Secondary PGCE Preliminary Experience

It is a programme requirement that you spend a period of two weeks in state schools prior to starting your taught provision on campus on Monday 30 September. There are Preliminary Experience Tasks to be completed during this time in school. The weeks designated for this experience run from Monday 16 September 2019 to Friday 27 September 2019.

You should make arrangements for this in your home area by direct contact with schools, who may ask you to contact the local authority (LA). Please spend one week in a primary school (specifically in a Key Stage 2 i.e. 7-11 age range setting) and another week in a secondary school. You will need to ensure that your week in a secondary school setting includes at least half a day in a Post-16 setting. If your chosen secondary school does not have a sixth form, please arrange to spend at least half a day during this week in a post-16 setting such as a Further Education College. If the schools are organised as First, Middle and Upper schools, please arrange one week in the Middle school, and the other in the Upper school. 

When you have agreed arrangements, please complete the preliminary experience details form attached to your pre-course information email and return it to the Graduate School of Education Partnership Office (exeterpartner@exeter.ac.uk) as soon as possible, and not later than Friday 14 June 2019. This form is also available here:

 Secondary PGCE Preliminary Experience Details Form 2019-20

A letter from the Partnership Office will then be sent to the Headteacher(s) concerned before you begin your school experience. This will include confirmation of a satisfactory DBS (if we have it by then) and a preliminary experience feedback form, known as a Formative Reflection on Achievement & Progress (FRAP) for each school to complete with you about your time with them.

Please ensure that you email these completed forms to the Partnership Office (exeterpartner@exeter.ac.uk) at the end of your preliminary experience weeks. Note: you will need to refer to this feedback during tutorial sessions in the Autumn term and place a copy of each form in your Individual Development Portfolio.

Q.  Do I have to do my preliminary experience during the dates you have specified in September?
A.
Yes, unless there are extenuating circumstances. The dates specified in September are classed as the beginning of your PGCE programme. If there is any reason why you cannot complete this at the correct time you should contact the Partnership Office team on 01392 724841 to discuss this or email them on exeterpartner@exeter.ac.uk.

Q.  If I have already had some recent school experience do I still need to complete the preliminary experience?
A.
  Yes, you will need to do the preliminary experience in full.

Q.  I have completed a placement as part of the University of Exeter Learning for Teaching module, do I need to do two weeks preliminary experience?
A.  
Yes, the Learning for Teaching module is not designed to provide opportunities to cover the tasks that you are required to do during the preliminary experience.

Q. Why do you need to know which schools I have arranged to visit?
A. 
Once you have informed us where you have arranged to do your preliminary experience we write to the schools to explain who you are, confirm your DBS disclosure status (if we have received it at this point) and the purpose of your visit. We also provide them with a feedback sheet to be completed at the end of your visit. Afterwards we also write to the schools to thank them.

Q.  How can I find out the contact details for schools in my area?
A.   
It is your responsibility to arrange your preliminary experience. We advise you to look at the Local Authority or School websites or visit your local library for prospectuses for schools in your area. You may find the Department for Education's register of educational establishments in England and Wales helpful (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-information-about-schools).

Q.  How soon should I make these arrangements with the schools?
A.
  As soon as possible. Schools are very busy places and it may take them some time to respond to your request. The closer it gets to the end of term the more ‘rushed’ schools become and the less likely to be able to deal with your request.

Q.  I haven’t arranged my preliminary experience yet and now the schools are closed for the summer. What shall I do?
A.
  Large numbers of schools (particularly secondary) are open throughout the summer and so secretarial staff may be able to pass your enquiry on. Write to the schools as soon as possible and follow your letter up by telephone at the start of the autumn term (remember staff often start back a few days earlier than pupils).

Q.  (Secondary PGCE applicants only) I’ve been accepted onto the Secondary PGCE programme. Why do I have to do a week in a primary school?
A.
  It is a requirement of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) that you are familiar with key stages either side of the ones you are training in. Spending time in a primary setting will give you a valuable insight into secondary pupils’ prior education experience.

Q.  (Primary PGCE applicants only) I’ve been accepted onto the Primary PGCE programme. Why do I have to do a week in a secondary school?
A.
  It is a requirement of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) that you are familiar with key stages either side of the ones you are training in. Spending time in a secondary setting will give you a valuable insight into primary pupils’ transition into secondary education.

Q.  Do I have to do my preliminary experience in England?
A.
  You can do your preliminary experience in any country. If you are completing your preliminary experience outside England you should carry out the tasks with reference to local curricula and related policies. You should then reflect how these policies/practices compare with the English curriculum and policies.

Q.  Can I do my preliminary experience at an Independent school?
A.
  No. You need to be well acquainted with the ways in which schools deliver the National Curriculum and this is most commonly seen in state schools. The only exception to this is if you are doing your preliminary experience in a country that does not have state education provision.

Q.  Can I go to the school I went to as a pupil?
A.
  It would be of greater benefit to you if you didn’t. We would advise you to gain as wide a range of educational experiences as possible and therefore suggest you try to find a school where the experience will be very different from your own schooling.

Q.  I’ve now been allocated my main school-based work placements. Can I arrange my preliminary experience in one of these schools?
A.
  Again, it would be of greater benefit to you if you didn’t. We would advise you to gain as wide a range of educational experiences as possible and therefore suggest you try to find a school where the experience will be very different from your school-based work placements.  If, however, you arrange your preliminary experience in a school and later find that it is one of your placement schools, there is no need to find another school.

Many trainees ask for advice on useful reading prior to beginning the course. Your main subject tutor will advise you on subject-related reading. The following books have been suggested by tutors and represent a range of views on educational issues. The list includes some more accessible texts, while others are quite ‘heavyweight’. All are relevant to the course that you are about to follow. Select from these titles, depending on your interests. Most of these books are more recent publications, but the list includes a few older texts that are still significant.

Alexander, R. (2008) Towards Dialogic Teaching: Rethinking Classroom Talk. Dialogos: UK

Capel, S., and Leask, M.  (Eds). (2016) Learning to Teach in the Secondary School: A companion to school experience 7th Revised Edition. Taylor & Francis Ltd.

Ellis V (2013) Learning and Teaching in Secondary Schools, 5th Revised edition. Sage Publications Ltd. Learning Matters Ltd.

Fisher R (2005) Teaching Children to Learn. Nelson Thornes

Fisher R (2005) Teaching Children to Think. Nelson Thornes

Flutter J and Rudduck (2004) Consulting Pupils: What's in it for schools? RoutledgeFalmer.

Fox R (2004) Teaching and Learning: Lessons from Psychology. Blackwell

Kyriacou, C (2007) Essential Teaching Skills. Nelson Thornes Ltd.

Petty, G. (2009) Teaching Today: A Practical Guide. Fourth Edition. Nelson Thornes

Pollard, A. (2008) Reflective Teaching. 3rd Revised edition. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Sewell, K. (2012)(ed). Doing Your PGCE at M-Level: A Guide for Students. 2nd Revised edition. Sage Publications Ltd

Wells, C.G. (1999) Dialogic Inquiry. Toward a Sociocultural Practice and Theory of Education. Cambridge University Press

Wilson, E. (2013) School-based Research: A Guide for Education Students (2nd Edition). London, Sage.