PGDE Secondary Testimonials

PGDE Secondary Testimonials

Kieran Smyth | PGDE History 

As a student currently residing in Glasgow, I have to personally thank Aberdeen University and the School of Education in particular for how incredibly hard they have worked to create an inclusive and flexible learning environment for the Central Belt students. The classes are dated to create an appealing schedule for students outwith Aberdeen whilst the content of these lessons has also been top class to give all PGDE students the greatest preparation and knowledge ahead of what is hopefully a long career in what is a rewarding profession.

When it comes to the staff and tutors involved with the School of Education, they have all come together to create an engaging and informative course which is fantastic but the biggest compliment that can be paid to the entire School of Education is how approachable, how helpful and how wonderful they have all been to every student on the PGDE course. A special mention also has to be given to Stephanie O’Reilly in Social Subjects for the fantastic high-quality work she has put in to help students in 3 different subject areas (History/Modern Studies/Geography) and for the wonderful support and advice she has offered.

The PGDE course is successful in creating strong foundations that are built on inclusive practices and theoretical knowledge, provided by the wonderful team at Aberdeen University. This is complimented with the wonderful chance of gathering school experience on placement across different schools in Scotland as well as create career-lasting connections with peers and life-long relationships with friends. Overall, the School of Education in Aberdeen has done a fantastic job during a global pandemic of creating an open and welcoming introduction into teaching for prospective students.

Babalola Akiode | PGDE Physics

I am in my late 50s and originally from Nigeria. I had considered myself an unlikely candidate for the PGDE programme. But with one career coming to a close during the pandemic I had the opportunity to reflect on a possible next career, one I believe I can actually enjoy. Teaching came to mind. My application to University of Aberdeen was straight forward and I was able to fit the online PGDE program around my other activities and family commitments.

I have enjoyed the two-day weekly workshops and lectures which introduced new teaching ideas and a network of fellow students and tutors that I have found quite approachable and supportive. I must say it has been a challenging program and you do get as much from it as you put in, being very much student led. School experience is an important part of the program where you get to put your learned theory into practice.

Overall, it has been a rewarding experience for me, making great strides toward my next career. But you must be prepared for the rigour - the physical and mental challenge that come with the steep learning curve involved. Staying fit, being focussed and organised is how I manage this. Accessing the STEM bursary can also help focus, offering some financial relief and allowing you more time for your studies.

Georgina Pinson | PGDE Mathematics 

The experience I have had at the University of Aberdeen has been invaluable for my personal development as a new teacher. Opportunities for networking are available in a variety of forms, from curriculum studies (other Mathematics students), professional studies (all PGDE Secondary students) and school experience. The diversity in the cohort is brilliant and everyone is treated equally regardless of whether they completed their undergraduate degree last year or decades ago. There is an embedded sense of community formed between programme staff and students. 

The programme staff are incredibly supportive and knowledgeable. Questions are addressed promptly and accurately, and the student body has a collective voice. Feedback is routinely given in good time and in detail for assessments. All programme staff are approachable and make a conscious effort to meet the needs of students on the course. 

This course is jam-packed with career-enhancing information, delivered in a variety of methods. A significant chunk of the learning is interactive, yet there is a reasonable amount of independent learning. This helped me to manage my time effectively and fit the course around my life. 

If I had one piece of advice, it would be to prepare yourself for placement. For me, this quickly grew arms and legs, especially in the weeks following orientation. I am convinced that you can never truly do everything you would like to do for planning, preparation and other activities; it is important to make time for yourself, your family and your friends. It passes in the blink of an eye, but the school experience is definitely the most formative element of the programme for me.

As a final point, for anyone eligible, the STEM bursary is a fantastic support for if you are looking to follow a similar path to mine. I am an independent student and have lived away from family for many years. Being awarded the bursary has enabled me to pursue this career, minimising any financial stress that can inevitably come with further education. Finding the time to support myself financially and meet the course requirements would be very difficult, maybe near impossible, so I would highly encourage anyone eligible to apply for the bursary.

David Steedman | PGDE Modern Languages 

The PGDE is certainly an intensive course, but well worth the effort. There really is a lot to learn and the volume of theory covered can seem overwhelming at times, but the theoretical input of the course gave me a good footing for the school placements. At university we were given the opportunity to engage in some micro-teaching sessions and were led through reflective practice techniques throughout the workshops, which was beneficial once I went into school.

The administrative and the lecturing team at the University of Aberdeen couldn’t have been more helpful. Colin from the Modern Languages department quickly created a welcoming learning environment among my peers and me and if ever I had any questions, they were dealt with very quickly by email.

The course entails a lot of asynchronous online learning, which made it easy for me to organise my time. I have a great rapport with my peers, we are all so supportive of each other and are all happy to share our resources with one another. This has helped everyone engage with the material and succeed in the course. I cannot fault UoA and their delivery of the PGDE programme. I would advise anyone thinking of embarking on a career in teaching to start that journey here.

Stuart Murphy | PGDE Geography and Modern Studies 

Stuart MurphyThe PGDE course at the University of Aberdeen is an exciting course. The classes are so inspiring and give you loads of ideas and practices which you can implement in the classroom and on placement.

What attracted me to the programme was the emphasis and priority on Health and Wellbeing in schools as well as the flexibility the course offers as I am able to qualify in both Geography and Modern Studies.

The tutors and the staff at the University are really approachable and are on hand if you need guidance and support.