the appeal of being able to teach upper primary (with the increase in the language requirement) as well as secondary which made him look at the middle school qualification.
Now he has to decide on whether to do a uni based PGCE or school based, and where - decisions, decisions smile

afterthought Sun 11-May-14 15:37:52

My friend did 7-13 and now teaches primary (Junior age). She loves it and doesn't regret what she chose.

However, now that she is in primary, I think she would find it hard to switch to secondary and she is now expensive and hasn't experienced secondary since her training.

If she had done it the other way round (got a job in secondary) she probably wouldn't find it easy to get a job in primary for the same reasons.

It is probably better to choose set phase than the 7-13 unless he really isn't sure and thinks having a placement in each would help cement the decision - he could always then do extra training at a later date (I no longer teach what I trained to teach).

fussychica Sun 11-May-14 15:59:35

Thanks - that's interesting. I don't think it's a case of not being sure for him - more a case of trying to give himself the widest range of employment opportunities but like everyone who has posted he was concerned about falling between to stools training wise and losing out on jobs for that very reason.

BackforGood Sun 11-May-14 16:01:02

Doesn't really matter - once you have QTS, then you can teach anywhere.
My friend who is a secondary MFL teacher is in great demand to do sessions in Primary schools - she's having to fight them off (they want her to teach KS2 (7 - 11 mostly). She does 2 schools at the moment, plus the 2 days she does at secondary, and just doesn't want any more work but keeps being asked.

SueDNim Sun 11-May-14 16:18:26

If he is really interested in the age range of a middle school then prep schools in the independent sector could be an option. I have seen secondary teachers move to prep schools.

fussychica Mon 12-May-14 08:02:32

BackforGood - that sounds great and just what he was hoping to hear. Out of interest, how did she get herself known to the Primary schools?
SueDNim(love the NN, btw) - another interesting option post QTS, especially as we have quite a few independent schools around here.

He's just written to a few local schools to see if he can pick up a bit of UK school experience before the end of summer term. Most PGCE providers say at least 2 weeks UK experience is an essential prior to starting the course so hope he manages to sort something, otherwise he'll have to do it during his final year at university. It's particularly important for him as he has no experience of UK secondary schools shock as he was educated abroad.

HamAndPlaques Mon 12-May-14 12:00:46

I’m afraid I have to disagree with BackForGood. Yes, theoretically it doesn’t matter how you have trained because QTS is transferable across primary and secondary. However, NQT jobs have become very competitive and a middle-years PGCE is likely to make him less attractive to both primaries and secondaries.

MFL is a unique case as there are often no MFL graduates in primary schools, so schools are keen to bring in MFL teachers. However, it’s significant that BackForGood’s friend is being brought in to do sessions in schools, and I suspect that the story would be different if she were looking for a full-time role. They will be using her as PPA cover and she is therefore doubly useful. However, primary schools are unlikely to employ somebody who is secondary trained as a full class teacher, because primaries want the maximum flexibility from their staff and a middle or secondary trained teacher won’t have the detailed training in early reading that a primary trainee will. Consequently, they can’t be used in EYFS or KS1 without significant additional training in phonics etc.

Similarly, from a secondary point of view a middle-years trainee won’t have had specific training for KS4 and KS5. Your DS may have no interest in teaching older pupils but a school won’t hire a teacher just to teach in KS3.

SueDNim is right that private schools might be interested; equally there are some all-through state schools (I used to work in one, hence my view of primary and secondary). Remember though that there is no requirement to have QTS to work in the independent sector. If he’s willing to live in as a housemaster or or pastoral role he might be able to get a job in a prep school on the strength of a good first degree.

SuffolkNWhat Mon 12-May-14 15:27:04

I am definitely finding it hard to apply for secondary jobs with my PGCE, I'm having to try and find jobs that only want KS3 teachers.

fussychica Mon 12-May-14 19:06:59

Sorry it's so hard to find a new job Suffolk - hope you find something soon.

Thanks Ham - very helpful, especially the lack of need for QTS in the independent sector - not considered that. However, think he will go for the full qualification at secondary level.

He was shocked to get an email this morning offering him the chance to get some UK secondary classroom experience - he only sent the request last night. How wonderful it would be if getting a proper job was that easygrin - the sad thing is I'm old enough to remember when it was.

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