Postgraduate Certificate in Education Secondary Initial Teacher Education Religious Education

Entry year
Course code
Education and Childhood
One year

Please note we are no longer offering this course to new applicants.

Page last updated 9 July 2020


The Secondary Postgraduate Certificate in Education is a one year academic course (36 weeks) and trains graduates to be secondary school teachers of Religious Education (RE).

The PGCE has been designed to train teachers to practise as a subject specialist teacher for the secondary age range (11-18). You are assessed against the standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) across this age range. You will also gain practical experience of the 11-16 or 11-18 age range (depending on the school) during your placement.

The aim of this PGCE in RE is to provide you with engaging and relevant professional training to enable your degree in RE related subjects to transform you into a capable and effective classroom practitioner. The course prepares you to develop the necessary skills to teach RE in schools and colleges at Key Stage 3, GCSE and A level. You will develop an understanding of how students learn about RE and be able to critically reflect upon your teaching.

You will work with young people to develop their expertise in their specialist subject area, share and discuss educational issues and study relevant educational research. The course is just the beginning of what we hope will be a process of continual professional development throughout a challenging and rewarding career.

Find out what PGCE Secondary Education at UWE has to offer in terms of teaching quality, staff expertise and your student experience.



The PGCE programmes are part of the Department of Education and Childhood, within the Initial Teacher Education cluster.

The University of the West of England is committed to training the best teachers for the future, able to provide first-class educational experiences and make a significant difference to the life chances of all children. We will train you to do so in partnership with schools and settings across the region. All children deserve to learn well, with enthusiastic subject specialist teachers.

Teaching is a challenging, exciting and rewarding career with a high level of job satisfaction. It is a great privilege, as well as a great responsibility, to be able to influence and shape the progress of children and young people.

Our PGCE programmes are very popular and the standard of applicants is high.

As a trainee teacher, you will complete a minimum of 120 days in school on placement practice. This will take place in at least two contrasting schools, in blocks of no less than six weeks, during which time you will be expected to demonstrate effective progress in your own practice and have a positive impact on pupil progress over time.

The module areas you will study are:

  • Theories underpinning pedagogical approaches
  • Planning and implementing appropriate teaching strategies and classroom management
  • Subject studies
  • Current educational policy and practice
  • Evaluation of learner needs and the educational impact of their teaching
  • Professional skills and attributes, including keeping children safe
  • The use of evidence-based practice
  • Feedback and assessment of teaching against the English Teachers' Standards, supported by a university tutor and school based mentor.

The module areas are listed above, however the final titles are subject to final approval.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

The duration of this course is for one academic year (early September to late June or July) which consists of the equivalent of 24 weeks in schools and 12 weeks at university.

A comprehensive series of seminars and workshops complement practical in-school experience, where you will extend your understanding of a range of pedagogical methodologies within RE. This includes how to contribute to RE and values education, and how to deal with and teach about sensitive and controversial issues in modern poly-cultural, diverse Britain.

During your studies, you will also work with a range of experienced professionals, meet representatives of faith communities, and visit places of worship in Bristol and beyond.

For more details, see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Study time

Personal support

We recognise that embarking on a new course of study can sometimes be quite a challenging undertaking. You have three main sources of support and information from the University during the course:

  • Group tutor in your subject area
  • Personal tutor
  • School based mentor.


In order to pass the course, trainees are required to pass each unit. They are assessed on a number of written assignments and also on classroom practice against the standards specified by the Secretary of State for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).



You will spend 24 weeks on placement: a total of 12 weeks in one placement during the autumn term and 12 weeks in a second placement during the spring and summer.

As well as teaching, the course includes contact time with a Senior Mentor and a Subject Mentor, directed study time and personal study time.


You will be expected to extend your subject knowledge during your training by visiting places of worship and key local sites related to spirituality and values education, as well as showing an interest in local events and debates around matters of faith and ethics, social justice and minority and majority community cultures. There is an option to take part in self-funded residential fieldwork with trainees from other subjects.

Study facilities

You will be able to access a vast collection of current school textbooks, library resources and curriculum materials as well as materials about pedagogy and didactics and a broad based collection of artefacts from the major world faiths, as well as the teaching and learning materials in the partner schools in which you are based.

The Department has excellent IT facilities and houses an Open Learning Area with the latest equipment including an interactive whiteboard, CD burners, scanners and a range of equipment that can be booked out and borrowed, including digital cameras and laptops, with friendly staff on hand to help when needed.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE Bristol has to offer.


Careers / Further study

The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) programmes now include 40 credits of assessment at Master's Level (Level M). For candidates who opt not to attempt the requisite credit at Level M, a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education will be available as an alternative award.

For further information on your career in teaching, including salary scales and case studies of current trainee teachers, visit GOV.UK Get into Teaching.


Supplementary fee information

The PGCE is financed as an undergraduate course. More information on fees can be found on our tuition fees pages.

For funding options, please see funding for PGCE students.


Entry requirements

You should typically meet the following criteria:

  • An undergraduate degree, or a recognised equivalent qualification, with at least 50% in a subject related to what you want to teach. This is typically 2:2 or higher but we will look at all applications against the demands of the course.
  • GCSE grade C/4 in English Language and Mathematics, or equivalent. We do not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as alternatives to GCSEs.

Our PGCE courses include a high level of placement based learning and working with children. We would encourage all applicants to get as much relevant experience of working or volunteering with children to help prepare them for this crucial element of their programme.

Applicants who do not meet the minimum academic entry requirements, but have significant life and/or work experience will be considered on an individual basis.

Selection process

Applicants who meet the entry criteria will be invited to an interview day with course tutors, consisting of a micro-teach activity, group interview and literacy/numeracy tasks, as appropriate.

Additional requirements

All applicants will be required to complete:

  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check*
  • Health checks*

*All information will be treated in confidence and only taken into account when absolutely necessary.

If you would like information regarding issues that could disqualify you from teaching training, please contact us on +44 (0)117 32 83333.

Standards and requirements

Following the review of Standards and Requirements for Initial Teacher Training (ITT) by the Secretary of State in 2012 (revised in June 2013), our full-time courses have been designed to be compliant with the latest standards and requirements.

For information about the national curriculum and subjects taught in secondary schools, visit Directgov online.


We are not able to accept deferrals for PGCE programmes. Applicants unable to start their programme during the year of application will be required to withdraw and reapply the following year.

For further information