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(6 Posts)
Misfitless Thu 27-Feb-14 21:26:06

Would really appreciate the advice of any Early Years teachers out there.

I am considering applying for a PGCE in Early Years.

I regularly lurk on this board, so am aware that teaching is generally a very stressful job, but, am I completely naive and deluded to think that Early Years teaching is less stressful than primary and/or secondary?

Assuming that I am offered a place on the PGCE course, can somebody please explain how you gain your QTS status?

On the website of the institution I have looked at, it says that you can gain 'recommendation' for QTS, so I am a bit confused. I assume it's on successful completion of various placements and supporting evidence, but I don't know what the criteria is.


HalfSpamHalfBrisket Thu 27-Feb-14 21:41:24

Yes, I believe you are naive to think this. If you are looking for a low stress job, teaching (any school age) is not it.
I'm an early years teacher in a primary school. You could be an early years teacher in a nursery - but in that case you may be on a different contract with different t&cs to school teachers (eg, diff holidays, diff (longer) working hours).

In any setting, you will be have the same OFSTED pressures, the same hours planning, recording & evaluating, training and managing other staff, working with parents, teaching...
Soon, you will also probably get to 'lead' a subject or two school wide, and possibly start to train BEd/PGCE students in your classroom.
It all adds up to a very intersting and varied work life, but it IS full on and never-ending. You sell your soul to the school in term time and have a lovely relax/collapse over the holidays.

You gain QTS by passing the course and passing the skills tests. You also need to pass an NQT year to really be considered a fully qualified teacher (especially if you ever want to teach abroad).

Misfitless Thu 27-Feb-14 22:24:36

Thanks for the reply HalfSpam (grin at your name!)

Can I ask how you manage to fit it all in with your family? Do you find yourself working well into the evening, and what sort of hours do you have to put in at the weekend/holidays?

I have 4 DCs and the youngest will hopefully be in Y1 if/when I start the PGCE. Is it possible to achieve a good work/home balance? (You do hear horror stories about teaching!)

Are you FT or PT? Ideally I would prefer to work PT in a school/children's centre, but I imagine PT jobs are few and far between.

I want to go into it with my eyes as wide open as possible, sorry for the 20 questions!

HalfSpamHalfBrisket Fri 28-Feb-14 07:33:27

I don't have children myself (grown up step kids!) but the vast majority of people I know who have primary age children work part time. Working part time is great (I used to do 3 days, but have since gone full time) as you can get some semblence of a work-life balance; which can be tricky especially in your NQT year. There are a fair few part time job shares in primary, as there are lots of parents who are juggling teaching and young families.
The PGCE year itself is pretty tough, a student I've just had had a 5 year old and she needed lots of family support to help her through the placement (you can't pick up from school, you will be working in the evening weekends). It can be done though, you just need to be very committed and very organised.

Working at the evening/weekends goes in waves - you do the work when it needs doing but occasionally I'll rebel and do the minimum for a few nights!.
I usually go into school by 8 and leave 5-6pm. There will usually be 2-3 hours most evenings (I was working on the new ICT curriculum last night when I saw you post). I'll try to have at least 1 free day at the weekend. When it comes to holidays - again it depends what time of the year it is. I am usually fairly militant about not thinking about school during summer, Christmas and Easter, but that meant I know I've got to fit in admin/strategy/log term planning at other times - so I spent all of half term working longer hours than I do in the school term. This was MY choice though as it means I'm happier going into this 1/2 term.

If you work in a children's centre they will be open the whole year and you may be employed on I think the Soulbury scale (no long holidays,. but the chance to have them out of peak times). I hope someone else with more knowledge of that comes along.

Can you get in and observe at some schools/ children's centres?

Misfitless Fri 28-Feb-14 08:19:58

That's really helpful Half, thanks.

Yes, I have got my name down at a children's centre, to go in and help, I'm just waiting to hear back from them.

I'm currently doing a one year TA course, and might even work part time for a couple of years doing that before I apply for a PGCE course. This would give me a bit more time at home whilst my youngest settles into school, and build up my school experience, which would be really beneficial for my development, and would look good on my application, too.

Thanks for replying.

Misfitless Fri 28-Feb-14 11:25:36

Got on a placement in a primary school one day a week at the moment, and have a degree in primary ed, but early years is what I really want to do, as much as I love KS 1 & 2.

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