Having been on the PGCE course at Winchester I would strongly recommend looking elsewhere for training. As a recent student here’ are my thought, opinions and experiences which I hope you find honest and helpful:
- Teaching on the course is generally poor in several subjects, including maths, science and English (there are rare exceptions for music, art and PE): it is often delivered in ways we are told not to teach as teachers; it was frequently considered to be a waster of time by students, being boring and simplistic.
- I found the course leadership to be atrocious with little concept of customer service and meeting student needs. Responses to questions about the course were met with defensiveness and fobbing students off rather than addressing and tackling some of the many issues. There are also important unaddressed issues around diversity and inclusion.
- An extremely condescending attitude appeared prevalent towards students and little support was in place: a friend suffering from anxiety received no help from the course team, being told to see student services even though she couldn’t get an appointment for a month and ended up being another student who didn’t complete.
- Despite paying money for the university to find placement as part of the course they failed to do this and expected students to arrange one of own placements, leaving some students returning to poor placements. This had not been made clear out the outset.
-Timetabling is shocking, some days are 9-6 and others are only 1 session for which students are expected to travel in, often some distance.
-Library resources are poor and a limited number of key books trigger a scramble for resources which should not happen, especially given the age of the texts.
-IT access is shocking with phone authentication required to login, in some places there is no phone signal so it’s not possible. The course team also seems to think bombarding students with political issues is part of their raison d’être when their focus clearly needs to be elsewhere.
-Few alternatives to eat on campus exist without a 10-15 min walk into the city and the food offered is rather taste free, unhealthy, and overpriced.
I’ve achieved and done well at several good, Russell group and new universities. Attending Winchester was like the absolute bottom of the barrel and I really wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy. If you’re looking for a university based PGCE in this area I’d highly recommend looking at Southampton, Portsmouth, or other, better universities. Alternatively consider a SCITT course but make sure it isn’t through Winchester.
None of my friends from the course tell me they are satisfied with their experience. Sadly, this comes from the attitude of those running the course and their inability to meet and respond to student needs.
Unless there has been a significant change of leadership since 2021/22 the advice is clear: study elsewhere.
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