What is it like undertaking initial teacher training via the university-led route, i.e. PGCE, PGDE?

Naomi WilsonI started a PGCE in Secondary Maths at King’s College London in September 2021. I’m part of a group of 24 students on the maths course, while we are all placed at different schools around London and the Home Counties. We complete two school placements of a similar length, where in the second we have more classes and responsibilities and have sessions back at university all together throughout the year; once a week during the first placement. Like students on other routes, we complete assignments throughout towards master’s credits, and will graduate with our PGCE at the end of the year before moving on to being Early Career Teachers (ECTs).

I am so glad I made the choice to apply to the university-led route mostly because of my course mates: training as a teacher is a busy and overwhelming year and having a strong network of other trainees outside of school works to keep us all sane! We began the year with three weeks together as a cohort in university before going out to our separate schools, allowing us to form strong bonds as a group before entering the craziness of school full-time. We still frequently meet for pub trips, coffees and study sessions, and check in on each other to make sure we’re coping with the workload. Having this support network before going in to school has been essential.

Another reason the university-led route can be so helpful is that, for those of us coming straight out of university, it provides a smooth transition to the world of work. By being based in a university with academics, fellow students and mentors as our main point of contact we are provided with an experience not unlike what we know, and a lot of support as we begin our careers. Entering the world of work is a big adjustment and having a university behind you is reassuring!

Leading the experience with a place at university has been so beneficial socially and has provided a useful support network outside of the school placement, which at times can be stressful. I would massively recommend the uni-led route, particularly King’s, for any prospective applicants!

By Naomi Wilson


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