Jenny Button (PGCE Science)

Tell us something about what you were doing before you came to Oxford

After graduating from the University of Birmingham in 2008 I took a gap year. During this year I worked as a Teaching Assistant for 9 months in a State Secondary School in Bath. I then worked with the Christian charity Vision Africa in Kenya for 6 weeks, teaching and working in Children’s Homes. After my work in Nairobi and rural Kenya with the charity, I travelled around East Africa for another 6 weeks before returning to the UK and starting the PGCE in Oxford.

What do you like most about studying in the Department of Education?

I really enjoyed meeting and working with a wide range of people, who have all come from such different fields before starting this course. I have learnt a lot from other people and the different experiences and views they brought to the PGCE.

What attracted you to the programme of study here?

As well the reputation Oxford has for the PGCE course, I was attracted to the slightly different course structure, where we had one large placement in school followed by a second much smaller placement. The opportunity to really get stuck in to a school for a good period of time was appealing to me and something I thoroughly enjoyed during that first placement.

What qualities do you think an Education student at Oxford needs to have in order to be successful?

Speaking from experience on the PGCE course, to be successful, you must be hardworking and resilient, because it is a tough year. You also need a good sense of humour and to be organised so that you manage to still have a life as well as doing the course.

If you are a PGCE student, how has your course influenced your thinking about teaching?

The course has introduced me to a number of different educational ideas and theories as well as enabling me to discuss various teaching strategies with my colleagues. These have influenced my opinions about teaching and given me ideas to take into my career.

We hope that you would recommend the Department of Education as a place to come and study. What reasons would you give for this?

There are a number of reasons I would recommend the Department. Firstly, you are able to study in and be part of a great University and city. Secondly, the Department is very welcoming and you have the opportunity to be taught by influential and well known tutors in educational research. Finally, the reputation of the University of Oxford is helpful when continuing your career or studies after the course.

What are your career ambitions after you complete the course?

I am going to begin my career teaching Science in an 11-18 mixed Comprehensive in Nottingham. I hope to enjoy this new challenge, pass my NQT year and really get stuck into teaching.

If I knew before I started the course what I know now, I would….

Not take for granted the times when I didn’t have work to do! I would also warn myself that this is going to be a tiring but great year.

Page last modified: March 8, 2014

Programme of study


PGCE Science