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Past Questions

  1. Hello Chelsea I would like to start a PGCE with QTS next September 2022. However, my only concern is that I have completed my top up degree in Childhood Education Studies at UCB and I achieved a third classification. I know most university's accept classification at 2:2 and above. I have looked online at UOB requirements and it does state recognised degree in UK, as well as GCSES in English and maths grade 4 and above. My concern is will I be accepted? Also, I would like to do the PGCE in secondary, as in the long term I would like to teach post compulsory education to 14 to 19 year old students. The subjects that I would like to teach are more vocational e.g. courses in Childcare and Health and Social care (L2 and L3). What other routes do you suggest/ what would be a better way for me to get into teaching?

    Hello, I’m sorry that I am unable to answer your question, I don’t have any knowledge on different routes to get into teaching.

  2. May I know the roles of specific subjects in teaching careers? I am an international student, can you please also help with which course I should choose to start my teaching profession? I have been a teacher in my residing country for the past two years and wish to go further into the teaching field.

    Hello, I’m not sure I fully understand your question. At the school I work at careers is done through work experience in years 10 and 12 which is organised through the careers department. In our fields we give students the knowledge of what careers are possible based upon our subjects and publicise this in open evenings and in displays.

  3. I am from Senegalese (West Africa), and I am intending to apply for the Chevening UK Government's scholarship. I would be grateful if you could give me any advice on how I can obtain a unconditional offer for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) MA, to study at the University of Birmingham?

    Hello, I do not have any knowledge of how unconditional offers are given out, sorry. You would be best speaking to the admission team.

  4. Hello Chelsea, I am from Myanmar. I am interested in studying MA in Education leadership but I am not very confident in the applying process. I was rejected last year from Bristol. I took a pause and have been attempting to refine my English proficiency. I have been teaching for over 8 years. I am really interested in helping teachers and school system in the Myanmar remote area. Can you give me any suggestion or help on how to write the application essays?

    Hello, unfortunately I did not have to write an application letter but instead had to complete an interview so I am not sure on how best to advise you

  5. Hi, I'm trying to apply to the Psychology Master degree but my major is Psychological Counselling and Guidance and I'm wondering, if they accept me onto this programme will I be able to be a psychologist in the UK when I finish my Masters?

    Hello, my subject is History so I do not have any knowledge on Psychology so I am unable to advise you, sorry.

  6. Hi Chelsea, I have an interest in a MA teaching studies. However, I wanted an insight into on what kind of topics can you focus on when completing this qualification? Does it have to be subject specific or is it something thats generic within the school?

    Hi, you can choose whatever you want to focus on. I did my Masters on the impact of terrorist legislation, whilst my friend did hers on boy friendly teaching strategies and another friend did theirs on the representation of women in the History curriculum.

  7. Are there any fully funded scholarships? Can l be offered a degree in Education in Birmingham? What are the entry requirements?

    Hello, I do not have any knowledge on the current application process, sorry. Your question is best directed towards the admissions team, see here for more information:

  8. Hello Chelsea, I hold a Postgraduate diploma in Education and a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education from Nigeria. I have taught in the early years classes for over 7 years. How do I fit into teaching in UK? What training is the best for me?

    Hello, I am unsure how your degree would transfer to the UK teaching system so you would be best asking someone from the admissions team.

  9. Hi Chelsea, I am an international student and wanted to pursue a Masters in Education. I was wondering if this degree will be suitable for me? I have already completed a BEd Degree and I am doing a teaching job in my home country. Can you suggest to me the best course abroad and how would the course be helpful in future for me? I am especially interested in courses related to teaching.

    Hello, this course is a PGDiPEd in teaching which means you become qualified to teach either in a secondary subject or in primary subject depending on your chosen course. You then have to complete an additional year to gain your Masters in Education.

  10. I have completed my Masters from India in Botany with a major in Microbiology. I am interested in pursuing a degree in teaching and education so that I can be qualified and can teach in schools in England. Can you guide me with your advice as to how I can pursue this at the University of Birmingham?

    Hello, this course is a qualification to be a teacher in schools in England either in a chosen subject in secondary school or as a primary school teacher depending on which course you select. You would need to apply for a course and then complete an interview. When I did my course I had to complete a basic essay question under timed conditions.

  11. I am considering a Masters in Education having completed a PGDipEd in 2014 at the University of Birmingham.

    I’m just wondering if you could explain the benefits of completing the Masters, both in terms of your personal teaching practice and professionally?

    Hello, thank you very much for your question and apologies in the delay getting back to you. My name is Emma from the Postgraduate Recruitment team, and I am replying on behalf of the mentor as they have not yet answered it.

    The MA in Teaching Studies allows you to research, in depth, an area of education you are interested in. So while it may not always directly impact your teaching itself, you can gain a deeper understanding of an area of teaching in a different way to practical experience.

    Furthermore, having a masters will make you stand out for future employers and (if!) you ever decide to quit teaching and focus on a different career, will be fantastic to show on your CV as masters qualifications are becoming increasingly desired in the competitive job market.

    If you have any questions about the course itself you can email the team at

    Best wishes, PG Recruitment

  12. How has the Masters qualification been beneficial to your career?

    Hello, thank you very much for your question. My name is Emma from the Postgraduate Recruitment team, and I am replying on behalf of the mentor as they have not yet answered it.

    From looking at Chelsea's page, the PGDipEd course she studied led directly into a teaching position at a school. Returning to complete the masters in Teaching Studies means you then have an additional qualification, which may be beneficial when looking for jobs in the future.

    I hope this helps, Emma

  13. Hi! I am hopefully going to be doing secondary teaching with history next year and was wondering how long roughly the placement is in semester one? Would the placement got right up until Christmas break? And could I have in person assessment right up until the final day? (I don’t live in Birmingham and was wondering travel logistics)

    Hi, From what I can remember the first placement was right up until the Christmas break. All of the assessments were essays, which when I did the course were submitted online. You may just want to double check with the School of Education so I’m not giving you ahy wrong information!

  14. Why did you choose the University of Birmingham?

    I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Birmingham and loved the campus and staff. The staff were always approachable and willing to help with assignments and the library was well stocked with plenty of study spaces. The PGDipEd course appealed to me due to the extra Masters credits available and the Birmingham ethos where you become a collective unit who work together. Birmingham also held an appeal because I live locally and wanted a job in the Wolverhampton-Birmingham area. Having the opportunity to work in challenging schools within Birmingham meant that I would be able to gain a lot of invaluable experience. The rate of employment after the course completion is also exceptionally high and I left this university would put me in an excellent position to get a job.

  15. What advice would you give to current students studying on the course?

    I would advise people to try something new when there is no worry about progress and data. Enjoy the year and be creative with your teaching while there is no pressure to achieve results at the end of the year. It is also important to maintain a work life balance and not to isolate yourself while on the course. All the other people studying are in the same position as you, make sure you socialise and become friends. There is also no need to try and be original for everything you do, share your ideas to make your workload more manageable. Never be afraid to ask for help and advice both from your tutor at University and your mentors on placement. This is the time to make mistakes and learn from them. Most importantly make sure you enjoy the entire experience, it goes extremely fast.

  16. What was the highlight of your time at Birmingham?

    I really enjoyed my entire time at the University of Birmingham. The History PGDipEd course was diversified, allowing me to improve in several different areas of my teaching. The focus on constant improvement helped me to become a much better teacher and the people who completed the course with me have become lifelong friends. My highlight would be having the opportunity to work with so many different people who were at differing stages in their teaching career. Doing group work and joint teaching practises with other members of the course helped us to understand we are not alone and advice given by past trainees was invaluable.

  17. How did you grow as a person by studying at University? Did it change your life in any way?

    I became a lot more confident and outgoing after studying at the University of Birmingham. It helped me to adapt to working full time and the need to balance work and home life so you do not burn out in the first few months. I have made lifelong friends from the course who I speak to regularly and we still exchange lesson plans. I feel the course helped me to become a stronger teacher through different courses which were led by experts in various fields. The course made my passion for teaching grow, helping me develop new ways to engage students and realise that students are individuals who need help and support in many different ways.

  18. How has your career developed since graduating from the University of Birmingham?

    Since graduating I have a position full time at a school in Walsall working with students aged 11-18. The advice and support given to me throughout my year at the University of Birmingham has made me feel more at ease adapting to my new role as a full time teacher. I have my own form group, and I am teaching from year 7 through to year 13.

  19. Would you recommend taking a PGCE university-based route over training via School Direct/SCITT?

    I would find it hard to say. Personally I enjoyed the university route because of the extra support I got from having time to develop as a teacher in university, this helped me become a better teacher. However, I have friends who did a school based route and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think its a personal decision. The university route gave me a group of peers going through the same experience and time away from schools to reflect on my placements. Whereas, the school route gives more classroom experience.

  20. Hi Chelsea, I hope to study to become a teacher after I have completed my History degree which I will start in September 2017. As I wish to teach at secondary level, I was wondering if there was a specific teaching course that I will need to take for that, or do I take a PGCE/PGDipE and then through one of them, take a route into teaching at secondary level?

    Hi, you do a PGCE/PGDipEd or a Schools Direct course that is Secondary History. You don't need to do any other qualification to do secondary school. I would recommend doing work experience in secondary schools during your university course as you have to have experience to get on a course. I found a day I had no seminars and went in once a week. If you have any other questions let me know, Chelsea

  21. Is it necessary to obtain experience in a school before applying for this course?

    Yes, as far as I am aware you need to have at least two weeks work experience in a school. I voulnteered one day a week in a secondary school during my 2nd and 3rd year of university. If you are involved in any youth groups e.g. Scouts/ Dance Instructor that also counts as a form of work experience

  22. Can I take the course without having a degree in history?

    As far as I am aware a certain percentage needs to be in the subject that you are doing the course in.

  23. Hi Chelsea, I'm thinking of applying for a PGCE History Secondary, but I have a busy workload with kids at home. Can you give me a breakdown of your weeks through the year: I mean your typical days at uni, school, class-prep, assignments etc? Thanks

    Hi, we spent a month in university in September where we were in each day and had a couple of evening sessions. You then go on placement until Christmas which is the same as working full time - I was usually in school for 7:30 and left around 4-4:30. This is repeated after Christmas with some time in university before an extended placement from February to June. You have to mark and plan all of your own books and write 5 assignments. Chelsea

  24. Hi Chelsea, for the History and Citizenship course, is there any chance for salaried work? Do you get paid while in placement?

    I did not get paid for the course, you can only recieve funding if you have worked full time for a certain period of time. The best thing to do would be to contact the univeristy directly.

  25. Hi Chelsea, I am in my final year of a History and Politics degree and am strongly considering teaching as a career. I would like to apply for the History and Citizenship teacher training at Birmingham however I have heard from some people in the profession that it is extremely stressful with lots of hoops to jump through and that this impacts on the fun they have teaching. Specifically, how much time do you spend working outside of the classroom and what have been your biggest challenges both on the course and during your NQT year?

    Hi, I felt the balance of school and then university training was really helpful for me. We spent a month at university training and hearing other peoples experience then spent 8 weeks in a school for 5 days a week. This was repeated in the spring term with a month in university and then a long placement. Due to the nature of the PgDipEd I had to complete 5 essays which I think were really useful in considering different aspects of teaching Hope this helps!

  26. Hi Chelsea, I'm looking into applying for the Secondary History course for 2018 however i'm not 100% sure which route to take. My partner went through schools direct last year and it often felt like she was thrown into the deep end, luckily she had very supportive staff at her school to help however I know of other people who were not so lucky. I would quite like to apply for the university led course however I am worried that I wouldn't get enough experience of working within a school. Did you feel that in your NQT year following your university led course that you had experienced enough teaching in a school or enough to make the transition a comfortable and natural progression?

    Hi, like your partner one of my close friends did a schools direct course at the same time as my univeristy course and I feel the support from the univeristy course was invaluable. Having the chance to sit with other people in the same position helped the experience feel less overwhelming. I think the jump from training to NQT was okay as I was well supported within my school. It is a jump from the smaller timetable to the full timetable but I did not feel at any point out of my depth. Chelsea

  27. I'm currently applying via UCAS for this course and was wondering if my second reference could be a character one, for example from a teacher at my sixth form college. Also I only have 3 full days worth of classroom experience so far but plan to gain more next term, would this effect my application?

    Hi, as far as I know you can use sixth form tutors as references but I am not 100% sure on this.

    As far as classroom experience goes it is best to have at least two weeks worth of experience. However, this does not necessarily have to be in a school for example I volunteered at a private music tuition centre and taught keyboard while my friend included her work as a Girl Guide leader. I also put in my application the mentoring which I did during sixth form and the work I did at my dance school, so if you have any proof of working with children I would recommend adding it into your application.

  28. Hello, how are you? I have applied for a PhD at the University of Birmingham but I'm not sure whether I'll get a chance to join or not. In case I secure a chance there, what are important things I should be prepared for? If you were given five minutes to give a speech about why should I join Birmingham, what would you speak about?

    Hello, I chose to study at Birmingham for my undergrad, teacher training and Masters so personally I would say that the support network is one major benefit of the university. I found that the postgraduate study had mentors who were able to give encouraging advice and helped to develop both my practical and academic skills.

    The facilities at Birmingham are also a major selling point for me as the new library is amazing. The books and online resources help to fulfil the requirements of the course and the IT support makes using the computers easy. The transport links have an on-site train station which makes the university viable for myself as I commuted from home throughout both my undergraduate and postgraduate degree.

  29. Hi Chelsea, does the dissertation involve primary research or is it secondary research only? Many thanks.

    Hi, is there a dissertation for the Masters course? If so, is the research for this based upon primary research conducted in your school alongside secondary evidence? My chosen topic did not have any secondary evidence so it used theories on different ideas applied to my own research.

  30. Hello! I just wanted to ask you about the MA course. I will be doing a primary PGCE and want to know how the Masters credits work and how do you complete the Masters course? Could you complete it alongside a teaching job?

    Hi! I completed a PGDipEd course which meant that the assignments I did during my training year contributed towards the total credits for my Masters. I did my Masters in my NQT+1 year alongside side teaching full time by writing a dissertation on any topic you decide to focus on. There are three Saturday sessions that are mandatory and then otherwise you work with a mentor who you meet with and set deadlines together. From what I can remember the overall deadline was during the 6 weeks holidays so some people wrote their whole dissertation in the summer and did the research during the academic year. Any other questions please let me know! Chelsea

  31. If you do a PGDip at Birmingham then return to do a top up Masters it says at the moment it costs around three thousand pounds. For a UK student, did a student loan cover this or did you have to save up this money yourself?

    Hi, I paid for this myself in monthly instalments over a 10 month period. I think you could also pay this in full too though.

  32. Hello Chelsea, you mentioned about being required to do assignments whilst on placement. Could I ask what these assignments would typically involve? (e.g. the content and nature of these assignments)

    Hello, I cant fully remember all of the topics, there were ones about teaching and learning, SEN, A Level and behaviour management. I think there were 6 altogether which involved secondary research alongside classroom data collection. Any other questions please feel free to ask. Chelsea.