Dear John: I hate my PGCE course and want to quit. What will I have to repay?

Q

I’m seriously thinking of quitting my PGCE in secondary English which I began this September. I’m finding the placement school I’m in a real challenge, I feel incredibly unwelcome there (I know the other trainees feel similarly and it’s not just me!) and like I’m lacking the support I need. I’m finding uni really dull and just hadn’t realised how many aspects there were to being a teacher that I just hadn’t considered.
I got married this summer and the course is beginning to affect our relationship, I feel like I don’t spend anything like the time I want to with my husband.

I think the biggest problem aside from anything else is that I just don’t feel like I want to be a teacher anymore. I did a lot of work to make sure I made the right decision and had a strong application, I wasn’t going into this blind, but I just wasn’t prepared for how I would feel about teaching once I’d started training.

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I’m considering my options and looking into quitting. I’m trying to make an informed decision about whether to leave or not and I want to explore my options fully. The trouble is, I just cannot find out what costs I will be liable for, and could do with knowing the following before I approach my training provider:

1. Will I be liable for the full tuition fee? If so, will I still have the tuition fee loan to cover it?
2. Will I have to pay back any of the TDA bursary I’ve received?
3. Will I have to pay back any of the maintenance grant I’ve received from the SLC?
4. WIll I have to pay back any of the student loan I’ve received from the SLC?

Any answers would be really helpful as I can’t seem to find this info anywhere!

A.

You need to talk urgently to the PGCE course tutor. If several students in the same school are feeling the same, then something is seriously wrong and the partnership is not working as it should.

If you genuinely have lost your desire to teach, it is better to leave now than try to struggle through, especially if it will conflict with your personal life. However, there are few ‘easy’ jobs anywhere these days.

The issue of financial implications for quitting is, as you suggest, something of an unknown area. I cannot find anything to explain what you are required to repay but, as it is early in the course, the general rule might be that loans would be repayable as normal, but grants paid would be written off. I suggest you ask the student support office at the university for their advice: someone there must know.