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How to become a college lecturer?

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    I am hoping to study English linguistics at Newcastle University in 2012. I'm wondering what steps I need to take during or after my degree in order to qualify as a college lecturer. :confused:
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    (Original post by yellow96)
    Once you have your degree, you can apply direct to an FE college for a lecturing job and complete any necessary training with them. To teach in a college you don't need to have QTS (Qualified Teacher Status), which is what you get on the PGCE to teach in secondary schools. However, if you do decide to do a PGCE you can train in both secondary schools and FE colleges. Once you've finished you will have QTS and you can decide if you want to teach in schools or colleges. Alternatively, you can complete a PGCE in FE (now called a PGCE PCET - Post Compulsory Education and Training). This qualifies you to teach in the adult sector and is largely aimed at FE colleges. You get QTLS (Qualified Teacher Learning Skills, I believe), which is like the FE version of QTS. You can apply to teach in secondary schools with this qualification as well if you want, but with a subject like English you probably wouldn't stand out enough over the people who did the secondary PGCE.

    It's recommended that if you have any doubt at all over whether or not you'd want to teach in a secondary school, you should do a secondary PGCE because it gives you the option to teach in both. If you're like me however, and would only ever want to teach adults and would be happy to teach literacy, NVQs and so on if you can't get a job as a straight up English lecturer, you could do the PGCE PCET.

    Of course, you don't have to do either. With a degree in English you'd already be qualified to teach in FE (but not secondary). But it is strongly recommended that you do a PGCE of some sort because teaching is a difficult vocation and you'll be up against absolutely loads of people who have trained long and hard for the same jobs.

    Whilst doing your degree and deciding which route you want to follow, you should look into any volunteering opportunities your Uni offers in local schools and colleges. This can almost always be organised through your Uni but if you find that it can't, you can always apply directly to schools - just give them a ring around the start of the school year once everything has settled in (around October). If you really feel that your future lies in college lecturing you can often segue into some 6th form observation, since volunteering opportunities in colleges are hard to come by without strong connections in the subject you want to teach. For most PGCEs you'd need about two weeks of observation, preferably with a few extra days of different age groups so you can justify your decision to teach the age you've chosen.

    Good luck!
    This is really useful. Sorry for hijacking the thread but I'd like to know - do you need the CRB disclosure to teach students aged 16-18?
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    I would recommend doing a secondary PGCE then only applying for college jobs - colleges are not "ringfenced" from cuts (is anything these days?) meaning getting a job in a school is much more secure than getting one in a college. I initially wanted to do college only (since starting my PGCE I have actually really enjoyed working with KS3, totally surprised me) but when I did some volunteering at college to get experience I found out that a lot of the teachers/lecturers there were essentially on an hourly contract and got paid very little, and had very little job security. A lot of them said they had only done an FE PGCE so they were not allowed to work in standard schools, but with funding the way it was they were considering re-training.

    So if you do a standard PGCE you have that flexibility.
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    (Original post by Suzanathema)
    A lot of them said they had only done an FE PGCE so they were not allowed to work in standard schools, but with funding the way it was they were considering re-training.
    You, or they, are out-of-date. Alison Wolf recommended that FE trained teachers should be permitted to teach in schools in her Review of Vocational Education and this recommendation was accepted by the Government.
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    (Original post by yellow96)
    Yeah, you'll need to get a check done to volunteer to gain experience and you'll need one when you start the course. It's usually a condition of securing your place along with your degree result, occupational health check and them having a placement for you.
    That's helpful, thanks
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    Ive applied for some PCET courses too. A friend who did a PGDE is now working in an FE college so i've just realised that might have been an option. Its frustrating though because I've already applied for these PCET programmes via GTTR, so presumably I cant even consider a PGDE until the next cycle?

    Also, can anyone clarify what financial support is available? I'm Scottish so had i studied a PGDE at a Scottish institution, I'd have my fees paid for me. But PCETs pretty much dont exist in Scotland, only Stirling offers the "TQFE" - Teaching Qualification in Further Education." So i've applied for four English institutions...just wondering if i'll have to self fund it all?
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    (Original post by yellow96)
    I just want to clarify one thing which I admit I'm guilty of saying as a form of shorthand and I guess this confuses people. The course you want to do is called a PGCE, not a PCET. PCET is the name of the sector - it stands for post-compulsory education and training. Saying that you want to do a PCET is like saying "I want to do a primary". It makes no sense.

    It's really tempting to think that PCET is the name of the qualification because the letters are so similar but in reality they are entirely separate letters to 'PGCE'. The course is called PGCE PCET much like a secondary course would be called PGCE Secondary. You still need to call it a PGCE in your interviews and applications or it'll look like you don't know what you're on about.
    Thank you for clarifying that. Most providers I've seen refer to it as the PCET PGCE so I was just shortening it. But i'll avoid making that faux pas in future.


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Updated: December 27, 2011
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