Right, first teaching related post, to keep me on track whilst applying for my PGCE and to help anyone else out who is going through the same process, or thinking about it, I thought I would make a check list of everything that you need to tick off. Here’s a info graphic with all the information on; then read below for more info on each one.
A requirement to entry onto any PGCE programme or initial teacher training degree is to hold a grade C in Mathematics and English language at GCSE or equivalent.
– 2. A First Degree
A first degree relates to either a BA or Bsc, it doesn’t mean you have to obtain a first classification upon graduation. The degree should ideally be within the subject you wish to specialise, so for me it is Travel and Tourism. The classification you require depends completely on the institute to which you are applying, for example I know Sheffield Hallam require a 2.2 for their Post-Compulsory PGCE.
– 3. Personal Statement
Your personal statement is your chance to showcase yourself to the providers you are applying to. You only get one shot at a personal statement so you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd. You’ll probably want to include the following items within your statement (UCAS, 2016);
– Your reason(s) for wanting to teach
-Evidence that you understand the rewards and challenges of teaching
– Details of your previous education and how you have benefited from it
-Any other work with young people, such as helping with a youth club, working at a summer camp or running a sports team
-The range of relevant abilities and skills you can bring to teaching, for example, practical experience, managing people, working with or leading a team, and communication skills
– Any reasons why there may be restrictions on your geographical mobility (mainly if applying for a SCITT programme)
– Why you want to study in the UK, if you don’t currently live here
– & Finally whether or not you have taken part in the School Experience Programme (SEP) organised by the National College of School Leadership
As well as talking about your school and work experience, I suggest that you concentrate on your experience of teaching, such as visits to schools, classroom observations or working as a teaching assistant. But I also suggest going above and beyond stating what you have done, instead stating what you have learnt from it will show how you can be critical of your work and experience. I’d also avoid cliches such as “I want to teach because I love children”, if you really want to have a teach, you must have a reason, so be loud and proud about it!
It may be useful to use the ABC rule to keep you focused…
A – The action
B – The benefit
C – The relevance to the course
Remember though, it is only 4,000 characters including spaces, 47 lines. And your statement cannot go over this, UCAS will not accept it. Also there is a 30 minute timer on UCAS, so it’s best to type it out in Microsoft Word (this way you can also check for spelling and grammar too!) and then copy and paste it over, job done!
If you want more advice, hints & tips then see my post on personal statements here: Personal Statement; Advice, Hints & Tips
– 4. UCAS Application
If you’ve been to university before then you’ll have probably done a UCAS application previously, so it shouldn’t be that daunting. And from what I’ve seen so far of the ‘UCAS Teacher Training’ pages they are really helpful.
UCAS Teacher Training offers two ways to apply, Apply 1 and Apply 2. When to apply generally depends on when training providers open their programmes, but it is normally around September/October. In Apply 1 you can apply for up to three choices at the same time, and if you are not successful or decline your offers then you can use Apply 2 where you can apply for courses one at a time.
I would urge you to apply sooner rather than later, as places are allocated on a first come first served basis, and popular courses fill up rather quickly.
You can find the UCAS Teacher Training apply site here:
– 5. Two References
You will need two references on your UCAS application, and ideally this should be one from a current employer or academic who knows you well, and one from somewhere you have had experience with children, whether that’s a school, college, youth club, etc.
The key thing to note about UCAS Teacher Training with regards to references is that it is slightly different to a normal UCAS application. You cannot pay and submit your application to UCAS until your referees have accepted your reference and completed it on UCAS. Then the application will come back to you to send off. So please remember to save enough time for this when applying, as reminders can’t be sent to your referees until after 2 weeks have passed.
– 6. School Experience
Depending on which level of PGCE you are applying for completely depends on the amount of school experience you require. Primary and Secondary normally request 10 full days of school experience, which can be already completed or penciled in to be completed prior to the course beginning. However, for further education I believe it is not as strict, and I recommend just getting as much experience as you can. Ideally you should get experience working alongside the age range you want to teach, but any experience is good experience! Get yourself involved, help out at local youth clubs, brownies, sports teams, anything that gets you experience. But also if you have experience working with different age ranges, you will know if you have made the right choice, and will get to know what you do and don’t like.
Experience with different aged children also helps you to answer the interview question you’ll probably get asked: Why this age group and not X Y and Z?
If you can, get yourself involved through actually teaching/being a teaching assistant or completing tasks that are associated with the role, as it will really help to give you a better understanding of what you are letting yourself in for.
– 7. Professional Key Skills Tests
For all PGCE applications, primary, secondary and lifelong learning sector there is a requirement to pass a Professional Skills Test in literacy and numeracy as part of the application process. The tests are appropriate for key skills level 2/3. The tests are computerised and you can book to take them at a variety of Learndirect centers across the U.K. You can register and book here:
(Department for Education, 2016a)
Please note: these tests do not replace the GCSE grade C equivalence entry requirement (Edge Hill University, 2016).
Don’t panic if it was ages ago that you last had to use your GCSE maths and literacy skills, there is plenty of support available online through practice papers, and guides detailing the topics the tests will cover. You have the option of downloading paper copies, or competing online, either way you are provided with a mark upon completion.
You can find the practice tests here:
(Department for Education, 2016b)
(Department for Education, 2016c)
– 8. Interview Practice
Before you can be offered a place onto a PGCE, a SCITT or Initial Teacher Training (ITT) programme you will need to attend an interview. These come in many different forms, but generally can include some, if not all, of the following:
– An individual interview, which could be a one-to-one or with a panel
– A written task, numeracy and literacy test and/or a subject based test
– A micro-teach/mini teaching exercise
– A group task or discussion (maybe about current educational issues)
– A presentation about your specialist subject/issues in education/other specific topic which may be given prior to the interview
The interview process can be quite daunting, however, they are not there to catch you out and ask you awkward questions, just relax and be yourself, but we shall cover my interviews (if I get any!) in my later posts. For now, there are plenty of sources to help you such as the Department for Education website and UCAS for interview question help, amongst many blogs and forums online.
(Get Into Teaching, 2016)
Department for Education (2016a) Professional skills tests. [Online] U.K: Department for Education. Available from: http://sta.education.gov.uk/
Department for Education (2016b) The numeracy professional skills tests. [Online] U.K: Department for Education. Available from: http://sta.education.gov.uk/professional-skills-tests/numeracy-skills-tests#PT72
Department for Edcuation (2016c) The literacy professional skills test. [Online] U.K: Department for Education. Available from: http://sta.education.gov.uk/professional-skills-tests/literacy-skills-tests
Edge Hill University (2016) [Online] Available from: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/study/professional-skills-tests/
Get Into Teaching (2016) [Online] Available from: https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/preparing-for-your-interview
UCAS (2016) UCAS Teacher Training. [Online] U.K: UCAS. Available from: https://www.ucas.com/ucas/teacher-training