It was 20 years ago that I sat my A-Levels (biology, chemistry, geography and general studies) and 22 years ago that I did my GCSE’s. So the prospect of teaching these subjects was rather daunting. I was particularly worried about the requirement to teach chemistry and physics at key stage 3, which is often a requirement of biology teachers (plus the SCITT programme I am joining is for biology with science).
So prior to applying for the SCITT I started looking for courses which would bring me more up to date in these subjects. Initially I considered doing the chemistry A-level again but the prospect of joining a class of 16/17 year old’s was not appealing. I looked at some of the Open University courses, but they were incredibly expensive and completely beyond my means.
However, I had a stroke of luck with one of my Google searches and discovered the Higher Education Diploma (Science) Diploma course. It is designed for those who left school without the qualifications they need and whilst this isn’t strictly true for me I had no doubt that it would fit the bill to make me more confident about teaching science. The Access Diploma is a full level 3 course.
I did a search of local colleges and discovered that it was being taught nearby. But it was rather expensive and would mean full days in college which is tricky as working mum. Then I discovered the Distance Learning College and not only was the course more affordable, but it could be paid in installments (huge relief). The course is divided into biology, chemistry and physics. Each module is taught by a specialist tutor. Each unit comes with a work book, detailing all of the things you need to know. Throughout this are Self Assessment Qualifications and once submitted an assessment needs to be completed and there are two exams to sit as well. Each module beings with an ungraded unit so you know what to expect. I will not lie, this is an intensive course. As soon as you submit one piece of work, the next one is set immediately. There is a lot of work and organisation is key but I am getting through it….slowly but surely.
I have had one exam so far and it was a bizarre experience. You do it over skype and the tutor can not only see what programmes you have open on your monitor but can see you and you them. It is a bit nerve wracking!
Tonight I have been working on the self assessment questions for the core principles of chemistry unit – but have been rather hindered!
The course is a year long and I started it in September – my only concern is that I won’t finish it before I start my SCITT. Keep your fingers crossed for me please!