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Top Tips for Applying for a PGCE at St Mary's

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Interested in applying for a PGCE? We’ve got you covered! Below you will find useful tips to support you as you apply for a PGCE at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.

Know why you want to go into teaching

Throughout the application process you will be asked ‘Why do you want to go into teaching?’. It’s important that you understand and reflect upon your decision to get into teaching and demonstrate this within your application and interview.

When writing your personal statement, and within your interview, try to avoid clichés such as ‘I like children’, and instead demonstrate your passion for teaching and/or a specific subject.

Get Experience in Teaching

To study a PGCE at St Mary’s it’s recommended that have some experience working with children prior to starting your studies - that can be previous employment or voluntary work. We highly recommend this be at least ten working days.

Submit your applications early

Applications open on the 12th of October and places fill up fast. Each application is reviewed as they come in and once applications close, they are rarely opened again so make sure to submit your applications as soon as possible.

You need to submit two references with your application. They can be from anyone who has seen you teach. If you don’t have any teaching experience two character references is also acceptable.

Come to an Open Day/Event

Open days and other subject-led events play an important part in deciding if a course is right for you. At St Mary’s most of the PGCE open events we run will be online. These events are a great way to learn about the course content and how the University can support you.

There are several PGCE events coming up including:

Understand the Commitment

Studying a PGCE is a bigger commitment than you may realise so before you make any decisions it’s very important that you understand exactly what’s required of you and how time consuming that can be.

The PGCE programmes at St Mary’s are intense; during a typical week students will be on campus from 8am – 5pm every day starting in September. As well as lectures and assignments, you will start your school placements in October where you’ll also be expected to create lesson plans alongside teaching.

Although the PGCE programme is a year long, many people don’t realise that from the 1st September 2021, new teachers are required to complete a two-year induction programme while in their first teaching position as part of The Early Career Framework (ECF). This new initative requires you to stay in England for the duration of the programme.

Familiarise yourself with the Teaching Standards Framework

The Teaching Standards Framework is made up of eight statements that outline what makes a successful teacher. You may want to read these statements before you start your PGCE to gain an understanding of what’s expected of you.

Familiarise yourself with the Online Interview Guide

If you are invited for an interview, you will be sent an ‘Online Interview Guide’ with tips to help you prepare for your interview. The guide covers dress code, advice on notes and set up.

During the interview, you will be required to give a 3-minute presentation. You can find out more on the Primary Interview information and Secondary Interview information webpages.

Prepare for GCSE equivalency tests

To study a teaching degree at St Mary’s, you must have GCSEs in English, Maths and Science. We offer equivalency tests in all three subjects, you can find out more on the University website, including revision advice.

For more information on all of our Teacher Training courses, please visit the University website or if you have a specific question about one of our PGCE programmes, you can email Farhana Irshad for Primary PGCE and Clive Woolger for Secondary PGCE.

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