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Part time flexible PGCE (2 years) or full time School Direct (1 year)?

(22 Posts)
CountryLovingGirl Tue 12-May-15 10:53:05


I have already been offered a 2 year flexible PGCE (primary). The reason I went for this course is because I am a mum (11 yrs/7yrs) and my husband works full time. I had hoped to do the course in a year but the university has decided to make it a 2 year course. I am changing career, from NHS (science background). The course is distance learning with 16 days in school, for observation and reflective reporting, and two full time placements (5 weeks in year one, 9 weeks in year 2). Four university days on top of this at a city 40 miles away (I can get the train no problems though). No issues with childcare and allows me to do the vast majority of school pick-ups, for my youngest, for another two years.

However, I have a meeting arranged with two local head teaches about a school direct place. The six schools involved, in the partnership, are all in my hometown or villages to the outskirts (I am on the right side of town for them though). They seem very keen on me and have said they like to train internally, It does look appealing although it is unsalaried. I would have to pay 5 days a week for childcare and would not be able to go my daughter's school for pick-ups etc. We do have a childminder for pick-ups when I am working normally (I am part time in my own profession but plan on leaving in the summer).

I can't decide between the two.

I am worried about money for the flexible PGCE. I will only get £4k and that is nothing when you have a mortgage to pay and two children to support. We would live on the bread line for 2 years (only £2k each year). I also worry that the course will not be taken seriously by future employers (even though it has been graded outstanding by OFSTED). I worry that I won't get the experience I need. It will, however, give me the flexibility and won't be as much pressure. I am also able do the maths specialism in the 2nd year (a definite for me).

The school direct placement is full time and only a year. I could, financially, manage this better. I would still need to pay childcare but do have £1K saved in childcare vouchers and I think I will qualify for help too. My eldest starts secondary school this September. His new school is a bus ride away so I won't need as much childcare for him. I also feel that I will learn at a faster rate with this route and benefit from internal training within a local partnership of schools. I would hope that this would put me in a better position when a job comes up in one of the schools (ideally, I want to stay close to my hometown). I have no problem working full time but know that this is a VERY hard route to take when you are a parent. Saying that, I am used to hard work with my own profession.

I have studied a Masters by distance learning so I have no problem with that kind of study BUT you do feel 'away' from it all and isolated at times. I had planned on getting some TA agency work throughout the flexible PGCE.

What do you think I should do? Hoping for some wise words of experience.

flowers cake flowers cake flowers

CountryLovingGirl Tue 12-May-15 11:20:11

Oh, I also have a place on a local post-16 PGCE (part time, 2 years) that I could do alongside my present career. It would involve teaching courses related to my career in the NHS. I applied for this first but I need to leave the NHS, sadly, due to relocation of the job and changes in working hours.

Awakeagain Tue 12-May-15 13:37:52

If personally do the schools direct route, I know our students trained in house or in our group of schools are pressed to apply for jobs when they come available
Could you get a student loan when doing schools direct?

CountryLovingGirl Tue 12-May-15 14:01:42

Yes, I could get a student loan but I am hoping to avoid it due to my age (43) and the fact that I still have a mortgage to pay. I may have to go down that road though...

mandy214 Tue 12-May-15 14:08:50

I'd go through the school route - making connections, getting it over in a year. Although you won't be with other students, you'll no doubt be with NQ teachers.

TheTroubleWithAngels Tue 12-May-15 17:59:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsUltracrepidarian Tue 12-May-15 20:51:38

Do not do the School Direct! Have seen appalling chaotic and unstructured 'training'. Of course they want you as slave labour.
The part time course seems very well structured. Go for that.

CountryLovingGirl Tue 12-May-15 21:58:32

I am leaning towards the flexible route to be honest. I am a little concerned that this is the first year that the partnership has done SD (even though the lead school is outstanding).
I will see what they say when I meet up with them.
I need to win the lottery!

Redlocks28 Tue 12-May-15 22:01:47

I'd do the Post 16 course.

iheartshoes Tue 12-May-15 22:14:58

Hi OP. Would you mind saying which uni it is that is offering your modular PGCE? I am looking into flexible pgce routes that I could work around childcare and yours sounds very doable ! Please PM me if you don't want to say on here smile Thank you

Lizziewarmington Wed 13-May-15 06:32:05

School Direct is better preparation for teaching as you are in school all year. However it is full on -10 hour days at school plus evening work and pretty much all weekends and holidays. But it's 10 months and then you are qualified and you've been paid to do it! Either route the onus will be on you to study and make the most of the opportunity. Good luck even with all the bad press teaching is an amazing job.

Brandysnapper Wed 13-May-15 06:46:50

Doing the more intense course when your dos is in his first year of secondary might be hard (depends on how you think he'll cope etc).

CharlesRyder Wed 13-May-15 06:57:08

If you feel confident that you can hit the ground running with a class and your family can manage the pressure I would do School Direct.

However, I would echo that it is only good for the most confident, most organised trainees who take to the teaching and paperwork like a duck to water. My last school took a lot of SD trainees but employed them all as Graduate TAs for a year (and they did HLTA type work) before they started and that seemed to make SD work quite well.

If you do SD your Head and Mentor will make or break your life that year so I think you need to meet both of those people and get a feel for them before you decide (in the ideal world).

CharlesRyder Wed 13-May-15 06:58:54

If you are unsalaried are you super-numerary?

CountryLovingGirl Wed 13-May-15 09:11:26

The SD is unpaid. It would make a huge difference if it as paid.

CountryLovingGirl Wed 13-May-15 09:19:56

Both have offered me the maths specialism but I am not sure if I could push the bursary up. It seems to be an 'interest' in maths rather than the 100% specialism.

I didn't do maths at A level but my science degree had statistics in it. I have really enjoyed coaching my level 6 boy (good luck to him today) and it has 'sparked' something in me. It is definitely maths that I would like to do as a specialism. If I ended up doing a course later on, after ITT, then I would.

I went to a bad secondary school (late 80's/early 90's), way before OFSTED, and missed a lot of school in my GCSE final year due to meningococcal meningitis (lost 4-5 months). The school would only allow me to sit the foundation papers in a lot of subjects (frustrated)! I made up for it later on with a good degree and distinctions at HND/Masters.

Tillyscoutsmum Thu 14-May-15 19:28:13

I am just coming to the end of my school direct year (5 teaching weeks to go!!! gringrin). I'm a lone parent to a 5 and 8 year old and it has been HARD. My first placement was hellish (outstanding lead school but a complete arsehole of a classroom mentor). My second and third placements have been amazing smile

I have applied for 4 jobs for September (all within 20 mins commute) and been offered all of them. I've just accepted a position in my preferred school teaching my preferred year group.

It hasn't all gone smoothly and I do feel that my own dc's have been somewhat neglected (not in a literal sense!) but it has flown by and I do think the SD route has stood me in good stead for the NQT year.

Hope that's helpful

CountryLovingGirl Thu 14-May-15 20:24:15

Congratulations Tillyscoutmum! Wow! 4 job offers is amazing and great that you won't have far to travel.

I was told yesterday that the year goes very quickly. It isn't actually a full year either. I am going to investigate the finance a little more in the morning. Did you do the salaried SD? It makes a lot of difference to receive a little bit of payment.

Hope the 5 weeks fly by and you can enjoy the summer! Feet up!

Tillyscoutsmum Thu 14-May-15 20:50:12

Thank you smile

It was unsalaried (unfortunately). I've had to have a tuition fee loan which I took out for the full amount, despite getting a bursary. It has been tight financially but, frankly, I haven't has time to socialise or go shopping for the last 9 months so I've saved some there wink

Good luck with whatever you decide.

KindleKind Thu 14-May-15 21:27:25

I did a paid SD, they are available. Got about 18k for the year and my uni fees paid. I couldn't have done it without that.

MaraThonbar Thu 14-May-15 22:47:05

Salaried SD places are like hens' teeth but as a career changer with a STEM background you are exactly the kind of person that they are aimed at, OP. Worth investigating, although it would be for 2016-17.

Lizzylou Fri 15-May-15 21:00:55

I am coming to the end of teacher training via SCITT, so very similar to Schools Direct.
Like Tilly it has flown by, I am in secondary and have been offered a job in my home school. I have loved it if I am honest. It has been hard work but those of us (there are 15 of us in the 4 school consortium) who are parents, particularly the Mothers have coped way better than the new graduates.
Go for Schools Direct, being in the classroom is the best training.
Hands up , I do have the best mentor ever and a very supportive department but even on my contrasting placement it went well, because I had the right attitude. Your maturity and your time management skills are in your favour here.

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