I thought for this month’s blog post I would talk a little bit about the PGCE programme and my personal journey as I fill in my application and personal statement, with a few tips that I’ve picked up along the way!
The first thing i did was research- PGCE has many different route and it can get confusing. I began the process at the end of my 2nd year and I think that really helped as I had longer to look through the options. A tip i would give is do some research beforehand and write down any questions you have, then attend any PGCE events the university holds. At this point it is also ideal to see if you fit the requirements for the course, this is in terms of your GCSEs in English and Maths and whether your degree is sufficient for the PGCE subject you want to do.
The PGCE events are extremely helpful, you have the opportunity to meet academic tutors and ask your questions! This was a great chance for me as I ended up having quite a lot of questions. These events are also a good opportunity to see the different routes PGCE offers (there is quite a few: university led, school led, paid and unpaid), the important thing here is, which one do you think you want to do. For me, it is applying for a university led programme since i find it most suitable for me. These events are also the chance to find out about the financial stuff, such as funding.
After that (or before, if you are really keen), get the experience! Most PGCE programmes require at least a few days’ worth of experience at a local school- either primary or secondary depending on what you are applying for. Experience is easy to get and often majority of the local schools allow you to do some work experience. A tip I would give is get in there early! Think ahead in terms of experience and contact the local schools as early as possible! Again, meeting current teachers and sometimes PGCE students is a great way to get your questions answered. During my placement, I got to talk to teachers about the new curriculum changes and their opinions on it. If you have any troubles, the get into teaching site helps you find placements local to you.
Now for the scary part: the application. Well… it isn’t as scary as you make it. Be ahead of the game and start to write up your personal statement earlier on- something I wish I had done. In terms of personal statements, keep it about you and why you want to teach! Another tip I would give is get those close to you to check it, sometimes you miss any grammar mistakes you have in your personal statement. UCAS is quite simple and easy to follow along, which, believe me, is great news. You’ll also need two references, one academic and one professional, so it’s a good idea to ask before you pick the person and after you send off your application, make sure you let your referees know wo they have time to write your reference! One of the last things is revision for and booking the basic skills test! There are a few practice papers for the basic skills test which can help you get prepared for the test. I’ve planned to do my test after I finish and send off my application
If you are applying to PGCE, good luck! I’m sure you’ll do amazing. Before I sign off, here are a few helpful sites!