University led training – PGCE/PGDE
The PGCE – Postgraduate Certificate in Education (England, Northern Ireland and Wales) – and the PGDE – Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Scotland) – are qualifications offered for graduates who want to become teachers. Courses are led by many universities and colleges, known as Initial Teacher Training (ITT) providers, across the UK.
If you wish to pursue primary teaching you can take a PGCE/PGDE. If you wish to teach at secondary level you will take a PGCE/PGDE in your specialist subject. Courses last a year, or two years if studying on a part-time basis.
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How the PGCE/PGDE course works
Below is an outline of a typical year on a PGCE/PGDE course. However, consult with university web pages and admissions departments for more detailed information.
- You’ll begin the course with an induction period at your university. This usually lasts a few weeks and gives you a crash course in all things teacher-related, including subject knowledge and pedagogy, and development of professional practice.
- You’ll take part in your first school placement, putting your learning into practice. The first placement will take you up to the Christmas break. As an ITT student you’ll spend a minimum of 120 days in a school during the course.
- You’ll then normally spend a short period in university further developing subject pedagogy and professional practice. After this period, you’ll complete your second school placement.
- Throughout the course you’ll complete written assignments. Assignments are designed to make sure you evaluate your approach to teaching. At least one assignment will be a piece of action-based research. This means implementing a teaching practise and reporting on its impact on learning, all with the purpose of helping you to reflect on and improve best practice.
What are the entry requirements for a PGCE/PGDE?
- An honours degree – if applying for secondary education the degree should be in a relevant subject to your proposed teaching specialism*.
- GCSEs (A–C) in Mathematics and English Language** – if you’re applying for primary education you must also have at least one GCSE (A–C) in Science*.
- You are subject to Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) checks as part of the admissions process.
- You must pass your Professional Skills Tests prior to undertaking any teacher training in England.
*If you wish to train for a shortage subject but don’t have a relevant degree you may be eligible to apply for a Subject Knowledge Enhancement course before enrolling on the PGCE/PGDE course. See more information.
**If you wish to train in Wales you’ll need at least grade B.
How to apply for a PGCE/PGDE
PGCE/PGDE applications are submitted via the University Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Find courses using our Course Chooser.
You’ll be required to attend an interview which may include knowledge audits.
What funding is available for PGCE/PGDE?
If you’re applying to train in England or Wales you may be eligible for a training bursary as well as a loan. See our section about funding for non-salaried teacher training programmes.
PGCE courses in Northern Ireland are treated the same as undergraduate courses where you can apply for loans, grants and bursaries on the same terms as undergraduate students. For more information consult the Student Finance Northern Ireland website. No nationwide specialist training bursaries exist as there are no shortage subjects reported in Northern Ireland.
The Scottish PGDE is treated the same as undergraduate degrees in Scotland. The Students Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) will pay fees for eligible Scottish and other non-UK EU residents. A small number of PGDE subjects qualify students for training bursaries. Go to Teach in Scotland for more information and contact details.
How you qualify
Successfully complete your PGCE in England or Wales and you’ll be awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
Successfully complete your PGCE in Northern Ireland and you’ll be provisionally registered with the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI).
Successfully complete your PGDE in Scotland and you’ll be provisionally registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).
See our after qualifying section for more information.
The two qualification are among the most popular routes into teaching. The table below shows how universities fare when it comes to their postgraduate teacher trainee students finding employment as a teacher after graduating.
The table shows:
- the number of full-time PGCE/PGDE students
- the percentage of those students who found employment as a teacher six months after leaving*
*data comes from HESA 2016–17 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey (DLHE).
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