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Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Early Years) (PGCE)

Course Description

This programme develops highly committed, creative and reflective teachers with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) who are capable of maximising children's learning in Early Years and Key Stage 1 (KS1) contexts.

Course content

This intensive one year programme is designed for graduates wishing to teach children aged three to seven (Early Years and Key Stage 1). The programme supports Early Years teacher trainees in developing the skills, knowledge and understanding required to demonstrate the professional standards for teaching required by the Department for Education. On successful completion, trainees are recommended for and awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Teaching approaches are highly interactive, being delivered by a team of tutors with expertise in both the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), and at KS1. The programme prepares trainees to teach the EYFS and the National Curriculum at Key Stage 1, with an emphasis on national priorities, including systematic synthetic phonics and early mathematics. Trainees will also study professional issues including classroom organisation, the role of play in learning, behaviour management, planning, assessment, equal opportunities and inclusion.

The programme promotes professional and academic development with modules at level 6 and 7. Trainees will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) with QTS. A substantial part of the programme will be spent in partner settings and schools, which will enable trainees to develop competence in practical teaching in a range of educational contexts.

A substantial part of the programme will be spent in partner settings and schools, which will enable trainees to develop competence in practical teaching in a range of educational contexts.

Our Achievements

• 3 times received the highest award (Ofsted)
• Among the highest newly qualified teacher (NQT) employment ratings nationally
• Praised by the NCLT for our teaching of Phonics

Typical modules

The programme comprises of modules studied at levels 6 and 7.

The level 6 modules focus on:

• Core subjects and Early Years Pedagogy and Practice – including Mathematics, English, Science and aspects of effective Early Years practice
• Professional Studies
• School Experience

The level 7 modules focus on considering how classroom practice is influenced by research.


Assessment is continuous and includes professional vivas, presentations, written assignments and practical teaching. Partner schools share the responsibility for the assessment of the trainee during placements.

Career opportunities

Trainees qualify with QTS to teach across the three to seven age range, thus giving them access to a teaching career in Early Years settings and primary schools. The programme ensures successful outcomes for its graduates.

Work placement opportunities

We work in partnership with schools across Northamptonshire and its neighbouring counties. This enables us to work with a diverse range of schools, meaning we can give students a range of experiences. There are also opportunities for school experience in a Special Educational Needs (SEN) school.

Visit the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Early Years) (PGCE) page on the University of Northampton website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You must hold an Honours degree at 2:1 or above from a UK University or equivalent. Evidence of a minimum 10 days experience (within the last 2 years) in a mainstream Nursery or School, which follows the National Curriculum is required before application. A minimum of 5 GCSE passes at grade C or above including Mathematics, English Language and Science are required before application. Interviews and DBS checks are carried out to determine your suitability to teach. You must pass the National College for Teaching and Learning Skills Test in numeracy and literacy before enrolling.

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Recipient: University of Northampton

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