What’s It Like Undertaking Initial Teacher Training Via The University-Led PGCE Route? By James Kewley  

There are so many benefits to following a university-led course for your Initial Teacher Training.  The course itself gives a well-balanced scheme of the latest research into Maths pedagogy and the practical side of standing up in front of a class.  Most importantly for me, however, is the numerous networks which I belong to during my PGCE year (and beyond!).  Alongside the network of Maths Scholars, I study at University alongside a group of fellow trainees, where we can suggest ideas to each other and learn from each other’s classroom experiences.  I particularly enjoyed my first experience of teaching, which was actually in front of my course mates on the PGCE, which allowed me to think about my questioning and modelling in a stress-free environment, where mistakes were very much welcomed because it was an opportunity for us to learn from each other.  Also, there’s the network of inter-faculty trainees, some of whom teach at the same school as me; we have lots to speak to each other about, and lots of other trainees who teach elsewhere, with so many insights about what it’s like to teach at a different school.  Of course, there’s also the network of amazing staff at my placement school, and university tutors too, all of whom are available to help me with any issue which could arise, no matter how big or small. 

The advantage of the PGCE route is that there is a decent amount of time spent learning from the experts; that is observing in a placement school for two days a week, as well as learning the latest research into Maths pedagogy on the other three days.  We were encouraged to visit a wide range of subject areas, and it was great to see how each teacher had something I could learn from.  After six weeks of finding our feet, we were released into our placement schools full-time, still with full support from our university tutors who were just an email away. 

I have three assignments to hand in throughout the year and they are scheduled so that they are due at the end of each half-term holiday.  This allows me to focus on my teaching during term time, rather than being overloaded with everything at once. 

Now, I am fully involved in my placement school and I move on to my second placement after February half-term; I’ll be sad to leave my first school behind.  Outside of the day-to-day teaching, I am involved in the Ukulele Club, parents evenings and I have access to the staff training events too. 

I’m certainly glad I chose the university route!  

By James Kewley 



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