The PGCE journey: wellbeing and workload

Aimee Quickfall, Emma Clarke, Shaun Thompson

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationBlog post


The PGCE route into teaching has the lowest retention rate (Allen et al., 2016). Many students embarking on a PGCE are warned about the challenges of the course, as the following blog extract demonstrates:

Everyone was very honest; this will be the hardest thing I will ever do. This will be the most stressful thing I will ever do. This will be the most rewarding thing I ever do. But really, you have no understanding of what that really means until you are in the thick of it. (Briscoe, 2011)

As teacher educators working on PGCE programmes, we had given similar warnings to trainees ourselves, with good intentions of preparing them for a challenging year. We warned them because we know that postgraduate teacher trainees sit betwixt and between identities (Cook-Sather, 2006); they are not quite students anymore, but not quite teachers yet, either. We know the challenges this can bring; in terms of feeling part of a university and school community and balancing workloads of academic and placement activity (Schmidt et al., 2017). We know that although the PGCE is described as a one- year route into teaching, the programme is usually just 10 months; and that having a degree does not necessarily mean they will find academic writing at master’s level on education topics easy. We know that the workload can be intense, and their wellbeing can suffer. In short, we felt that we should warn them.


Dive into the research topics of 'The PGCE journey: wellbeing and workload'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this