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Quick help: PGCE at Uni or School Direct?

(23 Posts)
arrrghhhhwaiting Mon 10-Nov-14 21:16:23

I'm at the point where I need to send in my PGCE application (references submitted) - but am struggling with my choices.

As a mature student with two young DCs of my own in primary school, I'm trying to weigh up the following, but wonder if there is anything I haven't considered, or that I've got plain wrong:

PGCE at uni
Positives - less time/weeks in school might keep childcare costs down,
more time to write assignments in non-placement weeks?
Negatives - harder to get a job at the end,
less experience in school,
schools might be a long drive away,
harder to find a job?

School Direct
Positives - School more likely to give me a job in the end (or is this just govt. spin to make school direct more appealing,
gets me out of the uni-classroom which Ive been in for 3 years
Negatives - More time in school = more childcare costs,
if with named school (as planned) what if my face doesnt fit, or they are unsupportive, Ill be stuck there for a whole year

Also, any advice on whether headteachers, when looking to employ an NQT/Teacher, care about:
Whether PGCE uni was a Russell Group one
Whether PGCE was uni based or school direct based

Thank you for any advice, if you've read that far!

Applejack2 Tue 11-Nov-14 06:32:20


You are in the same position as me. I am a career changer after years in the NHS. My children are 6 and 10. My eldest starts secondary next year and he will have to go to and from school on the school bus. He won't be home until 4.30pm.
I have volunteered in a few schools recently and all teachers I have spoken to have recommended training in school (so, SCITT/school direct). I would love the salaried route (especially having 2 children and a mortgage) but I think that one is a dream.
How old are your children?
My husband has put in a flexible working request to work 4 days but longer hours. Also, he has asked to do early shifts so he can be home for school coming out. Will see...we find out this week. Failing that, we have a childminder across from the school but the problem will be our eldest who is starting to make noises about going to a childminder. I don't want him home alone after school. School has a breakfast club for the youngest £2 a day.
A lot of teacher training providers have been graded as outstanding and a lot are not Russell Group. Don't worry about that.
What did you do before? I am actually still working in the NHS (part time) but plan, if all goes well, to leave in July and take the summer off!

shinysparklythings Tue 11-Nov-14 06:46:09

What subject?

I think this has a big bearing... If you are a shortage subject for example you can get a big bursary for your schools direct.

Of the nqt's we have this year the schools direct seem to of had much better training than the pgce ones, being far more comfortable in the classroom with better behaviour management, but obviously this will depend on provider.

Schools direct will also help you prepare more for what it's like when you are a teacher dye to the hands on nature. Our local schools direct provider you also get a pgce out of it.

Good luck whatever you decide. It is the best job in the world (although ridiculously tough, you have no free time and stupid demands made of you).

MrTumblesBavarianFanbase Tue 11-Nov-14 06:55:25

I did GTP, which I assume was a predecessor of Schools Direct - I'd just say that my HOD hated the whole concept and was very resentful about my in-between status as neither placement student nor NQT, and was as unhelpful and unsupportive as she could get away with being. If you do school based training be very careful about the school because, as you say, you are stuck there for a year and one influential staff member can make your experience very unpleasant or difficult if they feel resentful or put-upon.

chocoshopoholic Tue 11-Nov-14 07:06:40

Also check what qualifications you end up with. Local to here, schools direct usually offer PGCE with a local uni accreditation. PGCE unis often also offer an accredited support programme in your nQT year which gets you much closer to a masters qualification.

DontGotoRoehampton Tue 11-Nov-14 07:24:16

As a survivor - just - of School Direct shambles and now knowing many people who have done it eitherway, I recommend a trad PGCE at a reputable university with excellent school links - eg Institute of Education.
SD - no easier to get a job - those (few) who wanted to stay on a their main school had to enter a competitive application process in the normal way with external candidates, and not all did get the job. Far better to go to a uni with a good range of placement schools, - you are then just a s well placed to get a job with a placement school afterwards.
Also with SD you still have to have a second placement, and this was very problematic for some people, as they had planned around being in the first school, and suddenly had to travel miles with awkward transport to get to second placement school.
The bursary is the same for PGCE as SD for shortage subjects.
The fees you pay on a rubbish SD training non-salaried route are the same a for a proper course trad PGCE
The salaried route is no free money - people I saw go this route were flung into situations as cheap labour - did not get the 6 weeks intensive training the TeachFirst people get.
If you are determined to retrain as a teacher, go with the place with the best track record - do not be lied to persuaded by glittering new lamps grin

SweepTheHalls Tue 11-Nov-14 07:33:23

Just to muddle you further, there is a 5rd choice! There is also the SCOTTISH route! I am subject lead for a SCITT provider, and we offer exactly the same course through phse and schools direct route. Trainees are in 2 schools, so there is less of an issue with clashes. Most of out trainee teachers do get employed in one of their training schools.

SweepTheHalls Tue 11-Nov-14 07:34:10

5rd? Bloody phone! 3rd!

arrrghhhhwaiting Tue 11-Nov-14 09:43:35

Thanks for replies. I'm just finishing my degree at uni this year. Was previously a PA / office manager.

I'm interested in primary, but especially early years. That's the other dilemma... General primary or EYFS specialist for 3 to 7 years?
Eyfs is where my heart less, but teachers I know say I'll limit myself. But maybe I want to 'limit' myself iyswim.

AppleRings Tue 11-Nov-14 19:43:10

If money's an issue ie for childcare have you looked at teach first?
Are you applying for the salaried sd or the unsalaried?

0ellenbrody0 Tue 11-Nov-14 20:16:27

I did schools direct, enjoyed it and felt well equipped for my NQT year. 26/28 people on my course got jobs at their placement schools.

As far as the second school placement goes, my provider was happy for us to make swaps within our class and as such most people did not have to travel too far and still worked with an established mentor.

I was on the salaried route and did not have course fees, so was financially better off than the previous years where I was a nursery nurse.

It was a really positive (but hard and pressurised!) experience for me.

FuzzyWizard Tue 11-Nov-14 20:36:40

I'd say PGCE at a reputable uni with a good education department. When we've been recruiting PGCE has been preferred (especially from IOE) It's really difficult with schools direct to know what quality training they have had... Often school training is very focused on OFSTED rather than research. This can leave trainees with limited understanding of pedagogy.

rollonthesummer Wed 12-Nov-14 12:18:49

I wouldn't worry about limiting yourself. My neighbour specialised in EY and has taught in Y3 for years.

MrsMot Wed 12-Nov-14 19:09:23

I aim to start a PGCE next September, my current job is as a 1-1 SEN TA. With 4dcs aged from 14 to 6 it's taken a lot of thought and planning!

Deciding between school or uni based was difficult but a couple of things swung it.

A v experienced trainee did salaried SD at our school. She said the difference in input from sponsoring schools was extraordinary.

Logistics are also a factor. My nearest uni has an outstanding-rated Primary course with the option of an MA, the nearest SD providers use partners much further away. Fewer and fewer local places are salaried, if I'm paying I'd rather go for the established route.

arrrghhhhwaiting Thu 13-Nov-14 12:35:52

Thanks for replies everyone... Just need to wait now!

arrrghhhhwaiting Tue 16-Dec-14 20:24:10

Hi everyone

Well I got offers from all 3 and have until tomorrow to decide:
1.Russell Group primary pgce
2.Non-Russell Group with strong education links, primary pgce
3. School direct (not salaried) ey/ks1 primary pgce accredited through no. 2.

Please tell me I wouldnt be mad to take the school direct ey/ks1 option? My heart says this one, but my husband head says Russell Group.

All same no. of Masters Credits.

0ellenbrody0 Wed 17-Dec-14 18:25:33

Just my personal opinion, but School Direct will equip you SO well for teaching, but - only if you're the kind of person who learns best when being 'chucked in at the deep end'!

DontGotoRoehamptonUniversity Wed 17-Dec-14 18:44:17

Russell Group.

MaraThonbar Wed 17-Dec-14 22:09:07

Do the RG PGCE if you are academic and enjoy reading a lot of theory and philosophy of education, and don't mind having to wait until Christmas and beyond to teach properly and get a bit of autonomy in the classroom.

Do the SD if you are practical and want to get stuck straight in, and don't mind if your training lacks depth in the academic theory of pedagogy.

Bitlost Sun 18-Jan-15 22:16:26

Schools Direct is the Wild West. Avoid at all cost.

Skatingfastonthinice Mon 19-Jan-15 08:08:13

'I wouldn't worry about limiting yourself. My neighbour specialised in EY and has taught in Y3 for years.'

I agree, I specialised in 9-13 years ago, and I've taught everything from 4-12 over the years. It's more about your flexibility and attitude if you want to change KS.
I know many teacers that have stuck with a specific year that they excel in, and many that have changed year groups regularly. All are very sure about their choice.

CovetingaFiat500 Mon 19-Jan-15 17:43:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bitlost Tue 20-Jan-15 05:55:29

I agree CovetingaFiat500, although if your school looks after you, it tends to help! The one sd person we know with a good mentor (one across a whole borough!) is doing ok. She's being challenged without being undermined and not used for ppa cover. Everyone should have this level of training. Sadly, she's the exception. One person we know was greeted on their first day by a mentor who told him he did not want him and did not think he would be successful.

Teachers, If you're giving your sd students a tough time without providing the appropriate training, take a good look at yourself and next year decline the offer. Heads, if your staff say they don't have time to mentor, listen. You might think that sd are time wasters but a lot of them are really alright. Clever people that you've chosen, so give them a bit of respect.

Prospective students, do your research, try and speak to previous schools direct people from the school making you an offer, ask how many students left the course last year (don't accept vague answers!), ask how you'll be mentored, ask if they have enough mentors for all their students (no, I am not joking!) If the school can't answer these questions precisely, move on.

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