Dorothy Branning
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Hi everyone, happy holidays

Im currently in my final year at Bradford Uni studying Chemistry and wanting to complete a PGCE in September to become a Secondary School Science Teacher and had a bunch of questions that i hope some people will have answers to!!

The first and most important question i had was about placements. Im aware you have to undertake 2 placements at 2 different schools but i was wondering could i choose the schools i wish to be placed at or is this chosen for me. Would it not be beneficial for me to place myself at a school i have links to as i would feel more comfortable so observations would be easier?

The Second question is how do i get assessed while on placements im aware that you have observations but is this done by the school im placed at or does someone from the Uni come in and observe me.

The third question i had as a trainee what are the hours i would normally work for is it 8 to 5 like a normal teacher? Would i be allowed to attend department meetings? As i would like to.

Is there anything else important im not thinking about?

Any further advice from any people who have completed a PGCE to work in a secondary school is welcome and i am sorry for the rambling on!!!
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airfixfighter
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I'm a Physics NQT at the moment!

1 - no, you don't get to choose your placements. The university chooses them for you. Sometimes you can ask for an alternative if it's far too difficult for you to get to the school but that would usually be picked for you again. I think it's good this way - you get two strange settings. No one has any pre conceived ideas about you.

2 - I trained in Wales so probably different, but I had to keep an online portfolio of how I was meeting the Welsh teaching standards (not too bad or time consuming). I was also observed by my subject mentor, senior school mentor and university tutor at each placement and these were used to write an end of placement report detailing where I was.

3 - Whilst I was a trainee and now as an NQT, PGCE students are expected to attend everything a staff member would. So morning briefing, staff meetings, twilight training, parents evening, open evenings etc. Generally, I was expected to be in by 8 for an 8:30 start and could leave at 3:30. I would usually stay later to work at school though rather than taking everything home. Now, as an NQT, I do 7:30 until about 5:30 on a standard day.
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thenextchemist
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(Original post by Dorothy Branning)
Hi everyone, happy holidays

Im currently in my final year at Bradford Uni studying Chemistry and wanting to complete a PGCE in September to become a Secondary School Science Teacher and had a bunch of questions that i hope some people will have answers to!!

The first and most important question i had was about placements. Im aware you have to undertake 2 placements at 2 different schools but i was wondering could i choose the schools i wish to be placed at or is this chosen for me. Would it not be beneficial for me to place myself at a school i have links to as i would feel more comfortable so observations would be easier?

The Second question is how do i get assessed while on placements im aware that you have observations but is this done by the school im placed at or does someone from the Uni come in and observe me.

The third question i had as a trainee what are the hours i would normally work for is it 8 to 5 like a normal teacher? Would i be allowed to attend department meetings? As i would like to.

Is there anything else important im not thinking about?

Any further advice from any people who have completed a PGCE to work in a secondary school is welcome and i am sorry for the rambling on!!!
Hi, chemistry PGCE student herw

1) you will not be able to choose your placement. Of course observations will be easier but that's not what the PGCE year is for. You will be challenged by getting two different school experiences.

2) You will have 2 university assignments of approximately 5000 words each. And you will also have paperwork to fill in every week. You will be assessed through formal observations and a tutor formal observation.

3) trainee hours vary from school to school, I am 8.30 to 3.20. You will have to attend departmental meetings, parents evening for the classes you teach, etc.
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Mr M
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(Original post by Dorothy Branning)
Hi everyone, happy holidays

Im currently in my final year at Bradford Uni studying Chemistry and wanting to complete a PGCE in September to become a Secondary School Science Teacher and had a bunch of questions that i hope some people will have answers to!!

The first and most important question i had was about placements. Im aware you have to undertake 2 placements at 2 different schools but i was wondering could i choose the schools i wish to be placed at or is this chosen for me. Would it not be beneficial for me to place myself at a school i have links to as i would feel more comfortable so observations would be easier?

The Second question is how do i get assessed while on placements im aware that you have observations but is this done by the school im placed at or does someone from the Uni come in and observe me.

The third question i had as a trainee what are the hours i would normally work for is it 8 to 5 like a normal teacher? Would i be allowed to attend department meetings? As i would like to.

Is there anything else important im not thinking about?

Any further advice from any people who have completed a PGCE to work in a secondary school is welcome and i am sorry for the rambling on!!!
Q1. You won't get to choose your placements. It would not be beneficial in any way for you to be involved in this process.

Q2. You will be observed by school teachers (a number of them) and your university course leader.

Q3. "8 to 5 like a normal teacher"! You need to anticipate the need for some evening and weekend work as well. You would be expected to attend Department Meetings - you should play a full part in school life.
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by Dorothy Branning)
Hi everyone, happy holidays

Im currently in my final year at Bradford Uni studying Chemistry and wanting to complete a PGCE in September to become a Secondary School Science Teacher and had a bunch of questions that i hope some people will have answers to!!

The first and most important question i had was about placements. Im aware you have to undertake 2 placements at 2 different schools but i was wondering could i choose the schools i wish to be placed at or is this chosen for me. Would it not be beneficial for me to place myself at a school i have links to as i would feel more comfortable so observations would be easier?

The Second question is how do i get assessed while on placements im aware that you have observations but is this done by the school im placed at or does someone from the Uni come in and observe me.

The third question i had as a trainee what are the hours i would normally work for is it 8 to 5 like a normal teacher? Would i be allowed to attend department meetings? As i would like to.

Is there anything else important im not thinking about?

Any further advice from any people who have completed a PGCE to work in a secondary school is welcome and i am sorry for the rambling on!!!
1) If you are on a PGCE, then you get no say in where you are placed. If you have a specific school in mind, then you may be able to apply directly to that school via the Schools Direct program- however, you will still have to do another placement at a school not of your choice. I'd personally avoid schools you have links to as this can cause issues with boundaries, especially if you know students at the school. A school may be uncomfortable accepting you as a trainee if they know you have strong links with students at the school. A uni may be uncomfortable placing you somewhere they know you already have links with staff.

2) Observations are done for the purpose of collecting evidence (in England at least). They aren't pass/fail. Each term, you will be graded against the teaching standards by your mentor. You also need to gather your own evidence for each teaching standard to be put forward for QTS. I believe most unis wouldn't allow you to have a mentor who you knew in a non-professional capacity.

3) You would be expected to do everything a teacher does- so all meetings, CPD, parents evenings and so on. Many teachers work longer/different hours to 8-5, but 8-5 as a starting point with longer days occasionally for open evenings/parents evenings would be a good starting point. Given the amount of paper work/uni assignments you have to do, you will end up doing some work at evenings/weekends too- the PGCE is very full on.

Personally, I'd advise you to avoid looking to be placed at schools where you know the teachers or the students. Establishing yourself as a "teacher" when you are a trainee can be quite tricky, and if you mess up in terms of boundaries with staff or students it will have serious consequences for your career. Personally, I'd avoid working in a school where I knew the students. The uni (or awarding body if it's Schools Direct) will want to know your mentor and ITT tutor are impartial.

If your links with a school are more professional, then that's different and it may be worth finding out if the school is involved in Schools Direct, as this can allow you to apply directly to the school(s) you are interested in.

Just as a heads up as some science trainees aren't aware, you would be expected to teach biology/physics to GCSE level as well.
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