Applying for a PGCE can be tough. It is a popular course option for many young graduates, so it is important that you do everything that you can to make your application as strong as possible.
We spoke to Paula Montford, the Director of the Initial Teacher Training Course at the University of York to find out just what it is that admissions tutors will be looking for…
Please could you describe the PGCE application process at York?
For the majority of our PGCE programmes, students should apply through GGTR. Those wishing to study on our School Direct Programmes should do so through DFE this year.
As of next year, all applications should be made through the GGTR portal.
Students will be expected to submit a completed application form along with references and a personal statement. Our course is at Master’s level only, so we look for people with a strong academic profile with recent experience of working in school and/or with young people.
Those who are asked to attend the interview can expect to participate in group discussions, give a presentation and perform a written task alongside having their one-to-one interview with a uni colleague and a school colleague.
Are there different types of PGCE courses applicants can apply for?
As well as the conventional PGCE we also offer School Direct courses. (Note: School Direct is an employment based route into teaching).
How many new PGCE students do you take each year, and what percentage of total applicants make it on to the course?
We receive about 700 applications each year. Of these we accept (on average) 123 on to the PGCE course. We have 22 and 12 students respectively on our two school direct programmes.
What qualities/skills do you look for in a PGCE applicant?
We look for a number of skills, including:
1. The ability to be reflective, resilient and adaptable
2. Strong organisational and problem solving skills
3. The ability to communicate effectively
4. A good academic record
5. A love of the subject and a passion to work with young people
How much work experience should the ideal candidate have?
Applicants’ levels of experience vary, making this a difficult question to answer.
Most potential students have a minimum of two days recent experience in a secondary school. They should also have a wealth of experience working with young people in schools, at Brownies, religious or sports groups etc.
Why should prospective PGCE students choose York?
York is an OFSTED Outstanding Partnership. Both the University and the school staff are experienced, talented and supportive. We are successful in supporting students through the challenge of PGCE and our trainees secure jobs in schools and make a difference.