Initial Teacher Education

Primary Initial Teacher Education Student Profiles

Samantha Clark - Primary PGCE School Direct graduate 2020Sam Clark

Primary PGCE School Direct 2019/20

Sam studied coaching and sports science at university and gained experience of working with children through community projects. She wanted a hands-on approach so chose the PGCE School Direct route to ensure she could be in school as much as possible. Sam has secured a teaching job at her placement school.  

Sam says: 

Becoming a teacher

I have wanted to be a teacher since I was 10 years old. I had the most amazing, interesting and thought provoking  teacher in Year 5. He not only stopped ability grouping us but also inspired and allowed us to learn in exciting ways. Since then, I have always wanted to have the same impact on children that he did on me. I want to inspire, encourage and support all children to succeed and discover their passions.

University-based academic sessions

The sessions that the tutors provide are not only engaging and interactive but provokes a new way of thinking. It is a lot of hard work but the tutors support you throughout and are always there to champion you! At the beginning of the course, you feel that you will not be able to achieve all the strands and phases and may question why you have certain sessions but the tutors are incredible and it does make sense why they have structured the course the way they have.

Tutor support

My personal tutor has supported me so much throughout the year and is always there for any query or question I may have. This has been highlighted more since we switched to virtual learning and I could not thank the primary team more for all they have done. Through the pandemic, we have been fully supported and given the most in-depth and interesting tasks to complete which allows you to deepen your subject knowledge ready to put it into practice. I have also learnt how to use research methods within the classroom to recognise the full impact my practice is having on the children.

Best part of course

Meeting all of my peers and the paired placement - we became such good friends and more importantly a great support system for each other. We have supported each other through these strange times and will be there for each other in the future. No one else knows the roller coaster you go on so having people there going through the same thing is a blessing. 


David Sousa - Primary PGCE 2020 graduateDavid Gomes de Sousa

Primary PGCE 2019/20

David worked as a support worker at a day care centre for people with special needs. He chose the PGCE route as he felt it offered a greater range of training opportunities with two main placements and immersion weeks which allowed him to get more involved in Special Educational Needs and Early Years. David has secured a Year 4 teaching job. 

David says:

Choosing the University of Nottingham

I was aware the University was praised for its academic excellence and the quality of its learning opportunities.

Tutor and mentor support

Tutors and mentors provided me with a safe space to return to. During the completion of placements and assignments, I was always able to find comfort and clarity in the words and the advice provided by tutors and mentors. Particularly, my university tutor helped me develop a positive work-life balance and supported me with defining the path towards reaching my future ambitions

School placements

Although both of my main placements were retrospectively different, they both provided me with experiences that reflected accurately what to expect in subsequent years. In both schools, I was involved in classroom routines, lesson planning and lesson delivery. I was able to build positive relationships with pupils and staff which greatly contributed to me feeling like I was part of the school

Advice for anyone thinking of studying a teacher training course

Although it was demanding, every single goal can be achieved and every obstacle can be overcome. I would say that there are three main things to keep in mind: the reasons that made you want to become a teacher; the fact that you are still and will always be learning; and to have fun and take each day as it comes.  


Rachel Cunliffe - Primary PGCE graduate 2020Rachel Cunliffe

Primary PGCE 2019/20

Rachel always knew she wanted to be a teacher and started the course having completed an English and classics degree at the University of Nottingham. She liked the variety the PGCE course offered in terms of experiencing multiple pedagogical styles, types of schools and settings and different age ranges. Rachel has secured a job in a school she visited on an immersion day which focussed on observing the school's creative curriculum.

Rachel says: 

Choosing the course

For me, the fact that the course includes masters credits is partially what drew me to undertake the course as I wanted the chance to explore educational research further than just what I would use in the classroom.

University-based academic sessions

I don't think I fully realised how great the sessions were until I started prepping my first class and realised I had so many resources for so many different areas because of the academic sessions.

School placements

In general terms, a typical day started in school at 8am, helping to set up for the day, doing any jobs the mentor needed and making sure that if I was teaching a lesson, I was 100% prepared. Sometimes I would teach a whole lesson or a part of it, sometimes I would be observing and helping the pupils. Don’t just sit there in the classroom- be active! Talk to the pupils, help them, be available if the teacher wants/needs you to do anything! 

School mentor support

I was incredibly lucky as I had two amazing school-based mentors who I learnt so much from. Both gave me endless support, ensuring that I believed in my abilities when I seriously doubted them myself! They were always willing to help in any way that they could and to answer the thousands of questions I had. I honestly can’t thank them both enough for all of the help they gave me.

Advice for anyone thinking of studying a teacher training course

As teachers, nothing goes to plan the entire time. The best piece of advice I can give is work hard, but don't despair if things don't go the way you planned. You don't have to be perfect all the time - learn, improve and importantly, enjoy!




School of Education

University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

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