What teacher training route did you choose and why?
Having made the difficult but exciting decision to follow my passion and retrain to become a Secondary Mathematics Teacher (in the midst and uncertainty of a global pandemic), I was faced with the further important decision of which teacher training route was best for me to embark on to achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
Having completed some online research and spoken to several friends who work as teachers in secondary schools, I could straight away see some clear benefits of the school-led training programs (such as the School Direct Programme). These routes appeared to allow trainees to hit the ground running while ‘learning on the job’ - being predominantly school based for the duration of the course. This route looked particularly appealing to me as it provided the opportunity to mainly focus on the core teaching skills which have an immediate classroom application and provided the option to earn a salary while training to become a qualified teacher, and gaining QTS. On the other hand, the university-led training option (PGCE) looked to offer a more blended approach. The PGCE route combines research-led academic study (with some programmes providing master’s credits) with classroom experience; gained through completing at least two school placements in contrasting schools.
Having carefully deliberated for some time I concluded that the PGCE route was the best option for me – I was delighted to be offered a place on the Secondary Maths PGCE within the Institute of Education at University College London (UCL). I felt the blend of academic study coupled with hands-on classroom teaching experience within 2 contrasting school placements would best position me to be an effective classroom teacher as well as providing the opportunity to focus on being a reflective learner. I believe that exploring and debating different pedagogical approaches in a research-led environment will best position trainee teachers, like myself, to become free-thinkers with the ability to effectively utilise existing / proven pedagogical approaches as well as building the knowledge and confidence to forge new understandings of how to best help children learn mathematics in the classroom. I believe committing time to gaining a deep understanding of effective pedagogical approach and professional practice from day 1 will prove extremely valuable in directly supporting my classroom practice as a PGCE Student / NQT as well as providing a sound knowledge base to support my continuing professional development as I look to progress my career and aspire to achieve a long rewarding career in Secondary Education.
Furthermore, I hope that my PGCE year will afford me the opportunity to build a large network of peers beyond my place of work, who will go on to become Teachers / School Leaders across the country; becoming an invaluable resource to-one-another as we progress in our own teaching careers.
By Steve Joiner
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