23rd March 2007 at 00:00
Q I graduated with a PGCE FE in psychology last year and am teaching psychology at a secondary school in Bristol at the moment.

I have not been able to find a course that allows me to gain qualified teacher status while I work, so will be unable to stay at the school next year.

As psychology is only taught at A-level I wondered if I have to go back to do a PGCE in a different subject to enable me to teach across two key stages, or if there is an easier route?

I have A-levels in RE and English and my degree is psychology with sociology. I was also wondering what other jobs a PGCE would allow me to do.

A The obvious question is: why won't your school enrol you on the Graduate Teacher Programme? Is it because you are only on a one-year contract?

Looking for a school to offer training may be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Where do you start, and why should a school be interested in you now that numbers of newly-trained teachers emerging from colleges and universities are generally keeping up with the demand?

However, the good news is that demand for psychology teachers is rising. In the past school year, there were nearly 250 adverts and so far since September, a further 30 schools have placed adverts.

Although psychology often doesn't form a full timetable in most schools, there are times when it is combined in adverts with other subjects, such as sociology, so do look for these jobs as well. As there is still a shortage of RE teachers nationally, that, combined with social studies might seem to offer you the most opportunities. I wouldn't contemplate another PGCE course: after all, you know the basics of teaching and have some subject knowledge across a range of subjects. You could expect a department in a school that employed you to help you with the subject application techniques in the areas where you are less experienced. If all else fails, there are likely to be more psychology jobs in the FE sector, and that is what you trained for in the first place John Howson is a recruitment analyst and visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes university. To ask him a question, email him at

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