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Early Years PGCE

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  • Academic Title
    Early Years PGCE
  • Course description

    All taught elements are planned to reflect the links between the University and schools. Teachers from partnership schools contribute to the planned and taught elements of the programme. They also act as Associate Tutors on the teaching practices and as mentors in schools. The build-up of responsibility in the classroom matches the staged University-based training, and there is continuous contact through the year with teachers and schools that are in partnership with the Scarborough School of Education.

    The integrated programme derives from the close study of the child as a developing individual and an interactive member of a group. There is considerable emphasis on developing skills in planning and assessing learning, and on the curriculum of the 3–7 age range. Emphasis is also placed on the quality of the classroom as a stimulating environment designed to accelerate learning and development.

    Trainees will encounter all areas of experience appropriate to Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 curricula. There is a variety of teaching and learning strategies, including lectures, tutorials, practical workshops, group teaching experiences and staged teaching practices.

    Grounding is given in the full range of subjects comprising the Key Stage 1 Curriculum. Particular emphasis is placed on the core subjects, English, Mathematics, and Science plus ICT. Secondary courses in Art, Music and Religious Education are included in the programme. All other National Curriculum foundation subjects are provided as method courses and are also included as part of cross-curricular taught sessions, building on guidance in the Primary National Strategy and in ‘Excellence and Enjoyment’.

    The main components of the programme are

    -a subject specialist course in Advanced Early Years, including coverage of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, Every Child Matters, and Birth to 3 Matters
    -core subjects: English (Communication, Language and Literacy), Mathematics, and Science plus ICT (Knowledge and Understanding of the World)
    -components covering the National Curriculum Programmes of Study for foundation subjects
    -an awareness-raising component detailing the expectations, typical curricula and teaching arrangements in the 0–3 age phase and Key Stage 2
    -professional aspects of early years practice
    -child development and how young children learn
    -theory into practice, with core workshops focused on play or cross-curricular dimensions and themes
    -practical classroom experience, closely supervised by tutors and mentors

    I made a life-changing decision: I left my job to become a student once more. I was an economics graduate who after five years’ business experience felt there was something missing – job satisfaction!

    Previously when I had thought about teaching as a career, the idea of trying to interest unwilling teenagers in the subject of economics had been unappealing. However, I had always enjoyed teaching dance to young children, so I eventually decided that teaching this age group was the way to go.

    To gain relevant experience and qualifications I studied for a BTEC Diploma in Early Years, and was then accepted onto the PGCE Early Years course at Scarborough. There followed a year of intensive and incredibly hard work, including an exciting and challenging range of practical schoolbased experiences. A feature of the first term was a paired practice which allowed us to support each other through a somewhat daunting experience. The spring practice provided further valuable experience in a Hull nursery class, and the final ‘cherry on the cake’ was a wonderful placement with a Year 2 class in Scarborough. I still have fond memories of this, and it influenced my decision to apply for posts in Year 2.

    During the course I benefited from the support and encouragement of college tutors and experienced classroom practitioners. I have since returned twice to the Scarborough School of Education, to give presentations to current PGCE students about my NQT year and the joys, trials and tribulations of teaching in an inner-city school in Leeds.

    All trainees are accepted onto the programme as Advanced Early Years specialists, which means that they must have had practical early years experience in nursery or primary schools and/or have completed an early childhood or similar degree.

    Taught aspects of the specialist subject component include such areas as child development, early years partnerships with health and social workers, working with parents and with teams of adults, debates around the importance of play, early years policies and practices (e.g. Sure Start), child profiling, establishing positive play environments and child inclusion/protection issues

    Nursery, Reception and Key Stage 1 teachers need a knowledge and understanding of a wide range of general issues related to the profession, to children and to wider community concerns beyond the classroom. These are considered in professional studies lectures and individual tutorials and include areas such as classroom organisation and management; assessment; recording and reporting; Special Educational Needs; inclusion; and crosscurricular issues such as multicultural education. Many professional studies lectures are delivered by members of staff from partnership schools.

    It is expected that trainees will have had at least two weeks’ school experience in the Foundation Stage or Key Stage 1 (or similar) prior to commencing the programme in September.

    From the third week of Phase I trainees start to make day visits (five in total) to their Autumn Attachment schools. This school experience will be in a nursery or Key Stage 1 classroom, and it is followed by a four-week block placement (Phase II) in the same school. Trainees carry out the planning and teaching in pairs, and the focus is on group teaching in the core subjects and ICT.

    In Phase III trainees carry out a teaching practice of six weeks in a Foundation Stage or Key Stage 1 classroom.

    In Phase V trainees carry out a final teaching practice of seven weeks. If they taught at the Foundation Stage in Phase III, they will now teach at Key Stage 1, and vice versa.

    All placements are carried out in different schools, and the aim is to provide a breadth of experience across the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1.

    In all, some 18 weeks are spent in schools during the programme, and this work is supported by school mentors, class teachers and University-based Associate Tutors.

    The programme is assessed in both its theoretical and its practical aspects. Assessment of theory is based on a series of coursework assignments, and assessment of practice takes place in schools by means of a Teaching Development Profile.

    The first theoretical assignment is focused on early years practice and relates to the value of play in early education.The second relates to successful management of children’s behaviour and involves a synthesis of school experience and required reading. The third is a child study based on a child from the spring practice experience. From successful completion of the first three theoretical essays, 60 credits at Level 7 can be transferred towards the 180-credit Hull Masters programme (MEd). The fourth and final assignment (Level 6) is focused on the core subject areas of English, maths and science and is related to practical directed tasks carried out in school and at the University.

    Assessment of teaching ability is based on performance as a teacher in the classroom.Trainees should regard teaching practice as a period of professional development, but certain requirements must be satisfied for the award of Qualified Teacher Status. School mentors, University tutors and external examiners are involved in making this decision.

    A trainee who fails to satisfy the examiners in practical teaching may have to bear the cost of reexamination.

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