Postgraduate Certificate in Education Secondary Initial Teacher Education English with QTS
Page last updated 20 October 2021
The Secondary Postgraduate Certificate in Education is a one academic year (36 week) course that trains graduates to be secondary school teachers of English.
The PGCE programme has been designed to train teachers to practise as a subject specialist teacher for the secondary age range (11-16). Trainees are assessed against the standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) across the age range. Trainees will also often gain experience of the 16-18 age range, although they will not be formally assessed in this phase.
The course is creative, active and practical, allowing trainees to develop professional competence through work undertaken in schools and in the University. Trainees work with young people, develop expertise in their specialist subject area, share and discuss educational issues and study relevant educational research.
What does it mean to be an English teacher in twenty-first century classrooms? This course develops new teachers' understanding of English in secondary settings through active workshops, creative projects and joint explorations of texts, language, drama and media. Students are encouraged to develop their own subject knowledge for teaching supported by experienced university tutors who have many years' successful classroom experience themselves. We focus on principled practice, deep and rigorous subject knowledge, and even purposeful playfulness.
You will be supported to create an inclusive, energetic, exciting classroom environment which will appeal to a range of preferred learning styles and draw on a range of resources.
The course is just the beginning of what we hope will be a process of continual professional development throughout a challenging and rewarding career. Why not join us and start that career today?
Watch: The learning and teaching 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 PGCE courses are designed so that your experiences on placement are complemented by university-based learning, where you will be able to engage critically with and challenge current educational policy, practices and theory. The training on placement supports your learning in the Department of Education and Childhood, and vice versa, enabling you to work in any school in England, and possibly beyond.
Seminars, lectures and placement-based learning equip you to meet the Teachers' Standards, to teach and assess in your chosen phase and/or subject.
Hear what our students think about their time here.
See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.
We recognise that embarking on a new course of study can sometimes be quite a challenging undertaking. You will have support from a number of staff in the university including your group tutor. You will also have a personal tutor from your 11-16 specialism. Additionally any student can get support on a range of issues from a Department Student Adviser.
During the 12 weeks of University-based time, you will study the teaching of your main subject in relation to the above components. This includes consideration of a range of learning and teaching styles and resources, including the use of appropriate information and communications technology (ICT), and preparation in all aspects of the National Curriculum including assessment for learning.
You will also participate in sessions in mixed subject groups where cross-curricular issues are covered, such as: safeguarding, pupils' learning, managing behaviour for learning, innovative models of curriculum organisation,diversity and equality, the broader professional role and research underpinning decisions and policy in the field of education.
On this course, you will be encouraged to investigate ways in which you can help young people to learn. You will analyse the dynamics of what happens when students talk together about an issue that concerns them and how they use talk to advance their own thinking . Furthermore, you will investigate strategies to scaffold this happening in your classroom. How best to monitor and assess the learning that takes place and identify targets to support your students' development will be important areas for discussion.
You will be asked to read and to understand, analyse and evaluate a wide ranges of texts. If you are sitting in a corner reading the latest novel by a writer of teenage fiction, or an anthology of poetry or lost to the world in a text from the 19th century, you will be working, doing what you are required to do.
You will spend the majority of your time in schools where you will need to be creative, enthusiastic and ready to seize the initiative in the many opportunities that will come your way.
There will be lots of people at the University and in your placement schools who will be only too ready to work alongside you and to support your progress throughout the course.
Hear what our students think about their time here.
Assessment is carried out in a number of ways, including by written assignment, formal presentation, viva voce and assessment of teaching practice in schools, measured through lesson observations and the collation of a portfolio of evidence, demonstrating progress against the Teachers' Standards.
All modules are compulsory and you must pass all modules to gain the award of PGCE. This course prepares you for a career as a teacher and leads to recommendation for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) to the Department for Education, upon successful completion of the course.
See our full glossary of assessment terms.
Placements are offered by schools and settings within our ITE partnership and are geographically diverse, with schools in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon, Cornwall and Wales, offering placements. We work hard to match placements to trainee teacher needs and experience, and we endeavour to keep travel times to a maximum of 90 minutes each way, each day.
Trainee teachers are supported in schools by a Senior Mentor, who is a designated lead teacher for ITE placements in the school, and is responsible for overseeing the training that takes place. Trainee teachers are also closely supported by their Class Mentor (Primary) or Subject Mentor (Secondary), who is their day-to-day contact and supporter in school during placement.
Careers / Further study
PGCE programmes include 60 credits assessed at Masters level.
As a trainee teacher, you will be joining a modern and well-regarded programme to train to teach across the 11-16 age range and gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
Applicants normally have:
- 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 or above 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 course.
Applicants who meet the entry criteria will be invited to an interview day with course tutors, consisting of a group discussion and interview.
Additional requirements (as mandated by the DfE):
- Health checks - for Fitness to Teach
- A clear Enhanced DBS Disclosure including check of children's barred list
- Satisfactory references including one from latest employer and/or latest role involving working with children.
- Verification of identity and right to work in the UK
- Check for sanction, restriction or prohibition on teaching issued by the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) (if in teaching role)
- Criminal records checks overseas. If you have lived, studied or worked overseas for three months or more in the last five years a Certificate of Good Conduct from the country of residence will be required even if you are a UK applicant or currently based in the UK.
The university will also check that candidates are not:
- subject to a prohibition order issued by the Secretary of State
- disqualified from childcare
- or have obtained a childcare disqualification waiver from Ofsted.
All information will be treated in confidence.
Further Statutory Guidance
- Supervision of activity with children
- Working together to safeguard children
- Keeping children safe in education
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.
Find out further information about the national curriculum and subjects taught in secondary schools.
It is not usual practice to accept deferrals for PGCE programmes. However, we appreciate there may be extenuating circumstances to consider and therefore Programme Leaders will consider requests on a case by case basis.
How to apply
Please see the Department for Education pages for guidance on how to apply.
For further information
- Email: Admissions@uwe.ac.uk
- Telephone: +44(0)117 32 83333