Image of student in classroom teaching role

Postgraduate Certificate in Education

Primary Early Years Initial Teacher Education (3-7)

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Education and Childhood
One year
Full time
Programme leader:
Ben Wiggins and Laura Manison Shore

Page last updated 10 November 2017


The University of the West of England is committed to training outstanding and transformational teachers for the future, able to provide first class educational experiences that make a significant difference to the life chances of all children - and to do so through partnership with early years settings and schools in the region.

Teaching is a challenging, exciting and very rewarding career with a high level of job satisfaction. It is a great privilege, as well as a great responsibility, to be one of the first teachers to influence a child.

In this one-year postgraduate course you study the Foundation Curriculum and the core National Curriculum at Key Stage 1 (English, mathematics and science), and are particularly equipped to teach the Foundation Curriculum to pre-school and reception children and Key Stage 1. You also study theory surrounding early childhood learning.

Early Years students have 'taster' courses in the foundation subjects.

This is a very popular course and competition for places is high, so an early application is essential (please note the UTT dates for applications). We regret that fierce competition for a limited number of places means that we have to disappoint many candidates. You should ensure that you meet the entry requirements and have sufficient observation experience in relevant settings.

Read about what PGCE Primary Education at UWE Bristol has to offer in terms of teaching quality, staff expertise and your student experience.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience



On this 38-week course, you spend 19 weeks in schools and 19 in the Department of Education at UWE. The course is designed so that your experiences in these two sites of learning are integrated. In school, you carry out directed tasks that support your learning in the Department of Education, and study in the Department of Education informs your practice in the classroom.

Seminars and lectures equip you to meet the standards to teach and assess the core subjects of Maths, English and Science and, with support, the foundation subjects of the National Curriculum. Trainees are also offered a subject specialism.

Hear what our students think about their time at UWE.

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

We have a contemporary approach to teaching and learning, making full use of up-to-date technology. The course is conducted through lectures, seminars, tutorials and group tasks. The lecturing team has a wide range of recent teaching experience in schools.

With in the department there are workshop areas where you practise many of the practical and school-focused aspects of primary education.

You are allocated a General Professional Studies Tutor who acts as an anchor person during the course and helps with preparation for a professional career in schools.

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


Assessment is based on five professionally based assignments and the final block school experience.

For more detail see our full glossary of assessment terms.



Approximately half the course is school-based where you gain in-depth experience in three different types of school during the year. Each block of school experience is preceded by several serial days of observation and planning.

School experience 1: Autumn term
During the four-week block after the autumn half term, trainees, who may be placed individually or in pairs, work under the guidance of the class teacher. Much of the work is in small groups, although towards the end of the period, you are encouraged to take on responsibility for the whole class. You are formatively assessed during this block.

School experience 2: Spring term
This three-week block has a particular emphasis on collaboration and trainees work in groups of three to a class. There is also a curriculum focus on Information Communications Technology (ICT). Working closely with the class teacher, you deliver and evaluate a three-week programme.

School experience 3: Summer term
This long block (seven - nine weeks) is formally assessed on a pass/fail basis. You are expected to take overall responsibility for the class by the fourth week. You have to be able to teach in two key stages.

Study facilities

The Department of Education provides a pleasant environment in which to study. Its modern, purpose-built facilities provide high quality teaching rooms with state-of-the-art technology available. 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 has to offer.


Careers / Further study

The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) courses now include 40 credits of assessment at Master's Level (Level M). If you 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

Hear from past UWE students about how studying here has enhanced their career prospects and opened up new opportunities.

Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.


Full time course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
Offshore-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Offshore-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit) 1156

Indicative Additional Costs

FeesAmount (£)
Additional Course Costs - Full Time - Home/EU - Indicative Maximum Cost Per year350

Further information

Additional course costs relate to travel to teaching placements.  

The cost will depend on where the student lives in relation to our partner schools, as well as the schools they are placed in. 

The maximum cost per year is unlikely to exceed £350.

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

Applicants should have a good honours degree (normally 2:1) or equivalent in early childhood studies, psychology and sociology or similar but competition for places is considerable and therefore we will make our selection based on the whole application process.

All applicants should also have GCSE grade C/4 or above in English Language, Mathematics and Science, or equivalent.*

It is expected that you will have a minimum of two weeks' recent experience of working in a state primary school prior to interview.

*If you do not meet the GCSE entry requirements, we will accept equivalency tests that are of a standard equivalent to GCSE grade C or above.

Please note that this course starts early in September. We are unable to agree any requests for holiday due to the number of days required to fulfil the course.

Please read through the UCAS Teacher Training pages carefully for guidance on how to apply.

Additional requirements

Applicants must pass an initial selection process and short-listed candidates will be interviewed at the Department of Education. All offers will be subject to satisfactory health checks.

Disclosure of Criminal Background

Applicants who are offered a place must undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and will be required to complete a Disclosure Application Form. 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.

Department for Education Professional Skills Tests

All trainee teachers are required to pass skills tests in numeracy and literacy before they can be recommended for the award of qualified teacher status (QTS) and before starting their course. We recommend that you complete the skills tests in Numeracy and Literacy as soon as possible after you have submitted an application for an Initial Teacher Education programme. If practical, you should take these tests before any interview that you may be invited for, but if this is not possible, you should take them as soon as possible thereafter.  If you have not passed the tests at the interview stage, any offer will be conditional until you have passed both tests. There will be a cut-off date of the 2 August; if the tests have not been passed by this date, then any place offered may be withdrawn and offered to someone else. Information about the tests can be found at: The Department for Education

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. Information on the latest standards can be found on the website.

For information about the national curriculum and subjects taught in secondary schools, visit this page on the website.


The Department of Education is not able to approve deferrals under any circumstances.  Applicants unable to start their programme during the year of application will be required to withdraw and reapply the following year.

For further information

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