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English PGCE with Philosophy degree

Hello out there,

I'm looking to train to teach via the typical PGCE route in the UK. I'm interested in English in particular given the apparent breadth of the subject (Literature, Drama, Theory and Criticism, Media, Language). I know RE is closer to my subject background but it doesn't have the same appeal, to be honest. It seems to follow a more constrained curriculum (superficial coverage of religions plus some Philosophy of Religion). And plus, I don't think the job prospects are as...prosperous. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Anyway, I'd be really grateful if someone could tell me what my chances are of getting onto an English PGCE with a Philosophy degree. Also, could I teach English in the independent sector with such a background?

Thanks!
I'm pretty sure it's possible to become an English teacher with a philosophy degree (my English teacher in 6th form who is now head of department did so), although the PGCE itself may require you to do an SKE or have done a joint honours in English. Once you get QTS though I think you may be able to teach other areas as well?

@04MR17 may be able to advise a bit more as I'm always a bit fuzzy how it all fits together with the PGCE and QTS and what people end up teaching!
Reply 2
Original post by artful_lounger
I'm pretty sure it's possible to become an English teacher with a philosophy degree (my English teacher in 6th form who is now head of department did so), although the PGCE itself may require you to do an SKE or have done a joint honours in English. Once you get QTS though I think you may be able to teach other areas as well?

@04MR17 may be able to advise a bit more as I'm always a bit fuzzy how it all fits together with the PGCE and QTS and what people end up teaching!

Thanks for your reply, it's promising to hear that your English teacher had a Philosophy background. Did he/she teach the subject with a Philosophical spin?
Yeah PGCEs should take you with philosophy background no problem.

Working in the independent sector - a couple of headteachers may be snooty about degree courses but most shouldn't and would employ a good candidate regardless of background.
Original post by bcramer15
Thanks for your reply, it's promising to hear that your English teacher had a Philosophy background. Did he/she teach the subject with a Philosophical spin?


Hmm, maybe? We did a couple of texts that invited certain kinds of philosophical readings but we also had some with our other English teacher like that which he also used those kinds of approaches.

I think in general a lot continental philosophy approaches end up closely intertwined with literature and literary theory anyway so it's kind of inevitable there is some overlap.
Original post by 04MR17
Yeah PGCEs should take you with philosophy background no problem.

Working in the independent sector - a couple of headteachers may be snooty about degree courses but most shouldn't and would employ a good candidate regardless of background.

PRSOM!
Reply 6
You are right about RE - the best of it is pre-year 10 before we have to follow exam specs, which are life-sapping (and in the case of the Buddhism and Hinduism stuff, often flat wrong).
(edited 5 months ago)
Reply 7
Original post by gjd800
You are right about RE - the best of it is pre-year 10 before we have to follow exam specs, which are life-sapping (and in the case of the Buddhism and Hinduism stuff, often flat wrong).

Really? Could you elaborate? Do you teach RE?
Reply 8
Original post by 04MR17
Yeah PGCEs should take you with philosophy background no problem.

Working in the independent sector - a couple of headteachers may be snooty about degree courses but most shouldn't and would employ a good candidate regardless of background.

Thanks, it's helpful to hear this
Reply 9
Original post by bcramer15
Really? Could you elaborate? Do you teach RE?

Not any more - I jumped back to HE first chance I got. Not because of the schools or the kids but because the exam specs are crap.

Incorrect translations, incorrect sources, incorrect instruction. I challenged it and was told that a non-specialist wrote both the GCSE and A Level syllabi. Well, that much is obvious.
Reply 10
I should add for context that I am a PhD holder specialising in Indian philosophy, religion, and languages.
Original post by bcramer15
Hello out there,

I'm looking to train to teach via the typical PGCE route in the UK. I'm interested in English in particular given the apparent breadth of the subject (Literature, Drama, Theory and Criticism, Media, Language). I know RE is closer to my subject background but it doesn't have the same appeal, to be honest. It seems to follow a more constrained curriculum (superficial coverage of religions plus some Philosophy of Religion). And plus, I don't think the job prospects are as...prosperous. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Anyway, I'd be really grateful if someone could tell me what my chances are of getting onto an English PGCE with a Philosophy degree. Also, could I teach English in the independent sector with such a background?

Thanks!

Hello @bcramer15

There are two qualifications you're talking about here. 1. Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) assessed by the Teacher Standards and 2. the Post-Grad Certificate of Education that is assessed by the awarding Universities criteria (They will also set the topics of the assignments/essays that you complete). For teaching in the state sector, you must have QTS. For the independent sector, the qualifications needed will be specified by the individual school.

To get QTS, you need to complete a teacher training course. For the sake of the training you will specify a subject, but once you are awarded with QTS you may teach any subject and the head-teacher may ask you to teach any subject needed within the time-table. The Teacher training course is designed to allow you to demonstrate that you are able to meet the Teacher Standards (a national assessment criteria) and to allow you to practice and reflect on your teaching techniques. However, you are expected to have a sufficient amount of subject knowledge for your training, and as such, most providers of teacher training courses will expect you to do a subject knowledge audit at interview. The minimum entry requirement for any teacher training course will be the GCSE in Eng/Maths at L4 or GC +, (You would also need Sci for Primary applications) and a degree.

The indicator for the degree of employability in a subject is typically taken from the training bursary list. At the time of writing, both the Eng and the RE bursary are £10,000. (These amounts and whether a subject is included or not, change annually, according to the recruitment needs) Therefore, you can assume your prospects are similar for RE or Eng, regardless of the subject you choose to train in. It would be worth consulting with a teacher training course provider to see if you'd be able to have experience of both subjects in your training. This may mean considering a school-led training course. All courses are listed here.

You may benefit from talking your options through with a fully qualified and experienced teacher who is an expert in the application process for a teacher training course. If you feel this would be the case, register for a Get into Teaching adviser here.

Wishing you all the best, Jane :smile:

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