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What do I need to consider when choosing my PGCE?

Explore key questions you should consider when choosing which PGCE course is right for you.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0

When it comes to choosing a PGCE course, it’s important to spend some time researching the different course providers so you can be sure to pick one that is in line with your own teaching philosophy and future career goals.

We have compiled a list of key questions to consider that should help you with your research.

How is the course structured and what will I be studying?

PGCE courses will have different structures in terms of the proportion of time spent in school vs study. Research different types of providers to find which appeals to you.

Do I need to move in order to do the course or can I study anywhere?

This will depend heavily on the provider. There tend to be school-led and university-led options and with both options, you may need to travel to a specific location on a regular basis whether that be to your placement school, university campus, or both. There are also online providers such as NSET, which could prevent needing to travel or relocate in order to study your PGCE. Studying with an online provider will enable you to be part of a wider network and lead to different opportunities and discussions about education and understand different contexts and settings that you could teach in the future.

What type of academic study is involved in the course?

Not all PGCE providers offer a L7 (master’s) qualification, which means you could convert the 60 credits towards studying for a full master’s degree; check with each provider if this interests you. Also, research the topics covered in the module content as well as the types of academic assessments, such as whether you will be expected to complete written assignments or oral presentations.

What level of support will I be given as a trainee teacher?

While studying for a PGCE is highly rewarding, it comes with its challenges. Explore the support that the provider offers you through your training. We explored some of the key things to look out for in Week 1 – look back on this step to refresh your memory.

What access will I have to academic materials?

With any higher education institution, it is vital to consider the access you will be given to academic materials to support your studies. Some providers will have an expectation for you to access the hard copies of their materials. Other providers may have a large resource base of online materials. It will be useful to explore the offerings of the provider while considering the access option that will suit you best.

What do the different PGCE course websites convey about the type of teacher they aim to develop?

You will most likely have your own perception of the qualities that make an outstanding teacher, drawing from your own experiences of education and the experiences you would like to create in education. Compare whether the educational philosophies presented by the PGCE provider correlate with your personal philosophies.

What is different or unique about the PGCE provider?

Different providers will have different unique selling points. These may focus around the specialism opportunities they provide, the credits awarded upon successful completion or even the opportunity to consider looking ahead to leadership roles. It is important to find the unique quality that suits your goals and approaches best. You will hear more about what is unique about NSET in the next step of this course.

What do you think?

Consider the above questions carefully in your research of which PGCE provider suits you best. Are there any considerations on this list that are particularly important to you?

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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Teacher Training: Choosing the Right PGCE for You

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