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You will acquire knowledge and skills in those areas of Technology and Design in which you may have had little or no experience, e.g. CAD (solid works) , Electronic Systems, PCB production, Pneumatic Control Systems, Graphics and Computer Control Systems. While practical in nature, you will draw on knowledge gained from the other areas of the course and at all times, apply these skills in the classroom. As an aspiring professional, you will be expected to be self-motivated and to take the initiative in managing your own professional development. In your school placements you will be expected to prioritize pupil learning and develop your teaching strategies accordingly. Elements of the course are taught at Masters level and you will be expected to support your development with a detailed understanding of current research and literature in teaching, learning and Technology and Design. You will be assessed through a variety of means including e-portfolio, essays, observations and tests.

“The Northern Ireland Curriculum aims to empower young people to achieve their potential and to make informed and responsible decisions throughout their lives.” The overall aim of our PGCE programme at Ulster is to support this aim and to foster the development of pedagogical competences in the following three areas: - Professional Values and Practice; Professional Knowledge and Understanding and Professional Skills and Application. To achieve these aims the PGCE post-primary programme at Ulster University prepares student teachers to be competent in the following: - the ability to plan, teach and assess worthwhile learning activities in their subject area(s) in post-primary schools in Northern Ireland for the 11-18 age group; - the acquisition of the knowledge, understanding and skills that are essential for the promotion of learning among pupils; - to assume responsibility for developing as competent reflective practitioners, able to monitor and evaluate their teaching performance; - to realise a commitment to on-going personal and professional development in pursuit of sustained pupil learning and school improvement. Student teachers on the PGCE will evidence their competence through achieving the following objectives by demonstrating:

  • a critical understanding of the Northern Ireland Curriculum and of National Curriculum requirements;
  • a knowledge of their subject and its contribution to the area of study and to the “Big Picture” of the curriculum at Key Stages 3 & 4 with its objectives of: a) developing the young person as an individual; b) developing the young person as a contributor to society and c) developing the young person as a contributor to the economy and the environment.

The successful completion of the PGCE also requires the student to:

  • recognise and take account of those factors which influence curriculum planning in a particular school context;
  • understand how children learn and appreciate the social, moral, psychological and cultural factors which affect educational attainment; plan, teach and evaluate lessons, units and schemes of work organise and manage classes effectively;
  • use a range of teaching and learning methodologies supported by resources for pupils of all ability levels, including those with special educational needs;
  • recognise the need for continuity, progression and differentiation in pupils' learning;
  • assess for learning including the recording and reporting pupil achievement;
  • adopt an assessment of learning mindset;;
  • develop pupils' language and numeracy skills through the teaching of their subject;
  • promote skills of problem solving, decision making, presentation, teamwork, leadership and independent learning;
  • develop pupils' personal and interpersonal skills;
  • promote fairness and equality of opportunity;
  • build and sustain good relationships with both pupils and staff;
  • work co-operatively with colleagues and other student teachers and contribute to school wide activities;
  • develop skills and confidence in Information Communications Technology (ICT) and emerging technologies for both personal and professional use.


The PGCE is a recognized teaching qualification in the UK. For those applicants wishing to teach in other jurisdictions we recommend that you contact the relevant authorities there to discuss their requirements for recognised teacher status.


This is a programme of professional education and training of teachers for the teaching profession. Attendance therefore is compulsory for all activities, modules and components of the course. The main PGCE course runs from the end of August to the beginning of June. University modules normally run from Monday to Friday (9:30-4:30) and students are required to attend all classes and course activities. School placements (of which there are two, each of twelve weeks) require commitment to the school, usually 8:30-5:00 with evenings spent in lesson preparation.

The T&D PGCE course includes a six week workshop practice in Belfast, normally commencing in July each year. An additional specialised course will run on Wednesday afternoons in Belfast during September and October.

Work placement / study abroad

Students nominate three secondary schools and three grammar schools for the teaching practice placements. Every effort is made to accommodate student preferences.

Career options

The course prepares you to teach Technology & Design at post primary school level. Where appropriate students may have opportunities to teach other subjects, depending on their own degree and A-Level specialisms.

The PGCE is an internationally recognised programme for Initial Teacher Education leading directly to a career in teaching. The post primary PGCE is for those who wish to teach the 11-19 age range. Successful completion of this course qualifies the graduate to seek registration with the General Teaching Council of Northern Ireland.

Visit the Technology and Design - PGCE page on the Ulster University website for more details!




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