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Postgrad PGCE Secondary Science questions!

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    Hello,

    I will be graduating next year with a Biochemistry BSc (Hons) degree.

    I've always had an interest in teaching so I might apply for 2013 entry to teach secondary science Chemistry / Biology.
    If anyone is also applying or already doing secondary PGCE science, I would be grateful if you could give me any adivce on the interview process, the interview test and what the course is like overall?
    I can't seem to find a university league table for post graduate courses (2013). Does anyone know where to find out the best universities for PGCE courses?

    I'm not sure if I want to live away from home because of expenses.
    Does anyone recommend living away from home for postgrad study?
    I live in the west midlands so I've only been looking at universities like:

    University of Birmingham
    Birmingham City
    University of Manchester
    University of Nottingham
    University of Wolverhampton

    I might consider other places like Kings college london. Could anyone give me any advice and honest opinions on the courses, universities + careers prospects . Thanks
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    The interview process will vary according to university. Some will want you to present a lesson plan, some will make you do a group interview ect. You will also need to pass QTS maths and english tests before you start the course in 2013.
    Look at the Ofsted reports for PGCE courses, league tables dont mean a thing in the world of PGCE's.
    Apparently the course is very intense & stressful, but many people say its worth it.
    Bear in mind that any bursaries for this year are not guarenteed for next year, as the government likes to keep changing things. As you're wanting to do science, you should have pretty good career prospects as they are in demand and the moment.
    Make sure you have some experience in a secondary school before you apply aswell!
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    I know that most applications begin September and most people are saying it's best to apply early. I am not sure whether I will get work experience early enough. I am still awaiting response from local schools. Some have said that they are full for September or that I require a CRB check?

    I have only had work experience in a primary school. I only recently had a change of mind in teaching secondary education instead.

    Would you recommend to wait until I have work experiene, however long it takes.
    I just hope that I still have a chance of getting into a good University PGCE course if I apply for 2013 entry. I shall look at Ofsted reports. Thanks Shelly.
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    (Original post by Shelly_x)
    The interview process will vary according to university. Some will want you to present a lesson plan, some will make you do a group interview ect. You will also need to pass QTS maths and english tests before you start the course in 2013.
    Look at the Ofsted reports for PGCE courses, league tables dont mean a thing in the world of PGCE's.
    Apparently the course is very intense & stressful, but many people say its worth it.
    Bear in mind that any bursaries for this year are not guarenteed for next year, as the government likes to keep changing things. As you're wanting to do science, you should have pretty good career prospects as they are in demand and the moment.
    Make sure you have some experience in a secondary school before you apply aswell!

    Do you think it would be ok to apply for the PGCE course starting next year when I graduate and organise work experience before I start my PGCE.
    Is work experience before the interview stage vital or would it be acceptable to have a work experience placement confirmed after the interview date.
    I have only had work exp in a primary school.
    If I have low chance of getting onto the PGCE without work exp, I am considering applying for 2014 but I am worried about career prospects, student loans and bursaries changing.
    Any advice? :s
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    (Original post by shaz91)
    Do you think it would be ok to apply for the PGCE course starting next year when I graduate and organise work experience before I start my PGCE.
    Is work experience before the interview stage vital or would it be acceptable to have a work experience placement confirmed after the interview date.
    I have only had work exp in a primary school.
    If I have low chance of getting onto the PGCE without work exp, I am considering applying for 2014 but I am worried about career prospects, student loans and bursaries changing.
    Any advice? :s
    I just finished my Secondary Science (Biology) PGCE
    I applied for it around january/feb 2011, but my interview was the very last day of interviews so I recommend you apply earlier. I did my work experience in the summer before I applied. The more experience you have the better, and some unis are very specific e.g. they may want 10 days in a secondary school.
    The interviews can vary, mine was just a one-to-one interview with the head of the Biology course.
    Overall the course is very demanding, but you can manage it if you are organised from day one. Be prepared to work hard every day (when I was on placement I was up at 5am every day and went to bed as late as 1am). I loved it, and I know this is the career for me. Maybe get some classroom experience in a high school, it is very different from primary - just to be sure that it is what you want.
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    (Original post by shaz91)
    Do you think it would be ok to apply for the PGCE course starting next year when I graduate and organise work experience before I start my PGCE.
    Is work experience before the interview stage vital or would it be acceptable to have a work experience placement confirmed after the interview date.
    I have only had work exp in a primary school.
    If I have low chance of getting onto the PGCE without work exp, I am considering applying for 2014 but I am worried about career prospects, student loans and bursaries changing.
    Any advice? :s
    I would recommend trying to get some when the term starts in September. It will give you a lot of things to talk about at your interview and really up your chances of getting in. However, some people do apply without experience and are given an offer with conditions to gain experience before the course starts. They may also be more forgiving with this as you will be applying for a shortage subject. I would apply anyway if you don't manage to get experience in Sept/Oct as you still have a shot, but make sure you can answer questions on behaviour, what you think a good lesson is ect.
    I would apply before January, as some of the providers you mention may have filled their courses up by the time you graduate.
    Student loans shouldn't change, you will be entitled to them. It is bursaries that will most probably change, I anticipate they will change for 2013 entry anyway.
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    (Original post by SHABANA)
    I just finished my Secondary Science (Biology) PGCE
    I applied for it around january/feb 2011, but my interview was the very last day of interviews so I recommend you apply earlier. I did my work experience in the summer before I applied. The more experience you have the better, and some unis are very specific e.g. they may want 10 days in a secondary school.
    The interviews can vary, mine was just a one-to-one interview with the head of the Biology course.
    Overall the course is very demanding, but you can manage it if you are organised from day one. Be prepared to work hard every day (when I was on placement I was up at 5am every day and went to bed as late as 1am). I loved it, and I know this is the career for me. Maybe get some classroom experience in a high school, it is very different from primary - just to be sure that it is what you want.

    Heyy, Thanks for the reply.
    Could you tell me which university you completed your PGCE?
    For your work experience did you have to get a CRB check?
    I rang up a school and they said that I required one but I'm not sure how to get that. I don't have any criminal record though....

    Wow I didn't think the placement would be so hectic.
    Why did you have to wake up so early? Was your placement far away from where you lived? Did you have a lot of work preparation for classes.
    I've been thinking of applying for Biology too but I'm not sure if it's silly of me to ignore the higher bursary for Chemistry.

    I was a bit worried about the job market in teaching too. Does the university help you with finding employment?
    Do you think the PGCE course is worth it? I've heard there are other courses like SCITT and school direct but I'm not sure if they're as good as PGCE's.
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    (Original post by shaz91)
    Heyy, Thanks for the reply.
    Could you tell me which university you completed your PGCE?
    For your work experience did you have to get a CRB check?
    I rang up a school and they said that I required one but I'm not sure how to get that. I don't have any criminal record though....

    Wow I didn't think the placement would be so hectic.
    Why did you have to wake up so early? Was your placement far away from where you lived? Did you have a lot of work preparation for classes.
    I've been thinking of applying for Biology too but I'm not sure if it's silly of me to ignore the higher bursary for Chemistry.

    I was a bit worried about the job market in teaching too. Does the university help you with finding employment?
    Do you think the PGCE course is worth it? I've heard there are other courses like SCITT and school direct but I'm not sure if they're as good as PGCE's.
    I did it at Leeds University.
    I already had a CRB plus the reason I had it is because I had been mentoring at the school. CRBs aren't too difficult to get the only problem is that you may have to pay for it yourself.
    Partly because my school was an hour's drive away, partly because I take ages in the morning to shower, eat breakfast etc. lol
    Work prep is a lot but I think you should try and stick to spending no longer than 1 hour to plan a lesson. Use resources that the school has and from the TES website - making everything from scratch takes too long.
    Well if you apply for the chem job prospects are better (most teacher of science jobs usually prefer phys. or chem but I have a permanent job starting in Sept. and that was a teacher of science one). All of the Biologists on my course (about 16) who wanted a job have got one.
    The university doesn't exactly help you to find one but your tutor writes your reference. Also, you can get school mentors etc to look over your application letters if they are nice, at my second placement the actual headteacher looked over one of mine which was a huge help because he told me exactly what he would be looking for in the application.
    It is definitely worth it, I loved both the school's I was at and the teachers/pupils I met. Excellent experience and I know this is my career for life. The university gave me all the support I needed and my tutor was great. I don't think I would have coped if I had done the GTP or another route. Plus with the PGCE I have 60 credits towards a MA in Teaching which I start in Sept. and will do alongside my teaching.
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    (Original post by shaz91)
    Heyy, Thanks for the reply.
    Could you tell me which university you completed your PGCE?
    For your work experience did you have to get a CRB check?
    I rang up a school and they said that I required one but I'm not sure how to get that. I don't have any criminal record though....

    Wow I didn't think the placement would be so hectic.
    Why did you have to wake up so early? Was your placement far away from where you lived? Did you have a lot of work preparation for classes.
    I've been thinking of applying for Biology too but I'm not sure if it's silly of me to ignore the higher bursary for Chemistry.

    I was a bit worried about the job market in teaching too. Does the university help you with finding employment?
    Do you think the PGCE course is worth it? I've heard there are other courses like SCITT and school direct but I'm not sure if they're as good as PGCE's.
    I did it at Leeds University.
    I already had a CRB plus the reason I had it is because I had been mentoring at the school. CRBs aren't too difficult to get the only problem is that you may have to pay for it yourself.
    Partly because my school was an hour's drive away, partly because I take ages in the morning to shower, eat breakfast etc. lol

    Work prep is a lot but I think you should try and stick to spending no longer than 1 hour to plan a lesson. Use resources that the school has and from the TES website - making everything from scratch takes too long.
    Well if you apply for the chem job prospects are better (most teacher of science jobs usually prefer phys. or chem but I have a permanent job starting in Sept. and that was a teacher of science one). All of the Biologists on my course (about 16) who wanted a job have got one.

    The university doesn't exactly help you to find one but your tutor writes your reference. Also, you can get school mentors etc to look over your application letters if they are nice, at my second placement the actual headteacher looked over one of mine which was a huge help because he told me exactly what he would be looking for in the application.

    It is definitely worth it, I loved both the schools I was at and the teachers/pupils I met. Excellent experience and I know this is my career for life. The university gave me all the support I needed and my tutor was great. I don't think I would have coped if I had done the GTP or another route. Plus with the PGCE I have 60 credits towards a MA in Teaching which I start in Sept. and will do alongside my teaching.
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    (Original post by shaz91)
    Hello,

    I will be graduating next year with a Biochemistry BSc (Hons) degree.

    I've always had an interest in teaching so I might apply for 2013 entry to teach secondary science Chemistry / Biology.
    If anyone is also applying or already doing secondary PGCE science, I would be grateful if you could give me any adivce on the interview process, the interview test and what the course is like overall?
    I can't seem to find a university league table for post graduate courses (2013). Does anyone know where to find out the best universities for PGCE courses?

    I'm not sure if I want to live away from home because of expenses.
    Does anyone recommend living away from home for postgrad study?
    I live in the west midlands so I've only been looking at universities like:

    University of Birmingham
    Birmingham City
    University of Manchester
    University of Nottingham
    University of Wolverhampton

    I might consider other places like Kings college london. Could anyone give me any advice and honest opinions on the courses, universities + careers prospects . Thanks
    I'm applying for PGCE Secondary Science (Chemistry) for September 2013 entry. I've got work experience lined up at 2 schools starting in September (has been a nightmare to organise, started emailing and such back in March!)
    I'll be applying to GTTR and will probably send it off around the beginning of October, although I regularly check for vacancies for full-time Chemistry and there are still plenty at MMU, LJMU, Liverpool Hope, UoM for September 2012 entry so it's not as if they go quickly! (+ many more but I will be staying local to the North-West)
    I've also been considering the Open University as it is rated Outstanding by Ofsted and not something I had previously considered. Bit worried about arranging my own placements but the pros would be any networking I can do this year through experience will help to secure placements for my PGCE year.
    Everyone I've spoke to says it was the most stressful year of their life so hopefully I won't go crazy!
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    I commuted during my PGCE and it has both pros and cons. Although I made good friends while I was training, being further away made it more difficult to share ideas and mutual support, I sometimes felt a bit out of the loop. It did however save me money over the year and I ended up at placement schools fairly near my home.


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    (Original post by Billton)
    I'm applying for PGCE Secondary Science (Chemistry) for September 2013 entry. I've got work experience lined up at 2 schools starting in September (has been a nightmare to organise, started emailing and such back in March!)
    I'll be applying to GTTR and will probably send it off around the beginning of October, although I regularly check for vacancies for full-time Chemistry and there are still plenty at MMU, LJMU, Liverpool Hope, UoM for September 2012 entry so it's not as if they go quickly! (+ many more but I will be staying local to the North-West)
    I've also been considering the Open University as it is rated Outstanding by Ofsted and not something I had previously considered. Bit worried about arranging my own placements but the pros would be any networking I can do this year through experience will help to secure placements for my PGCE year.
    Everyone I've spoke to says it was the most stressful year of their life so hopefully I won't go crazy!
    Good luck!
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    Chemistry vs Biology
    -Chemistry is much less competitive to get into (many providers still have places for a September start!)
    -Chemistry has slightly better career prospects as it is in higher demand by schools
    -Chemistry gives you a much greater training bursary (around 10k more with the same degree classification!)

    Then again, as a Chemistry teacher i'm hardly unbiased.

    Universities
    -Personally, though i went to Cambridge as most of the work is done by the schools the university doesn't really factor into it that much. Getting a more "prestigious" university might help very marginally getting your first job, but that's less of an issue with shortage subjects anyway and if you're a good teacher they'll take you from anywhere. My advice, if it matters to you, put a more prestigious uni first on your list.... tbh if you apply for Chemistry you've got a good shot of getting in

    Experience
    Get as much as you can in a range of schools. September, around Christmas, any time that universities are on holiday and schools aren't. You want a week or so's experience ideally before applying, but if you're really tight then organising something for easter and putting it on your application as something that you are going to do will also help.

    Living in/commuting
    -Firstly, with placements you are going to have to commute full stop. I lived in uni and had over an hour each way to get to my placements, just part of life if you get the short straw. The advantage of living at uni is that you then don't have to commute for the lectures.
    -Secondly, living with other PGCEs is amazingly helpful. Some of my best current friends i met on my course, and the support of everyone having the same issues to deal with and the same assignments and deadlines is amazing. No one knows what it's like to be a teacher except another teacher.
    -Cost wise, if you're netting 15-20k bursary, living out isn't going to be an issue. In fact you'll be earning considerably more per month than you do as a full teacher, the 20k works out at 2.2k per month, which is more than i earn 4 years in.

    Job
    -I wouldn't worry about it. Start looking in Jan/Feb, and be prepared to have to sift through a lot of advertisements to find a job you want. If you are more flexible location wise it's a big help, but there are a lot of jobs out there. I think pretty much all the decent chemistry teachers on my course had jobs sorted before easter.
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    I'm applying for PGCE secondary science (Biology) for September 2013 entry. I graduated from UEA this year with a 2:1 in Biological sciences. I have a fair amount of work experience in a primary school but am finding it very very hard to get any in a secondary school. None of the schools are getting back to me despite calling them again and again. I have planned and implemented a science lesson as part of one of my modules during my degree and worked as a tutor at my local tutoring company. I'm worried my lack of experience in a secondary school will be detrimental to my application. Anyone have any advice??
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    (Original post by shaz91)
    Hello,

    I will be graduating next year with a Biochemistry BSc (Hons) degree.

    I've always had an interest in teaching so I might apply for 2013 entry to teach secondary science Chemistry / Biology.
    If anyone is also applying or already doing secondary PGCE science, I would be grateful if you could give me any adivce on the interview process, the interview test and what the course is like overall?
    I can't seem to find a university league table for post graduate courses (2013). Does anyone know where to find out the best universities for PGCE courses?

    I'm not sure if I want to live away from home because of expenses.
    Does anyone recommend living away from home for postgrad study?
    I live in the west midlands so I've only been looking at universities like:

    University of Birmingham
    Birmingham City
    University of Manchester
    University of Nottingham
    University of Wolverhampton

    I might consider other places like Kings college london. Could anyone give me any advice and honest opinions on the courses, universities + careers prospects . Thanks
    Hello!

    I applied through clearing for a chemistry PGCE and I will be starting in September 2013 (as I already have the offer), and i'll be going to The University of Nottingham.
    The interview is very friendly, they introduce themselves and then the applicants do. Have a bit of a discussion about what science is, what makes a good teacher etc. Then I had to do a short essay (which wasn't marked, it was just for research). Then you have the individual interviews. The gentleman that I had was really nice, it didn't feel pressured or awkward. He asked a few questions, 'why do you want to teach' etc then tested my subject knowledge for chemistry and physics.
    Got a reply back within 2 weeks and they were very helpful!

    So that's my recomendation for Nottingham. Good luck!
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    (Original post by nana_b90)
    I'm applying for PGCE secondary science (Biology) for September 2013 entry. I graduated from UEA this year with a 2:1 in Biological sciences. I have a fair amount of work experience in a primary school but am finding it very very hard to get any in a secondary school. None of the schools are getting back to me despite calling them again and again. I have planned and implemented a science lesson as part of one of my modules during my degree and worked as a tutor at my local tutoring company. I'm worried my lack of experience in a secondary school will be detrimental to my application. Anyone have any advice??
    If you are still having difficulties... When you phone the schools up ask for the head of science department contact details. They might help you out more than the annoying reception people.
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    (Original post by kaz297)
    Hello!

    I applied through clearing for a chemistry PGCE and I will be starting in September 2013 (as I already have the offer), and i'll be going to The University of Nottingham.
    The interview is very friendly, they introduce themselves and then the applicants do. Have a bit of a discussion about what science is, what makes a good teacher etc. Then I had to do a short essay (which wasn't marked, it was just for research). Then you have the individual interviews. The gentleman that I had was really nice, it didn't feel pressured or awkward. He asked a few questions, 'why do you want to teach' etc then tested my subject knowledge for chemistry and physics.
    Got a reply back within 2 weeks and they were very helpful!

    So that's my recomendation for Nottingham. Good luck!
    Heyy, congrats on getting a place.
    Did they tell you what the interview was going to involve before you went so you could prepare?? They test your subject knowledge in all Sciences? :s Eeek, my physics is not the good. I hope I haven't forgot too much from GCSE lol. Were the questions difficult? I hope the interviews are not stressful.
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    (Original post by SHABANA)
    I did it at Leeds University.
    I already had a CRB plus the reason I had it is because I had been mentoring at the school. CRBs aren't too difficult to get the only problem is that you may have to pay for it yourself.
    Partly because my school was an hour's drive away, partly because I take ages in the morning to shower, eat breakfast etc. lol

    Work prep is a lot but I think you should try and stick to spending no longer than 1 hour to plan a lesson. Use resources that the school has and from the TES website - making everything from scratch takes too long.
    Well if you apply for the chem job prospects are better (most teacher of science jobs usually prefer phys. or chem but I have a permanent job starting in Sept. and that was a teacher of science one). All of the Biologists on my course (about 16) who wanted a job have got one.

    The university doesn't exactly help you to find one but your tutor writes your reference. Also, you can get school mentors etc to look over your application letters if they are nice, at my second placement the actual headteacher looked over one of mine which was a huge help because he told me exactly what he would be looking for in the application.

    It is definitely worth it, I loved both the schools I was at and the teachers/pupils I met. Excellent experience and I know this is my career for life. The university gave me all the support I needed and my tutor was great. I don't think I would have coped if I had done the GTP or another route. Plus with the PGCE I have 60 credits towards a MA in Teaching which I start in Sept. and will do alongside my teaching.



    Did you have to take subject enhancement knowledge courses?? I did Biochemistry so tehre's a lot of biology and chemistry within my degree but not physics. How do you find out if you need to take SKE courses? Do you know how long they take and when they have to be done? .
    Hope u can answer
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    (Original post by shaz91)
    Did you have to take subject enhancement knowledge courses?? I did Biochemistry so tehre's a lot of biology and chemistry within my degree but not physics. How do you find out if you need to take SKE courses? Do you know how long they take and when they have to be done? .
    Hope u can answer
    I don't know sorry. We just had classes in physics and chem, and the chemists had classes in bio and physics etc. They're just really simple top-ups though, when you actually have to teach the topics you need to teach it to yourself/recap
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    (Original post by SHABANA)
    I don't know sorry. We just had classes in physics and chem, and the chemists had classes in bio and physics etc. They're just really simple top-ups though, when you actually have to teach the topics you need to teach it to yourself/recap
    Oh ok cool. I was worried if top up courses would take a whole year. Some universities seem to say you need a certain percentage of course content in your degree to get onto the course. Did you get straight onto the course or did you have to do top-courses before you started?

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