Category Archives: application

Preparation is over. Now the real journey starts.

Hey everyone,

I now only have one weekend, one solitary weekend, between me and my PGCE. I’ve been a bit all over the place this past week because it’s been looming and I know a change in the routine I’ve built here since moving in is coming. In some ways I can’t wait and in others I am, quite frankly, shit scared.

I feel a lot better this afternoon as I have completely enrolled this morning. I have my student card (complete with obligatory awful picture) and have been given lots of information.On the back of that I’ve also sorted out my work bag and folder, printed out a map etc and I think I’m all ready. Obviously that bag will be checked and double checked and re-packed numerous times before Monday.

I think I’ve also sorted the parking fiasco which is one of the biggest sources of my anxiety around starting uni. It may seem stupid but there you go. I now have … four or else five parking contingency plans ready to go. I have also signed up to the university’s Car Share Programme in the hopes that I might get some help there too but we shall see.

Today I also went to an SpLD meeting in the university library and signed a lot of paperwork so that’s one less thing to worry about once I start.

Since last I wrote I have also had my four hours of Assistive Technology Training. The software I have been given is Audio Notetaker,Inspiration, Read & write gold. The latter two I had during my undergraduate degree but the Audio Notetaker is completely new. I took lots of notes and felt like I got to grips with things really well. I just hope I don’t forget everything.

I have also recently received my timetable for the next week. In summary:

Monday – Welcome Talk & Subject Sessions

Tuesday – Subject Seminars, Learning Services, Students Union, Student Services

Wednesday – Teachers & the Law, Safeguarding & Child Protection

Thursday – Subject Seminars

Friday – Subject Seminars

To be honest in reading I have done very little. Greg and I went away for a long bank holiday weekend to Derbyshire and so I am still only halfway through ‘The Bell Jar’ which has taken it’s darker twist now and I would say is ‘gripping’ rather than ‘enjoyable’. That being said I finished ‘How to be a brilliant Trainee Teacher’ by Trevor Wright in a week and so was planning on starting ‘Getting the Buggers to Behave’ by Sue Cowley but haven’t managed it yet and to be honest, I don’t think I will manage to get it started before I begin on Monday. Once I get into the swing of things next week and I have a bit more of a handle on my workload and what I can expect then I’ll give it a go.

I guess that all that remains for me to do then is ask for you to wish me luck! Thanks so much for sticking with me thus far for my preparation and the move. I guess now the real reason I started writing starts. Hope you enjoy it.



My Good Luck Flowers ❤




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Equipment Arrival.

Hey everyone, I’m feeling a bit less enthusiastic this week. I think it’s because it’s dawning on me that I only have two weeks of the summer holidays left and I don’t know how ready I am to go back to work. Then again, it might well be what I’m waiting for – once I get back into routine. I’m also in my secret heart of hearts really looking forward to Autumn: the cosy nights, an excuse to turn the fire on and have fairy lights and candles, cosy jumpers etc but I also don’t want to wish the summer away … better soak it up while it’s here.


❤ my new laptop cover.

In DSA news since I last wrote everything has arrived! My new laptop with a cover I ordered, my printer, laptop bag, software (Audio Notetaker, Inspiration, Read & write gold) and a recording device. I’ve got everything installed and I’m just awaiting my training which is happening late next week just before I start back.

In reading news I’m halfway through ‘The Bell Jar’ which I’m really enjoying and I finished reading ‘Why are you shouting at us?’ by Beadle & Murphy. I thought it was fantastic: humourous, down to earth, compassionate and easy to read. Of all the books I’ve read this year in preparation for September this is the one I would recommend the most. Perhaps that’s because of my own areas of weakness but still an excellent read.

I started ‘How to be a brilliant Trainee Teacher’ by Trevor Wright yesterday and I’m already a quarter of the way through. Some of it so far hasn’t really been applicable as I’m past the application stage and having worked in a school already for two years I’m aware of some of the things it talks about but if you’re thinking about Teacher Training definitely get this early on. There’s also no harm in reminding myself about some of the elements of working in a school that you come to take for granted after a while. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on my progress.


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‘Review of Needs’, Reading List, To Do List & Other News.

After sorting everything out for my ‘Review of Needs’ at my Undergraduate University I have now received this email.

Hi Katherine

I just wanted to mention that after you booked in for your DSA assessment, we contacted SFE about changing your assessment from a review assessment to a full assessment.  This is partly due to the length of time since your previous assessment, but also due to the fact that whilst your original assessment was undertaken in 2008 and we took over the centre in 2011 so have no details about your previous assessment, and indeed you were not actually assessed by us. SFE have agreed that this can now be seen as a full assessment.

This will have no bearing whatsoever on your appointment with us, in terms of date/time etc or even how the assessment occurs but I just wanted to let you know.

While this is really frustrating, I’m not going to re-organise to have my assessment at my new University. I’ll just go to the previous one and have done with it.

As regards my ‘to do’ list. There have been some changes.

  • Professional Skills Tests – DONE!!!😀
  • Visit a local Secondary School – I work there.
  • Conduct an audit and draw up an action plan to address an area of weakness – Completed.
  • Begin to address subject specific work suggestions – Tied in nicely with the Audit and action plan.
  • General course reading – I have now completed 2/3 of the set texts and am now moving on to ‘Learning to Teach English in the Secondary School: A Companion to School Experience’.
  • Familiarise myself with the Teaching Standards and the National Curriculum – I learnt these for interview.
  • Sign up for ‘useful websites’ – I have been doing this as and when an opportunity presents itself.

I am happy that I’ve made a really good start with all of these things and while it seemed like a mountain to climb a month ago, at present I only have the last book on my reading list to get through. Of cause when that is finished I’ll revisit my pre-course information and see what else I can brush up on. I won’t sit idle. I’m pretty sure there’ll be something to occupy my at least up until Summer, which is only just over 100 days to go … not that I’m counting.

In other news the spare room/office at Greg’s is drying as week speak and should be finished by the end of the week – ready for us to order the furniture (pictures to follow) and also I have received confirmation …


In a way this feels like a bit of an anticlimax as I’ve known that I’ve been going for a while and been doing all this work towards it, I guess having it confirmed should be somewhat of a relief but with everything else that’s going on I haven’t really thought about it.



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‘Review of Needs’

After much tooing and froing I have now booked my ‘Review of Needs’ at my Undergraduate University on the same day as I had previously arranged, just 15 minutes earlier. This means that I’ll be travelling through rush hour but I reckon if I set off when Greg does at 8 I should have plenty of time for the 45 minute journey and I can always get a coffee and take my Kindle while I wait. In fact, it’ll be a good opportunity for us to try out our morning routine. All’s well that ends well, I hope. Watch this space.

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Pre-Course Information!

What a day! So after an impromtue evening out for Mother’s Day on Sunday I came home to an email sitting in my inbox.

PGCE Secondary Pre-Course Information – NOW AVAILABLE‏!

Being a glass or two glasses of wine down I only skimmed the email to get a gist of the contents and duly forwarded it to my work email for printing this morning. I got to work early and printed all the documents, I even managed to read and highlight them all in and amongst work, students and classes.

The first thing to do was fill out some forms and email them to my course tutor which I’ve done this evening. I then found out the timetable of what’s to come.

  • Friday 2nd September – Enrolment
  • Monday 5th September – Programme commences (8.30 for 9.00 am start)
  •  26th September – 30th September – Induction week
  • 26th September – 13th October – Professional Practice 1
  • 3rd October – 8th December (Monday-Thursday) – Phase 1A Placement (a gradual move from observation to planning and teaching)
  • 3rd January – 23rd February  (Monday-Thursday) –Phase 1B Placement (developing competence in planning, teaching and assessment)
  • 13th March and 31st March – Professional Practice 2
  • 13th March – 17th March – Induction and Preparation
  • 20th March – 23rd June – Practice 2 Placement (consolidating competence and addressing areas in which to excel)
  • 26th June – 7th July – NQT preparation period
  • 7th July – End of Programme

So that’s what you’ve got to look forward to! :p

Now, here’s a list of the things I either need to do or have done. Having written it, I now realise that I need to prioritise it. I’m not convinced that even between now and September, with having a full time job and moving house that I’ll be able to have it all done so I’ve colour coded it Green – must do, Amber – do if possible and Red – do if I’ve done everything else because either I’ve already done it once, it won’t take too long or I can do it ‘on the job’.

  • Professional Skills Tests DONE!!! 😀
  • Visit a local Secondary School – I work there.
  • Conduct an audit and draw up an action plan to address an area of weakness. If you remember I was concerned about starting because I wasn’t sure if I was going to have to do in ‘en-course’ but it sounds like they want me to make a start so after I’ve finished ‘Teaching English: Developing as a Reflective Secondary Teacher’ I’ll make a start on that.
  • Begin to address subject specific work suggestions, now, when I received my interview feedback, the only thing they specified that I needed to work on was “Candidate is continuing to develop her Language Subject Knowledge. We would recommend that you also spend time looking at how teachers break down aspects of grammar for teaching at KS3 in preparation for your own teaching.” So that’s something I need to begin to address. My dyslexia is always going to be there which puts me at a disadvantage when it comes to spelling, punctuation and grammar and there can be no excuses for that but it’s certainly something that I will always have to  work at improving. I think that this will tie in nicely to the Audit and the action plan to address an area of weakness  though (see above) which makes me feel like it’s a bit more manageable: addressing four jobs on one.
  • General course reading, which I feel like I’ve made a good start on with ‘Teaching English …’, the revision guides and the exam syllabus that I researched for my interview but I’ll revisit them if I have time and also read some more general children’s literature and literature on the curriculum including Shakespeare. Having done an English Literature degree I feel that I’m pretty well up on Shakespeare and literature in general. I also took a British Children’s Literature module so some of the texts they suggested I’ve already read some of which I haven’t.
  • Familiarise myself with the Teaching Standards and the National Curriculum I learnt these for interview.
  • Sign up for ‘useful websites’ such as: Sec ed; Ofsted; The Times Educational Supplement (I even looked into subscribing but I couldn’t believe how much it was going to cost!) and The Guardian. They’ve asked me to keep abreast of current developments which I certainly did for my interview but I really don’t have the time or money to be buying these every week so I’m hoping that with all the other prep I’m doing and working in a school will keep me as up to date as is needed.

I have a lot to do. First things first. I’ll finish reading ‘Teaching English: Developing as a Reflective Secondary Teacher’ because I only have two chapters left and then I’ll make a start on my skills audit. Let’s see how that goes for now.

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Student Finance & DSA.

So, I’ve wasted no time getting this underway. As soon as I knew I’d met all the criteria of my offer and Student Finance opened, which has actually happened within days of each other, I made a start.

I went to the  Student Finance website and started a new application for the year I wanted (2016/17). It was a pretty self explanatory question and answer session and all I needed was my National Insurance number and passport.

Things were a little more complicated for me because I also have to apply for DSA (Disabled Students’ Allowance).  Once I’d applied for Student Finance there were a couple of other documents that they asked me to print, fill in and attach a copy of my previous assessment of needs to … I’ve done this and sent it off. It was all fairly easy and to be honest it seems a little too good to be true right now. I haven’t had to fill out any details of what I earn etc yet so I can only assume that more complicated forms are yet to come. I know that, for sure, I will probably have to attend a further up to date Assessment of Needs and then I will have to get this confirmed by the university and then the funding body before I can arrange delivery of my equipment and support …

Still I’m pleased that I’ve got the ball rolling and it’s an exciting prospect. The sooner I can get things started the sooner I can get things in place and maybe I can miss the rush!

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Numeracy Test: The Result.

First, let me start with a confession.

Last week I did my final practice numeracy and didn’t do very well. In fact, I failed it. I got 53 overall.

• I got only 75% on the mental arithmetic
• 57% on the written date
• and 22% on the written arithmetic

I was devastated. Needless to say this really shook my confidence for the rest of the week and I really couldn’t bear to write about it. I was just concentrating on getting my head back in the game and trying to console myself with the fact that I’d passed 3/5 time and that I just had to go in there and give it my all. I was as ready as I was ever going to be and if I failed I’d just have to pay to take it again as soon as possible.

By yesterday morning I’d convinced myself that I was going to fail and that I just had to get through it. I went in and sat down and was through the registration a lot quicker than last time. I sat down at the computer and thought I was going to faint. I tried to do the practice question but couldn’t concentrate. I tried not to panic and spent that time trying to steady myself and pull myself together. I thought I was going to have a nose bleed. I did one or to mental maths questions and remember in the few seconds I had spare between each one I tried to calm myself still further. Then it was the other questions. I tried to read the questions carefully 3, sometimes 4 times to understand what I had to do then I’d have a go. If I thought it was going to take too long I’d flag it. Suddenly, I was on about question 12 and still had half an hour to go. This made me feel loads better. This was more what it had felt like when I’d done well. Not the panicked rushed feeling I’d had last time. I kept going and finished all 16 questions, went through the ones I hadn’t answered and quickly checking the ones I had. After that I had about 12 minutes left so checked them all again more thoroughly. I had about 8 minutes left on the clock and realised that my answers weren’t going to get any better than they already were … I ended the test. Unlike the literacy I was in no fit state to take part in the survey at the end. All I wanted was my results. All I wanted was to know that I didn’t have to go through any of that ever again.

It took an awful lot longer to get my results this time, I had to wait for about 4 people before me to get registered and receive results … I passed.

I passed 😀 and here’s the proof.


I am beyond proud and relieved that I never have to go through that again.

It’s now a clear path to my PGCE as I have met all the conditions of my offer. The next step is to apply for funding this week and start the ball rolling with DSA etc, but that’s tomorrow’s job. Until then it’s rest and relaxation and relief for me.



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