The PGCE Secondary RE program is a one year
PGCE program leading to the recommendation for QTS status, which also allows you to be
a specialist secondary practitioner in Religious Education.
The real strength of the PGCE Secondary program is the partnership is really at the heart
of everything that we do, and our school partners are involved with everything from recruitment
of our PGCE students and that’s for the University and school centre programs right through to
final grading and assessment for those. I wanted to do the PGCE because I wanted to
develop my teaching skills, but not only at secondary level but also at degree level.
I like the idea of marrying theory with practice. I just didn’t want to do my practice and didn’t
just want to look at the theory of teaching, I wanted to marry the two together, and at
York St John their PGCE allows you to do that. While we expect our students to come to us
with a degree of subject knowledge, that’s supported on the program with development
opportunities, with enrichment opportunities and with the subject related sessions that
they have in the University, that are then followed through into schools.
I chose the program because of my degree; I studied in Theology and Religious Studies.
I was really into teaching and York St Johns was just, it seemed right for me with the
support, it’s a really small group, and the support is really there I felt that from the
start. Our support network is both internal and external.
At the University base we have a professional mentor and we have a subject knowledge mentor,
and we are able to draw from specific questions and needs that we have. In our placements
we have again a professional mentor and a subject knowledge mentor and we are able to
see beyond the academic side of things but begin to ask questions that have a real practical
impact on our teaching practice. They want us to leave the course as outstanding
teachers; they want us to be employable and so they give us the support necessary to achieve
that. We’ve worked really hard to integrate the
theoretical and academic elements of the program with the practical elements. So everything
that we do in academic sessions we’re all geared up to underpinning the practice in
schools, and that’s a really essential element that our PGCE students understand, not just
what they’re doing but why they’re doing it, and so on, and hopefully that makes them stronger
teachers in the future. Throughout the course there’s a lot of enrichments,
already the first week we went to Bradford to visit the places of worship which is really
important for the subject. We’ve also got a lot of other trips, to art galleries, to
Quaker meetings. We have had a day in Manchester where we went
and looked around a Buddhist temple and it’s marrying that sort of knowledge that we already
have with the religions, but actually seeing it in practice, that really helped, and the
wealth of speakers that came in and offered us their experience was excellent.
We get a real clear perspective of various world views, and it enabled us to engage with
perspectives that we can’t learn from text books but from people who have studied it,
who have lived it out and taught it for several years.
The strength of the PGCE Secondary programs are the very strong partnership that enables
us to provide a really consistent and coherent program of training for our students.
Well what doesn’t York have, it is a magnificent city, it’s got the history, it’s got the vibrance,
it’s a lovely place to study. If you are looking at getting into teaching,
you can’t get any better than York St Johns. The expertise of the site, makes you a prime
candidate to be employed. I’d definitely recommend it because you have
the support put in place, its small groups so you do feel that you can get the best experience
out of it. Be prepared to work hard because there is
a lot of work involved. We hope by the end of the program our students
are in the best possible position to be able to take up jobs.
York St John has given me the passion that teaching Religious Studies is the best job
possible, so as long as I’m doing that well, that’s my ambition.