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To ask if I should wait until the kids start school? (PGCE)

22 replies

Maccapacca88 · 14/07/2017 22:58

I am thinking of applying to do my PGCE in the 2018/2019 academic year. There are no providers in my area offering part-time options, so it will be a full-time course.

I have an almost 2 year old and a 3 month old, so will be almost 3 and 16 months when I start. I will have to put them both in full-time nursery, as I am a single parent with no family available to help with childcare.

I would love to hear from anyone else who has done similar. Did it work for you, or would I be better off waiting until they are in school? AIBU to think this is a good idea at this point in our lives?

OP posts:

SavoyCabbage · 14/07/2017 23:02

Practically it would be easier when they are in daycare as you will be able to drop them both off in the same place every day and you won't be so restricted by times. But it will be much more expensive.

Once they are at school you are going to need some sort of wrap around care.


Sprinklestar · 14/07/2017 23:03

I did mine when my two were 2 and 4. It's full on but doable if you're organised. Can you make sure your placements are close to home so avoiding a commute?


thekillers · 14/07/2017 23:04

Look at a school based ITT rather than a PGCE.


AlcoholicsUnanimous · 14/07/2017 23:05

I can't offer any advice as I didn't have children when I did my PGCE. However, I know a couple of people who started their PGCEs when their DC were very young and decided to postpone it until they were school age. It's an intense year, as is the NQT year that follows.
I've seen some local authorities offering a 'TA to Teacher' course that lasts for 2 years (I think?) Could that work for you? Sounds like it wouldn't be as full on.


BackforGood · 14/07/2017 23:06

I think it would be very very stressful without anyone to share the load, tbh. It is a high pressure year, your placements might not be local, you'll have lots of work to do in the evenings.
I agree with savoy that it is easier to have them in one place with many hours cover (although expensive) rather than waiting until one is at school and you'll have 2 carers to be juggling, but doing it at all with 2 such little dc and no partner is going to be a real challenge. (as will your NQT year be after that.)


Fruitcorner123 · 14/07/2017 23:10

I did mine before kids but warn you its hard work. I used to work until 9 or 10 most evenings and at least half a day at the weekend. I teach now with young children and cant start my school work until 8 ( after they are in bed asleep). If I still had the PGCE workload I think I would be working until midnight most nights.

Of course yours may be different and you may be quicker than I was but you have all the planning and marking ( which takes you a lot longer at first than it will eventually) Plus you have assignments and reading for university.

Having said that them being at school may not help much but it may just take the pressure off you in the evenings and weekends as they should be able to do more for themselves.

Could you consider a TA job for a couple of years? Is there a reason you haven't considered training on the job so at least you get paid.


abigwideworld · 14/07/2017 23:14

Definitely wait


PurpleDaisies · 14/07/2017 23:20

Could you consider a TA job for a couple of years? Is there a reason you haven't considered training on the job so at least you get paid.

Depending on the subject, bursaries can mean you get more than a qualified teacher's salary. Working as a TA is spectacularly poorly paid. The salaried training posts are often very competitive compared to the non salaried option and it's very full on. My uni days were quite a nice break!

Op it's a really hard year (and first few years in teaching) so you'll need a bit of a support network for the children. I'd spend some time trying to get to know people who might be able to help you out when you do start the course. Good luck.


cardibach · 14/07/2017 23:25

I don't want to be a downer but I'd say don't do it at all. I've been teaching nearly 30 years and the job is not what it was. I've moved to private where things are better, but I'm afraid I couldn't recommend teaching as a career to my worst enemy anymore.


Maccapacca88 · 14/07/2017 23:32

I am quite interested in training on the job, I just worry that I don't have the credentials to find a position.

This will be a complete change of direction for me. I lived abroad for a while, working in a field totally unrelated to teaching before becoming a sahm and eventually a single mom. My confidence has taken a bit of a bashing lately, but I am determined to crack on and get my life back into gear!

OP posts:

Janeismymiddlename · 14/07/2017 23:33

I did it as a single parent with children in primary. You need secure childcare with as long hours as you can find and a sympathetic training provider - mine committed to giving me the pick of placements and trusted me to know that I couldn't make the closer placement due to routes/traffic but that the further one would be fine. Have that discussion at interview - let them know your concerns and they will tell you what they can and can't do to help.

It is full on and after a number of years, next week will be my last as I simply can't balance the job and be fair to my children. There is a reason school staffing profiles are getting younger and younger, sadly. It is a good job but hasn't worked for me.


PurpleDaisies · 14/07/2017 23:33

Have you got recent school work experience? Are you thinking primary or secondary?

Time in school could well put you off. Smile


Amanduh · 14/07/2017 23:34

I'd wait personally. It's very full on and tough. The workload is huge.


Janeismymiddlename · 14/07/2017 23:37

Oh, and you need someone who will manage your children's illness. It is relentless and you really can't take time out for your own children. I was brought up to not be ill and to cope so have the same mentality with my own children but it is horrible having to decide whether the complaint of a sore tummy is so bad you're going to get a call by 9:30am or whether they'll cope. You will a,so find yourself going in half dead cos you feel you need to save goodwill for dealing with your children. October to March is always tough.


SomewhatIdiosyncratic · 14/07/2017 23:40

My DCs found my teaching days easier when they were in nursery compared to school/ wrap around care for 50 hours per week. (17 minutes commute) 2-3 hours work to continue at home... experienced teacher so considerably less time spent on planning than the PGCE days that could have me up until 1am and rarely finished before 11.


colacolaaddict · 14/07/2017 23:53

General comment about working rather than pgce specifically, but nursery is more designed round working parents than primary school is. The bits and pieces of extra stuff - paperwork, a couple of meetings/going into school/assemblies per half term, homework to squeeze in, costumes, charity collections - each on its own is trivial but combined with school, before school club and after school club it is a heavier load than having them in nursery 8-6. And they still need you a lot at 4, 6 or 8. I actually reduced my working hours when my eldest started school - I think when you have littlies you think 4 or 5 year olds will be almost independent, but when you get there they are not so different and now finish at 3.30 and require costumes and forms.

Babies are full on of course, but I would be wary of a life plan which involves having a mega busy working year when you have children in infants. Easier to do it when they're at nursery or wait until older juniors IMO.


woodlands01 · 15/07/2017 10:06

Agree - I did mine when one was in nursery as the hours suited me better. However VERY expensive - I had a bursary for a shortage secondary subject and it just covered the nursery fees of 1 DD in nursery. I was pregnant while training and DS arrived just before I took on NQT year. At most expensive nursery was £1400 a month for them both - and that was 12 years ago!
However, my plan of no childcare costs when they started school worked as I worked very locally for 10 years.


Maccapacca88 · 15/07/2017 10:48

Thanks for all of your insights. I still have a lot of research​ to do. I have just found out that there are several primary schools in my area offering SCITT, so I will be looking into that option too.

Obviously, I will have to consider finances at some point, but for now my focus is on which option will work best around the children.

OP posts:

Sprinklestar · 18/07/2017 01:38

Interestingly I just got an email about the TA to Teacher thing. Well - what a load of old shite. This was for Hounslow, so essentially London, and the TA salary (and they expected a graduate) was £15K. The expectation was that you'd then go on to train to teach with them in subsequent years. On the same email there was a TA apprenticeship job advertised. The mind boggles! Even less money. I'm sorry, but there's no way you're going to attract the best teachers to the profession if you're paying so very little. Make sure you do one of the courses with a bursary, OP.


Collidascope · 18/07/2017 06:56

Likr Cardibach, I'd say don't do it all. There's a reason teachers are leaving in droves. The workload is horrendous. You might be lucky and get a good mentor, but you also might not and if your confidence has already taken some bashing recently, it can be very upsetting if your mentor takes every opportunity to bash you some more -and a fair few do. I experienced it and I heard some real horror stories from other PGCE students.


earthyambitions · 18/07/2017 07:06

I did it with a two year old. It was hard work but manageable.


Burnshersmurfs · 18/07/2017 07:08

I did it (secondary) as a lone parent with kids of a similar age to yours, OP. It was a living hell for two years, balanced by the fact that I have a stable job now which I enjoy and that brings in a reasonable wage. You will need backup, really good childcare and more resilience than average.

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