What Teacher Training Route Did You Choose And Why?
My chosen teacher training route was based on location. As a mature student with family responsibilities, my choices would only contemplate those involving short commutes. This narrowed my options significantly, however, I still put down three different choices in my application. My first two options were those offering a PGCE via school direct. The advantage of this route is that the candidate chooses the school, and the placement in this school is much longer than the one in the second school. Thus, I chose a local school, which was the same school my child was attending, and therefore I knew it reasonably well. My second choice was a school that would require a 25-30min commute by car; I did not know that school, but having visited their website, read their policies and Ofsted reports it seemed a good match for me. Finally, my third option was a University led PGCE, where the University would choose the school for me and the two placements would be similar in length.
I was invited for an interview at the University and offered a place soon after the interview. I was also invited for interview at two schools, however, none of them where my preferences. The School Direct programmes normally consist of consortiums of schools that collaborate, and candidates might be invited to all, some or none of the schools in the consortium. I rejected one of the invitations as it was too far for me, but accepted the invitation to the second school, which was slightly closer but more importantly I liked what I read about the school. As part of the interview I had to deliver half a lesson, and although I received positive feedback, I did not convince them about my career change, so I was not offered a place. Meanwhile, my first school preference decided not to take Maths PGCE students, so I was eventually rejected.
Having secured the University led PGCE route I accepted the offer with a bit of anxiety about where I would end up doing my placements. I now must deeply thank my University, they have done an extremely good job to find us all schools within reasonable distances. My first placement is in a town I knew little about. Nevertheless, it has turn up to be an excellent school and I love the teaching approach they use!
My advice: do some research about the schools; you will spend a large part of your time and you need to be comfortable in at least one of the placements.