Postgraduate Certificate in Education Primary ITE (5-11) with QTS (Distance Learning)

Entry year
Course code
Department for Education
Education and Childhood
One year full-time; two years part-time
Distance Learning full-time and part-time; April start
Programme leader
Mark Avery

This course is open for applications.

Page last updated 12 October 2021


Our PGCE Online Distance Learning courses enable graduates to train and qualify as teachers while studying remotely. Study your chosen course over one year full-time or two years part-time, giving you the flexibility to fit your studies around your other commitments.

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 and young people.  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. 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 placement school, ensuring you'll gain a variety of teaching experience.  The schools involved will need to support your engagement with and progression through the course.

The Primary phase is a broad and rewarding one and you'll have the opportunity to make a significant difference to the lives of the children you teach.  In the PGCE Online Distance learning Primary (5-11) you'll study the theory and practice to enable you to provide high quality education for children in Key Stages 1 and 2 of the National Curriculum.



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

Our PGCE programmes are very popular, so the standard of applicants is high. As a trainee teacher, you'll usually complete at least 120 days on placement practice in a minimum of two contrasting schools. 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.

The modules you'll study are:

  • 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.

Learning and Teaching

The PGCE courses are designed so your experience on placement is supported by online learning. Seminars, lectures and placement-based learning equip you to meet the Teachers' Standards, enabling you to teach and assess in your chosen phase and/or subject.

Hear what our students think about their time at UWE Bristol.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Personal support

We recognise that embarking on a new course of study can sometimes be challenging. Online courses require self-motivation, strong time-management, and a level of technical proficiency. You'll be allocated a personal tutor from your phase who will support you throughout the course.  You can also access support on a range of issues, from a Student Adviser or other university support services.


This course prepares you for a career as a teacher and leads to recommendation for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) on successful completion.

Assessment is based on a small number of online 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.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.



Professional Practice

You'll complete two school-based placements that you'll need to organise before starting the course. 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 (Primary) or Subject Mentor (Secondary), who is their day-to-day contact and supporter in school during placement.


Careers / Further study

PGCE courses include 60 credits assessed at master's level, which you can use to contribute towards a master's degree.

As a trainee teacher, you'll be joining a modern and well-regarded course to train to teach across your chosen age range and gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).


There is currently no published fee data for this course.

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

For Primary 5-11 years, you should typically meet the following criteria:

  • An undergraduate degree, or a recognised equivalent qualification. 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, Mathematics and Science, 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 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

  • All applicants will be required to complete:
  • 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)
  • Overseas check as per DfE guidelines.

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.

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.


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