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Rejected for PGCE - did not recognise GCSE equivalents

Hi guys, just wanted to know if anyone else had been in this unique situation or similar, or just general advice.

I've recently had my conditional offer for a secondary physical education PGCE revoked, on the basis that admissions do not except my key skills L2 in Maths and English as equivalents to GCSE.

When I was 16, I failed a lot of my GCSEs, I wasn't really bothered at the time and only achieved a double C in Science. I went on to College to do a BTEC and achieved the Key Skills in Maths and English, which was at the time considered the equivalent to GCSE.

Years passed and I worked loads of random jobs, before going to Uni and achieving my bachelors and masters degrees in sports science and coaching. I've since been working in sports coaching and education workplaces.

Very disappointed by the offer being revoked and unsure why? Not sure if this is government policy and not recognising Key Skills anymore, or an individual University thing? I surely cannot be expected to retake GCSE exams in Maths and English when I've learnt to read and write and understand statistics to a masters level...

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Original post by LucaToni9
Hi guys, just wanted to know if anyone else had been in this unique situation or similar, or just general advice.

I've recently had my conditional offer for a secondary physical education PGCE revoked, on the basis that admissions do not except my key skills L2 in Maths and English as equivalents to GCSE.

When I was 16, I failed a lot of my GCSEs, I wasn't really bothered at the time and only achieved a double C in Science. I went on to College to do a BTEC and achieved the Key Skills in Maths and English, which was at the time considered the equivalent to GCSE.

Years passed and I worked loads of random jobs, before going to Uni and achieving my bachelors and masters degrees in sports science and coaching. I've since been working in sports coaching and education workplaces.

Very disappointed by the offer being revoked and unsure why? Not sure if this is government policy and not recognising Key Skills anymore, or an individual University thing? I surely cannot be expected to retake GCSE exams in Maths and English when I've learnt to read and write and understand statistics to a masters level...

The university is just following the government guidelines here. See below for the relevant section of the criteria for ITT providers. It's worth contacting the university to find out exactly what equivalent qualifications they do accept, as you're surely not the only applicant they've had in this situation.

C1.1 GCSE standard equivalent
All accredited ITT providers must ensure that all:

- entrants have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade 4 (see note 2) in the GCSE examinations in English and mathematics
- who intend to train to teach pupils aged 3 to 11 additionally have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade 4 in the GCSE examination in a science subject
The aim of this criterion is to ensure that entrants to ITT have demonstrated their achievement of a minimum standard of educational attainment. Primary trainees need also to demonstrate an acceptable level of subject knowledge in the core subjects of the national curriculum.

It is the standard, not the certificate, that matters. Applicants who are otherwise suitable but have not successfully achieved a GCSE grade 4 may be given an opportunity to show that they can meet the required standard either by taking an equivalence test or by offering other evidence of attainment, which should demonstrate a similar level and breadth. Providers should consider making similar arrangements for candidates who cannot provide original certificates as evidence.

DfE does not provide a list of qualifications that can be considered equivalent to the GCSE examinations in English, mathematics and science. When ITT partnerships look for evidence that a qualification is of a standard equivalent to GCSE grade 4, they should look at the content not only in terms of its level, but also in terms of its breadth.


Specific qualifications
Qualifications in key and functional skills at level 2 are not equivalent to GCSEs in terms of content. ITT partnerships should look for additional evidence of breadth of knowledge and understanding in applicants who have key and functional skills certificates but do not have GCSEs at grade 4 or above in English and mathematics.

Providers should look for further evidence of a breadth of achievement in English where applicants have achieved a GCSE grade 4 or above in English literature only.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-criteria/initial-teacher-training-itt-criteria-and-supporting-advice
Original post by LucaToni9



I surely cannot be expected to retake GCSE exams in Maths and English when I've learnt to read and write and understand statistics to a masters level...


I don't want to sound like I'm being snide, but you have written this earlier:

I've recently had my conditional offer for a secondary physical education PGCE revoked, on the basis that admissions do not except my key skills L2 in Maths and English as equivalents to GCSE.


This isn't a typo - you've actually mixed up the words 'accept' and 'except'.

The GCSE maths and English requirements are there for a reason.
Original post by LucaToni9
Hi guys, just wanted to know if anyone else had been in this unique situation or similar, or just general advice.

I've recently had my conditional offer for a secondary physical education PGCE revoked, on the basis that admissions do not except my key skills L2 in Maths and English as equivalents to GCSE.

When I was 16, I failed a lot of my GCSEs, I wasn't really bothered at the time and only achieved a double C in Science. I went on to College to do a BTEC and achieved the Key Skills in Maths and English, which was at the time considered the equivalent to GCSE.

Years passed and I worked loads of random jobs, before going to Uni and achieving my bachelors and masters degrees in sports science and coaching. I've since been working in sports coaching and education workplaces.

Very disappointed by the offer being revoked and unsure why? Not sure if this is government policy and not recognising Key Skills anymore, or an individual University thing? I surely cannot be expected to retake GCSE exams in Maths and English when I've learnt to read and write and understand statistics to a masters level...

As others have said, this is a national DfE policy, so if you want to teach in England, you will have to get GCSE Maths and English or recognised equivalents.

There is unfortunately no way round this- you can argue the fairness or otherwise of it, but if you want to get QTS in the UK, you will need to get the qualifications required.
Reply 4
Thank you for your comment. At one point in time the functional/key skills qualification was viewed as an equivalent but now it is not. Fair enough, not sure if it ever was a true equivalent or if the goal posts have been moved.

"ITT partnerships should look for additional evidence of breadth of knowledge and understanding in applicants who have key and functional skills certificates but do not have GCSEs at grade 4 or above in English and mathematics."

So the uni has the power to decide whether or not I can be admitted on to their course. That gives me a bit more comfort, knowing that I could apply to another uni and be accepted.

**spoke to my former programme leader for my masters who also happens to teach on a pgce program. They think it's ridiculous and the issue wouldn't pose a problem at my old uni.
Reply 5
Original post by Reality Check
I don't want to sound like I'm being snide, but you have written this earlier:



This isn't a typo - you've actually mixed up the words 'accept' and 'except'.

Not really filling anyone with confidence about your abilities in English there, I'm afraid. The GCSE maths and English requirements are there for a reason.

Good job pointing out the grammatical error.

It doesn't answer the question. I have a masters degree, I don't usually make those kinds of error.
Original post by LucaToni9
Good job pointing out the grammatical error.

It doesn't answer the question. I have a masters degree, I don't usually make those kinds of error.

:qed:
Original post by LucaToni9
Thank you for your comment. At one point in time the functional/key skills qualification was viewed as an equivalent but now it is not. Fair enough, not sure if it ever was a true equivalent or if the goal posts have been moved.

"ITT partnerships should look for additional evidence of breadth of knowledge and understanding in applicants who have key and functional skills certificates but do not have GCSEs at grade 4 or above in English and mathematics."

So the uni has the power to decide whether or not I can be admitted on to their course. That gives me a bit more comfort, knowing that I could apply to another uni and be accepted.

**spoke to my former programme leader for my masters who also happens to teach on a pgce program. They think it's ridiculous and the issue wouldn't pose a problem at my old uni.

As I said, you'll have to ask different training providers what they do accept as equivalent qualifications. It's worth contacting them before sending off an application, to avoid spending time on an application that will be auto-rejected.

The guidance makes it pretty clear that they're looking for a breadth of knowledge equivalent to GCSE, so I can see why some training providers wouldn't consider key skills + uni-level statistics to be suitable, since it's only studying one specific niche of mathematics.
You also got to remember that to get a job schools will also be looking for the applicant to have GCSE in the key core subjects. PE is ultra competitive as well for jobs, more training as PE teachers than there is jobs. You have to stand out when applying for jobs in schools, I doubt you will get interviews on bases of not having GCSE grades needed for it. Your best bet is to put training on holder this year and get your GCSEs sorted. Not trying to be harsh but I know the situation when trying to get a pe teacher job, you have to stand out and it’s really hard to get a pe job. I had 7 interviews before success in interview. You have to prove you have the minimum and more to get a job as a pe teacher
Reply 9
A teacher needs to be a role model for scholastic performance at the level being taught and GCSE Maths/English are core skills. There is little room for you to be making errors in reading comprehension when reading through something as important as safeguarding incident reports. If you really understand what teaching is about and are serious about the career, you will understand the requirements and endeavour to meet them.

By the way, I am a Mathematics Teacher.
(edited 2 years ago)
Original post by Arden University
@LucaToni9
Firstly, well done on your degree and masters qualifications, it is clear that you have done a lot of hard work.

To teach in UK schools you are legally required to have GCSE English and Maths (it used to be science as well, which is why some of my Level 3 students had to do some biology classes after I taught them Education Studies).

Technically you can still teach in Higher Education as many people in that corner of the sector are not qualified teachers, you could possibly look at doing a Level 5 teaching and learning type qualification instead depending on their entry requirements. A lot of HE tutors do that instead of the full PGCE

Marc
Arden University Student Ambassador

You're not legally required to have GCSE English and Maths, and Science is still required for primary.

You are required to have a recognised equivalent to get QTS, but it doesn't have to be a GCSE- Level 2 functional skills are not recognised equivalents, but there are equivalents that are recognised.

Think about what you've said for a second- you're implying no-one who's been through the Scottish education system can teach in the UK?

Also, I think many people find the Level 5 qualification is not helpful in terms of finding employment.
Reply 11
Original post by LucaToni9
Very disappointed by the offer being revoked and unsure why?

It is a legal requirement I am afraid. And probably more so now than ever as the latest guidance is seeing all teachers being teachers of literacy and numeracy. It's a bummer your equivalency tests don't count but rules are rules and if there is one institution that likes a policy and checklist, it is education.

Good luck!
Original post by Arden University
@LucaToni9
To correct a previous poster who is wrong, quote from UCAS "To teach in a state school in England, you must have a degree, and gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) by following a programme of Initial Teacher Training (ITT). You must have achieved minimum requirements in GCSE English, maths, and science if you wish to teach at primary-level"

Marc
Arden University Student Ambassador


Original post by Arden University
@LucaToni9
To teach in UK schools you are legally required to have GCSE English and Maths (it used to be science as well, which is why some of my Level 3 students had to do some biology classes after I taught them Education Studies).

Technically you can still teach in Higher Education as many people in that corner of the sector are not qualified teachers, you could possibly look at doing a Level 5 teaching and learning type qualification instead depending on their entry requirements. A lot of HE tutors do that instead of the full PGCE

Marc
Arden University Student Ambassador


Marc, you are wrong. You are not 'legally required to have GCSE English and Maths'. @SarcAndSpark is perfectly correct to say that prospective trainees need 'a recognized equivalent' but, to quote the regulations, 'It is the standard, not the certificate, that matters' (C1.1, Initial teacher training (ITT): criteria and supporting advice).

The regulations can be found at gov.uk here, and the relevant paragraph is below:

Screen Shot 2021-07-28 at 08.45.40.png

@Arden University - it is highly worrying to me that you, as an Official Rep of your university, is not only advising candidates incorrectly on TSR (and presumably elsewhere), but you then go on to contradict other members of TSR who are actually giving the right advice! Please do not do this - if you are unsure as to the answer, please avoid answering the question, lest people are confused or misled. The point that you really should know this is a different matter, and so I have forwarded this thread onto your Head Office in Coventry. In the meantime, please be much more careful about the accuracy of your posting when you are doing it in the capacity of an Official Rep.

@BlinkyBill - FYI. I don't know if this is your bag, as I would have tagged in She-Ra before!
(edited 2 years ago)
Original post by Reality Check
Marc, you are wrong. You are not 'legally required to have GCSE English and Maths'. @SarcAndSpark is perfectly correct to say that prospective trainees need 'a recognized equivalent' but, to quote the regulations, 'It is the standard, not the certificate, that matters' (C1.1, Initial teacher training (ITT): criteria and supporting advice).

The regulations can be found at gov.uk here, and the relevant paragraph is below:

Screen Shot 2021-07-28 at 08.45.40.png

@Arden University - it is highly worrying to me that you, as an Official Rep of your university, is not only advising candidates incorrectly on TSR (and presumably elsewhere), but you then go on to contradict other members of TSR who are actually giving the right advice! Please do not do this - if you are unsure as to the answer, please avoid answering the question, lest people are confused or misled. The point that you really should know this is a different matter, and so I have forwarded this thread onto your Head Office in Coventry. In the meantime, please be much more careful about the accuracy of your posting when you are doing it in the capacity of an Official Rep.

@BlinkyBill - FYI. I don't know if this is your bag, as I would have tagged in She-Ra before!


Thanks for the tag. We're having a look into it.

I hope the OP managed to get a helpful answer. :smile:
Original post by BlinkyBill
Thanks for the tag. We're having a look into it.

I hope the OP managed to get a helpful answer. :smile:

Thanks BB :smile:
Original post by Arden University
@LucaToni9
To correct a previous poster who is wrong, quote from UCAS "To teach in a state school in England, you must have a degree, and gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) by following a programme of Initial Teacher Training (ITT). You must have achieved minimum requirements in GCSE English, maths, and science if you wish to teach at primary-level"

Marc
Arden University Student Ambassador

I'm assuming it's me you're correcting, despite the fact that you have actually contradicted yourself, changing from UK to English school.

@Reality Check has provided the relevant legislation, but it is very worrying to me that you are trying to assert that someone who has not been through the English education system is not allowed to teach at primary level in England. That is an untrue claim, and I hope your university does not reject e.g. Scottish or Irish applicants on this basis.

Also, given that QTS is no longer a legal requirement to teach in some English state schools, you can obviously teach in England as an unqualified teacher without said qualifications if a school is willing to employ you.
Reply 16
Original post by SarcAndSpark
You're not legally required to have GCSE English and Maths, and Science is still required for primary.

You are required to have a recognised equivalent to get QTS, but it doesn't have to be a GCSE- Level 2 functional skills are not recognised equivalents, but there are equivalents that are recognised.

Think about what you've said for a second- you're implying no-one who's been through the Scottish education system can teach in the UK?

Also, I think many people find the Level 5 qualification is not helpful in terms of finding employment.


The Level 5 is only really helpful for people for people who lack a degree, yet teach on vocational courses in FE colleges. I'm not sure why a university rep would suggest a qualification which doesn't QTS or QTLS. QTLS does allow you teach in schools at least being considered equivalent to QTS.
Reply 17
Surely you wouldn't have to do an actual GCSE (which could not be taken in time for September), as there are equivalency tests which are accepted by universities and have exams over the summer. If you have the level but just need to demonstrate it, then look at doing an equivalency test. The university should have offered this as an option though rather than revoking your offer.
Original post by LucaToni9
Hi guys, just wanted to know if anyone else had been in this unique situation or similar, or just general advice.

I've recently had my conditional offer for a secondary physical education PGCE revoked, on the basis that admissions do not except my key skills L2 in Maths and English as equivalents to GCSE.

When I was 16, I failed a lot of my GCSEs, I wasn't really bothered at the time and only achieved a double C in Science. I went on to College to do a BTEC and achieved the Key Skills in Maths and English, which was at the time considered the equivalent to GCSE.

Years passed and I worked loads of random jobs, before going to Uni and achieving my bachelors and masters degrees in sports science and coaching. I've since been working in sports coaching and education workplaces.

Very disappointed by the offer being revoked and unsure why? Not sure if this is government policy and not recognising Key Skills anymore, or an individual University thing? I surely cannot be expected to retake GCSE exams in Maths and English when I've learnt to read and write and understand statistics to a masters level...

Dear @LucaToni9

Unfortunately, you are not in a unique situation. Functional skills tests are considered to be at a similar difficulty level, and thus suitable for entry to most other types of course or employment, but the content of these courses are not the same. As it is a statutory requirement for teacher training courses to have specified GCSE's or an equivalent, the rigour with which the entry requirements are considered, do differ to other types of degree or post-graduate study.

However, you may consult the teacher training providers to ascertain which alternatives they may consider acceptable, which would remove the need to sit the actual GCSE.

I would encourage you to speak with one of our advisers about the types of equivalent you may consider - https://adviser-getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/

Wishing you all the very best, Jane
I have exactly the same problem. After spending £640 on equivalency tests the past couple of days for ONE GCSE, they are still refusing me onto the course whilst aiming to complete the GCSE whilst studying. I have just completed a first class degree at the same university and have eight years of experience working in schools. They are hiding behind the DfE saying all candidates credentials are inspected by them. I spoke to DfE today and they have informed me it is the uni who has the final say, not them. Basically it is down to their discretion. Also inspecting the ITT guidelines, they actually specify all candidates hold a first class degree (most uni’s accept a 2:2) so already this is them using their ‘discretion’ to change the entry criteria to suit them, whilst worrying about GCSE’s that most mature students have taken over 20 years ago.My uni are also willing to accept people with a THIRD class degree if they can demonstrate ‘relevant experience’. The whole thing is laughable and so unfair.

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