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Advice on becoming a teacher

(14 Posts)
purplehann Wed 07-Sep-16 21:46:10

Hey everyone,

So I've been reading a lot of old threads on here and on other websites that have pointed out that getting a PGCE Post Compulsory/ PGCE Further Education qualification is pointless because there's no funding and no jobs in further education. People say it's better to get a Secondary PGCE so that you can work with people from 11-18. Is that true? Is getting a PGCE for further education pointless?

What if I wanted to work in universities/ the higher education sector? Is it still worth doing a Secondary PGCE or should I find a Higher Education PGCE?

Sorry for all the questions but I'm so confused as to what I should do. I would like to teach English or Media to 16+ students but people say it's not worth doing anything apart from a Secondary PGCE.

Thanks for your help in advance smile x

Closetlibrarian Wed 07-Sep-16 22:08:41

You might be better off posting this in the further education section smile as this section is focused on working in universities (which it doesn't sound like you want to do, unless I've misunderstood your post)

purplehann Wed 07-Sep-16 23:30:11

Ah, thank you!

haybott Thu 08-Sep-16 08:19:11

What if I wanted to work in universities/ the higher education sector?

You don't do a PGCE to work in a university/higher education - the standard route is to do a research PhD, research for a few years and then obtain a position which is research/teaching. It is extremely competitive to get a lecturer position.

A further education PGCE would qualify you to work in sixth form college type environments. People are discouraging you from being that specialised, particularly since the funding for 16-19 is continuously being cut.

purplehann Thu 08-Sep-16 13:10:03

Hi Haybott, thanks for your response. I'm not too sure that I'll need a PhD to teach art/ design/ media. I have a Masters and undergraduate in both media and design and according to job posts I see, they don't require a PhD necessarily but they require some sort of teaching qualification. Maybe a PhD is required for other subjects? I totally agree with the FE information you gave, it seems a bit pointless for me to go down that route.

I'm thinking more about getting a PGCE in higher education and then trying to gain QTLS status smile

Closetlibrarian Thu 08-Sep-16 14:10:58

If you want to teach in practice areas in higher education/ universities (e.g. filmmaking, etc) then yes, you often don't need a PhD. But you usually do need a decent amount of professional experience + a masters. Depends on the institution you want to teach though. Ex-Polys/ art colleges will have lower qualification requirements than Russell Group unis.

haybott Thu 08-Sep-16 15:01:20

Depends on the institution you want to teach though. Ex-Polys/ art colleges will have lower qualification requirements than Russell Group unis.

Indeed. I'm most familiar with higher ranking universities where almost all positions even in practice areas still require academics to be research active and to have a PhD. There are some teaching fellow positions which don't require a PhD/research but these don't have much career progression.

YawningKasm Thu 08-Sep-16 17:02:10

I'm not too sure that I'll need a PhD to teach art/ design/ media

Well, it depends. I work in a cognate field and we require a PhD as a basic qualification. Other less research-intensive universities would allow equivalent professional experience, but it would be equivalent to a PhD - ie an original contribution to knowledge. A PGCE or PGHE wouldn't come near to that.

Most of the new lecturers I appoint do the equivalent of a PGHE once they start with us. We don't count it over a PhD and/or high-level professional experience and/or research publications, and/or professional practice equivalent (eg well-reviewed novel published by a reasonable trade press, not self-published, that sort of thing).

StepAwayFromTheThesaurus Thu 08-Sep-16 17:11:28

The ex-poly I work at insists on people employed in arts, design and media having PhDs. They may relax this if they have a practice focused post, but they'll expect impressive professional experience.

Yes, sometimes an advert at lecturer level might indicate that PhDs aren't always required, but your application would almost certainly be ranked below everyone who applied with a PhD.

YawningKasm Thu 08-Sep-16 17:19:40

But if you want to work in FE, then you probably don't need a PhD, or really high-level professional experience (more's the pity). The best FE teachers in the creative arts/industries are however, usually very highly qualified & experienced, but just get sick of the continual hustle of freelance work in a cash-starved creative economy. One friend of mine said "I'd like to have a mortgage by the time I'm 50."

purplehann Thu 08-Sep-16 18:08:01

Thank you all for your input. It seems as though in order to successfully get a job in HE I will require a PhD.

Can I ask then, in what instance is a PGCert in Higher Education seen as valid/ useful? Is there any job in teaching that it might help me get?

My only alternative option is to do the Secondary PGCE and teach art and design/ media to secondary school students but I definitely prefer the idea of working with older students.

YawningKasm Thu 08-Sep-16 18:42:57

I suggest you subscribe to to see what jobs come up that you might be qualified for. See what formal qualifications and professional experience they require.

But very few universities will value a PGHE over a PhD or equivalent high level professional practice. Universities are not schools: they need people who will teach from a position of making new knowledge or pushing the boundaries of practice. Not simply replicating what we already know. Hence the focus on research/innovation in practice.

purplehann Thu 08-Sep-16 20:55:33

Thank you YawningKasm. I'll definitely take a look at

StepAwayFromTheThesaurus Thu 08-Sep-16 21:14:17

The PGHE is often just a thing universities like people to get so they can say, 'oh our staff have teaching qualifications too'. But they really care about the research and research-informed teaching. The PGHE is never a deal breaker in job applications. They'll just insist people who don't have them get one in post (or become fellows of the HEA).

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