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Keele University SD or Uni of Manchester PGCE?!?! HELP!!! watch

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    Hi all,

    Looking for some advice! I have been accepted on to a PGCE with the University of Manchester and a school's direct course through Keele University, both for secondary English 11-18 - and I really can't decide which one to go for!!

    My understanding is that the SD course at Keele is very similar to the PGCE and that you come out with the same qualification at the end (if anyone knows otherwise then please do let me know!), so if that's the case then these are the factors that are pulling me one way or the other: if I choose Keele, I will continue to stay at home at my parent's house and therefore save money, and a lot of people have said that because it's such a hard year you need the support of your family etc, so I would also have that by staying at home. Manchester is a better university though, I believe, and from what I've heard the course that they offer is of a better standard too; I also really love the city of Manchester and am, in part, ready to move on to a different area.

    I have to make my decision by Tuesday morning, and I have been stewing over it all week and have come no closer! So I'm reaching out to you guys for advice; any thoughts you could offer would be hugely appreciated!! Just off to work, so apologies if this isn't written particularly well!

    Thanks a lot to anyone who can help!!
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    That's a tough one.

    First off, I would say disregard any thoughts of what is the 'better' university. In my experience, no one cares where you trained, so long as you qualified at the end of it and perform well at interview.

    I stayed at home during my SD course (non-salaried, with PGCE) and can't imagine having lived anywhere else for that year. I needed the support, the human interaction, my mum forcing me to take a break for Sunday lunch etc etc! Not to mention the benefits of having someone else do a lot of my washing, ironing and cooking!

    That said, it can be beneficial to train around the area where you want to work, as headteachers who know each other will often ring one another to vouch for applicants they know. It doesn't always have an impact (I got a job outside of the county I trained in), but it can make a big difference for some people.

    I would say that for me, SD prepared me really well for the reality of life at school. I was in school 5 days a week for most of the academic year, with just a handful of Fridays spent at the University that was offering my PGCE. It was a real juggle completing academic work at the same time as teaching, but my main school was extremely supportive and would juggle my timetable to allow me to teach a couple of morning lessons then disappear to the library for 24 hours if I had a deadline looming. That said, my short placement school was the opposite, and I seriously thought I might have a meltdown during October.... I make no exaggeration when I say that I cried almost every day for a month.

    It's a difficult decision, but a fortunate one - some people don't get any offers at all, and you have 2!

    I wish it was clear cut, but there are obvious pros and cons for both. Saving money and getting the extra support of staying at home would probably sway it for me, but then I've already been through it all and know how I dealt (or didn't!) with the stress... I'm also finding I can only JUST afford to live on my NQT salary (living alone in the north east), and would never have managed it if I hadn't been able to save a lot of my bursaries etc from my training year.

    Good luck with it - let me know what you choose!
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    I would be nowhere if I hadn't chosen to continue to live with my in-laws this year. They've really helped to make sure I'm good to focus on my course all of the time as they prepare my meals, do my laundry and just let me offload when I'm feeling stressed. It's also given me the chance to save for a mortgage deposit so I'm ready to move (strangely from Stoke to possibly Manchester way for jobs) so although I'm restricted this year, after my PGDE I'll be free to go to wherever I want.

    If you can handle moving to a new city then have a look at which university you prefer. You'll get two very different experiences and the schools may also be vastly different since the area surrounding Keele is very varied. I personally didn't like studying at Keele because it's a very small and quiet area but it'd be different for a SD course as you're in-uni time is minimal, whereas the PGCE at Manchester will have more contact hours.

    SD is a bigger challenge in that you're thrown into the deep end but if you know you're fine learning on the job then that'd be a good option for you. I'm PGDE and I'm really pushing to get going now and I'm building up from teaching one lesson next week to thirteen the week after but the SD students are already back into their regular teaching hours. SD students usually complain that they feel like they're flying blind sometimes since they don't generally have as much theory. They also say that it can feel a little bit lonely without other trainees around.

    There's definitely pros and cons to both ways but don't let reputation come in to it. Do whatever is going to be best for you since all that matters is you complete and get QTS.
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    (Original post by LittleRed)
    Hi all,

    Looking for some advice! I have been accepted on to a PGCE with the University of Manchester and a school's direct course through Keele University, both for secondary English 11-18 - and I really can't decide which one to go for!!

    My understanding is that the SD course at Keele is very similar to the PGCE and that you come out with the same qualification at the end (if anyone knows otherwise then please do let me know!), so if that's the case then these are the factors that are pulling me one way or the other: if I choose Keele, I will continue to stay at home at my parent's house and therefore save money, and a lot of people have said that because it's such a hard year you need the support of your family etc, so I would also have that by staying at home. Manchester is a better university though, I believe, and from what I've heard the course that they offer is of a better standard too; I also really love the city of Manchester and am, in part, ready to move on to a different area.

    I have to make my decision by Tuesday morning, and I have been stewing over it all week and have come no closer! So I'm reaching out to you guys for advice; any thoughts you could offer would be hugely appreciated!! Just off to work, so apologies if this isn't written particularly well!

    Thanks a lot to anyone who can help!!
    I'm not in this field of study so can't comment from an academic perspective. But if you feel the qualification is the same and it wouldn't have a bearing on employment prospects etc then Keele would be best if it means saving money which of course comes in handy once you start working full-time too.

    As a Manchester native, yeah it's a great city no doubt and compared to other cities in the UK, it's "cheaper" to live in but probably more expensive than Stoke. Stoke is about 40 minutes or so on the train and I think the Oxford Road station has trains going to Stoke? I might be wrong. An alternative might be to commute from Stoke to Manchester but of course that has cost implications (travel etc) and means you might not be able to take full advantage of the social aspects of being in Manchester.

    I would say go with Manchester but only do so if you are ok with the costs and if really having a Manchester PGCE on the CV would be a major step up from Keele.

    In terms of academic reputations then obviously it's a no brainer but I don't know how relevant that is with the PGCE.
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    (Original post by LittleRed)
    Hi all,

    Looking for some advice! I have been accepted on to a PGCE with the University of Manchester and a school's direct course through Keele University, both for secondary English 11-18 - and I really can't decide which one to go for!!

    My understanding is that the SD course at Keele is very similar to the PGCE and that you come out with the same qualification at the end (if anyone knows otherwise then please do let me know!), so if that's the case then these are the factors that are pulling me one way or the other: if I choose Keele, I will continue to stay at home at my parent's house and therefore save money, and a lot of people have said that because it's such a hard year you need the support of your family etc, so I would also have that by staying at home. Manchester is a better university though, I believe, and from what I've heard the course that they offer is of a better standard too; I also really love the city of Manchester and am, in part, ready to move on to a different area.

    I have to make my decision by Tuesday morning, and I have been stewing over it all week and have come no closer! So I'm reaching out to you guys for advice; any thoughts you could offer would be hugely appreciated!! Just off to work, so apologies if this isn't written particularly well!

    Thanks a lot to anyone who can help!!
    Go SD if you want to stay at home, and need to for financial reasons, if not, go to Manchester you will have an awesome time when you get some free time! Plus Manchester uni's facilities are likely to be better
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    (Original post by TraineeLynsey)
    That's a tough one.

    First off, I would say disregard any thoughts of what is the 'better' university. In my experience, no one cares where you trained, so long as you qualified at the end of it and perform well at interview.

    I stayed at home during my SD course (non-salaried, with PGCE) and can't imagine having lived anywhere else for that year. I needed the support, the human interaction, my mum forcing me to take a break for Sunday lunch etc etc! Not to mention the benefits of having someone else do a lot of my washing, ironing and cooking!

    That said, it can be beneficial to train around the area where you want to work, as headteachers who know each other will often ring one another to vouch for applicants they know. It doesn't always have an impact (I got a job outside of the county I trained in), but it can make a big difference for some people.

    I would say that for me, SD prepared me really well for the reality of life at school. I was in school 5 days a week for most of the academic year, with just a handful of Fridays spent at the University that was offering my PGCE. It was a real juggle completing academic work at the same time as teaching, but my main school was extremely supportive and would juggle my timetable to allow me to teach a couple of morning lessons then disappear to the library for 24 hours if I had a deadline looming. That said, my short placement school was the opposite, and I seriously thought I might have a meltdown during October.... I make no exaggeration when I say that I cried almost every day for a month.

    It's a difficult decision, but a fortunate one - some people don't get any offers at all, and you have 2!

    I wish it was clear cut, but there are obvious pros and cons for both. Saving money and getting the extra support of staying at home would probably sway it for me, but then I've already been through it all and know how I dealt (or didn't!) with the stress... I'm also finding I can only JUST afford to live on my NQT salary (living alone in the north east), and would never have managed it if I hadn't been able to save a lot of my bursaries etc from my training year.

    Good luck with it - let me know what you choose!
    Hi Lynsey,

    Thank you so much for your advice!! I really appreciate the time that you must've taken to write such an informative response. It really helped me to consider my options well.

    I just wanted to let you know that I have accepted the School's Direct offer with Keele Uni / Blackfriars Consortium. I'm not sure that I am happy with my decision tbh!!! But I dithered and dithered for so long I don't think I would have been happy deciding either way. All the stuff you said about needing the support and having someone there to remind you to maintain your sanity and do normal stuff every now and again really hit home! I really think that I am going to find it a hard year, and as much as I yearn for city life, I think I'd find it a struggle without my family to be doing the course away from home; while I could be living in a house of amazing people in Manchester, I could also be left feeling really isolated and lonely if I don't connect with any of them. I think having someone to do the housework will prove to be a massive advantage as well! I just feel so old to be living back at home, and another year and a half of it feels quite daunting - I'll be nearly 27 by the time I finish my training! But then I thought to myself, if I really feel like I need to move out of my parent's house, I can rent somewhere in Stoke and still have their support on my doorstep at least.

    I'm hoping that not necessarily living in the area where I want to teach afterwards won't affect me too much; I guess I will just have to cross that bridge when I come to it!!

    Sounds like on the most part you had a great experience on your SD course, and I'm really hoping it's the same for me!! I have found the decision so difficult, and I just really hope it's the right one; I know that like you say, I'm very fortunate to have the choice, I actually got offers from all 3 of the places that I applied to so I was thrilled, but ruled out Nottingham University after my interview as I didn't get very supportive vibes from the department on the day.

    Everything you said made so much sense and helped me to come to a sensible conclusion: I was scared that I'd go to Manchester, find it difficult to cope or be in a situation where I'm completely draining my savings through cost of living and potential cost of transport to and from my placements. I think that if I do find the year really difficult, which almost everyone who I know that's done it has done, then I fear that I'd be more likely to end up failing/dropping out if I'm in a place where I'm unhappy/unsupported which I potentially could have been. I do see myself as living in a big city, and think that's essentially where I'd like to be in a couple of year's time; but there was a lot of unknowns at risk that meant that choosing Manchester could have been a bit of a gamble. I feel like my experience there would have either been utterly amazing, and the best decision I've made thus far, or if it was bad, it would've been a horrendous struggle that may have left me quitting which I'd have never forgiven myself for. Staying at home is a safe bet in the sense that I know I will be well supported both financially and emotionally, even if I feel like in some respects I'm holding myself back.

    Anyway, decision made, time to not dwell over it any more! Thanks again for all of your valuable advice!
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    You're welcome! That sounds like the most sensible choice to me.

    I was 28 when I finished my course, so I know what you mean about feeling too old for living at home, but I definitely wouldn't do it any other way.

    It also made me REALLY appreciate it when I moved out in August, lol.
 
 
 
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