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Past Questions

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

    During my course I was given lots of help with applying for jobs – finding advertised vacancies, writing CVs and presenting yourself well at interviews. There were talks from head teachers as part of the course and these gave us an idea of what to expect employers to be looking for. These really helped everyone to apply for jobs, and all of the students on the Biology course had a post for September by Easter. At the end of the course there were inspiring talks from people who had been successful in the first 5 years of their teaching careers. Since graduating I have started teaching at my school in Birmingham, and I am confident with all aspects of teaching.

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

    The advice I would give to current students studying the course is to plan your time carefully. There is a lot to do on a PGDipEd! (But not necessarily so much as some would have you believe!) Note down due dates for assignments as soon as you are given them and plan them so you know how much there is to do. Enjoy the university components of the course because they are nice and relaxed – lots more free time than when you are in school. Make lots of friends on your course because they are going through the same thing as you!

  3. What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?

    I undertook postgraduate study to qualify and prepare me for a career in education. I believed that following the university route was the best option for me, as it provides you with an internationally recognised qualification and a good background in pedagogy. The course at the university of Birmingham differs from a school based training course by providing you with a very wide range of experiences and opportunities to work with professionals who are all pleased to pass on their wealth of knowledge concerning teaching.

  4. Why did you choose the University of Birmingham?

    I chose the University of Birmingham because of its excellent reputation. The school of Education is well regarded and head teachers across Birmingham and the Midlands seem keen to employ University of Birmingham graduates. I knew that places on the Biology section of the Science PGDipEd were popular at Birmingham. Before beginning my course I was concerned about the facilities in the science teaching department at the University of Birmingham, however these fears were unfounded, and the staff who run the course are positive, inspiring individuals with a real drive to see students succeed and become excellent teachers themselves.

  5. How did your degree prepare you for what you are doing now?

    My qualification has prepared me completely for life as a secondary science teacher. The course content prepares you for all aspects of lesson planning, from strategies to engage students to specific exciting practical demonstrations to carry out in class. It provides you with strategies to deal with behaviour issues and disruption in the classroom, and how to deal with difficulties in professional relationships with other members of staff. The course also gives you skills you will need later in your career and of course, lots of experience in the classroom. The most important part of what I learnt was the usefulness of time management as a teacher.

  6. Hi Lori, Is it possible to do both secondary Biology and Chemistry for PGDipEd? Also, for the 120 credits towards a Masters, can it be a Masters in School Improvement and Educational Leadership?

    Your PGDipEd will be in either Biology or Chemistry. I would probably recommend choosing the one with the most to do with your degree and your interests, although take a look at the funding you would receive too, for example, if you have a Biochemistry degree, it is possible that you would receive more funding for a Chemistry PGDipEd.

    Whilst the title of your PGDipEd will be either Biology or Chemistry, you will have access to biology, chemistry and physics tutors at the university and you will be taught how to teach all three areas, as when you qualify as a teacher you will probably be expected to teach all of the sciences to some level. I for example did a PGDipEd Biology but I teach all three separate science GCSEs. You spend slightly more time with the tutor for your specialism, but on the course you will be taught all three.

    I don't know about the Masters course, it would be worth checking with someone at the school of education if the credits from the PGDipEd will count towards this Masters qualification, or you could ask John who has first-hand experience of the course, available here:

  7. Dear Lori, I am a part time student at Coventry University who has now earned a PGDip in ELT and Applied Linguistics. The dissertation at Coventry University comprises of two parts, 'part 1' which is about planning your project, ongoing for an entire semester, and 'part 2' which is to write and complete the dissertation itself, ongoing for an additional semester. I am rather eager to start my dissertation and cannot do so as the next time 'part 1' commences, which is a compulsory part, is in May 2018. As a consequence, I have to wait until September 2018 to do 'part 2', which means that I have to wait until January 2019 to hopefully earn my MA. I'm considered to be a good and responsible student, having earned 2 distinctions, 5 merits and 1 average on my 8 modules. As I would love to earn my MA as soon as possible, is it possible for me to do my dissertation for you any sooner, earning a MA in Teaching Studies?

    Hi, I am a student who has just recently completed an MA in Teaching Studies so unfortunately I am unable to answer your question. I suggest that you ring the school of Education and ask to speak to someone in the languages department about the MA. Hope this helps.

    Many thanks, Lori

  8. how easy is progression into a head of department or head of sixth form

    If you decide that that is what you would like to do after becoming a classroom teacher, you could probably achieve this in around 5 years. It is best to become a fantastic teacher in your own right before managing a team of people, and this takes experience. You need to be able to model best practice to your department and be confident in training new members of staff. You should look at taking on a teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) in your NQT year and then build from there.

  9. Do you think getting the Masters in Education has helped you achieve a leadership role in a school quicker? Did you find any funding for the Masters or did you have to pay it outright from savings? Thanks!

    Hi, I think it made it easier for me to move jobs as it looks impressive on your CV, and is useful to differentiate you from other candidates, however I think that ultimately your personality and responses at interview are what secure you a role in leadership. My Masters did give me many ideas about teaching and learning to draw upon during my interview however, and it has certainly made me a better teacher.

    My school provided some funding for the Masters, have a conversation with your head teacher about whether they will be able to help you. For me they provided a small amount and I paid for the rest. It comes out of your bank account monthly and so is easy to manage.

    Hopefully that has answered your questions - please let me know if there is anything else I can do.

  10. Hi! I would like to ask about a PGCE in Secondary English with QTS. Do you offer this course? Thank you.


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