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Primary PGCE decision time(7 Posts)
Hello, for the past three weeks I've been knee deep in interviews and have got offers for Durham, Birmingham and Sheffield Hallam but now I have to make a decision! I don't really have any preferences on grounds of practicalities so it's all about the course, area and job prospects. Also I don't drive so placement travel is a worry. All courses are outstanding on OFSTED. I'm leaning away from Birmimgham but does anyone have any insight in either of the three?
Advantages of Durham is the reputation of the uni, it feels academic which I like, pretty city, the tutors all seemed the loveliest and the course does seem to focus on other subjects as well as the three core which would be good as things like Art etc are the ones I would struggle with. Also a lot more people at the interview seemed to be new which seems good to make friends etc
Disadvantages of Durham is the small size of the town, it's relatively more expensive and the fact it only has three primary schools so would probably have to travel a bit to get to placement. Also struggling to find employment statistics.
Advantages of Sheffield Hallam
really nice city, rent seems to be fairly cheap, bigger than Durham with hopefully better transport links, loved the accent haha. Also they seemed to be a lot more enthusiastic about me and gave me an offer on the spot. 96% employment rate
Disadvantages of Sheffield Hallam
seem to only focus on the three core subjects, everyone at interview was very local. Big thing was the seemingly lack of focus on the academic side of teaching ie the theory and it put me off slightly the way the interviewers gushed over my GCSEs which were good (6A*3A) but not amazing to the extent they seemed to imply that they were a bit of a rarity amongst other candidates. With the risk of sounding very up myself it makes me worry I wouldn't be with people on my academic level.
If anyone can untangle the mess in my brain it would be much appreciated
Where did you do your degree and where are you from OP?
When I did my PGCE ,I thought I wanted one sort of school and experience and changed my mind within days of placement.Go in with an open mind.
Travel will be easier in a bigger city.
What's turned you off Birmingham, out of interest?
Are any of them close to home/where you want to live? You may get an offer from one of your placement schools so may be worth considering whether any of the places are where you might like to be long term?
Durham isn't a town its a city.
Why not look at how many primary vacancies are available in each area and them look at house prices.
Durham itself is expensive but a former nqt I met used her lump sum as a deposit on her first house in one of the surrounding villages.
Seemingly you're ok with moving and that upheaval. Do you have a partner/kids to factor in? I chose my pgce course (8years ago now though) based on the closest to my house. I'd done the whole going away for uni thing for my undergrad so I liked the very short commute. Everyone else was very local too.
I'd say Birmingham because there is a big variety of schools there which will be good experience for your placements - larger inner city schools, leafy suburbs, semi-rural schools etc.
Going back years and years now - but when I did my PGCE Durham also placed out into Durham County which is huge, and over into Sunderland and I think someone who commuted down from further north was placed in a Newcastle or Northumberland school too. I've no doubt the staff there when I trained have all long since retired but the Maths/English/Science/Art was brilliant when I did and it is of course a beautiful city - and the hills it's on mean it does wonders for your calves and arse (I dropped 2 dress sizes... long since regained)! Public transport into the outlying villages can be crappy though - I know Sheffield looks fairly well hooked up with the tram (I have an interview at Sheff Uni - not Hallam tomorrow... not just reading random tram maps for the sheer fun of it) which might be a factor to consider for the more city-based ones?
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