I have just finished my second year of a four year English course in Scotland and I am very interested in completing my PGCE at a uni in Northern Ireland, as I am keen to go home when I graduate. However, I read the news article that said they have cut PGCE places by 20% and that it is very competitive to get a place now.
So I would just like to hear from people who have been accepted this year for a PGCE at a uni in Northern Ireland or from people who made it to interview- how much experience with young people did you have before you applied (was it just observation in schools, or voluntary work, or anything overseas?) What was the interview process like? And do you have any idea how many people are competing for each PGCE place?
I have tried emailing Queens and Ulster about this but I have been waiting for a very long time for a reply, so I would appreciate any advice you can give me. Thanks in advance x
Hi there! I've been waiting for a letter from Queen's letting me know either way for what seems like much too long now! Hopefully today or tomorrow...
It is EXTREMELY competitive at the moment, and I can only imagine it'll be worse next year; the majority of people I know (including myself) who applied at Queen's applied to England/Scotland through the GTTR as well as a backup, and the process at Queen's is a joke in comparison with the GTTR. Don't get me wrong; I love Queen's, best four years of my life at undergrad, but the process for PGCE is ridiculous. You have to apply before the end of September, but don't hear if you have an interview until around January. Then you have to wait until May to find out if you have been accepted (it says on the website March, they tell you in the interview April, but this year and last year it was the middle to end of May before they even got the quota). In comparison, I applied to Bath with the GTTR two weeks ago and have an interview next Friday. I'll find out if I'm successful in another fortnight.
The interview itself is a lot easier and hassle-free than other universities; you go in and have a chat for about 15 minutes (well, that was my experience with Modern Languages, other subjects can add more info to this if it was different). As far as experience goes, I have a lot; I taught English in a French school for eight months on my year abroad, I tutor four students, I teach Spanish in a primary school on Fridays and I volunteer at a TEFL course on Monday nights. But I know of one or two people who've been accepted who didn't have any experience apart from the year abroad, which everybody does. Nobody knows what they're looking for, really!
Don't let anything I've said put you off; despite the hassle and waiting, I really want to be told I've got the PGCE here! The course looks really good, and you get to spend time in both secondary and grammar schools to get the feel of them, which I like the sound of. It is very competitive, but if you're really passionate about it, then you should go for it!