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Early Years Teaching (DL) - PGCE

Online University of Sunderland    Faculty of Education and Society

Full time September PGCE 36 weeks distance learning

About the course

The PGCE in Early Years Teaching is ideal for people living outside of the UK who already work, or have the desire to work, with and teach children aged 0-5.

If you want to develop a specialism or further enhance your professionalism in teaching young children up to the age of five, then this International Initial Teacher Training course is for you.

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Entry Requirements

We usually require applicants to hold an honours degree or equivalent.

You must be able to undertake teaching practice as part of this course. This can be a setting where you already work or another Early Years setting.

 Course Content

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Student Profile(s)

Sara Curtin

"I had been teaching English to students, who were aged 4 to 14 in Korea and after a year I decided I wanted to further my education. After working for almost 2 years in an Early Years environment, I decided a PGCE was the next step for me.

My favourite aspect of this course has been the amazing interaction between students and the academics, I’d say that you get out what you put in. My study at the University has been entirely online and I consider the experience one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I would recommend it to anyone - just go for it! Progressing your education at any stage of your life will never be a bad decision.

After completing the course, I am still teaching in Korea. I originally came here to teach English for 6 months! I am still in post at the same school and enjoying every day. Excitingly I’ve recently accepted a job offer to become the Head Teacher/Principal. If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you!"

Silvia Bartoccioni

"I was working as a second teacher for an international school in Tokyo, Japan, which I was very passionate about, so decided to further my knowledge of education and get a certificate to then be able to lead my own class. Since I currently live in Japan, when I decided to get my certification in Early Years Teaching I was looking for a Distance Learning course that would not require me to relocate, without compromising on quality. The University of Sunderland was the best option in this sense. The best aspect of the course is the focus on learning through experience by completing multiple Teaching Practice modules.

I would advise other students taking this route to organise your time effectively, especially if you are simultaneously working full time. You will have to put in a lot of time and energy but it’s definitely worth it!

My career is progressing even though I haven’t graduated yet – my school has already offered me a full time Classroom Teacher job for next year. I would definitely recommend University of Sunderland to other students, it has been challenging at times but extremely gratifying!”

Eleanor Sweeney

"I started teaching in Barcelona in 2007, a journey that has since led me to multiple countries around the world. In 2016, I moved to Hong Kong, and found a position relatively quickly as an assistant principal of an international kindergarten. I found the new role challenging at first, as it was quite different to being in the classroom, and I came across many cultural differences in work/life balance and educational ideologies. I loved the experience of being in the managerial role and the new experiences it offered. Last year, after three years in this role, I decided that I wanted to stretch myself and develop further in this profession, so decided to enrol onto the PGCE Early Years Teaching course.

I chose to study with Sunderland because it has a great reputation amongst teachers in Hong Kong, and it is recognised internationally. I like that it is independent learning, in the sense that you can adapt it around your work and home life, but you never feel you are doing it on your own. There is a lot of support from your personal tutor, who is very personable and easy to communicate with when you are struggling and need a little extra guidance. The modules are interesting, particularly one which enabled us to explore the aspects and ideologies of Early Years education that we were most interested in. I would recommend the University of Sunderland to teachers who would like to develop their understanding and expertise in the field – I think it is a great stepping stone to developing teaching careers.

I will continue in my current role as assistant principal for the time being; the school I work at is very supportive, and I hope that my studies will help me better support my team of teachers, and help me in rebuilding relationships with parents after a testing few months. I have learnt a lot about parent-school relationships on the course, and I am sure I will put a lot of it into practice. In the long term I would like to continue as an assistant principal, later progressing to principal, in a bigger school, in Hong Kong or elsewhere in the world.

Studying at Sunderland has been stimulating and extremely rewarding – it has reignited my passion for studying.”


£1,000 tuition fee reduction for international postgraduate students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£1,000 tuition fee reduction


All international students studying on-campus undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Application Procedure

Contact: student.helpline@sunderland.ac.uk / 0191 515 3000

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1. Care Leaver status - (on 1 September of your year of entry)
You must be aged under 25, a home student studying full time, undergraduate course or full-time taught Post Graduate programme and at least one of the following: spent 13 weeks or more in the Care of the Local Authority between your 14th and 16th birthday, were privately fostered until the age of 16, were 'looked after' until you were subject to a Special Guardianship Order.

2. You must be a (i) full-time undergraduate student or full-time postgraduate student on a taught programme.
You must be anyone who is aged 25 or over by 1 September 2019 and applying for, or currently studying, full-time at the University of Sunderland. You must be either studying for an undergraduate degree (includes Foundation degrees, Extended degree programmes and Top-Up degrees) which will start in 2019, applying for, or currently studying, a full-time University of Sunderland postgraduate degree.


1. Estranged students - (on 1 September on your year of entry)
Studying a full-time, undergraduate or taught postgraduate course, UK (Home) student, you are irreconcilably estranged from both parents/carers.

This means that either: You have had no contact at all with your parents/carers for at least 12 months and this is unlikely to change OR
You can demonstrate on other grounds that you are irreconcilably estranged from your parents (e.g. in exceptional circumstances, or assessed as independent by Student Finance England or by a local authority because you are estranged from both parents/carers).

2. You must be a full-time undergraduate or full-time postgraduate taught programme student.
You must be aged 25 or under by 1 September 2019. And either:
a) Applying for, or currently studying, a full-time University of Sunderland undergraduate degree (includes Foundation degrees, Extended degree programmes and Top-Up degrees) which will start in 2019.
b)Applying for, or currently studying, a full-time University of Sunderland postgraduate degree.

*You must be a 'Home' student
If you are classed as an ‘EU’ or ‘International’ student, you are not eligible for this scholarship.

*If you are applying for or studying one of the following courses then you are not eligible for this scholarship:
• Continuous Professional Development (CPD) course.
• English for Academic Purposes (EAP) language course.
• PHD students

Value of Scholarship(s)

£2,000 cash scholarship for each year of study (including placement year) for care experienced or family estranged students.


For full-time home undergraduate and postgraduate students under the age of 25 on 1 September 2019 for care experienced or family estranged students.

Application Procedure

If you indicate that you are a Care Leaver on your UCAS application form you will automatically be sent a letter and an application form, once you have an unconditional offer with us. This is usually at the end of August. Alternatively, if you inform us that you are an Estranged Student via online enrolment you will also automatically be sent a letter and an application form.

For students who apply directly/via clearing, if they inform us during online enrolment that they are care experienced or estranged we will send them an email outlining how to apply.

We will request confirmation from local authorities or Student Finance England of your eligibility for this Scholarship. If you choose not to disclose your care experienced or estranged status at enrolment stage you can inform the Access to Higher Education team directly by emailing care.contact@sunderland.ac.uk.

You may apply for this Scholarship at any point throughout your course; however, payments will not be backdated for previous years’ study. If you are eligible for the We Care Scholarship you may also qualify for an additional support package.

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