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The Secondary Postgraduate Certificate in Education is a one academic year (36 week) course that trains graduates to be secondary school teachers of English.

The PGCE programme has been designed to train teachers to practice as a subject specialist teacher for the secondary age range (11-16). Trainees are assessed against the standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) across the age range. Trainees will also often gain experience of the 16-18 age range, although they will not be formally assessed in this phase.

Course detail

The course is creative, active and practical, allowing trainees to develop professional competence through work undertaken in schools and in the University. Trainees work with young people, develop expertise in their specialist subject area, share and discuss educational issues and study relevant educational research.

What does it mean to be an English teacher in twenty-first century classrooms? This course develops new teachers' understanding of English in secondary settings through active workshops, creative projects and joint explorations of texts, language, drama and media. Students are encouraged to develop their own subject knowledge for teaching supported by experienced university tutors who have many years' successful classroom experience themselves. We focus on principled practice, deep and rigorous subject knowledge, and even purposeful playfulness.

You will be supported to create an inclusive, energetic, exciting classroom environment which will appeal to a range of preferred learning styles and draw on a range of resources.


The course is part of the Department of Education's programme for Initial Teacher Training. Units studied are:

• Enabling Learning
• Meeting Curriculum Challenges
• Becoming a Teacher

These units are studied in both the school and the University-based parts of the course, the work on each site being complementary.

You will be supported in university workshops to learn how to teach English through a variety of strategies including:
• Contributing to paired, small group and whole class activities
• Observing and analysing the teaching methods modelled by your course tutors
• Engaging in creative writing, drama and film making sessions
• Participating in peer-led, subject knowledge development seminars on topics as diverse as: madness and fools in Shakespeare's tragedies, the use of the expanded noun phrase in contemporary texts, multicultural fiction written for a teenage audience, reading film.
• Reading and discussing relevant educational theory and subject related research into, for example, how to support the development of reluctant or struggling writers.


We recognise that embarking on a new course of professional study can be a challenging undertaking. PGCE trainees have three main sources of support and information from the University during the course: firstly there is your Group Tutor in their subject area who will monitor and support your progress. Secondly, each trainee is allocated a subject specialist Personal Tutor who will review progress twice during the year with you. Finally, all trainees can access support on a range of issues from the Department Student Adviser. The course includes contact time when on school/college placement with a Senior Professional Tutor and a Subject Mentor.


24 weeks are spent on placement: a total of eight weeks in one placement during the Autumn term and 16 weeks in a second placement during the Spring and Summer terms.

In June, there is an opportunity for you to spend time in a primary school and some trainees may also visit other institutions, such as special schools or colleges of further education, Museums, Field study centres.


In order to pass the course, trainees are required to pass each unit. You are assessed on a number of written assignments and also on classroom practice against the standards specified by the Secretary of State for the award of QTS.

Careers / Further study

The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) programmes now includes 40 credits of assessment at Master's Level (Level M). For candidates who opt not to attempt the requisite credit at Level M, a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education will be available as an alternative award.

How to apply

Information on applications can be found at the following link:


- New Postgraduate Master's loans for 2016/17 academic year –

The government are introducing a master’s loan scheme, whereby master’s students under 60 can access a loan of up to £10,000 as a contribution towards the cost of their study. This is part of the government’s long-term commitment to enhance support for postgraduate study.

Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.

More information can be found here:

Visit the PGCE Secondary Education, English page on the University of the West of England, Bristol website for more details!





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Recipient: University of the West of England, Bristol

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