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PGCE Observation (Secondary)

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    Hi there, I'm looking to apply for the RE PGCE course this September to start in 2012 and I'm currently trying to get some observation sorted. I was just wondering if anyone knew exactly what is required of observation e.g. how long for, how many lessons, do you need to get a reference from the school etc? Any help/advice would be much appreciated! Thanks very much, Bethan
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    I would say two weeks is a good amount of time. You will have enough time to settle into the school and might be able to do more than just observation such as helping a small group of people. also most pgce places require at least a weeks observation in a school if not more and with so much competition for places two weeks could be better.
    if you can do it two weeks straight going in every day- espeically if you are at work now it might help just to book off two weeks. or if you are at uni, organising it at the start of september/around december when you have holidays would be good.
    if you cant do two weeks straight maybe one day a week for a period of 2/3 months would be good- you would see classes and students develop which is a fairly good thing.
    it might be a good idea to keep in contact with the teacher you are most around as you need two references for gttr. in addition i would advise you keep a diary of what you do each day as it might help when it comes to pgce interviews.

    some big advice i would give you is to be flexible. r.e departments are often small so you may be placed within a humanities department instead and therefore observe some history and geography lessons. i observed some r.e lessons when i went into a geography department

    when trying to get experience you may have a lot of rejections/non replys because you suceed but dont be dishearted. you might need to try 30 schools before you get somewhere but it is worth it!

    also keep in mind that you might want to go back just before your pgce starts to do a little more work experience- i have to do a weeks experience as part of my pgce offer so going back to the school i observed at has helped with that--> so keeping a good relationship with the school is good.

    hope what i have written helps a bit
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    Hi Nikki, thanks so much for your advice, it's really helpful as there doesn't really seem to be much guidance on it. I completely get what you're saying about the two week block but at the moment that isn't looking very hopeful for me...I've applied to every school within an hour's journey of my house and have only been able to get a few days at one school spread across the summer term. I'm thinking this is better than nothing, but hoping that I might be able to get some more in September. The only thing that worries me about that is that it will delay my application a bit. How early did you apply to get your place at Southampton?
    Thanks again
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    i applied as soon as it opened in the october. but had done my obersvation in my easter holidays before that.
    if you take up the few days in the summer month its a start. then maybe organise something in october.
    in your personal statement you can always say you have had a few days and you are looking forward to the week you have planned in november (and still send off your application in the october!!). i have seen a few uni's which give an offer in regards to you having to take more work experience before the pgce starts so not all is lost! it shows the uni that you have organised it etc and will be doing it in the near future!
    if it is the case that you might only get a couple of days before you send your application off some experience in the summer at summer schools (i volunteered at mencap for a two week summer camp) might be an extra boost since you wont have a huge amount of observation- every bit of experience counts

    hope that gives you a few more ideas about what to do- a lot of people dont decide they want to teach until they send off their application so dont have the experience but still get a place if they say they have organised it for the near future
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    I wouldn't worry about not having all the experience before applying- as long as you've got some behind you they will most likely give you a conditional offer with a condition being more work experience. Get any other experience of working with young people you can, too- this will also be looked up on favourably of course.

    That's what I'm doing, I applied in March with no experience of the current English school system (although I'm a tutor and did a year as a language assistant in Germany) and got a conditional place. So when I finish uni I'm doing work experience for the last two weeks of the school term.

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Updated: May 17, 2011
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