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Q&A with Simon Squire

Simon graduated in 2017 with a Post Compulsory PGCE (Mathematics pathway).

What did you do prior to starting your teacher training programme at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE)?

I was an accountant and business owner from 1983 to 2014.

What are your motivations for training to teach?

I love mathematics, and loved teaching it to adults on a volunteering basis, so I thought I’d get a proper teaching qualification to enable me to continue maths teaching on a more professional basis.

Has there been an element of your programme that has impressed you or been particularly valuable? 

  • Excellent course organisation with regards to course personnel both tutors and admin – approachable, knowledgeable and helpful.
  • Comprehensive, helpful, well organised course material. Very enjoyable, thought provoking lectures.
  • Course assignments, though challenging, taught excellent academic writing skills that I had never learnt before.
  • Plenty of in-class teaching experience. My mentor was fantastic: very experienced teacher with thorough syllabus knowledge and happy to spend a lot of one-to-one time with me. The more effort I was willing to put into the teaching and preparation, the more he helped me. A great experience. I am still in contact with him to this day.

IOE building from the west side
How has the programme helped with your career plans and what do you plan to do next?
I am now tutoring mostly A-Level students and also volunteering for the Access Project. The course has given me the confidence and knowledge to teach at this level on my own. I would never had done this without the PGCE course.


How have you found your school or college experience?

At first quite difficult and a bit scary, but with the help of fellow colleagues and mentors, quickly settled down.

What helped you to prepare for your time in the classroom?

Hard work, with a lot of preparation necessary, but that will stand me in good stead in my teaching career. I was also able to incorporate some of the academic learning into practice in the classroom which was very rewarding.

What is it like to train to teach in London and how do you think it has benefited your studies?

London is a wonderful melting pot of all different cultures, ages, and nationalities, which was true of my student colleagues, and the students I was teaching. This really added to the enjoyment of the course. I learnt a lot, and not just about teaching.

Is there anything else you would like to say about your teacher training year at the IOE?

One of the most enjoyable years of learning I have ever had. I think the IOE is not only a fantastic and friendly learning environment but also an academic powerhouse.

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