PGCE with QTS Secondary English *

Entry year
Course code
Department for Education
School of Education and Childhood
One year
Full-time; starts September
Programme leader
Terra Glowach

* subject to final UWE Bristol approval

This course is open for applications

Page last updated 17 October 2023


The secondary Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is a one-year academic (36-week) course that leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and 60 credits at master's level.

You'll practise as a subject specialist teacher for the secondary age range (11-16), and gain experience of the 16-18 age range.

To develop expertise in your specialist subject area you'll:

  • build your subject knowledge of literature and drama from the UK and across the globe.
  • read and discuss both influential and cutting-edge research to develop criticality.
  • experience and practice a range of effective and empowering pedagogies.
  • take part in workshops with expert teachers, academics, and practitioners across the field of English and Drama.

You'll be encouraged to develop your own subject knowledge for teaching supported by experienced university tutors with many years' classroom experience themselves. We focus on principled practice, deep and rigorous subject knowledge, and purposeful playfulness.

You'll be supported to create an inclusive, energetic, exciting classroom environment targeting a diverse range of students.

This course may be eligible for a Government bursary. For funding options, please see the Government's scholarships and bursaries page.

Studying a PGCE at UWE Bristol

PGCE students talk about the support they have received from the PGCE programme at UWE Bristol. This is the first of three talks. Find out more.



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

We're 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'll 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 courses are very popular and the standard of applicants is high.

As a trainee teacher, you'll 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, and during this time you'll be expected to demonstrate effective progress in your own practice and have a positive impact on pupil progress over time.

You'll have a Senior Mentor and a Subject Mentor who will guide you through school policy and invite you to observe lessons in your subject and across the school when you first arrive. Your teaching load will start with leading lesson activities under the guidance of your Subject Mentor and gradually increase as you become more confident. 

The module areas you will study are as follows.

  • 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 module 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.

Personal support

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.

Study time

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.


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.

The focus for achieving QTS is particularly in the practice modules. UWE Bristol have chosen Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) as our accredited provider for the QTS elements of the course. We've worked closely with SHU to design a high-quality course which meets the DfE's new Initial Teacher Training (ITT) curriculum requirements. We're continuing to work together to assure our provision and share good practice.

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.

Subject Expertise Workshops

The PGCE English course includes several workshops led by experienced professionals to develop students' subject expertise. A few examples from our current course include: 

  • Classics in the Classroom Award: training in Latin/Greek language and myths, and how to use Latin and Greek roots to improve student literacy.
  • Active Approaches to Shakespeare: training in Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) rehearsal room techniques by an experienced RSC actor and educator.
  • Critical and Inclusive Pedagogies: African literature and oral traditions, joyful and diverse representations, and literacy for speaking about intersecting identities in the classroom.

Study facilities

Get a feel for the Education and Teaching facilities we have on offer here from wherever you are.


Postgraduate support

Our support includes access to fantastic facilities, study tools and career consultants, plus practical help to access everything from funding to childcare.


A stunning city for student living with all the qualities to make you want to stay.

Sports, societies and activities

There is more to your experience here than study. Choose to make the most of it and try new things.

Health and Wellbeing

We provide support in the way you need it.

Campus and facilities

Discover our campuses and the wealth of facilities provided for our students.


Careers / Further study

PGCE courses include 60 credits assessed at master's 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).


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 the Government's scholarships and bursaries page.


Entry requirements

We will look at all applications against the demands of the course. If you have any questions about our entry requirements, please contact our Admissions team and we can discuss your application.

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.

  • An undergraduate degree, or a recognised equivalent qualification. This is typically 2:2 or higher.
  • At least 50% of your degree should be in a subject related to what you want to teach, however we may be able to consider other personal, professional or educational experience as evidence of subject knowledge. In these instances, if your application is successful, you may be required to boost your subject knowledge with a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course before starting your PGCE (deadlines apply).
  • GCSE grade C/4 or above in English 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.

Selection process

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

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.

English Language Requirement

All International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 7.0 with 6.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).

Due to a high level of placement based learning and working with children, all applicants should have an effective command of the English language and be able to use it appropriately, accurately and fluently in a school setting. International and EU students will be required to produce a certificate evidencing the necessary IELTS or approved equivalent*.

*The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section.

How to apply

Please see the Department for Education pages for guidance on how to apply.

We encourage you to apply for our PGCE courses as early as possible in the cycle in order to be guaranteed consideration. The courses begin in early September and require sufficient time to review applications, process decisions and fulfil additional entry requirements as mandated by DfE. As a result we may be unable to consider applications received after July. In addition, many of our courses are very popular and will reach their capacity and be closed to further recruitment prior to this date.

Read more about international applications and key international deadline dates.

For further information