How I found the transition from a Masters in Management to Postgraduate Diploma of Secondary Education (QTS) Mathematics

Moosa discusses the transition from a Masters in Management to a Postgraduate Diploma of Secondary Education (PGDipEd) Mathematics, with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

After four years of undergraduate study at the University of Birmingham in Business Management (Year in Industry), I then chose to study a Masters in Management, which was a course that was very closely linked to my undergraduate study. I have now transitioned into studying a postgraduate teaching course in Mathematics, which is very different to the five years of study I had at the University of Birmingham in Business Management. Here is what I have learned in training to be a teacher after completing a Masters.

Your field of study does not dictate the subject you can teach

Coming from a background of business and primarily marketing, I could have continued down this route. I instead turned to teaching. I wanted to teach Maths, as this was my first passion when I was in school. Although I have a passion for business, I wanted to teach a core subject. I also knew that there are always positions in schools for Maths teachers and less positions for business teachers, so Maths was the ‘safe’ option for me. I took a 12-week Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course on Maths to refresh my Mathematics knowledge, as the last time I had studied Maths was at A Level. Passing this SKE course then led me to getting a place for teaching Maths for secondary education.

Differences in course structure

The Masters in Management

The structure of the Masters in Management was very similar to my undergraduate degree in Business Management. There were up to six modules in semester one, where I would have a mixture of groupwork and individual assignments. There would be at least one individual assignment for each module and I had six modules in semester one. In semester two I studied six modules again. All six had individual assignments at the end of the course and some modules also had group work.

We would learn the content, then at the end of approximately 11 weeks, we would write an assignment. The third semester was a dissertation, worth 60 credits itself. The whole year totalled 180 credits, with each small module worth 10 credits and the dissertation was worth 60 credits. This was a structure I was very familiar with, as it was the same structure as my undergraduate degree.

The Postgraduate Diploma of Secondary Education (PGDipEd) in Mathematics

The PGDipEd structure is very different to any other course. I have four main assignments worth 20 credits each, requiring four essays; then one small assignment, worth 10 credits, which is a poster. The last 30 credits are made up of the school practice, when we are at our placement schools. If you choose to do a Masters in Teaching Studies (MA Teaching Studies), there is then an additional 60 credits to complete by writing a dissertation within the next academic year.

This teaching programme is an intensive course with two placements in the year and I have enjoyed understanding how different schools operate. I thoroughly enjoy working with new students who each come with different stories, and hopefully I can continue to make a positive impact upon their education and their school life.


Differences in the structure of the day

The Masters in Management

During my Masters in Management, a typical university day was three days on campus, with one lecture per week and one seminar every fortnight, per module. I had six modules: six hours of lectures a week, then six hours of seminars spread across two weeks. The timetable was relatively light, and the other time included working in our groups for assignments. There were some long days but the majority of days on campus were approximately five hours long. There was also the option to join in during a Zoom call, so if there were days you could not physically attend university, you could join online instead.

The Postgraduate Diploma of Secondary Education in Mathematics

In contrast, the PGDipEd course has a set structure. We attend classes 9am-5pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and we have 30 minute breaks between sessions, with an hour lunch. This can be a very long day but there is a lot of content to cover. In my Masters, different modules would have different course members attending, whereas in my PGDipEd the same Maths students are in one class. We have all got to know one another and it is easy to make friends.

There are lectures on Mondays and Wednesdays, with all teachers from different subject cohorts (such as English, Physical Education and Geography). Every lecture or session is for an hour and a half, mainly based within our subject groups, and we must attend every session in person. Our University days are limited, as we spend approximately seven weeks at the University and the rest of the academic year at our placement schools.

Moosa is currently studying a Postgraduate Diploma of Secondary Education (QTS) Mathematics. He previously studied a Masters in Management at the University of Birmingham.