Help! PGCE starts September.(21 Posts)
I am a career changer (from a science background in the NHS). I am 43 so feeling old anyway! I have a place on a flexible primary PGCE (2 years) BUT I am having doubts and considering switching to secondary biology (I wanted to be a biology teacher many, many years ago as it was my passion and I loved school). Both of my biology teachers encouraged me to go for teaching but fate took over (actually, I ran out of money and didn't want to stay another year to do a PGCE as I had already taken a year out in industry). I regretted it very early on but, due to marriage and two children, I stayed in my NHS role (specialist level).
Anyway, my worry is that I have to give up my primary place before I can apply for secondary (there are places left). Although my BSc and MSc are in a biology based subject it is a LONG time ago since I studied GCSE and A-level biology. I am worried that they will make me wait a year. I don't want to wait another year before training (I still work part time in the NHS but job has moved away). I have volunteered as a STEM ambassador for a few years (secondary).
Is there anything I can do?
Talk to the uni you want to go informally to try and gauge whether they will give you a place, i suspect they will. Teaching biology is fab, loads of fun i am a career changer too, also from the NHS and have been teaching sic years now.
Good idea! I will try that.
I have looked at the flexi course at Edge Hill. If I did the course over two years then I would be able to 'catch up' with things.
What did you do in the NHS? I loved biology at school and really wish I had done teacher training when I left university.
At our local teacher training university, one option was a KS2/KS3 PGCE. Is that available, and would it suit you? It would effectively leave all options open to you.
I wouldn't do that, as rather than having options open it is actually restrictive, unless there are a lot of middle schools in your area. Secondary schools see you as a primary teacher; primary schools see you as a secondary teacher.
Ks2/3 opens you up to both primary and secondary, I had no problems getting a job, neither did anyone on my course- one is even now down in reception. I could offer my school a transition specialist and have changed our curriculums for ks3 quite dramatically based on my experience of ks2. If you want to teach A level though I would stick to secondary PGCE. Sciences, although, not so much biology, is a shortage subject and if you are any good you'd be snapped up straight away where I am.
Hi! I finished my PGCE last year, be sure you go with what you want to do, as it's hard work once it starts. To be honest with you biology specialists at secondary level are in the majority, but science is still a shortage subject. One if my colleagues is KS2/3 and can't teach gcse or A-level so is currently having to do an enhancement. I hope you make a desision soon.
I was a research scientist for the NHS. Yes there are more Biology teachers than physicists, but the trainees coming throug our school all are still securing jobs.
Ks2/3 round here would not see you very employable, it may well vry from area to area though.
Having worked in both primary and secondary as a subject specialist (music) I would do the secondary science PGCE. Having seen the workload in primary (marking marking MARKING) I would say that secondary is more manageable. Not easier as you still have behaviour management/GCSE and A Level stuff to do as well as KS3, but having seen how much paperwork they have to do in primary, I know I personally couldn't do it.
Thanks for the input. In an ideal world I would definitely go for secondary but I was put off due to the lack of jobs in biology. I have seen a few advertised this last week (even at this late stage) and the local teacher training partnership has assured me that ALL PGCE students got a job straight away this year and last year.
Our BIG endowment matures March 2017 and I plan on paying a huge chuck off the mortgage so that we will pay very small payments for the remainder of the term (only 6-7 years now). It makes a difference to what I do. I could even do supply for a while.
I am not too worried about work load. If it helps, and inspires, the next generation then I am all for it but I do have two children myself to consider. My eldest (boy, 11) starts secondary this year. He is very bright (especially at maths) BUT needs a good nudge sometimes! He is a handful at home but is, finally, starting to mature. He is gong to an outstanding secondary and I really hope it will be the making of him as he has potential to do well (his teacher and head said the same). My youngest (girl, 8) is ok but not as bright as her older brother. She is also very quiet and this holds her back a lot. I feel that she will need the greatest support. Dreading her SATs in year 6. GCSE years are also looming so, if I make the change, I want to do it ASAP (and before I become a pensioner)!
I have 2 weeks off, after Friday, so will make a few calls.
Marking is secondary is equally hard, our books should be deep marked once per fortinght, but A level marking takes ages and there are mock exams for ks4 and half termly assessments for each year group (maths) so I expect science will be similar. I love teaching secondary, it's great having a year 7 form group and watching them become young adults.
So agree ember rose about that,it is a huge privilege to meet a bunch of kids in the summer of year 6 when they come for induction days and mould and nurture them in delightful ( mostly!) year 11 leavers.
The workload in any part of teaching is pretty mammoth and takes some getting used to. I would do whichever you feel most comfortable with. Also don't forget if you do a secondary science PGCE you can still go and work in a primary school if you want as you'll have QTS. It's harder to switch the other way I think.
Having done a 7-14 PGCE (11 years ago now) I'd definitely say don't do it. I live in an area with middle schools but they are now being shut. It's taken a lot of hard work to show that I'm suited to primary teaching (I start in September) because as PP have said you are stuck in the middle, primaries are wary because of the secondary nature of the teaching, secondaries won't touch you without GCSE experience. If I had my time again I would have gone for primary from the outset.
Forgot to add I taught in middle until the end of term this year so 10 years of middle school, now moving to primary.
"I'm not too worried about the workload" - in a middle school I worked from 7.30 am in school without a lunch break until 4pm then picked up my kids and then worked from 7pm until midnight or 1 am every single day. Saturday's I worked mornings and Sunday's afternoons and evenings. Workload is HUGE and I never watched TV or spent time with my kids. Do the age group with least work! I can't teach now as my dd is severely ill and I am sole carer and I miss the kids but not the work
I have withdrawn from primary. I am still in between secondary science (biology) and a post-16 PGCE at a local college. The college has also offered me paid hours (not at first). I can also do this part time alongside my NHS job (although with the commute I really don't want to stay).
I really feel that a secondary PGCE is the way to go though. I feel that training will be a lot better. There are places available on the 2 year course I am looking at so I going to apply over the next couple of days. The course leader is aware.
Do you think I should do A-level Chemistry over the 2 years? I didn't do it at school/college. I am also wondering if I should do a distance learning A-level Biology course to refresh (but, I think they do a lot of subject knowledge enhancement on the PGCE).
Ember and Rosie: My eldest (boy) is 11 and starts year 7 in September! He has been ready for secondary for a while now. He loved the 2 induction days. When we went to the open evening (earlier in the year) he was amazed! I was too! The science labs were amazing and I was very impressed with the art department (not that I am the slightest artistic). The boys enjoyed the science experiments that had been set up and I felt a very strong pull to the biology lab!
Forgot to say that the secondary that my eldest starts in Sept has vacancies for BIOLOGY but it is a full time PGCE. It would be great to do a lot of training close to where he is (he has to get the bus, I could give him a lift) but I know, deep down, it probably isn't a good idea as he would hate it! It is an OUTSTANDING school though.
The leader of teacher training is a mum of a child who has been in his class throughout primary. May be a bit awkward so I am probably best going elsewhere.
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