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Post 16 PGCE or Secondary Science PGCE?

(9 Posts)
Supermum222 Mon 05-May-14 19:53:33


I currently work for the NHS in laboratory science and I am very interested in changing career to teaching. I work part time now but I am very worried about the cost of re-training (I have a mortgage and 2 primary children). I am hoping to re-train to be a science teacher (although biology is my strongest).

I have looked into the post 16 PGCE at a local Uni and I am wondering if I should do that as I can carry on working PT at the hospital. I have been told you can now go into secondary school teaching children over 14 years with this qualification. I worry that the Post 16 PGCE will be seen as a second class qualification compared to the PGCE though.
I have been offered some teaching hours (voluntary) in a local FE college and the course is strongly related to my profession in the NHS. I would prefer to work in a sixth form or secondary school though later on.

Does anyone know anyone with a post 16 PGCE and what they are doing with it? What 'other doors' will it open apart from teaching in a FE college?

I have a 2:1 and Masters in a science subject and many years experience as a STEM ambassador in secondary schools.
I have a very good teacher training provider close to where I live if I were to go down the secondary PGCE route (they have just been graded 'outstanding' by OFSTED). I am very worried over leaving job (well, giving up the money) if I would not secure a post at the end. I am 42 years old. I have wanted to do this for years but keep putting it off due to money but I always get drawn back!
Should I stick with the post 16 PGCE for the extra security? I would hope to teach A levels in Biology, Health Studies or access courses with this.

SweepTheHalls Mon 05-May-14 19:56:04

I think you are really limiting your job prospects by doing the post 16 qualification. On a secondary science pgce, you can teach post 16, but also in any secondary. PS, if you are in or near Northants, I'm recruiting for secondary science pgce candidates!

thefemaleJoshLyman Tue 06-May-14 19:21:31

Definitely do the secondary science PGCE.

Supermum222 Tue 06-May-14 20:20:45


Thank you for the replies.

I think I will go for secondary science. I will probably have to leave it until next year though while I save up some funds. I feel it would be good to spend the year in schools getting to know what goes on etc. Also, I need to brush up on my subject knowledge.
I am in the north east :-)

June2008 Fri 09-May-14 13:10:04

Try looking at the schools direct route, you may well be able to find a paid training position. Definitely go for the secondary option, many schools are crying out for good science teachers!

AElfgifu Fri 09-May-14 18:21:17

Don't do it!

Don't do it!

seriously, I wouldn't consider going into teaching now. I've done it full time since my kids were younger, but it is NOT compatible with family life.

I get home 4 hours after my teens in the evening. About half of my half term holiday, and 2 weeks of my summer holidays coincide with times my children are off. I have to teach straight through the Easter holidays, and the February half term, you will find many science teachers have to do this. I also work at home at least one day of each weekend, and half of the holidays I do share with my kids. Family life is reduced to Sunday afternoons, a couple of weeks in the summer, and Christmas day!

There are NO other full time teaching mothers in my school; ( staff of 150) because it can't reasonably be done.

fancyanotherfez Fri 09-May-14 18:28:34

AElfgifu I know this happens in FE (which is why I do agency, so I only work term time only) but is this the case in schools too? I will never apply for a permanent position in an FE college again. I have seen people get treated like the lowest of the low by management until they are so broken that they lose all confidence in their ability to do their job. Where I work, the permanent staff are expected to be back on the 18th of August. I was thinking of applying for school positions though, but won't if it's going the same way. OP, secondary PGCE or the schools direct approach definitely. You can always apply for sixth form colleges only if you like afterwards. You are in a demand subject.

sashh Sat 10-May-14 07:32:56

The main difference between the two qualifications now is that the FE PGCE qualifies you to teach any subject, so with an NHS background you could teach things like access to nursing or BTEC health sciences as well as science.

Now that QTLS has been given the same status as QTS you can teach in schools and you can teach any age. Previously you could teach from 14 to adult but only in an FE college.

I'm doing supply at the moment so I'm between schools and FE, I much prefer FE even when I'm teaching the same subject and the same level qualification. Do try to get experience in both before you decide.

Supermum222 Tue 13-May-14 19:51:29


It is the fact that the FE PGCE has been given the same status as QTS that is swaying me all the time. The university has told me I could teach anyone over the age of 14.
Ideally, I would like to teach biology, health studies GCSE and A-level. The FE PGCE would allow me to do that and access to health courses also. I would prefer a 6th form to a FE college though.
I can carry on earning in the NHS while I study for the FE PGCE (although it would take 2 years). With a secondary PGCE I would need to leave work. It is a RISK.
I so wish I had gone into teaching when I was 21!! I had the application forms for a PGCE at Durham University but I had also applied for a trainee position in the NHS (that I got). Teaching took a back seat but it has always been 'there' if you know what I mean. My friend at Uni got a lower class degree to me and she did go on to become a teacher (she is now head of the science department)!
Anyway, now my children are past the 'little people' stage I really want to move into education somehow (whether I completely change career or do it part time as a side line).

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