Considering changing careers to Primary teaching (Reception - Year 2) Watch

jules98
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I am considering going to university to do a Primary Teaching BA with QTS. For a bit of background: I am 20 years old, completed A Levels in 2016 but decided not to do the uni thing as I had no idea what to do and didn't fancy getting into huge debt for nothing. So, I got a job in London working in the property industry, which was fine for the first year, but now (1.5 years in) I'm starting to feel that my job has no value - I don't feel like I am contributing positively to society. I am naturally a very caring person, I like to help people and my morals are in line with that. My current job has no active aspect of ethics or morals to it, really, and I am not satisfied at all in my current position/industry.

Now, I am strongly considering heading to uni and doing a teaching degree as I now know myself so much better than two or three years ago. I want to teach young primary (reception - year 2) probably, although any advice is absolutely welcome. I have had a few days experience working in a primary school with 4-7 year olds, which I really enjoyed. I know there is a lot of hard work with teaching, but I think I would find it genuinely rewarding which would make it all worth it.

My A Level results (from 2016) weren't as good as I had hoped they would be (BCD in Spanish, Philosophy & Ethics and Business Studies respectively). But I feel that as I have taken time out, worked in a professional environment and know myself much better now, that the entry requirements could be more flexible? Any thoughts on this?

I guess I would like any advice on teaching, i.e. what degree type would you recommend? There are multiple routes into teaching, what do you think is most suitable for the type of teaching I'm interested in? What is teaching truly like - or what would you say is a typical day (if that even exists!)? Any and all advice welcome!
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username1230881
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(Original post by jules98)
I am considering going to university to do a Primary Teaching BA with QTS. For a bit of background: I am 20 years old, completed A Levels in 2016 but decided not to do the uni thing as I had no idea what to do and didn't fancy getting into huge debt for nothing. So, I got a job in London working in the property industry, which was fine for the first year, but now (1.5 years in) I'm starting to feel that my job has no value - I don't feel like I am contributing positively to society. I am naturally a very caring person, I like to help people and my morals are in line with that. My current job has no active aspect of ethics or morals to it, really, and I am not satisfied at all in my current position/industry.

Now, I am strongly considering heading to uni and doing a teaching degree as I now know myself so much better than two or three years ago. I want to teach young primary (reception - year 2) probably, although any advice is absolutely welcome. I have had a few days experience working in a primary school with 4-7 year olds, which I really enjoyed. I know there is a lot of hard work with teaching, but I think I would find it genuinely rewarding which would make it all worth it.

My A Level results (from 2016) weren't as good as I had hoped they would be (BCD in Spanish, Philosophy & Ethics and Business Studies respectively). But I feel that as I have taken time out, worked in a professional environment and know myself much better now, that the entry requirements could be more flexible? Any thoughts on this?

I guess I would like any advice on teaching, i.e. what degree type would you recommend? There are multiple routes into teaching, what do you think is most suitable for the type of teaching I'm interested in? What is teaching truly like - or what would you say is a typical day (if that even exists!)? Any and all advice welcome!
Firstly, for Reception-Year 2, you'll want to choose the 3-7 route. The alternative, and more common, route is 5-11, which won't train you for the Early Years Foundation Stage, so 3-7 is definitely the best option. That does entail working with Nursery though, which you may end up teaching as teachers don't necessarily get to choose their year groups specifically, and as you're training for a narrower route you may well end up in Nursery at some point.

I can't comment on entry requirements for the undergraduate route, but if you were to do another degree first then a PGCE afterwards, your A level results would be virtually irrelevant, and what would instead be important is securing a 2:2, 2:1 or First. So if you can't get onto a BA Primary Ed with QTS course with BCD, then consider doing another (any subject) degree first.

You'll need experience to get on the course and I'd advise getting more. Nursery and Reception, despite being the same key stage, are in many respects very different - a lot more play in the former! Years 1 and 2 are a little more similar, but very different to Reception. I'd also get some experience in Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6) - you might like it, and if you find that you enjoy it, and find that you hate Nursery, it may be preferable.

For postgraduate teacher training at least, one of your references should be from one of the teachers you've worked with; I'm not sure about undergrad. More experience would hopefully show you what a typical day is like and that it's fundamentally very hard work: there's a massive retention problem and very long hours for an uncompetitive salary. If you're keen, that's great, but be very aware that it's a lot more than school hours.

Beyond A level grade considerations, whether you opt for undergrad or postgrad is entirely up to you. For undergrad, you'd spend a higher percentage of your time at university, and less in schools - it's fundamentally a degree still, with the QTS part being more of a side. You'd save a year doing it that way, and it'd probably be less competitive than postgrad (which is at times insanely competitive: Manchester accepts 102 people out of the 1500 that apply each year for its primary PGCE course!). However, 3-7 is more of a niche route and I'm not sure how many undergrad courses offer that, and opting for 5-11 would completely avoid Reception and Nursery. The postgrad route entails more time spent in schools (at least 120 days in the one year), and is Masters-level, so you'd technically be better qualified if you chose that. Your preceding undergrad degree could be in literally any subject; a poster on TSR got onto Cambridge's Primary PGCE course with a degree in Advertising and Marketing!
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Gremlin78
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Hi, one suggestion would be to work as a TA in a school for a year - that would give you a real insight as to whether teaching is what you really want to do. If it is, then go on with a degree and teacher training!
I’ve worked as a TA for the last few years (already have a degree) and am starting schools direct in September. Working as a TA has made a huge difference to me - I really understand what it takes to be a teacher and what it’s like working in a school. Previously (whilst working in my previous job) I did some work experience in schools but chickened out of training as I lacked the confidence to do it. Now I’m ready - though slightly terrified!! Good luck :-)
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jules98
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(Original post by doctorwhofan98)
Firstly, for Reception-Year 2, you'll want to choose the 3-7 route. The alternative, and more common, route is 5-11, which won't train you for the Early Years Foundation Stage, so 3-7 is definitely the best option. That does entail working with Nursery though, which you may end up teaching as teachers don't necessarily get to choose their year groups specifically, and as you're training for a narrower route you may well end up in Nursery at some point.

I can't comment on entry requirements for the undergraduate route, but if you were to do another degree first then a PGCE afterwards, your A level results would be virtually irrelevant, and what would instead be important is securing a 2:2, 2:1 or First. So if you can't get onto a BA Primary Ed with QTS course with BCD, then consider doing another (any subject) degree first.

You'll need experience to get on the course and I'd advise getting more. Nursery and Reception, despite being the same key stage, are in many respects very different - a lot more play in the former! Years 1 and 2 are a little more similar, but very different to Reception. I'd also get some experience in Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6) - you might like it, and if you find that you enjoy it, and find that you hate Nursery, it may be preferable.

For postgraduate teacher training at least, one of your references should be from one of the teachers you've worked with; I'm not sure about undergrad. More experience would hopefully show you what a typical day is like and that it's fundamentally very hard work: there's a massive retention problem and very long hours for an uncompetitive salary. If you're keen, that's great, but be very aware that it's a lot more than school hours.

Beyond A level grade considerations, whether you opt for undergrad or postgrad is entirely up to you. For undergrad, you'd spend a higher percentage of your time at university, and less in schools - it's fundamentally a degree still, with the QTS part being more of a side. You'd save a year doing it that way, and it'd probably be less competitive than postgrad (which is at times insanely competitive: Manchester accepts 102 people out of the 1500 that apply each year for its primary PGCE course!). However, 3-7 is more of a niche route and I'm not sure how many undergrad courses offer that, and opting for 5-11 would completely avoid Reception and Nursery. The postgrad route entails more time spent in schools (at least 120 days in the one year), and is Masters-level, so you'd technically be better qualified if you chose that. Your preceding undergrad degree could be in literally any subject; a poster on TSR got onto Cambridge's Primary PGCE course with a degree in Advertising and Marketing!

Thanks for this advice - it definitely gives me food for thought! I am going to apply to three different courses probably: Primary Ed with QTS at Uni of Greenwich; Primary Ed (3-7) with QTS and Primary Ed (5-11) with QTS at Uni of Brighton. I'll be living at home and commuting, which does limit my options slightly but I am happy with these universities. I will apply and I plan on getting at least two weeks work experience in a Primary school near where I live, and sit in on both Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 lessons, so that I can get a better idea of what I want to do - I'm not ruling anything out. Then if I get accepted to all three courses (fingers crossed!), I can make an informed decision as to which one I will go with.

I have spoken to the admissions team at Brighton and they said that for the courses I am interested in, the most important part of my application will be my personal statement and the interview, as they hold more value to those things instead of just my academic achievements. Fingers crossed!
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username1230881
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(Original post by jules98)
Thanks for this advice - it definitely gives me food for thought! I am going to apply to three different courses probably: Primary Ed with QTS at Uni of Greenwich; Primary Ed (3-7) with QTS and Primary Ed (5-11) with QTS at Uni of Brighton. I'll be living at home and commuting, which does limit my options slightly but I am happy with these universities. I will apply and I plan on getting at least two weeks work experience in a Primary school near where I live, and sit in on both Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 lessons, so that I can get a better idea of what I want to do - I'm not ruling anything out. Then if I get accepted to all three courses (fingers crossed!), I can make an informed decision as to which one I will go with.

I have spoken to the admissions team at Brighton and they said that for the courses I am interested in, the most important part of my application will be my personal statement and the interview, as they hold more value to those things instead of just my academic achievements. Fingers crossed!
Glad to be of help! You do mean Key Stages 1 and 2, right, as KS3 is high school? And I do really recommend going to the Nursery, even for just a half-day, if they have one at the school as that will likely be what makes or breaks the 3-7 decision. Are you applying for entry this September, or 2019 entry?
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jules98
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(Original post by doctorwhofan98)
Glad to be of help! You do mean Key Stages 1 and 2, right, as KS3 is high school? And I do really recommend going to the Nursery, even for just a half-day, if they have one at the school as that will likely be what makes or breaks the 3-7 decision. Are you applying for entry this September, or 2019 entry?
Yes, I did mean KS 1 and 2! I am definitely keeping an open mind as to what level I would like to eventually teach. I had an interview yesterday at Greenwich Uni which seemed to go well, so fingers crossed! I've also been invited to two further interviews for other courses at the end of June so it all seems to be heading in the right direction. If all goes to plan, I will be starting the degree course I end up choosing in September this year.
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