UEA to hold PGCE open days for next generation of Norfolk teachers


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Have you got the talent to make a good teacher? If the answer is yes, one of the country's top teacher training universities wants to take you to the next level.

To teach well, you must want to learn… an unexpected maxim, perhaps, but a wise one – and from someone who knows, the University of East Anglia's head of the School of Education and Lifelong Learning, Dr Nalini Boodhoo.

With a full-time staff of 20, supported by some 10 associate tutors, looking after a fresh intake of almost 300 students, Dr Boodhoo is looking for the next generation of teachers who are going to make a difference in education.

'We want people who understand the subjects that they'll be teaching – we can help with that,' she explains, 'and obviously we want people who wish to work with children and young people as well.'

'We are also looking for inspirational trainees with open minds who want to continuously upgrade their professional development in order to understand the learning and teaching process.'

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Applications are welcomed from recent graduates and from people considering a career change.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is a one-year (38 weeks) higher education course offered in primary and secondary teacher training. It has been developed in close partnership with schools across Norfolk and Suffolk. UEA offers these courses through both School Direct and provider-led routes. These courses also allow trainees to graduate with 90 credits at Masters level. Students will spend 120 days on placement in schools across the region, as well as time in workshops, seminars and lectures at UEA.

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Dr Boodhoo, who has been at UEA for 15 years estimates the university has been involved in training some 7,000 students to date. 'We help our students to achieve the best for their future pupils by providing an environment in which they can develop the academic, professional and interpersonal skills and competencies needed to become effective teachers.'

Training in primary teaching – still largely the preserve of female teachers, although UEA actively encourages more male participants through their outreach programmes – offers good grounding in the range of subjects across the primary curriculum. Specialisms are also available in maths and primary foreign languages. 'Part of the course is about building subject knowledge,' says Dr Boodhoo. 'All of our staff have taught in schools and spend time keeping up to date with the latest teaching and learning initiatives, technology and government policy so they understand what's required.'

Candidates should have at least a 2:2 first degree and be able to demonstrate that they have gained recent experience in a mainstream school environment with children of the relevant age range. In addition, GCSE passes at grade C or the equivalent in English language, mathematics and a natural science subject, and a good standard of academic attainment at A-level or its equivalent are needed.

The secondary PGCE programme is looking for students with a background in the specific area that they want to teach, typically holding at least a 2:2 first degree qualification in that subject. Also GCSE passes at Grade C or the equivalent in English language and maths are expected as well as evidence of recent experience of observing in a school.

'Whichever route our students choose we try to create personalised pathways in order to develop them as individual teachers,' says Dr Boodhoo.

Students are well prepared when the time comes to go out into the classroom.

As well as educating students in their chosen curriculum subjects, they also receive guidance about areas such as behaviour management in the classroom.

UEA has an enviable record in finding employment for its graduates. Dr Boodhoo explains: 'Around 99 per cent of our students completing courses in 2013-14 were in employment within six months of graduation – and that figure has never been below 90 per cent since 2002.'

According to its latest Ofsted report, the School of Education and Lifelong Learning's quality of central training is 'very strong in both primary and secondary education'; trainees and newly qualified teachers 'have great confidence that their training prepares them well to begin their teaching careers'; and their personal and professional conduct is 'well-regarded by local headteachers'.

In line with other providers, the standard PGCE fee is £9,000 with an estimated £7,500 needed for living expenses.

However, most UK students will be eligible for a maintenance loan, while the Department for Education also offers bursaries to some primary school trainees who attain first or upper second level degrees.

In addition, the government has bursaries of £4,000 to £25,000 depending on the chosen subject and degree attainment for secondary school PGCE trainees in the UK. More than 400 scholarships worth £25,000 are also available to the best secondary students specialising in maths, physics and chemistry.

Dr Boodhoo says: 'The PGCE is a demanding course. Trainees need to put much time into developing the necessary skills and knowledge but they are well supported by our team and by teachers in their partnership placement schools who understand the skills and competencies required in terms of meeting the teaching standards that govern the profession.'

UEA's School of Education and Lifelong Learning is holding two open sessions for potential PGCE students interested in primary or secondary teaching.

A Primary Teacher Training Open Day (age range 3-11 years) will be held at 10am-12pm on Saturday, October 3 at the Thomas Paine Study Centre, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ.

A Secondary Teacher Training Open Evening (age range 11-16 years) will be held at 6.30pm-8.30pm on Wednesday, October 7 at the Julian Study Centre, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ.

For more information and registration details, call the PGCE Admissions Team on 01603 592855 or email edu.pgce.admiss@uea.ac.uk

This feature was brought to you in association with UEA.

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