2014 PGCE/PGDE DilemmaWatch
I completed my BA, MA and PhD without incurring any debts whatsoever: I self-funded my BA and MA whilst my PhD was fully funded. My intention is to teach (11-18) or lecture (further or higher education). University Lectureships in my subject area is almost non-existent. When vacancies come up, the competition is fierce and the outcome—in spite of REF-able publications—can be soul-destroying. Conversely, whilst vacancies are always advertised for secondary and FE teaching in my field, lack of PGCE, QTS or QTLS meant that I was never shortlisted or considered for a position. This is in spite of the fact that independent schools, academies and FE colleges are allowed to employ high calibre graduates with no teaching qualifications.
So, I successfully applied for a PGCE place. But, my dilemma now concerns the cost of obtaining the PGCE+QTS. Across the UK, the fee for PGCE/PGDE is £9000. I would need another £9,000 for maintenance: Accommodation alone (1 room in a shared house/flat) in the city where I’m planning to do my PGCE is around £500pcm (£6,000pa); maintenance is conservatively estimated to cost me £3,000. For the first time, ever, I applied for students finance and had been awarded just over £5000 (£1200 of which is a grant). This implies that to obtain a PGCE+QTS, I now have to incur a debt of approximately £12,800, a debt I never incurred whilst pursuing my BA, MA and PhD. My question is: is it really worth it?
NB: Lately, I started exploring other routes to obtaining PGCE+QTS. Places on Schools Direct and Teach First programmes, particularly in my field, have gone. I am awaiting decisions on two other schemes, hoping I can acquire my PGCE+QTS without having to incur over £12,000 debts. Your views would be highly appreciated.
Need more help on going postgrad?