UCAS Teacher Training's blog

Advice from current trainees, newly qualified and experienced teachers, teacher mentors, and tutors.

So you want to be a teacher?

Something inside you has persuaded you that becoming a teacher is your career choice; it could be that you have been a cub, brownie, guide or scout leader, working with young people. Gymnastics, swimming, dance, various sports all encourage young people to undertake coaching courses with the idea of sharing skills with young children. Leading or taking part in holiday schemes have led to the career choice. My favourite was a prospective candidate talking animatedly about helping children with disability to overcome fear and attempt to climb.

It doesn’t have to be one of these routes. Many people enter teaching later in life, having had an initial career and seek greater job satisfaction; some will have had families. Often they have had a transitional route via a teaching assistant role or as a helping parent in school. This, in itself, sometimes leads to a school persuading them to pursue the route to becoming a teacher.
Whatever the route, the process will have similar elements, which are worth considering, so that the application has the greatest chance of making an impression on the member of university, TSA or SCITT staff who has the responsibility of inviting candidates for interview.

This puts special emphasis on the personal statement in support of the application. While the candidate might be writing the application through UCAS to a number of training places, there are some simple “rules of thumb” that might get that all important interview. At that point, you will have the chance to talk more about yourself and your personal statement will be a guide to the interviewer to develop their questions.
 
  • Write a rough draft of any personal statement, then work on it to ensure it is as clear as possible. Have someone proof read it to offer additional ideas and identify grammatical and spelling errors.
  • This personal statement is about you and you, as a person, should come through. Remember, the person reading it only has the words to go on. You need to shine through. Communication is a key teacher skill and the written word should how your ability in that area.
  • Before your interview, you will need to show that you have had some experience in a school setting – this will vary between training programmes so check the requirements. This could be spread over time, or could be a couple of weeks. What did you learn from this experience? 
  • Why did you choose your particular A levels, BTEC or first degree? How do these subjects, or maybe the teachers, impact on your decision to become a teacher?
  • Why have you chosen a particular subject specialism for teacher training? Why does it particularly interest you?
  • Consider the specific event that made you think about becoming a teacher. How do you see yourself in a teacher role?
  • What do you do that will show yourself in a broader light? Do you have specific interests or hobbies? Do you visit galleries or museums, or perhaps your interests are in conservation, walking, camping, playing music or travelling? Do you do volunteer activity for charity? Everything is important to create a rounded a picture of you.
  • Have you had responsibility in school, college or work experience? Describe and unpick how this might relate to a teaching role.
  • Beyond becoming a teacher, how will this role enhance your view of yourself in the future?
  • Reread everything that you have written and share it with a teacher, lecturer or, if you’re working in a school, the head teacher. 
How you think, how you talk and how you reflect should come through your application. It is a first step. The interview awaits.

Chris

Over a 40-year career in education, Chris Chivers has worked as a teacher, head teacher, university tutor, assessor and adviser. Chris now uses his experience to support developing teachers. A regular blogger at Chris Chivers (Thinks), you can find also him on Twitter @ChrisChivers2
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Ready to apply?

Find out more about starting your application

 

Thinking of applying to teacher training programmes?

Thinking of applying for teacher training programmes? There are lots of things to consider before you apply, and it can be quite daunting to know where to start.

Here’s our top five places you should check out, full of advice on how to apply.

1. Our website

The first place to start is our website. You’ll find out information on how to pick the right programme for you. Get in-depth information on which route into teaching fits you.

2. Video wall 

Our video wall is full of advice on many topics you’ll need to know about when applying for teacher training programmes. Need a hand filling in your application? Not sure how to prepare for interviews? We’ve got it covered on our video wall!

3. Free UCAS Teacher Training pack

Our teacher training pack is a must if you’re applying. It’s a free online pack, containing all the information and advice you need to apply, and what to expect after your application has been sent.
 


 
4. Our dedicated blog page


We have a range of advice on our dedicated UCAS Teacher Training blog. It covers subjects from advice on applying, to case studies from current teachers – to give you an insight into what to expect.
5. Get into Teaching

Finally, register with Get into Teaching for tailored advice and support. You can also follow them on Twitter for info on getting into teaching, and to keep up-to-date with any upcoming events or changes in the sector.

If you have any questions about applying for teacher training programmes, get in touch with our advisers on Facebook or Twitter and they’ll do their best to help.

Share Your Story: Shane Baker

Name: Shane Baker

What course are you studying/have you studied?
BA (Hons) Youth and Community Work, at the University of Huddersfield
Postgraduate Diploma in Education, at University Campus Barnsley
MA in Education and Youth Work Studies, at the University of Huddersfield

What, or who, inspired you to train to become a teacher?
Several factors influenced me to take up teaching as a profession. My grandad, particularly, guided me to higher education and ultimately into the profession. I was always keen to share what I had learnt with others. I remember my primary school teacher being significant in my childhood, and hoping that one day I could have the same impact on others. With the skills, knowledge, and experience I already obtained at the time, I felt there was definitely an area within education that I could bring these skills to, as the teaching profession is so broad.

What was the application process like?
The application process was very straightforward. It was exactly the same as applying through UCAS for undergraduate courses. I think it is important for those who are contemplating completing initial teacher training (ITT) after their initial undergraduate degree, that you know you can access student finance to fund the course. ITT courses are one of a few courses that are exempt from second funding.

What was your course like?
The course I studied was very informative and really gave me the opportunity to put theory into practice. I felt that as soon as I had learnt something, I was able to put it into practice, having undertaken a placement throughout my time on the course. This, ultimately, put me in the position to gain and take up a full-time, permanent role in a further education college on completion.

Did you move away from home to study, or did you commute?
I lived at home and commuted. I actually received a bursary from the government, as I focused on developing as a SEND specialist teacher. This bursary allowed me to purchase my first home, reducing my worries about my finances, and concentrate on developing my skills as a newly qualified teacher.

What age group(s) and/or subject do you currently teach, and where?
I have worked within FE colleges as a lecturer, personal tutor, and assessor, teaching students aged 14 to 70. I have taught health and social care, foundation learning, Jobcentre Plus programmes, and childcare.

I recently achieved Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) through The Society for Education and Training (SET), and have moved to an outstanding ‘all-through’ SEND school/college as a post-16 class teacher. I think it is important to know that, just because you qualify to teach in the lifelong learning sector, it does not stop you from working within local-authority-maintained schools if you gain QTLS. If you apply and achieve QTLS on completion of your initial teacher training programme, it has parity with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), meaning you can apply for positions across the profession.

In your opinion, what is the best thing about being a teacher? What is the worst?
The best thing about being a teacher is seeing students developing, progressing, and meeting their individual targets. It’s the little comments like ‘I get that’, ‘I never knew’, or ‘Thank you’ that remind you that you are making a positive impact. You cannot come into teaching and not expect there to be a large workload and paperwork. You have to be realistic and recognise that teaching in class is just one of the duties of being a professionally qualified teacher. If you do not know the full expectations, I highly recommend you read/research the professional expectations of teachers.

Do you have any regrets about your course/route choice? Did anything surprise you?
I still have a very keen interest in youth work but, for me, there were no opportunities to progress, with the significant cuts to the profession. It has allowed me to continue working with children and young people to make a positive difference to their onset development. I wish I trained earlier as a teacher! The course I undertook was first-class and has allowed me to gain first-class results.

Is there anything you wish you’d known before you applied?
I think I would have liked better careers advice and clearer guidance. Because of my previous experience, I was suggested to focus on becoming a PSHE/citizenship teacher. I think I have found my niche as a SEND teacher. I think it is important to gain some relevant work experience, to ensure you are embarking on the right journey – whether that is primary, secondary, or lifelong learning teaching.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about training to become a teacher, what would it be?
Be prepared for hard work. It will not be a stroll in the park but you will gain a lot of satisfaction from seeing your students develop, and getting to the end of your first academic year – looking back and recognising all the hard work you have put in, which has led to the success. You will learn that what works for one class doesn’t always work for another. You will learn to think on your feet, adapt, and react to the forever changing environment that is teaching.

I love teaching because… 
I love teaching because one day is never the same, and witnessing students achieving what they set out to achieve.

Applied for teacher training programmes? You may be able to use Apply 2...

So, to start with what is Apply 2? Well, it’s an opportunity for you to add a new training programme if you’ve been unsuccessful or declined your original choices. It started on 9 November and runs until 30 September 2016. You can add one additional programme from any that have vacancies.

Where can I find vacancies?
You can check what programmes are available in our search tool – the vacancy status indicates whether there are places. It’s also a good idea to contact the training provider to check they're still recruiting and will consider you. Ask if there are any additional documents you can provide – including an updated personal statement – to strengthen your application. To do this, just give them a quick call – you’ll find their contact details also in the search tool.

How do I add an Apply 2 choice? 
If you’re eligible, you’ll have the ‘Add Apply 2 Choice’ option under your original choices in Track. We’ve got more advice on how to add a choice here.

When will the provider make a decision?
The providers have 40 working days to make a decision. If you have a change of heart and want to apply elsewhere, you can add a new programme in place of your current one. But be aware, this will cancel your original choice which means they’ll no longer be able to offer you a place.

As soon as you’ve changed your Apply 2 choice, the 40 day reply period will start again, so make sure it’s something you want to wait for. It’s always worth speaking to the training provider first to find out when they’re likely to make a decision and to make sure you’re not losing any valuable time by choosing a different provider!

When do I reply to an offer?
If you receive an offer, you’ll have 10 working days to accept it. The place will be declined automatically if you don’t reply so make sure you keep an eye on Track!


If you have any further questions about Apply 2 then have a look on our website or get in touch with our advisers on Facebook or Twitter.
 


Share Your Story: Alice Hackett

Name: Alice Hackett
What course are you studying/have you studied?
I studied a BEd in Primary Teaching with Qualified Teacher Status.
What or who inspired you to train to become a teacher?
My own reception teacher inspired me to be a teacher. I knew I wanted to be just like her! I thought: if I can be as good a teacher as she is, then I want to give it a go.
What was the application process like?
I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a teacher, so I took the relevant paths at each stage to give me the best chance of getting into university. The application to university was not as stressful as everyone says.
What was your course like? 
Enjoyable! A real insight to what being a teacher is like. The placements were really useful as well, because you got to learn on the job.
Did you move away from home to study, or did you commute?
I moved away into halls for the first year, then moved into a house with friends for second and third year.
What age group(s) and/or subject do you currently teach, and where? My first job outside university was as a learning support worker. I chose to do this job as, after completing my dissertation, I had a keen interest in SEN. I wanted to know more about SEN and provisions within school. After that, I became a KS1 nurture and behaviour teacher for a year, and I am now a Year 1 teacher as well as PE lead and NQT mentor.
Do you have any regrets about your course/route choice? Did anything surprise you?
The best thing about being a teacher is being able to make a difference to children’s lives. Being able to see the progress the children make. I have no regrets about being a teacher and the course I chose. I love my job.
Is there anything you wish you’d known before you applied?
More about applying for student finance.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about training to become a teacher, what would it be?
It is hard, especially the first year, but have faith, you can do it! Also, being aware there are ups and downs, but no down stays with you for long, because the love you have for teaching takes over again.
I love teaching because… I am able to make a difference to children’s lives.
 

How to apply for teacher training programmes in four steps

You can now apply for teacher training programmes for 2017 entry. There isn’t a set deadline that your application needs to reach us by, but to be in with the best chance of securing a place at your preferred provider we recommend you apply as soon as possible.

Not sure where to begin? We’ve got it covered in four simple steps.

1. Research training providers and programmes

Before you start your application, research the training providers that offer the programme you’re interested in. There are four different routes into teaching, so if you’re not sure which one is right for you, check out this short video.
 


Once you’ve found the programme you’re interested in, see which providers offer it in our search tool. Here, you’ll be able to find further information on the provider and programme.

2. Register on our website

So, now you’ve found the programme and provider you’re interested in, the next step is to register online. It’s a short process which will ask you for basic information such as your name, address, and date of birth. You need to provide a valid email address as this will be your username and you’ll be asked to create a password.

3. Complete an application

When you log in you’ll see a page like this:
 

Each section must be completed before you can send your application. We’ve got lots of advice on how to complete the application on our website.

The ‘Education’ section can sometimes cause a bit of confusion. You need to enter every place where you’ve achieved a formal qualification from in the ‘Education’ section.  This should start from the age of 12 onwards.

First, you search for your school by clicking on the ‘Add new school/college/university’ link and then ‘Find school’ to select the ones you’ve attended.

If the school isn’t listed, close the pop up window and you’ll be able to enter the details in manually.

Once you’ve done this, add in your GCSEs and A levels (or equivalents). If your qualification type isn’t in the list, select the ‘Other’ option that best suits you to enter the details in manually.

Finally, add details of your degree. Start with your university or college name, degree class, course name, start date, and results date.

When it comes to adding your school and work experience you need to include:
  • your school experience and work history, including current occupation
  • the time you spent in a school or college, including details of the age groups and subjects you were involved in
  • For the ‘hours per week’ question give the average weekly time you spent in the establishment.
Some training providers will require your complete work history, if you can’t fit this in then send the info to the providers separately, in a CV or a summary of your work history.

If you need any help with the personal statement or reference sections, then all the advice you need is on our website.

4. Pay for and send your application

Once every section of your application is complete, the final step is making a payment. The fee is £24 and you pay with a debit or credit card. It can take up to 48 hours for your application to be processed but once it has, you’ll be sent an email with your Track login details.

Good luck with your application!

Download our free UCAS Teacher Training pack which contains all the information and advice you need to apply.

If you have any questions then send us a message on Facebook or Twitter and we'll get right back to you.

Share Your Story: Sophie Lea

What course are you studying/have you studied?
BA Hons Primary Degree 5-11

What or who inspired you to train to become a teacher?
I have always wanted to work with people and feel that I am doing something worthwhile and positive.

What was the application process like?
When I trained, there were lots of applicants so I can remember that it was competitive. It was good to hear from current students/teachers during interview days. My interview involved a presentation and group discussion.

What was your course like?
Placements in school were by far the most valuable part of my training to prepare me for the job. There were lots of practical tasks in seminars, as if we were the children. Guest speakers were the most exciting part of lectures, I remember a lecture by a children’s author being really interesting.

Did you move away from home to study, or did you commute?
Moved away from home

What age group(s) and/or subject do you currently teach, and where?
I teach year 4 at Cam Hopton C of E Primary School and am the English subject leader.

In your opinion, what is the best thing about being a teacher? What is the worst?
Being in the classroom with the children is the best part of the job. Having feedback from the children, after a lesson they really enjoyed, feels great!

Marking and planning is the worst part of the job but just has to be done! You do get faster at it!

Do you have any regrets about your course/route choice? Did anything surprise you?
No I was pleased with my route choice, having completed a three year degree.

Is there anything you wish you’d known before you applied?
Teaching is most definitely a challenging career but a very rewarding and enjoyable one too.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about training to become a teacher, what would it be?
When you start placement/your career, you must prioritise. It’s very easy to get caught up doing unproductive tasks. Every night I ask myself ‘What do I need to do for tomorrow to run smoothly?’ I would also say it’s important to keep things in perspective. When you’re on placement some lessons go well and some don’t go so well. It’s the same when you have your own class too!

I love teaching because… the children I teach say they enjoy being in my class.
Having school holidays is also a massive bonus! If you have aspirations to travel you have lots of opportunities to do so, there aren’t many careers that have as much holiday.


 

Share your Story: Hannah Taylor

What or who inspired you to train to become a teacher?
I’ve always loved learning and education. History has been my passion since I was very young, and I wanted the chance to not only be immersed in a subject I love every day, but also to encourage young people to enjoy it as much as I do.

What was the application process like?
It was fairly straightforward. You apply through UCAS using one of the assigned codes, depending on the route you want to take; you get essentially the same training regardless of which route you take, so it’s about choosing the route that best suits your needs. Once my application was sent in, I was called for an interview day where I had to do a basic numeracy and literacy test and teach a 15-minute lesson to a small group of pupils, which was followed by a formal interview. It seemed daunting before I got there, but the staff involved were all very supportive. You also have to take an official literacy and numeracy test, which you have to pass to be accepted onto the course. You get three tries of each, so it’s best to get these done early in the process in case you need to do them again.

What was your course like?
The course was hard work, but I enjoyed it. GITEP is excellent at getting you into the classroom quickly – you only spend three weeks in lectures before you start attending your placement school. That might seem daunting, but teaching really is something you learn practically. You are well guided by your mentor (who is directly in charge of your training in the classroom), training manager (who looks after all the trainees in a school) and subject leader. Your training is split into three placements at two different schools (at least one of which must provide A level experience), and each placement sees an increase in teaching time. This means you slowly build up the workload, which helps to stop you becoming overwhelmed. You will spend a good period of time initially observing lessons, so you can get to know your classes and pick up some tips from more experienced teachers. Once you begin teaching for yourself, classroom teachers will fill out a weekly lesson observation form to highlight things you are doing well, and advise on one or two areas you could try to improve on. As you complete each placement, you create a Key Evidence File (KEF) with evidence to support your progress and to show that you are meeting the teaching standards set by the government. It sounds like a lot of work, but you put it together across the duration of a placement, so there’s plenty of time to get it done. You also complete three assignments across the year, based on research into teaching styles and your own research conducted in the classroom. These are excellent ways to develop and broaden your teaching style – you’ll never get as much time to research teaching again in your career so make the most of it! Alongside the school placements, you attend weekly subject pathway sessions with your subject leader, where you will work on subject specific tasks and themes. These are also a great opportunity to share ideas and worries with your other subject trainees.

Did you move away from home to study, or did you commute?
I still lived at home. I don’t drive, and was lucky with my placements. GITEP and the University of Gloucestershire work very hard to make sure that you aren’t on placement somewhere you cannot reach. However, you have to be prepared to do some travelling.

What age group(s) and/or subject do you currently teach, and where?
I am currently the History KS3 co-ordinator at Pittville School, an 11 — 16 school in Cheltenham. This year I will also be a History PGCE mentor.

In your opinion, what is the best thing about being a teacher? What is the worst?
The best thing about being a teacher is having an impact on pupil’s lives. There is nothing better than seeing a young person finally realise their potential in front of you. Sometimes it’s more than academics — in school, teachers are also responsible for the emotional well-being of pupils, and helping someone when they’re having a difficult time is hard, but really rewarding.


The worst thing is that during term time, there will always be something you could be doing. It can be a very demanding job. There is more to teaching than just being in the classroom, and there will always be times when other tasks will get in the way of what you signed up for.

Do you have any regrets about your course or route choice? Did anything surprise you?
I have no regrets at all – I think I made the best choice for me. My only surprise was how little time was dedicated to lectures, but the course is all the better for it.

Is there anything you wish you’d known before you applied?
I wish I’d known that it’s OK to get things wrong in the classroom. It’s never nice to have someone criticise something you’ve worked hard on, but your PGCE year is about taking risks and trying new things. Sometimes they won’t work, but the only way you learn is through making mistakes and correcting them. It’s about making progress, not being perfect.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about training to become a teacher, what would it be?
Think of training as a job, not as a university course. Be professional, be punctual and remember that you are training around teachers who have a job to do, and pupils who need to learn. If you approach it in an organised, professional way, you’ll be successful.

I love teaching because… no two days are ever the same. Young people are some of the most free spirited, imaginative and rewarding people you could ever hope to work with. It beats being stuck in an office!


Share Your Story: Janie Livermore

What or who inspired you to train to become a teacher?
My mum! She has worked in primary schools since I can remember, and growing up, I would go to her class and help her out when I could; I loved the fact that no two days were the same.


Also, I have a lot of lovely memories of my time in primary school with my mum working there and my dad being heavily involved. Every member of my immediate family have worked in education, and I guess it was natural for me to do the same.

What was the application process like?
I was very fortunate. I came back from travelling for 2 years thinking I have missed the boat in applying for any type of teacher training course when my mum spotted an advert in the local newspaper. I applied straight away and got offered an interview a few days later. The interview was at a local primary school, and we had to take a literacy and maths test, take in a book suited for the year group allocated and read to a class, as well as preparing a presentation about ourselves and an interview with the course director and the head teacher. The very next day I received the amazing news!

This particular SCITT took on around 80 trainees, but the interviews started in September until my interview (with me being the last one) in June, and sometimes they offered a place to all the candidates or to just one person per interview session.

What was your course like?
The course itself was very good. We had lectures in every subject, (such as Literacy, Maths, Science etc) as well as other aspects of teaching (Voice, Special Educational Needs, Professional studies).

I would lie if I said it was easy! It was very demanding and I had to be highly organised and hard-working throughout, but it was worth it all in the end.

I was also very fortunate in having some of the most amazing people by my side throughout, whether I needed help with planning a lesson or an assignment, I knew I could go to my friends for support as they understand!

Did you move away from home to study, or did you commute?
Again, I was very fortunate as my cohort was based in a primary school literally 5 minutes from my house! That is where all the lectures were held. My two training schools were in the local area too, so not a long commute at all.

What age group(s) and/or subject do you currently teach, and where?
I taught year 5 and year 1 during my trainee year, but I have been employed at a school in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, as a Year 5 teacher.

In your opinion, what is the best thing about being a teacher? What is the worst?
The worst thing about being a teacher is that it does affect your social life, especially when you are first starting out and you are not necessarily quick at planning or marking. But, with time and practice, the work/life balance should get better.

I love the quote, “teachers change the world one child at a time” and I believe this is true. It is knowing you are making a difference; teaching isn’t just about imparting knowledge from a textbook, marking the register and sending home children at the end of the day. Sometimes, school is the only consistency in a child’s life, and sometimes they need that nurture, that place to go when maybe things are just not right at home. I like knowing that I can provide that; that is the best thing about teaching in my opinion.

Do you have any regrets about your course/route choice? Did anything surprise you?
Not at all. I was on a schools direct course so we spent a lot of time working in schools, instead of studying in a lecture hall at a University. I liked the lectures and I learnt a lot from them, but I learnt more in the schools I was training at and being able to teach classes and working out what I could improve or what worked well. We had observations more and less every week, which was great for receiving feedback. I am a kinaesthetic learner so for me, this was the best way to learn.

Is there anything you wish you’d known before you applied?
Maybe the amount of work we had to do! I went in very naïvely and didn’t realise we needed to have two pieces of evidence per teaching standard (84 overall), a professional folder and 4 assignments to complete!

If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about training to become a teacher, what would it be?
Buy post its. Buy highlighters. Do anything you can to keep yourself organised and on top of things. It is a very hard year if you do a SCITT course, as you are doing a course and a job at the same time. The folders, the assignments, the planning, the data, and the admin – it all needs to be done and you don’t have a lot of time to do it!

I love teaching because…
I know that I can make some kind of difference for every pupil in my class.

More information
The key piece of advice I got from my mentor was, “you will never know everything.”
Personally, I have beaten myself up when a child asks me something and I didn’t know the answer; but is ok. It is ok to admit that you do not know everything; you are human after all and sometimes, the children respect you more when you admit that.


Share Your Story: Hayley Ebdon

A PGCE wasn’t always the way that I had intended to complete my ITT. For the 2014/15 academic year, I had applied for one PGCE course, and two School Direct (salaried) programmes. Unfortunately, all of my applications were unsuccessful – I didn’t even get as far as an interview for the PGCE at this stage. I was very nervous about the whole process and the interviews were really tough – one had a panel of six head teachers interviewing! The feedback from the interviews was that I needed more experience in a school – due to working full-time, I’d only really done the two weeks minimum experience required for application.
 
I had five years’ working experience in a private nursery, moving from a student to a nursery nurse, to assistant manager, to nursery manager, but this obviously wasn’t enough. I’d worked full-time whilst studying part-time (one night per week) for my degree, moving from a foundation degree to a BA (Hons) Top-up, where I finished with First Class Honours!
 
I had a good working knowledge of a curriculum, but not the right one! It may have been a sensible option to go for an Early Years teaching programme, but going into Early Years had never been my intention, it just sort of ‘happened’. I wanted to spread my wings, have a broader experience of teaching, which was why I was determined to do primary initial teacher training, and not be limited to Early Years for the rest of my career. As much as I loved working in the Early Years, I needed something a bit more and I needed a challenge.
 
So, from the feedback given at the interviews, I approached a number of local primary schools to see if I could volunteer in their school, and after liaising with my employer, she agreed to let me have one day off per week (during term time) to go and volunteer in a school. I spent the year working with a lovely year 4 class in a one-form entry school, and working with three different teachers for that one class. The support I received there was amazing and it was a really fantastic experience. I even got to visit the children during their residential trip!
 
Then October came, I rewrote my personal statement from the previous year, and made it my own – I really tried to make my personality shine through and let them see who I am. After careful consideration, I used the year to save up some money and decided that I would bite the bullet, leave work for a year and embark on a PGCE (with the hope that I would soon be employed again for the following September!!). I applied to three local training providers who offered the Primary PGCE.
 
The interviews were within a couple of weeks of each other. I went to Durham University, liked it but wasn’t too sure that it was for me. I then went to the second which was Newcastle University, and knew as soon as I walked through the doors to the university that this was where I wanted to study. I left the interview and within three hours, they let me know that I had a place to study for my Primary PGCE for September 2015. I did go to the third interview, which was at Northumbria University, just in case I liked that one even more, but for me, I just knew when I walked through the doors of the second university that I wanted to study there.
 
In terms of choosing the providers in the first place, location was a big factor. I knew that I wanted to relocate to the area from Staffordshire, which left me with four choices. One of which hadn’t even offered me an interview the previous year! Next came the reputation. My first choice was Durham University, probably the most prestigious university out of the three, but it turns out I went with my second choice which was Newcastle University. I spent hours trawling the internet, looking at student satisfaction surveys and online reviews of the universities, but I just knew when I visited university number 2 that it was right for me.

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