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Course content

This course will train you to teach secondary English in the UK, including the National Curriculum, GCSE and A level. It also includes drama, media and information and communication technology. Completion of the 10 month course leads to both a postgraduate qualification and qualified teacher status (QTS).

Your University tutors and school/college mentors will help you to transform your subject knowledge into teaching skills and educational theory into practice. University tutors have substantial experience of teaching and of examining at a senior level for GCSE and AS/A level.

We also use the expertise of experienced teachers from our partnership schools to complement the teaching of University-based sessions. This includes sessions led by subject mentors, who will help you develop your subject knowledge and provide advice about teaching methods. The University-based sessions will give you creative and innovative ideas to take into the classroom.

What our students say:

The PGCE in Secondary English at The University of Manchester is nothing short of life changing. Professionally, you will develop your existing qualities and learn invaluable skills from peers, colleagues and tutors. However, this course offers something more; you are encouraged to embrace and express your own teaching ethos throughout the course. Prepare to be challenged, nurtured and inspired to do something more with your love of English.

For more details on interviews, please visit our PGCE website .


 Topics covered in the University-based training sessions include:

  • Frameworks - the National Curriculum, GCSE and AS and A level.
  • Classroom skills - lesson planning, setting objectives, task setting, questioning skills, collaborative learning, differentiation and drama-based approaches.
  • Assessment - assessment for learning as well as summative assessment for KS3, GCSE, AS and A level.
  • Teaching language - writing, spelling, punctuation and grammar as well as AS and A level English language, and English language and literature.
  • Teaching literature at KS3, GCSE, AS and A level - teaching poetry, teaching Shakespeare, teaching pre-1914 English literature and teaching children's literature.
  • Drama in English - the place of drama in the National Curriculum.
  • Media and information, communication and technology (ICT) in English - the place of media and of ICT in the National Curriculum and at GCSE.

Working with our partnership schools and colleges, you will learn how to:

  • organise lessons and schemes of work
  • assess effectively;
  • teach spoken language, reading and writing;
  • develop students' understanding of language;
  • teach classic literary texts, including Shakespeare; and
  • use drama, media and ICT in English teaching.

Special features

  • Top university to study a PGCE in the North of England (Good Teacher Training Guide 2017).
  • Rated as 'outstanding' by Ofsted.
  • Extensive classroom experience supported by experienced English tutors and mentors.
  • 92% of our graduates in a teaching post within six months of completing the course - consistently better than the North West average (The University of Manchester 2013-2016).

Teaching and learning

The structure of our PGCEs includes both school-based and University-based learning. On our secondary PGCEs, around two thirds of your time will be spent in secondary schools, academies or colleges on placements. You will also need to undertake self-directed study in the evenings and weekends, such as background reading, creating lesson plans and completing written assignments.

The University-based elements of the course are taught by tutors with expertise in teaching in schools and colleges and examining KS4/GCSE and AS/A level English. Your tutors have been outstanding teachers in a wide range of schools and colleges and their expertise is complemented by the experience of current outstanding teachers who contribute to teaching on the course.

School-based mentors actively contribute to the course, focusing on aspects of pedagogy and practice in the English classroom. These practical sessions include: teaching language and literature at A level; catering for Special Educational Needs; catering for students for whom English is an additional language; using technology in the classroom; and using drama as an effective teaching tool.                      

On placement in schools and colleges, you will observe and teach classes under the guidance of an experienced English teacher, who will also act as your mentor. We will endeavour to allocate you to placements which will secure the optimum educational benefit for your professional development needs. Teaching hours are established to reflect the time that is required to spend on planning and assessment, particularly in the early stages of your placements. Your mentors will help you to plan lessons, deal with marking and assessment and improve your teaching skills.

What schools say:

We are very happy to take PGCE students from The University of Manchester because they are invariably strong academics with a genuine love of their subject, who are prepared to innovate and challenge in the classroom.

Scholarships and bursaries

Generous, tax-free funding is available to the best graduates training in a range of subjects. You could get a bursary of up to £15,000.

Information about additional funding options for September 2018 can be found on the Department for Education website

Home/EU students may be eligible for a repayable tuition fee loan. Home students in England may also be eligible for a repayable student maintenance loan. The loans support available to PGCE students is similar to what is available for undergraduate students and information about government financial support for undergraduate students is available here . 

If you have graduated in the last three years from The University of Manchester with a 1st class honours degree, you may also be eligible for our Alumni Scholarship .

Visit the Secondary English (PGCE) page on the University of Manchester website for more details!




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