The PGCE qualification has become a popular option for those wishing to pursue a postgraduate qualification. Teaching is a particularly rewarding career, both emotionally and financially (the minimum starting salary for a newly qualified teacher is $21,000), so it is no wonder that so many talented graduates are looking for a career within this field.
Before you apply for this course though, you may have a few questions…
Which PGCE option should I take?
There are a wide range of study options available to study for those wishing to pursue a teaching career. You should choose a means of study that is suitable for your chosen career. Most universities offer PGCEs tailored to specific age groups, so if you wish to teach in a primary school you should take a PGCE (primary) qualification, whereas you will need a PGCE (secondary) qualification to teach 11-14 year-olds.
However, a PGCE is not the only way into teaching and there are a number of other qualifications available.
What will I learn?
The PGCE course will not teach you anything new in terms of your chosen subject. What it will teach you, though, is the theories behind different teaching practice as well as the requirements of the national curriculum.
You will also be expected to gain hands-on teaching experience within a classroom environment to reinforce your own learning. Most universities have specific partnership schools where they place their PGCE students in a classroom environment, and a significant proportion of the University’s contact hours will be school-based learning.
How will I be assessed?
The way in which you are assessed will depend upon the module and the University. Practical class-room based modules will be assessed through supervised sessions, after which students will be graded on their teaching abilities.
However, some of the more theory based modules will be assessed through individual presentations or through written assignments.
How will I pay my way?
One of the great things about PGCE programmes is that there are a number of different means of funding your course. For subjects such as science and maths, where teachers are in short supply, there are a variety of bursaries available.
Those who are self-funding their studies may wish to take out a tuition fee loan to cover the cost of their studies. This funding is available from Student Finance.