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Changing from HE to FE- Maths- how? And, am I mad?

(16 Posts)
silverten Sat 09-Aug-14 11:14:28

I've always worked in Universities and leaned far more strongly towards teaching than research. Recently I had a bit of an epiphany about how my work is(n't) valued by my department and decided to look seriously into teaching post-GCSE students. This would also allow me to work much closer to home, which is attractive as my DC are small and I don't want to miss out on stuff like nativity plays or parent's evenings if I can help it.

My hope is to be able to teach at a local 6th form college, ideally part time. Not spending three hours a day commuting would make a big difference to my life for a start.

I was hoping some of you would have some words of advice on the potential of this plan.

I also am unsure as to what qualifications are needed- I think I already have the relevant certificate from working at university level. However I think my experience of lecturing may not prepare me for teaching A level and was wondering how to get some relevant experience in this direction too. Private tutoring springs immediately to mind but it's not quite the same as classroom teaching, is it?

Any comments on this plan gratefully accepted!

Higheredserf Sun 10-Aug-14 00:01:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

silverten Sun 10-Aug-14 04:19:42

Lower pay I can deal with, up to a point. My commute is unbelievably expensive ATM.

Cutbacks- is maths likely to be vulnerable to these?

Don't mind OFSTED or other performance assessment. Seems a reasonably fair proposition that your work is checked for quality.

RainbowTeapot Mon 11-Aug-14 21:31:59

Id be curious I hearing from anyone who has fone both. Ive taught mainly 6th form but would like to teach he/research.

silverten Tue 12-Aug-14 09:44:48

How did you get into 6th form teaching, Rainbow? Could you describe what a typical week is like for me please?

sashh Mon 18-Aug-14 16:32:39

Maths is not likely to be cut back, but the chances of just teaching post GCSE are remote.

In a school with a VI form you would normally be expected to teach all years. In an FE college you will have 16+ students but you will be teaching a lot of key skills type courses, some level 1, 2 and GCSE.

Cherrypi Mon 18-Aug-14 16:46:12

Teaching maths in FE is tough. You are mostly teaching very reluctant to learners. It is often thought of as an add on and you are the lowest of the low in terms of departments as you don't bring in money. It can be satisfying getting students who have sat at the back of a maths classroom doing their nails for five years their first maths qualification but mostly you receive abuse from students and vocational lecturers who hate maths.

meran Mon 18-Aug-14 16:54:19

I taught fe maths with a secondary maths qualification.

I think (especially now) you would be very lucky to just teach post gcse and you could end up teaching reluctant weak students also.

Cherrypi Mon 18-Aug-14 17:02:20

On the other side it is easy to get a job. I would advise sending in CV and offering to take an evening class. Then you can try it out.

PricillaQueenOfTheDessert Mon 18-Aug-14 17:15:11

You need a teaching qualification up to the level you are teaching so secondary is fine for GCSE/A Level. The current accepted qualification in FE is DTLLS (2 years p/t), and you will need to gain PTLLS (10 weeks p/t) in the first year of employment in FE.
You will also need to have experience of teaching at this level - teaching HE is not the same as FE. Although home tutoring is not the same environment either it will at least show you are capable at this level. It's probably worth spending the next year getting this experience with a view to moving next September.

PricillaQueenOfTheDessert Mon 18-Aug-14 17:25:05

Oh, and student wise, you are most probably likely to have students taking resits rather than starting at the beginning. IME where I am (Greater London) there are a lot of good sixth form colleges so students often stay on at school then come to my college to resit.
It is not likely to be cut back, it is a growth area with the government pushing for school leavers to be better qualified in English and Maths. There are suprisingly few good teachers around at this level.

silverten Mon 18-Aug-14 22:35:44

That's interesting, thanks!

Wasn't expecting not to have to teach GCSE but I was thinking going for a college rather than a school with sixth form would suit me better. It's more the age of the students than the level of teaching that I'm thinking about- I can't see me dealing well with snotty younger teenagers. Yes, I knew about resit students but I think I can handle a bit of that.

I'm really puzzled as to why maths doesn't attract finding though. Surely it's a core, bread and butter subject?

Thanks for the pointers to the qualifications- will google! Presumably as I have a PG cert in post-compulsory education this must go some way to fulfilling those, though? I do definitely need experience- teaching an evening class hadn't occurred to me so that's a great idea. Thanks!

PricillaQueenOfTheDessert Mon 18-Aug-14 23:07:35

PM me OP, I work in FE and can put you in touch with a couple of people that can give you better advice than I can smile

MagratGarlik Mon 08-Sep-14 10:10:36

I've worked in University, moved to secondary and now run a private tuition business, where I offer tuition, but I also employ a couple of other people for subjects/age groups I don't cover myself.

If you've been on a permanent HEFCE funded post at University, it is likely you will have done the PGCHE (post graduate certificate in higher education) or equivalent. This will allow you to be considered "qualified" for post-16, but not for secondary. For secondary, you'd need to do the full PGCE as though you had never taught before. You might be surprised by the amount of stuff on A'level and GCSE syllabi which you don't touch at University. I found I had to revise some things I hadn't touched in a while. However, the material wasn't challenging and shouldn't take too long to get up to speed with.

Does your University run any foundation years, where you might be able to get experience of teaching level 3 material (equivalent of A'level)? This would at least give you proof of being able to teach at that level. Many Universities run foundation level maths courses for science students and therefore even if your department doesn't run any, you might be able to pick up some teaching from a science dept. Otherwise, school outreach activities, particularly those aimed at 6th formers might help demonstrate further experience with pre-HE students.

Kez100 Thu 11-Sep-14 08:40:48

My son has just started at a FE college. He is resitting higher Maths GCSE because he didn't get the high grade he know he can achieve. A few mates are resitting as they didn't get a C Grade and have to keep going by law now until they are 18. My daughters friend did maths at FE simply to get a University place she wanted in Art - she followed a functional skills Level 2 course. Then, my sons mates BTEC vocational course has a 'Maths for Technicians' unit taught by the Maths department - so there is certainly a lot more Maths provision taught at FE than A level.

Applejack2 Tue 18-Nov-14 20:54:45


Sorry, a bit late to this post.
I looked into teaching in FE/6th form earlier this year. I work part time in the NHS (my first profession). I have always fancied teaching as I got older but I am well aware that it is a tough job (at any age).
I was told to do the post-16 PGCE but it sounds like you are already qualified. I applied and was offered a place but I have deferred for a year so I can make my mind up what I want to do (I have also considered a primary PGCE).
I am from a science background and the principal kept asking if I would be interested in maths. They were desperate for maths teacher. I actually like maths and would consider it! It does worry me that they were so keen to push maths.
I would prefer a 6th form to a FE college.

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