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PGCE Rigirous Apllication process

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  • View Poll Results: PGCE admission process should be similar to any other Masters Degree
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    Hi Everyone,

    I wanted to create a Poll against PGCE Admission process. I feel the process of applying for PGCE course turns down many potential candidates.
    Process -

    Fill the application form & a good appealing cover letter. If you lucky enough to be selected you need to go through very hard interview process. If selected then a fortune to be paid for the Course especially for international students.

    My Argument - Why cant they have basic criteria to give the admission as its done in any other courses like MBA or other Master degree which are not as easy aswell. If you are asking about the experience then most of you know even to become an assistant Teacher they ask you for the experience. Where should students get that experience from if every employee expects to recruit an experienced staff. Universities need to understand that there will be enough exams & Test taken during the PGCE course which will decide if the candidate is good enough to be given the degree. After the Degree its employers responsibility to take the interview and review whether the candidate is good enough to be given a job for Teacher or an Assistant Teacher. Not sure of how many people agree with me??
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    (Original post by djsquare1827)
    Hi Everyone,

    I wanted to create a Poll against PGCE Admission process. I feel the process of applying for PGCE course turns down many potential candidates.
    Process -

    Fill the application form & a good appealing cover letter. If you lucky enough to be selected you need to go through very hard interview process. If selected then a fortune to be paid for the Course especially for international students.

    My Argument - Why cant they have basic criteria to give the admission as its done in any other courses like MBA or other Master degree which are not as easy aswell. If you are asking about the experience then most of you know even to become an assistant Teacher they ask you for the experience. Where should students get that experience from if every employee expects to recruit an experienced staff. Universities need to understand that there will be enough exams & Test taken during the PGCE course which will decide if the candidate is good enough to be given the degree. After the Degree its employers responsibility to take the interview and review whether the candidate is good enough to be given a job for Teacher or an Assistant Teacher. Not sure of how many people agree with me??
    The fact is, our universities already train more teachers than are needed (see the thread of NQTs without jobs, for example). So opening up the course to anyone who fancies doing it and can afford to pay (which is pretty much how Masters courses work) is just not necessary or helpful to anybody.

    Secondly, on a PGCE you aren't just a student, you're a student teacher. Unlike on other Masters courses, students on a PGCE have to teach pupils, so there's the potential for a fair bit of damage if the wrong people are selected. And there's just no point in accepting thousands of people who will then fail to pass the course because they don't have what it takes. Of course there are people who don't get a place despite having the potential to be a good teacher, and that's a shame, but many of these people succeed when they apply the following year.

    I think the need for tonnes of experience isn't necessarily a requirement set by the universities themselves - it's due to how oversubscribed many courses are. If you had 20 places to offer on a PGCE, and 100 applicants, 20 of whom have taken a year out and worked as a Teaching Assistant or Cover Supervisor to gain experience, then clearly those candidates show commitment and motivation which makes them stand out. However, lots of experience isn't the only way to stand out from the other candidates, and I'm sure there are plenty of people on this forum who got a place without that much experience.

    Finally, in your post against the "rigirous" application process, there are many errors. Normally I don't like it when posters on forums nitpick about this kind of stuff instead of discussing the issues raised (we all make mistakes from time to time, and it's only a forum post not an essay), but in this case I actually feel that it is relevant. You argue that the selection process is too strict, when you fail to communicate clearly and in correct English, which is clearly one of the criteria for obtaining a place on a PGCE. I don't mean to be harsh, and your English is pretty good considering it's clearly not your first language. But PGCE providers are quite rightly looking for student teachers with good written and spoken English.

    There certainly are some problems within the application process, but I don't think excessive rigour is one of them. For me, the main issue is the GTTR process whereby your application goes to providers one at a time, meaning that your third and fourth choices are likely to fill up while the first place is still looking at your application.
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    (Original post by Keziah)
    The fact is, our universities already train more teachers than are needed (see the thread of NQTs without jobs, for example). So opening up the course to anyone who fancies doing it and can afford to pay (which is pretty much how Masters courses work) is just not necessary or helpful to anybody.

    Secondly, on a PGCE you aren't just a student, you're a student teacher. Unlike on other Masters courses, students on a PGCE have to teach pupils, so there's the potential for a fair bit of damage if the wrong people are selected. And there's just no point in accepting thousands of people who will then fail to pass the course because they don't have what it takes. Of course there are people who don't get a place despite having the potential to be a good teacher, and that's a shame, but many of these people succeed when they apply the following year.

    I think the need for tonnes of experience isn't necessarily a requirement set by the universities themselves - it's due to how oversubscribed many courses are. If you had 20 places to offer on a PGCE, and 100 applicants, 20 of whom have taken a year out and worked as a Teaching Assistant or Cover Supervisor to gain experience, then clearly those candidates show commitment and motivation which makes them stand out. However, lots of experience isn't the only way to stand out from the other candidates, and I'm sure there are plenty of people on this forum who got a place without that much experience.

    Finally, in your post against the "rigirous" application process, there are many errors. Normally I don't like it when posters on forums nitpick about this kind of stuff instead of discussing the issues raised (we all make mistakes from time to time, and it's only a forum post not an essay), but in this case I actually feel that it is relevant. You argue that the selection process is too strict, when you fail to communicate clearly and in correct English, which is clearly one of the criteria for obtaining a place on a PGCE. I don't mean to be harsh, and your English is pretty good considering it's clearly not your first language. But PGCE providers are quite rightly looking for student teachers with good written and spoken English.

    There certainly are some problems within the application process, but I don't think excessive rigour is one of them. For me, the main issue is the GTTR process whereby your application goes to providers one at a time, meaning that your third and fourth choices are likely to fill up while the first place is still looking at your application.
    Completely agree! Really good post
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    are you serious? I'm an older applicant and there is seriously very little to the interview process compared with some jobs I've gone for. If you can't cope with the application process then you'll never survive in the real world and will certainly struggle in front of 30 stroppy, hormone-riddled can't be bothered 14 year olds...
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    (Original post by Keziah)
    Secondly, on a PGCE you aren't just a student, you're a student teacher. Unlike on other Masters courses, students on a PGCE have to teach pupils, so there's the potential for a fair bit of damage if the wrong people are selected. And there's just no point in accepting thousands of people who will then fail to pass the course because they don't have what it takes. Of course there are people who don't get a place despite having the potential to be a good teacher, and that's a shame, but many of these people succeed when they apply the following year.

    I think the need for tonnes of experience isn't necessarily a requirement set by the universities themselves - it's due to how oversubscribed many courses are. If you had 20 places to offer on a PGCE, and 100 applicants, 20 of whom have taken a year out and worked as a Teaching Assistant or Cover Supervisor to gain experience, then clearly those candidates show commitment and motivation which makes them stand out. However, lots of experience isn't the only way to stand out from the other candidates, and I'm sure there are plenty of people on this forum who got a place without that much experience.
    This.

    I posted a similar reply to the OP in the other thread (http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...post38836752):

    Firstly, universities are limited by the government by how many places they offer and assessed by OFTSED on their completion rates. Added to this, the PGCE is a tough course so expecting high standards at interview isn't surprising. Given the multi-faceted nature of teaching, a simple personal interview isn't enough to allow the interviewers to properly assess your potential, so some teaching based exercises are also involved.

    It's not easy, but If you think that it's as bad as a "million pound job" it's actually considerably easier than the graduate jobs interviews i went for, which were multi-round with each round involving a knowledge test, a group exercise and a personal interview.

    The course itself is hard. In order for you to be certified as a teacher and achieve QTS you need to meet the teaching standards required, although this does turn into a box ticking exercise there are solid rationales for each standard. Likewise the skills tests are there to assess that you have a bare minimum of english, maths and ICT skills (and are far and away the easiest part of the course).

    The overall aim is to produce a QTS certified professional that is capable of surviving in a school and teaching effectively. I can personally testify that the NQT year was the at the time the hardest year of my life, closely followed by the year after where all the "training wheels" that NQTs are supported with are removed and you are expected to survive on your own.

    I am taking on a trainee next year, which will involve exposing students in my own classes, and those of other teachers, to a raw, partially knowledgable individual with unproven ability. They are required to have significant amounts teaching time, and be expected to take over classes who will have GCSE or A-level exams that year. The potential for them to do damage to students education, some of which i will have taught over the course of many years, is massive and the responsibility for the student's learning still remains with me. Whilst i will support and assist their development I want them to be as up to that challenge as possible, I would rather have no trainee than a poorly motivated or ignorant one and so hope that the university they come from is rigorous in it's entry criteria and interview methods, even for Chemistry which is a shortage subject.



    Also, a PGCE is NOT a Masters Degree. It is a vocational qualification and is pass/fail. Speaking as someone who has a MSci and is completing a part time MEd at the moment (Masters in Education), there is a significant diference.

    Trainee teachers on a PGCE get funding depending upon the subject they do any their degree clasification:
    http://www.education.gov.uk/get-into...aduate-funding
    Although the funding model has changed, assuming you have a 2:1 then depending upon the subject you are likely to obtain a similar, or greater, bursary than before. Speaking to a member of educational faculty at the university i am currently doing my masters, they said they virtually put applications from anyone with less than a 2:1 straight in the bin (rightly or wrongly) nowadays anyway and that's for science which is considerably less competitive.
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    I also have to add that unlike most Masters courses, on a PGCE you get the same or more funding/loans that you would have got for your undergraduate degree. It's a lot of money from the Uni and Student Loan Company to spend/lend to someone so I think that's another big reason why PGCEs are more competitive and have a more rigorous application process.
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    (Original post by CTVicky)
    I also have to add that unlike most Masters courses, on a PGCE you get the same or more funding/loans that you would have got for your undergraduate degree. It's a lot of money from the Uni and Student Loan Company to spend/lend to someone so I think that's another big reason why PGCEs are more competitive and have a more rigorous application process.
    Well if you are talking about loans & funds then let me clarify you. I am an International Student. I just had an interview at Manchester University and they quoted me £12800 fees. Now tell me what do you think about the process when we are still willing top pay such huge amount of fees. I am sure most of the local student in UK would rather be uneducated with that kind of fee structure (No offence to anyone).
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    (Original post by djsquare1827)
    Well if you are talking about loans & funds then let me clarify you. I am an International Student. I just had an interview at Manchester University and they quoted me £12800 fees. Now tell me what do you think about the process when we are still willing top pay such huge amount of fees. I am sure most of the local student in UK would rather be uneducated with that kind of fee structure (No offence to anyone).
    I think Vicky's point still stands for the majority of PGCE students, who are Home or EU students. If the government is going to loan somebody over £12,000, and also give them a bursary of between £5,000 and £20,000 depending on their subject and degree classification, obviously they're going to be selective. For example, they wouldn't want somebody to do the course, take the money, and then not give anything back by pursuing a career in teaching.

    But just because this situation doesn't apply to overseas students, it doesn't mean that universities should just let people in if they don't satisfy the entry criteria. You still have to compete on a level playing field with other candidates, else it would give the impression that international students were buying a place on the course.

    I can see how it would be frustrating to be told that the course is so selective because of the funding, when you wouldn't be eligible for that funding anyway. But the funding element was only one argument amongst many, including the fact that universities train more teachers than they need, the potential for damage to pupils' education, and the realities of competing against people who didn't get in the first time they applied so have spent a year working in a school to gain experience while reapplying. Even if we totally ignore the issue of government funding, there are plenty of compelling reasons for the PGCE application process to be quite competitive.
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    I actually found my (secondary SCITT) PGCE interview to be a similar experience to my interview for my real teaching job, minus the teaching element in a job interview. And you want people on the course who are going to get jobs!

    My course was a small one (30ish trainees every year), and they told us that they were much more rigorous with their interviewing than they were in the previous year, as they had a lot of people dropping out for various reasons. They thought this had to do with them selecting the wrong people at interview, so they toughened up. And only one person has dropped out of my cohort this year (personal circumstances not the course), and 22/29 of us were employed by the end of the course. Morale was really high as well because we were all in it for the long haul as there weren't people dropping out here and there.

    So I'm all for rigorous selection, it's better for the trainees.
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    The people who are successful on the PGCE are those that will be teaching the next generation of children, of course there should be a rigorous application process! Who else would you want teaching your children? The best or the nearly good enough?
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    Id like to point out that rigorous was spelled wrong! But its not relevant!

    I agree with the second post so strongly! I am on a PGCE course this year and my boyfriend is on his masters so I have seen both application processes. Yes, the PGCE process was hard, but the screening is essential, and the years worth of paperwork alongside teaching will be MUCH harder, so if we cant deal with this, then we cant deal with teaching!

    My boyfriends masters applications were so much simpler. He sent off his transcript, around 1000-5000 words on why he wanted to do his masters, a couple references and proof that he could pay! I think it was the last bit that was MOST important to them unfortunately! PGCEs should definitely NOT be in this format
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    (Original post by ponpon14)
    Id like to point out that rigorous was spelled wrong! But its not relevant!

    I agree with the second post so strongly! I am on a PGCE course this year and my boyfriend is on his masters so I have seen both application processes. Yes, the PGCE process was hard, but the screening is essential, and the years worth of paperwork alongside teaching will be MUCH harder, so if we cant deal with this, then we cant deal with teaching!

    My boyfriends masters applications were so much simpler. He sent off his transcript, around 1000-5000 words on why he wanted to do his masters, a couple references and proof that he could pay! I think it was the last bit that was MOST important to them unfortunately! PGCEs should definitely NOT be in this format
    Good to hear different suggestions & opinion. Just to clarify I have just posted this on behalf of my wife who has 3yrs teaching experience in home country and she is an assistant teacher from last 3yrs in UK. I agree there are some spelling and grammatical errors in my post but that is irrelevant to the issue I am raising. I am not writing my thesis to be so precise with my spelling & grammar. I have completed my Masters from UK with A levels. This is just a casual chat about different opinion. Coming back to the point I would not be so bothered if it was rejection in the interview but I am talking about the time duration which leads to frustration and no explanation about the rejection. You can apply in just 3 colleges or Uni at once. They take more then a month to reply you back with apparently no rejection reasons given whatsoever. The candidate should have the right to know on what grounds the application is been rejected so that he or she can do some changes accordingly for the next application. I agree that I should have explained the content in my first post but yes this is my point. Thanks for all your replies and look forward to discuss further.
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    (Original post by djsquare1827)
    Coming back to the point I would not be so bothered if it was rejection in the interview but I am talking about the time duration which leads to frustration and no explanation about the rejection. You can apply in just 3 colleges or Uni at once. They take more then a month to reply you back with apparently no rejection reasons given whatsoever. The candidate should have the right to know on what grounds the application is been rejected so that he or she can do some changes accordingly for the next application. I agree that I should have explained the content in my first post but yes this is my point. Thanks for all your replies and look forward to discuss further.
    This is quite different to what you originally said, and I definitely agree with the points you have raised here.

    I found the GTTR process incredibly inefficient and frustrating. The first time I applied (for 2010 entry), it took about two months from submitting my application to having an interview at my first choice of university. I was unsuccessful at that interview, but by that point my second and third choices had already filled all their vacancies.

    A similar thing happened this year - I was rejected after interview by my first choice, and then of my next 2 choices, one was full, and one only had 2 places left with an interview session the following day. Fortunately I was able to phone up and change my application to courses which still had plenty of vacancies, and finally got a place in April.

    It would be much better if it worked more like the UCAS system for undergraduate applications, where your application goes to all of the universities at once.

    All universities will give feedback if asked, but they don't normally do it automatically. I suggest that your wife phones the university where she was rejected and asks for feedback to help improve her application. In fact, last year my cousin was rejected (without an interview) from a Primary Education degree. She phoned up for feedback, and was told that she didn't have enough experience. When she explained that since submitting her application she'd been volunteering 2 days per week in a Primary school and would be doing so until the end of the year, they changed their mind and invited her to interview and offered her a place on the course!

    Feedback varies in quality - obviously the interviewers only meet you once and they see a lot of different people, so it must be hard for them to remember everyone - but it still is worth asking and seeing what areas they think need improvement.
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    (Original post by Keziah)
    This is quite different to what you originally said, and I definitely agree with the points you have raised here.

    I found the GTTR process incredibly inefficient and frustrating. The first time I applied (for 2010 entry), it took about two months from submitting my application to having an interview at my first choice of university. I was unsuccessful at that interview, but by that point my second and third choices had already filled all their vacancies.

    A similar thing happened this year - I was rejected after interview by my first choice, and then of my next 2 choices, one was full, and one only had 2 places left with an interview session the following day. Fortunately I was able to phone up and change my application to courses which still had plenty of vacancies, and finally got a place in April.

    It would be much better if it worked more like the UCAS system for undergraduate applications, where your application goes to all of the universities at once.

    All universities will give feedback if asked, but they don't normally do it automatically. I suggest that your wife phones the university where she was rejected and asks for feedback to help improve her application. In fact, last year my cousin was rejected (without an interview) from a Primary Education degree. She phoned up for feedback, and was told that she didn't have enough experience. When she explained that since submitting her application she'd been volunteering 2 days per week in a Primary school and would be doing so until the end of the year, they changed their mind and invited her to interview and offered her a place on the course!

    Feedback varies in quality - obviously the interviewers only meet you once and they see a lot of different people, so it must be hard for them to remember everyone - but it still is worth asking and seeing what areas they think need improvement.

    Ohh I didnt know that they do give the explanation when requested. Thats helpful. Thanks a lot. I will ask her to do so.
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    I applied late this year and got onto a PGCE Primary on my first attempt, very first interview and with very little Primary experience (although vast amounts of secondary experience, including taking and planning lessons and workshops.) In terms of the interview, I would say that yes, it was an incredibly difficult day, but I got the place because I clearly have what it takes to become a teacher, and managed to show them so.

    I know that due to my lack of experience I will find this year very taxing, especially my first placement. But I am excellent at handling stress and balancing many different conflicting constraints on my time, which I proved to them at the interview, and clearly they believed I could handle it. I think it helped that I was well aware of the difficulties which would arise throughout the year, partially down to my boyfriend who is an NQT English secondary teacher.

    However I COMPLETELY agree about the process, not so much for me as I was lucky enough to get my first application accepted, but my boyfriend almost missed out on a secondary English place last year because the first uni took SO LONG. He ended up on a reserve list for Keele, luckily got a place due to drop outs but and now is the most wonderful, passionate teacher making a real difference working in an disadvantaged school. The silly system nearly meant he'd have had to wait another year and risk becoming disillusioned, and he is such a wonderful inspiring teacher, so many pupils would have missed out. It should be like UCAS and it's crazy that it isn't, you're held hostage by your first choice for months!
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    Also - some tips for people applying that my uni gave me. Use STAR for all things that are relevant.
    Situation
    Task
    Action
    Result
    .
    The more you have for each of these the better! Ie I was teaching Year 8s. So the situation: 10 year 8 SEN students Task:to improve their english skills of interpretation and analysis and confidence with texts. Action: By planning lessons involving games to enhance their empathy with characters and use of modern technology (such as getting the children to design facebook pages for the characters) I amde the lessons exciting and therefore they paid more attention. Result: all children's reading abilities improved immensely and tey even started reading for leisure which they did not do before.

    Hope that helps people get offered more places - STAR is a great way to organize things so the universities can pick out the important bits they need easier! Obviously you should write it in flowing paragraphs and not identify each bracket everytime explicitely. Its just a great way to talk about your experiences in both personal statements and interviews.

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