Course Postgraduate Diploma Primary Education (PGCE Advanced) General Primary
Country United Kingdom
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Hi, I was wondering if you are required to be in full time for the five days of the week. I have children of nursery age and if I don’t have to put them in every day then I wouldn’t. Thank you!
Generally speaking yes – more often than not you will be required 5 days a week, specifically during your block placements.
Hi, I’m hoping to do the Early Years PGCE but am struggling to choose between 2 uni’s as I would like to live at home and commute. While I would like to choose Birmingham, it is about an hours commute into the university! I was just wondering whether you had any advice about whether, in your opinion, this is doable. I know that placement-wise the university will try and place me nearer to home (and so hopefully not on the other side of Birmingham to where I live!), but I was just wondering if you had any thoughts on this, having completed the PGCE. Thanks!
Unfortunately when I was studying for my PGCE there was little the university could do regarding placement and distance – it cannot be guaranteed that you will be placed near to home as placements can be difficult for the university to secure. If you are already commuting for 1 hour into university your placement school may be a further hour on top of this (depending on whether you drive of use public transport).
Having said that, I highly recommend the course and think it’s worth asking the department this question as the considerations may have changed since I studied a few years ago.
I hope this helps and all the best with your PGCE!
Hi Francesca, I’m currently a student at Cardiff University. I have decided I want to do a PGCE, and Birmingham at the moment is my top choice. I was wondering what the accommodation is like for Postgrads? As I’m not already in Birmingham I’ll be coming to Birmingham not knowing anyone. However my ideal situation would be to be in a house with other PGCE students, or at least other postgrads. Is this possible? If not, what is the general situation like for postgrad students coming from elsewhere? All the best, Emily
Luckily I should be able to help as I used to work in the accommodation team helping students find accommodation!
Unfortunately, unless you are an international student, you are not guaranteed accommodation as a postgraduate. However, there are many ways of finding private housing which is reasonably priced and close to campus.
The first two approaches I would reccoemmed are contacting: living (the university accommodation team – they may also be able to put you in touch with Facebook and social groups of PGCE students looking for a shared house) or SHAC (a private letting agency who are affiliated with the university).
In addition to this there are many private letting agencies in Selly Oak, however do ensure they are accredited landlords and if in doubt, contact the living team to check your contract before you sign – it’s a free service!
I hope this helps! Any further questions would be best directed to the living accommodation services.
Hi Francesca, I am currently preparing for my PGCE interview next week, and I was just wondering what exactly to expect. What are some typical interview questions which may be asked? Thank you
First of all, good luck! Just show the members of staff how passionate you are about teaching – remember, it’s about the children.
When I was interviewed a few years ago, the days consisted of three main parts: a mathematics test, English essay and a one-to-one interview.
The maths test will consist of primary mathematics questions: if you have prepared for your skills test you will be fine. The English was an essay style question about a current topic in education. I would recommend reading the articles online at TES to explore general topics. Reading around current topics will also help with the interview section, however I distinctly remember the lecturers focusing on my application and personal statement. They generally want to discuss your interest in education, current topics and your experience.
Hope this helps – good luck!
Hi Francesca, I have only just decided that I want to do a PGCE course but applications have been open since early October (It is now early November). I am worried that I won’t be able to make a good application/personal statement in time, as I also need to prioritise my third year dissertation. Do you think submitting my application in Late November/Early December is too late?
Applications are often accepted throughout the year but will close when the university has filled its spaces. I would advise you to contact the department directly for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Francesca, I am wanting to apply to do my Teacher Training at the Birmingham but have a couple of worries about travel. I am planning on living at home and commuting, (just under an hour train journey from campus) do you think that this would be doable? My other concern is that I don’t drive and so would be reliant on public transport to get to my placements. Do you know if this taken into account when placements are assigned? Thanks for your help!
Unfortunately, from my experience, although the university enquires about your travel arrangements, placements are not arranged based on distance from the university or your travel situation. I did not own a car during my training year and had over an hour commute on public transport for each of my three placements (which was tricky!). If the cost of your commute is excessive there is a route to claiming back some funds, however I image it is probably the time rather than cost which causes you concern. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help – I would recommend talking to your tutor about this, once assigned, or contacting the department directly, in advance of commencing on the course.
I hope things work out positively for you!
All the best,
Hi Francesca, I am due to attend my Primary PGCE interview next week and would like to ask for any tips to prepare for it? I know that there is to be a maths and literacy test as well as and interview. Are you able to give me and insight as to what the tests will entail and the questions that may be asked in the interview so I am thoroughly prepared, please?
The maths test will consist of primary mathematics questions, if you have prepared for your skills test you will be fine. The English was more of an essay style question about a current topic in education. I would recommend reading the articles online at TES to explore general topics. Reading around current topics will also help with the interview section, however I distinctly remember the lecturers focusing on my application and personal statement; wanting to discuss this, alongside experience, mostly.
I hope this helps and best of luck!
Hi, I’m a recent law graduate from the University of Birmingham. I’m really interested in doing a career switch and going into teaching, as I am really not satisfied working in Law. My experience with primary school children is quite limited, how stringent is the requirement to get experience? I am actively trying but to no avail at the moment! Finally, when are the deadlines for applications? Kind Regards
The 10 days of experience in a school are a requirement – unfortunately you will not be accepted without this. Have you tried calling schools? They are very busy places, as you can imagine, so calling directly may offer a better response rate than an email which can be missed.
The deadline for applications changes each year so please refer to the UCAS and university website as they should specify the date. The government will dictate numbers to the university so applications may also close suddenly – make sure you apply early!
Best of luck!
Hi Francesca, do you know where I can find a copy of the general primary reading list for 2017/2018? I appear to have misplaced my posted copy during my placement week.
I would try looking on canvas (the VLE) or email the reception.
Someone told me we will have QTS audit tests when we start the course and so I should revise maths and science and english during the summer. Is this true? I don’t want to buy all the revision books if she’s got wrong information!
You will have an English grammar, maths and science ‘test’, however they do not count toward your qualification. The department ask you to sit the test to highlight the areas of each subject you need to revise. If you do not pass the first time you are invited to revision sessions and will be supported until you pass. I wouldn’t worry about revision before you sit the first audit.
I hope this helps and please do not worry about them!
Hi, Can you talk me through the course modules? Thanks, Elizabeth
I studied in 2015/2016 and there were 6 modules, each carrying 20 credits. This included: studying at university, submitting assignments (theory) and school based placements (practical). We studied modules such as professional studies which compliment your placements as well as enhancing your pedagogy surrounding teaching. However, as this was a couple of years ago, please refer to the course webpage for up-to-date information as the modules may have changed.
Hi, I am wondering what a typical week timetable looks like, how many days in university and how many on placement each week? Thanks you, Aleisha.
You will have a couple of introductory weeks in university at the beginning of the year. Then, you will be in university for three days a week and in school for two days. This will be for roughly 2-3 weeks at the beginning of each term. Next, you will be on block placement where you spend between 6-8 weeks full-time in your placement school. You should also expect to be in University during half term holidays.
Hi Francesca, I am planning to apply for 2018 and I’m currently based in London. The really good reputation of the university attracts me to study here, but I might want to return to London for a job placement. Is that usually easy, or is it better to train in the city where you’re based? The section “Employability” does say that the vast majority of our students gain employment in the local region, many of them choosing to remain in partnership schools. I would be very grateful to hear back from you. Thanks, Sakshi
You will be placed into three placement schools which are located in the West Midlands. You are required to be in university regularly so will need to live somewhat locally. Having said this, when applying for your newly qualified teaching position (your first teaching job) naturally you can apply to any location you desire.
I hope this helps.
Hi Francesca, I have my offer for the PGDipEd general primary course commencing 2017. I’m really excited to start, just wondering if you could recommend any textbooks or resources that I could be reading up until September, textbooks relevant to the course or that may help with teaching practices. I look forward to hearing from you.
The university will send you a list of recommended readings later in summer (I think it was around August time). I wouldn’t necessarily recommend buying any of the readings as they can be expensive and they are all readily available in the library. Having said this, some students from the previous year will be selling them on cheap which is a good option.
To be honest, my main advice would be to use your summer to relax (or work – if you have to like I did)! Your year will be intense so take some time for yourself. In hindsight, I would have spent some time reading children’s books, or at least part of them, to inspire future lesson plans. It’s hard to know which book to chose for the children if you are unfamiliar with what’s out there!
The national curriculum is readily available online and is a must read so if you are going to read anything, this is what I would recommend. Also, if you know there is an area you feel less confident with (maths, grammar, science etc.) maybe spend a little time looking at this.
I hope this helps and best of luck!
The experience I have is two years in a tuition centre teaching additional content courses. Could this be considered as experience as I have only been in a school setting a couple of times?
The experience needs to be in a mainstream school setting to ensure exposure to the national curriculum etc. Having said this, any additional experience is certainly a benefit.
Hi I am thinking of completely starting from scratch to become a teacher, I only have gcse in maths and English at a c, I work as a health care assistant I studied a BTEC Travel and Tourism at college many years ago which I passed, but I would like to become a primary school teacher, I am 27, what do u suggest I do to be able to do this
To train as a primary school teacher you must have at least a C grade in GCSE maths and English as well as a degree. If you are yet to complete a degree, there are two main routes to achieving QTS (qualified teacher status).
- A three year undergraduate degree in education with QTS
- A 3 year undergraduate degree in any subject, followed by a 1 year PGCE with QTS
I would contact UCAS directly for advice on this: https://www.ucas.com/corporate/about-us/contact-us
There are also paid routes into teaching which can alleviate the financial pressure of going back to education.
Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Best of luck!
Hi I’m currently doing my degree in psychology and I’m aiming to become an SEN teacher. On the diploma at Birmingham, is there much opportunity to work with SEN children? I also have volunteer experience with kids and teenagers who have special needs but I’m wondering if I’d get to carry on that experience with the course at Birmingham :) thankyou!
Absolutely. You will be exposed to a range of schools which in turn educate a range of children. I worked in three schools on my training year and had classes which ranged from 0 children with a diagnosed SEN to having 11 children diagnosed with a SEN. I’m not sure whether the University of Birmingham partners any specialist schools however, being in a diverse city you are certainly exposed to a variety of special and specific educational needs.
I hope this helps.
Hey Francesa. I graduated with a 2/1 in Education with Special Inclusive Needs from LJMU in JUly 2014, i however have not did my science GCSE as it was not complusory in my secondary school, i am finding it difficult to see whether universities accept you with the science GCSE as pending? i have all other nessacary qualificaitons and years of experiences however not my science GCSE which i will be taking this year. Any advice would be great, thanks!
To my knowledge, you are required to have a GCSE in English and maths at grade C or higher to apply for the PGCE. I do not believe you have to have a science GCSE. Having said this, you would certainly benefit from gaining this as there is a high level of subject knowledge required.
Please contact the department directly to confirm this: email@example.com
Hi Francesa. I graduated in law from UoB in 2015 and would like to do a general primary PGCE starting 2017. I have not yet gained any school experience, will 5 days obtained before application be sufficient? This is all I am able to get leave for from my current full time job.
I believe the University stipulates that you must have at least five days of recent experience within a school so this should suffice as a minimum requirement.
On a more personal note, before I stared my PGCE, I had volunteered within a local primary school for 10 weeks (1 day per week) during my second year of undergraduate study. I found this beneficial to get a feel for how schools work however when I started on the course I found a lot of students had been a teaching assistant, studied an undergraduate within the education/child development field, or had generally spent a lot more time in school than me! This was initially daunting, however I do not feel that it was detrimental to my experience and I did not feel disadvantaged. The University of Birmingham course allows you to experience three placements in three different schools which gives you the breadth of experience necessary. There are also visits to best practice schools which again allows you to experience the way in which different schools function.
At first I did wish that I had been able to spend more time within school prior to the course commencing, however it is equally important to balance other commitments which, for more, included completing my undergraduate degree and working to ensure I could afford the course! In short, experience is invaluable but not at the expense of other important commitments. The course will provide a range of experiences for you.
Apologies for the long response, this is something I wish I had asked prior to the course so I hope it helps!
Hi Francesca, is there anything that you would suggest doing prior to starting my PGDipEd at UoB? For eg. any prior insightful reading, preparation etc. Thank you!
The university will send you some pre-course reading and tasks during summer – most of the books you can find in the library so do not feel you need to buy them all (they’re quite expensive!). I would highly recommend reading the national curriculum a few times before September.
In hindsight I would recommend looking at KS2 grammar in particular – it’s an area that many of us have struggled to get our heads around this year!
The university sent the reading list and tasks by post last year around August time.
Hope this helps and good luck!
Hello, I was just wondering when to apply for a course starting in September 2017, and when to arrange skills tests? Thank you!
I applied as soon as I was able to do so. Due to the nature of ITT courses it is best to apply early as places are quickly filled. Keep an eye on this webpage as it will keep you up-to-date on when you can begin to apply. If I remember rightly I applied in late September/early October and was interviewed in November.
We were advised to complete skills test as early as possible however you will need an offer from the University before you can do so (this offer may be conditional). The skills centre will ask to see evidence that you have been made an offer – a print screen of UCAS, or a printed email was sufficient when I attended my test.
I hope this helps! Best of luck with your application.
How will your degree prepare you for what you want to do afterwards?
Ultimately my MA will allow me to stand out from other qualified teachers. It is not essential to complete your masters degree in order to qualify as a teacher therefore by completing this I hope to be set apart from other qualified teachers. Not only will my degree allow me to progress within the world of education faster, it will ensure that I have a broader understanding of theory, research and current issues which in turn will guarantee that I am performing as a well-informed teacher. In addition to this, I’m still enjoying reading and completing my own research and by attaining my MA I am keeping my options open; who knows, I may want to continue researching within education in the future.
Do you have anything lined up for once you have completed your degree?
Not yet, however I am confident that I will be employed as a newly qualified teacher come September 2016. With 100% of early years and 91% of general primary graduates securing a job last year, the University reinforces my confidence in finding a job. I have just completed my first block placement within school and will be attending tutorials on applying for jobs in the next few weeks… I’m pretty calm about it (at the moment!) as I know that the University and my tutors will be supportive and informative.
What, for you, are the best things about the course?
The staff are phenomenal. The difference between undergraduate study and postgraduate is apparent from the offset in the attitude of the students and lecturers alike; an expectation is set. However, this doesn’t mean that your PG life for the next few years is going to be dull and stress ridden. I can honestly say that I could approach any member of the education department (including Val in the café!) and have a relaxed, friendly conversation. The teacher training course is an intense year of assignments, lectures, block placements, learning to plan, mark and asses the children and yet you know that if all else fails, you can send a quick email, arrange a meeting or just knock on the door of your tutor and they will be there. They understand what we are experiencing because they have all been in the same position.
Why did you choose the University of Birmingham?
Having already studied at the University of Birmingham for my undergraduate degree in philosophy, I knew that the quality of teaching and resources were fantastic and that the support I would receive would match this. The University’s achievements aside, I had also fallen in love with the city. The beautiful campus, nightlife, city centre, and Winterbourne gardens are but a few reasons I want to continue calling Birmingham my home for the foreseeable future.
What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?
I decided to undertake postgraduate study because I wanted to qualify as a primary school teacher. There are a few different routes you can take to qualify as a teacher yet I opted for postgraduate study because I still enjoy the academic challenge of university. The benefit of studying at the University of Birmingham is that the course offers 120 credits towards a masters degree and on-going support to complete this in your third year; comparable to the schools direct route which has less ‘on-campus’ university study and only qualifies you with 60 credits towards a masters degree.