Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Get into Teaching

With the three-year QTS courses and Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) recently being scrapped by the government, securing a place on a teaching course is becoming increasingly difficult. Before you even apply you will need lots of experience in schools and working with children across the curriculum, so where to start? 

The first big decision is deciding the age range you want to teach, courses vary from early years up to secondary (16+), for many secondary school teaching is a daunting thought but if you want to teach a specific subject this is your best option. 

Which brings us on to your next decision, the subject you want to teach; a lot of the time you will know what your best subject was at school and will want to continue with that subject when you go into teaching yourself. Some will know they want to teach but are unsure of the subject, so primary teaching may be the best option as they will get to teach a variety of subjects across the curriculum, and the age range is variable. 

The third and final step before applying is getting some real experience under your belt, branching out to local schools for placements is the best option; however if taking time out of a paid job is a problem then supply teaching should be considered as a possible solution. Unqualified teachers can do cover supervising at schools as long as they have some experience with children and have a clean CRB, so think about signing up to a supply teaching agency and see what they can do for you.

PGCE or School Direct?
School Direct: The Facts
· School Direct is the ‘new’ GTP, a school based teaching qualification, where by a school will offer you an unqualified teacher training position with a future job in mind for you.

· It is available in both primary and secondary schools across England and the programmes generally last for one year.

· There are two School Direct training options. The first is ‘School Direct Training Programme’ it is available to high-quality graduates with a potential bursary option of up to £20,000 to support you while you train. The second option is the ‘School Direct Training Programme’ (Salaried) this is an employment-based route available to high-quality graduates with at least three years’ work experience who will earn a salary whilst they train.

· The lead school will work alongside their partnership schools in the recruitment process for all of their unqualified teachers.

· If you have a good connection at a school near you and there are job prospects, find out if they are part of the School Direct programmes and if they are not, get them signed up!

PGCE: The Facts
· A PGCE is a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, the courses are subject and key stage specific (primary/secondary) and they focus on developing your understanding and ability to teach the subject.

· PGCE courses generally last for one year full-time or up to two years part-time.

· In order to apply for a PGCE you must have a UK undergraduate degree as well as a grade C in GCSE English and Mathematics (if you want to teach primary or key stage 2/3 you must also have achieved a C in GCSE Science)

· The course involves both university-based learning, and teaching placements, both are very intensive. The university side of learning usually involves 9-5 days and the teaching placement will involve an equivalent of a term in one school at a time (each university and course are different, refer to the university you are applying to for further details)

· The course itself will carry a specific amount of credits towards a masters degree (again dependent upon the course and university)

· Subjects such as Computer Science, Maths, Physics and Chemistry are all national shortage subjects’ i.e. low numbers of teachers qualified in these subjects. As a result of this, universities offer a generous training bursary, which can be up to £20,000, which isn’t offered with other subjects.

· The most popular subjects tend to be PE and primary teaching, so experience in these areas is usually an entry requirement at universities.

Teaching can be very rewarding, and getting onto a teaching course is just the start. Show the schools your potential for the future and you never know what could happen.

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