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    Any past or current SD students (especially sciences) care to comment on what they think of this route? I know there have been many threads over the years but I'm still a bit undecided.

    PGCE and SD both have pros and cons for me. I have been working for many years so this is a big change I'm looking at, SD seems the obvious choice and would feel more like a new job. You will spend more time in the school which is a great thing, and you may feel more like a permanent member of staff, but I wonder if that means extra responsibilities that you don't really need with the rest of the learning and assignments that need doing? Another concern with SD is you probably won't have anybody else doing the same subject as you (depending on the size of the school/alliance) - there will be others in the training sessions doing other subjects but I wonder how much you miss being able to chat with other students doing the same subject, science practicals etc?

    On the other hand, I quite like the idea of spending some time back at university, maybe with similar career changers in there. If a placement doesn't go particularly well, then at least you don't have to go back to that school! I guess you get less choice over the geographical location of your placements though with PGCE? A local school I would consider for SD also takes PGCE placements, but I am not sure I could guarantee getting in there if I took the PGCE route?

    Does SD make it easier to get a job at the end of it in your host school or alliance?
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    Hi,
    I'm a career changer (into secondary chemistry) and am taking up a SD place this Sep. Like you, it feels like the right path for someone who has worked. It is in partnership with Leics Uni and we will do exactly the same Uni classes as the Uni route students to gain a PGCE. The only difference is 8 teacher development days, which will be the school alliance instead of at the Uni. It seems employment prospects are good following SD (as you are effectively doing a year long interview for a NQT place) and they want the trainees to become part of the school early on.
    It may be 6 of one and half a dozen of the other - it's worth looking into the details of what each provider can offer. Not sure if that helps?!
    Plus, I will be doing a 12 week SKE course as I graduated in the 80s. Good luck.
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    Hi,

    currently an SD primary student. If you've seen some of the other threads on here, you might well have seen that some people have quit their course for various reasons, and others saying how hard it is, how much they are struggling.

    I'm not going to dress SD up as something it isn't. From my experience at the moment, sure, it's tough. There is a lot of work to do, and always more you could be doing. If you've never worked hard before, it will come as a shock. If you have worked hard before, expect to work hard again, although maybe in a different way. You will feel tired, you will be immersed in school life, you will have lessons to plan and books to mark and children to think about for whole terms, instead of just several weeks at a time. And you will almost certainly have to be in one school for most of the year.

    You may be thinking that I make these sound like bad things. However, whether these things are good or bad really depends on the school, class and mentor you get. From the threads I've seen on here with people complaining and quitting, it sounds like they had a tough time with their placements in some way, and felt that the best move was to quit.

    I've been very lucky with my SD - I have a fantastic main placement school, a great second placement going at the moment, and a really great lead school. Everyone who is involved is very supportive and will pretty much bend over backwards to help you when you need it, in spite of their own heavy workloads.

    I wouldn't say that SD has loaded me with any particular responsibilities that don't come as standard with teaching a class, although maybe that would be different in secondary. Also, I do truly feel like a permanent member of staff at my main placement school. I manage to fit in all my school work and assignments, and still have a hobby and the chance to exercise, and the opportunities to see family. As part of a course with 20 ITT primary trainees, we see each other at weekly training sessions (when they are timetabled), talk over WhatsApp almost constantly, meet up and socialise, and help each other with uni assignments. It's no big deal not to be in school with them all the time, because it's nice to have friends that get what you are going through, but don't have the exact same experience.

    In terms of distance to placements... I sort of shot myself in the foot going with an SD that is 20 miles from my home, meaning that almost all of the placements are at least that far away. However, the lead school took all of our travelling times into consideration for both placements. At my current placement, there are not only two of us SD trainees there, but two students from a uni-based PGCE which is MUCH further away than I have to travel. Can't say any more than that, because I just don't have the experience.

    On the whole, I would say that it comes down to how you feel - not about whether you want the uni-based feel of being a student, or the involved feel of being treated like a member of staff. It's about which route you feel will provide you with the best support system, and the best mentors. Who will make you feel most secure, and help you in times of need? Because from what I can tell, that is the biggest decider in whether you complete the PGCE course or not...
 
 
 
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