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    Hi,

    I've been offered a place on a PGCE for this coming September. It's my ideal course. I'm 28, and have two young children, and am really worried about the hours, and not being able to spend enough time with them. I'm really interested in hearing about others' experiences. I am totally happy to spend hours at night marking and preparing for lessons (I already have quite a bit of 1:1 teaching experience).

    My main question is: What time are PGCE students on placements expected to arrive and leave school? What times would be deemed acceptable? Are student teachers expected to attend registration as well as teach in and shadow lessons? Mine is a secondary school PGCE and whilst I really do not want to give up the place, I'm driving myself mad with worry at the moment, trying to figure out whether it would all work without causing a huge deal of stress. I am a single parent with some support but currently solely responsible for my kids' school drop offs and pick ups. They would have a child minder for the afternoon/evening weekdays if I took on the course, and my mum would help out with morning drop offs.

    Thanks in advance for any help/ advice or anecdotes!
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    (Original post by mt29)
    Hi,

    I've been offered a place on a PGCE for this coming September. It's my ideal course. I'm 28, and have two young children, and am really worried about the hours, and not being able to spend enough time with them. I'm really interested in hearing about others' experiences. I am totally happy to spend hours at night marking and preparing for lessons (I already have quite a bit of 1:1 teaching experience).

    My main question is: What time are PGCE students on placements expected to arrive and leave school? What times would be deemed acceptable? Are student teachers expected to attend registration as well as teach in and shadow lessons? Mine is a secondary school PGCE and whilst I really do not want to give up the place, I'm driving myself mad with worry at the moment, trying to figure out whether it would all work without causing a huge deal of stress. I am a single parent with some support but currently solely responsible for my kids' school drop offs and pick ups. They would have a child minder for the afternoon/evening weekdays if I took on the course, and my mum would help out with morning drop offs.

    Thanks in advance for any help/ advice or anecdotes!
    I'm on a primary PGCE with a couple of mums who have primary aged children. They manage really well, so I'd say it's definitely doable.

    For us, our schools tend to expect us to arrive between 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning (although anyone arriving at 8:30 is considered to be pushing it a bit, what with the need to get ready for the school day). I think my friends benefit from schools that have breakfast clubs at school, but if you don't have this luxury and you have someone who is willing to help with dropoff, then great!

    As for leaving school, I've never encountered anyone who frowned upon me leaving early, and I don't have kids! I used to leave my second placement school as quickly as possibly after the kids, because the traffic home got so ridiculous that I felt it made more sense to take work home than to do it at school. The earliest I left was 3:30 (school finished at 3:10), and no one ever commented as long as the work that needed doing got done. I know one of my friends leaves by about 4pm everyday, so that she can go home to her children.

    I don't know how different it will be for secondary school, but from my experience in primary, no one bats an eyelid as long as you do what needs doing.
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    (Original post by mt29)
    ...
    Many secondary schools have a time when all staff need to be on site (often around 8.30 a.m. although it could be earlier). Do bear in mind that you may need to travel for up to one hour to get to your placement school (there are horror stories of much longer journeys). It is likely you will be attached to a registration group but you will need to be on site even if it this is not the case.

    On most evenings you will be able to leave the site before 4 p.m. (possible as early as 3.30 p.m.) although you should bear in mind that meetings can be held after school such as staff meetings, pastoral meetings, PGCE meetings, parent evenings and so on. You should assume that you won't be able to get away promptly on a couple of evenings each week.

    Most importantly, you will need to work in the evenings and weekends writing assignments, preparing and reflecting on lessons and marking. Some PGCE students spend hours on this each day whereas others manage to complete much of their work in school.
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    (Original post by Mr M)
    Many secondary schools have a time when all staff need to be on site (often around 8.30 a.m. although it could be earlier). Do bear in mind that you may need to travel for up to one hour to get to your placement school (there are horror stories of much longer journeys). It is likely you will be attached to a registration group but you will need to be on site even if it this is not the case.

    On most evenings you will be able to leave the site before 4 p.m. (possible as early as 3.30 p.m.) although you should bear in mind that meetings can be held after school such as staff meetings, pastoral meetings, PGCE meetings, parent evenings and so on. You should assume that you won't be able to get away promptly on a couple of evenings each week.

    Most importantly, you will need to work in the evenings and weekends writing assignments, preparing and reflecting on lessons and marking. Some PGCE students spend hours on this each day whereas others manage to complete much of their work in school.
    I agree with a lot in here... In my first placement (secondary) had to be in school for 8am and I never left before about 4.30pm... Also I'd usually have after school obligations twice a week.

    My second placment is slightly different... Need to be on for 8am, but have after schools until about 4.30-5pm for about 3-4 of the school days.. usually just early away (3.40pm ) on a Friday. Thing is with secondary, I've had to run and assist a lot of exam revision sessions, detention sessions, not to mention all the meetings and training after school...

    It's a real drain on time... It will all depend on the school it varies massively, but I'd think secondary has more demands on your time.. particularly exam prep etc...
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    I find that the school hours aren't the problem at all, typically 8am-4pm which is fine (sometimes later than 4pm due to school commitments such as meetings) but the main issue was the travelling. It often takes me an hour to get home from my host school. If I leave after 4.30pm it's an absolute nightmare! If you're at a school that is a good distance from you (30min or less) your day will be a lot shorter and you'll have time for other things. I find myself leaving just after 7am to get to school for 8am and getting home between 4.45(when leaving school just after the kids have gone) or 6pm.

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    Thanks for all the replies! Really helpful information (although I still haven't made a final decision!) Greatly appreciated X
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    I am a Primary PGCE student now going in to my final placement, am on the home run now 😀

    Although I am not a single parent my partner works away during most of the working week so I am in sole charge of our four year little boy.

    I heard lots of horror stories about being up all night planning and never seeing your children. I am so glad I didn't listen to them. The course has been hard work but is manageable. The Uni have taken my situation into account and my placements have been 20 minutes and 30 minutes away. Time wise I have needed to be in school 8ish to 4ish so have needed to use breakfast and after school club all week. Once a week I have stayed for staff meetings til 5.30. I have found my class mentors really understanding if I've had to leave early for the very occasional pick up and to watch my son's nativity.

    The actual workload has been quite reasonable. I make the most of my study time and get stuck in. I probably work 5-10 hours outside of school time planning etc but work through lunch and use my PPA wisely! I have had to accept that I cannot commit as much time as my pre-mummy self but as long as I pass and my mentor/the children are happy with my teaching I amhappy 😄

    Good luck xx
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    Hi sleepymummy,
    You've cheered me up as I am starting in Sept and have two primary aged children to look after. I hope that I get to see their teachers sometimes!
    Thanks Velma
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    (Original post by mt29)
    Thanks for all the replies! Really helpful information (although I still haven't made a final decision!) Greatly appreciated X
    My first placement was 7.00am- 6.00pm everyday plus weekends and evenings j was beyond exhausted , my second 8:00- 4/5 las test much nicer no evenings - no weekends - all depends on the school X
 
 
 
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