PGCE Primary Part-Time Case Studies

For some people the choice is to train to become a teacher or not. For others, that choice is not available. For them, the choice is train part-time to become a teacher or not. There may be many reasons for this extra challenge, from upwards or downwards care needs or the need to continue to work in a second field whilst training to teach.

Some of you reading might not realise that you have an opportunity to train to be a teacher part-time or that you could manage this with your pre-existing commitments. To help you, we’ve asked some of our part-time trainees to write a little bit about their experiences of being a part-time teacher in the hope that it will inspire you to become a teacher with us here at the University of Bedfordshire.

Not all providers of ITE offer part time opportunities, but we do because we believe everyone who wants to become a teacher should have opportunities to fulfil that ambition. We hope you enjoy the following case studies.

Genny Webb

The part-time PGCE (Primary) at the University of Bedfordshire has given me the opportunity to make a career change. Teaching has been an ambition of mine for many years, but with young children of my own I was concerned that studying full-time wouldn’t give me the balance with family life that I was looking for. When I heard about the part-time option it was perfect for me. The first year has flown by, and I’ve been available to support my own children starting primary school as well as begin a new adventure of my own into teaching.

I’m studying with School Direct and the partnership between the University and my School Direct lead means we can discuss school placements, for example when working out which days of the week I would be teaching in school. The university tutors have been open-minded and flexible about finding ways for the part-time course to work, overcoming any obstacles that have cropped up on the way.

Likewise, my placement school has been very supportive and open to working in a different way to accommodate a part time trainee.

The small and friendly campus in Bedford is a welcoming place to study. When on campus, the part-time and full-time students study together. This means we can share our experiences and ideas, and support each other. I really enjoy this aspect of the course.

Although this year hasn’t ended in the way anyone would have expected, the University have worked hard to use online learning to continue our university teaching. The tutors have also put a big emphasis on student wellbeing, which is reassuring. I’m looking forward to the second year of my course, even if due to COVID-19 it won’t be quite as expected!

Mellissa Burns

I chose to do a part-time PGCE at the University of Bedfordshire because I have two primary school aged children and I wanted to be able to balance family life with
training. My daughter started school the same year I started my PGCE and my son was going into Year 2. For me, I wanted to still be a part of their school life as well as being able to venture into my next stage of career.

Going to school placements twice a week as part of the course and to University one day a week has been hugely important to me and has enabled me to maintain a good work-life balance. The flexibility it allows has made sure my quality of life is the best it could be, with what is a stressful period of time. The workload and pressures are more manageable as you study one module each year.

The University of Bedfordshire was the ideal provider for me. It is not only local but is in a good location for travel, to and from my hometown in St Neots. Parking is easy to find on campus and not too costly, which helps when you are there for the day with seminars and workshops. Facilities on campus are good for both lunch and refreshments. The library, and particularly the teaching resource room is an excellent facility for gaining ideas and materials to take into placement. The University day is one of my favourite aspects of the course as I enjoy meeting the other trainees to discuss their experiences and to share knowledge and ideas for future practice. For me, this is the best learning experience as there are lots of discussions about our week in school and what we have enjoyed or not enjoyed, plus how we can improve our future practice.

Narissa Postawa

Applying for the part-time version of the Primary PGCE programme has been really helpful for me and the reason why I decided to become a teacher.

Having a second student loan delayed my decision in studying to become a teacher straight from leaving university. Leaving full-time employment to become a full-time student I considered was not financially viable. Working full-time for three years allowed me to save enough money to self-fund the course over the duration of two years instead of one. The part-time course allows me to balance part-time working within a 9-5 routine that is flexible around the days I need to attend my placement and lectures.

The University of Bedfordshire were offering this course on a part-time basis, which enables me to continue working part-time whilst studying. Two days in the school placement I find at times limits me as it prevents me from experiencing a full week with the children. However, this is compensated by having a full year placement, which has enabled me to experience the student’s development over a full academic year whilst at the same time, build a good working relationship with my mentor.

I did not want to move away from the area and Bedford was the only university locally that offered a part-time course. The tutors are always happy to answer any queries and have been supportive and understanding. I have enjoyed the lectures, which have been structured to incorporate plenty of discussion time, allowing students to listen and learn from one another’s experiences. The lectures have been most informative and formed a solid basis for the experience of working in a classroom environment.

I am grateful to the University of Bedfordshire for creating a part-time course, as this has allowed me to pursue further education whilst maintaining a regular income.

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