PGCE with QTS Primary Early Years (3-7) (School-based) *

Entry year
Course code
Department for Education
School of Education and Childhood
Placements supported by online learning
One year full-time; two years part-time
Full-time and part-time; April start
Programme leader
Jo Morgan. Please direct any enquiries to

This course is now closed to applications for April 2024. Applications for April 2025 can be made from October 2024.

*2024/25 is subject to final UWE Bristol approval.

Page last updated 14 March 2024


Study our PGCE Primary Early Years (School-based) with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) to develop your skills in teaching three- to seven-year-olds in a school-setting, supported by online learning.

Our PGCE school-based courses enable graduates to train and qualify as teachers while studying. You'll spend all your time in a school-setting, whilst studying a university-led course online. You can study your chosen course over one year full-time or two years part-time.

You'll gain 60 academic credits at master's level as part of the course. You can use this to contribute towards a full master's degree.

Why study PGCE Early Years online UWE Bristol?

UWE Bristol is committed to training the best teachers for the future, able to provide first-class educational experiences and make a significant difference to children's lives. We'll train you to do so in partnership with your schools or educational settings.

Teaching is a challenging, exciting and rewarding career, with a high level of job satisfaction. It's a great privilege, as well as a great responsibility, to be able to influence and shape the progress of children. All children deserve to learn well, with enthusiastic specialist teachers.

To undertake the course, you must be in a role, or secure a role, in a school or appropriate education setting. This will enable you to undertake the required teaching practice specified by the Department for Education (DfE)which must be agreed by UWE Bristol before starting the course.

Your teaching practice will need to include some time spent in an alternative UK placement setting, ensuring you'll gain a variety of teaching experience. The schools involved will need to support your engagement with and progression through the course.

Early education is a critical stage of children's development, so you'll have the opportunity to enter a career where you'll make a significant difference to the lives of the children you teach.

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.



Develop your skills in teaching three- to seven-year-olds across the Early Years Foundation Stage and all the subjects of the English National Curriculum at key stages 1 to professional standards. You'll engage with and use a range of evidence-informed strategies for effective and engaging teaching and learning. We'll support you to be creative, understand the perspectives of others, evaluate your practice and children's learning, and adapt what you do to enthuse the children you teach and to help them feel that they all belong in your class.

You'll study the following modules:

  • Learners and Teachers A and B
  • Curriculum Studies A and B
  • Practice A and B.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to government policy changes and 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 to succeed in their careers. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we'll inform you.

UWE Bristol has chosen Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) as our accredited provider for the QTS elements of the course. We work with SHU to provide high-quality courses and share excellent practice. Together, our teacher training will help you shape the future of children and young people.

Learning and Teaching

The PGCE courses are part of a broad range of specialist education provision in the School of Education and Childhood at UWE Bristol. 

Our online PGCE Early Years is designed so you spend all your time in a school setting, supported by online learning. Seminars, lectures and placement-based learning equip you to meet the Teachers' Standards, enabling you to teach and assess in the primary early years age phase (3-7). Research-informed practice underpins the course. 

You'll be supported in school by a mentor, who liaises closely with your UWE Bristol tutor. You'll work with close support and encouragement to develop your understanding and skills, set targets, and evidence your progress. We'll challenge you to evaluate and improve throughout your course, and we'll help you to celebrate your achievements.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.


The PGCE Primary Early Years (School-based) with QTS prepares you for a career as a teacher and leads to recommendation for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) on successful completion.

You'll have assessments, tasks and assignments and the final block school experience. All modules are compulsory, and you must pass all modules to gain the award of PGCE.

You'll be assessed through various assignments and classroom practice against the standards specified by the Secretary of State for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Your final assessment will be marked against the DfE Teachers' Standards.

Find out more about assessments.



Professional Practice

As a trainee teacher, you'll usually complete 120 days in school placement practice. You'll complete two school-based placements in UK schools that you'll need to organise before starting the course, at least one of which needs to be in England. To qualify for QTS, you'll need to spend at least 50% of your placement time in an English school. You may be already employed by a school as a teaching assistant or support member of staff.

Trainee teachers are supported in schools by their class mentor, who is their day-to-day contact and supporter in school during placement.

At UWE Bristol, we'll support you to become an authentic, effective, thoughtful teacher. Towards the end of your course, your progress review will enable your entry to the teaching profession and your ongoing development as an Early Career Teacher (ECT). 

Study facilities

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


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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 honours degree, or a recognised equivalent qualification at 2:2 or above.
  • GCSE grade C/4 in English, Mathematics and Science, or equivalent. Candidates with pending GCSEs will be considered. We'll consider candidates who need to take a GCSE equivalency test. We do not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as alternatives to GCSEs. Where applicants have achieved a GCSE grade 4 or above in English Literature only, we'll look for further evidence of achievement in English.

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.

Selection process

Applicants who meet the entry criteria will be invited to an interview, including tasks as appropriate.

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 five 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'd 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 PGCE 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 primary schools and early years settings.

English Language Requirement

International applicants

We're unable to accept your application for this course if you require a Student visa.

How to apply

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

Read more about international applications and key international deadline dates.

For further information