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'Naice' PGCE placement first or last?

(24 Posts)
BumblebeeBum Tue 27-Jun-17 20:23:59

I'm starting my PGCE in September and have managed to 'self source' one of my placement schools.

I did a week's experience there and like it because:

1) amazingly inspirational, knowledgable and friendly teacher there who would be my mentor
2) nicely behaved kids, main issue was tucking in shirts and getting rid of gum
3) 10 mins from my kids' school
4) in an academy alliance that covers most of the well regarded schools in our city - so doing well there could mean an opportunity to work in one of those schools for NQT year?

Do I ask for this school as my first or second placement? I've been advised both ways.

The person who said have it as my first placement said that it would be an 'easy in' and if I did well would be good timing for them to consider me for roles coming up whereas second placement may be too late as they will have someone lined up for any upcoming roles already.

The person who said do it second said it would be better to learn behaviour management at a 'tougher' school in first placement and then I could concentrate on subject knowledge in the second placement at the nice school.

Which would you recommend, or does it not much matter? Thanks!

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noblegiraffe Tue 27-Jun-17 20:44:06

I did nice then tough. I'm not sure I'd have stuck it out if I'd done the tough one first tbh.
My school is nice and hired our PGCE student last November for next September so the person who mentioned jobs has a good point.

samlovesdilys Tue 27-Jun-17 20:45:21

Which placement is longer through your training scheme? If secondary, does it give 6th form experience? Assuming you swap placements c.jan I would suggest 2nd but honestly, whichever you prefer. Big thing is to ensure other placement is a true comparison to give you breadth and depth...

Alphvet Tue 27-Jun-17 20:45:23

Second. It's longer and it will be what you're judged on really as they will make more allowances for a poor first placement. Plus if a job comes up, you'll be there and will have had longer to make a good impression

leccybill Tue 27-Jun-17 20:46:20

I did nice then tough too, and I'd recommend this way around.
I went from rural affluent comp to deprived inner city single sex faith school. Interesting differences!

Lowdoorinthewal1 Tue 27-Jun-17 20:52:23

On my PGCE I had a placement at a school that had actually been on a documentary in the 90s about being one of the toughest schools in Britain. The other was at a nearby school for which parents started attending church during pregnancy in order to get their kid in at 11. 'Naice' doesn't even cover it.

I can honestly say the tough school was 100% better experience. Friendly staff just happy to have a willing pair of hands on deck. Trench mentality of a close knit team facing adversity. The church school was all cold stares and people not wanting to bother with anything out of their routine.

I have since found that EBD is my thing, so maybe it was me. I wouldn't necessarily assume a naice school will be nicer though.

Blueemeraldagain Tue 27-Jun-17 20:58:37

I had nice and then tough. To be honest the kids didn't make that much of a difference. The staff were crucial.
I can, hand on heart, say that I wouldn't have stuck with teaching if I'd had the tough school first. The department was horrendous, just awful. It was four years ago and I still get a tiny bit emotional thinking about it and I've worked in an SEMH school (Hi Lowdoorinthewall!) since where I get told to fuck off regularly and have had chairs, tables and fists thrown at me so I'm not a delicate flower.

I would rather focus on subject knowledge first and then behaviour management.

Alphvet makes a good point though.

BumblebeeBum Tue 27-Jun-17 21:54:50

Thanks all. You're not making it easy. Seems like there will be good points either way. So that's one less thing to worry about!

OP’s posts: |
ErnesttheBavarian Tue 27-Jun-17 22:04:12

I can't imagine saying the kids don't make that much of a difference! My 1st job as an NQT was ducking awful. I still have nightmares. I genuinely don't know why or how I stayed so long. Inner city London. I am now in a private school. I really thought the experience had put me off kids for life, but I needed a job. The difference, with kids who want to learn, who are friendly, polite, is enormous.

Op 1st reaction was to advise to do the tough school first, learn the ropes etc. But if in the 1st 'nice' placement, there's a chance of a job, plus you don't get put off for life, I now would say definitely take the nice, possible job placement first. Then, when if the rougher school is a nightmare you're still learning useful stuff but know it's not forever.

DumbledoresApprentice Wed 28-Jun-17 07:35:55

I did tough followed by slightly less tough (although the less tough school had horrible staff and nearly broke me entirely). Tough first worked well for me because I knew I could manage anywhere after that. I got a job in a lovely school but with a quite deprived intake and I know that the HT picked me partly because I'd been in really tough schools. I've been in the same school ever since, although my role has changed. I think this thread shows that either way round can work well.

YogiYoni Wed 28-Jun-17 07:38:55

Are you certain you're allowed to arrange your own placement? I thought the pgce providers geberskly preferred to sort them?

YogiYoni Wed 28-Jun-17 07:39:10


BumblebeeBum Wed 28-Jun-17 07:42:21

Yes YogiYoni, as long as they meet a whole boost of criteria. There's a form and everything.

OP’s posts: |
Postagestamppat Wed 28-Jun-17 07:49:38

I'd do nice then tough. Behaviour management is mostly organisation and subject knowledge. Not just knowing behaviour strategies. I'd recommend learning how to deliver a good lesson first, then behaviour management techniques. If you get a tough school or are hopelessly out of your depth (me in the pgce and nqt years), you won't get the opportunity to learn how to actually teach - you'll just be fighting fires. I had a dreadful first placement with horrible kids and an unsupportive supervising teacher. It set me back years.

Synecdoche Wed 28-Jun-17 11:01:37

I'd choose second because it's the longest placement. The 10min commute is good also as you'll be doing more teaching/planning in your second placement as well as you're assignment. You can also be a lot more experimental with your teaching in a 'nicer' school whomich would be more beneficial later on in the PGCE. If the first placement is tough then you know it's only for a short while and then you get to go to your naice placement! Good luck with the PGCE, OP smile

SweepTheHalls Wed 28-Jun-17 13:24:40

First, more likely to get employed by them as a known quantity smile

MrsGuyOfGisbo Wed 28-Jun-17 20:24:24

You can make your mistakes where it doesn't matter, and get the job in the nice school.
However awful the first one is, you will have a known quantity to look forward to.

BobbinThreadbare123 Wed 28-Jun-17 20:29:29

Second placement. I had a horrid first placement in a 'nice' school and nearly quit. But, I persevered and my second placement in a much tougher school was lovely and fun. I would have been heartbroken to suffer the first school second and have them be my job reference. They should not have told you, OP, that you'd be in with a better chance of a job as 1st placement, because it isn't true and they also shouldn't mention that sort of thing as it's not a certainty.

Caulkheadupnorf Wed 28-Jun-17 20:34:11

I did a placement per term. First was average, middle was brilliant and final was very very hard. I was save the nice one for the end.

Needmorewine Wed 28-Jun-17 20:50:39

Currently on final placement in a school I thought was "naice". Their expectations of what a final PGCE student on placement should be doing are insane. First two in tougher schools I just loved this one I have a knot in my stomach going to every day. Just be very careful and good luck !!

GreatWhites Wed 28-Jun-17 21:32:27

You have never ever ever got a job until you have signed on the line. Please don't assume you are a cert. It happens so often in teaching sad

Wonderpants Wed 28-Jun-17 21:36:59

My experience in a naice known school has been horrific. My advice is to go to schools you don't know to get the widest possible experience!

tearsinmyeyes Wed 28-Jun-17 21:39:17

Nice then tough
You'll have better wisdom to deal with extra challenges in the end , and if it's really bad you'll be motivated by the fact that it's all going to be over soon and you can spend the summer relaxing and celebrating with your shiny new qualification. Worked for me .

BumblebeeBum Wed 28-Jun-17 22:29:20

Bobbin - sorry if it wasn't clear - the school haven't suggested I'd be in with a chance of a job - people I know who have been through PGCE before suggested if there was a job available and if they liked me then seeing me in the first placement would put me in a better position to be put forward than if they'd seen me on second placement.

GreatWhite - no one has promised me a job. I'm concentrating on the PGCE at the moment! It's more that they are in a
Multi academy trust that has a lot of schools that are well regarded locally. So if having a placement in one of their schools for first or last placement made a big difference that I didn't know about then I wanted to know!

And yes I know that 'naice' schools are not always supportive or useful experience. I've spent a week in the department - and that's the best info I've got to go on at the moment.

Thanks all. Sounds like either way round could have benefits, so I won't worry too much about it. smile

OP’s posts: |

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