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PGCE Primary Early Years

Course Description

Course Summary

Develop a variety of teaching approaches to become an effective and confident teacher of children in Early Years and Key Stage 1.

Partnerships with local schools give you opportunities to put theory into practice on placements, supported by experienced Early Years and Primary teachers as you develop the knowledge and skills to meet the national requirements for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Intermediate qualifications available:

- Professional Graduate Certificate in Education

This course is accredited by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (a department of the Department for Education) to deliver Initial Teacher Training

Choose Primary Early Years PGCE at Bedfordshire and:

- Study on a course designed to enable you to join a challenging and rewarding profession – becoming an inspiring teacher of young children, able to draw on secure understanding of theories about Early Years teaching and learning - with the knowledge and skills to lead learning and initiate change in educational settings
- Explore your understanding of teaching and learning, supported by experienced Early Years and Primary teachers, as you apply your knowledge and expertise to planning teaching and developing curricula, and hone your skills of critical self-evaluation and improvement planning
- Develop your creativity and team-working skills, preparing you to influence and lead in educational settings and enhancing your own sense of independence
- Gain confidence in analysing the evidence of your own practical experience during placements in schools, informing your future actions as you evaluate the impact of applying theory to your teaching practice
- Benefit from a qualification that gives you recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), enabling you to gain employment in an Early Years or Primary setting, with opportunities for continuous development through further study at MA/MSc, MPhil, PhD and EdD levels.

Why choose this course?

The course is framed by a commitment to help you to develop the characteristics of a University of Bedfordshire graduate teacher. You will be challenged to explore theories of teaching and learning and to examine the implications of such theories for your own development. In doing this you will refine, form and reform your own principles, perspectives and values in relation to professional teaching practice. On completion of the course you will have the appropriate attitude, knowledge, skills and understanding to meet the needs of the childrens and schools workforce agenda.

Distinctive features of this course, through which you will develop these characteristics, include:

- Partnership provision
- Enhancements which improve personalisation and employability
- Reflective practice
- Frequent formative feedback
- Integration of performance and learning outcomes
- Webfolio
- Differentiated achievement outcomes

These features are outlined below:

Partnership provision -

The course has been developed, and is taught, by a team consisting of practising teachers, senior teachers, school leaders and university tutors. As a result, the course design satisfies the expectations and requirements of your future employers and you will benefit from the current and recent experience which they bring. Authentic partnership with schools underpins the success of the course, as confirmed by Ofsted 2011. Innovative developments include working with clusters of schools to provide a common ITE experience and professional development programme across the cluster. Most clusters are managed by a senior teaching professional and funded jointly by the University and the local authority. This is an emergent model of partnership which enables the University and local authority to engage directly in shaping the teacher education course and to provide employment opportunities for newly qualified teachers.

Enhancements which improve personalisation and employability -

The first aim of the Subject Specialism unit is to develop your Early Years subject knowledge and pedagogy with a specific focus on the Early Years curriculum. However, in order to support you in achieving your personal aspirations, and to enhance your record of knowledge and experience, the programme offers a range of `elective sessions such as: teaching Early Years; working with learners for whom English an Additional Language; etc. A minimum demand is required to allow these sessions to run.

Reflective practice -

The course aims to develop you as an effective reflective practitioner. Reflective thinking is a multifaceted process that requires you to analyse classroom events and circumstances. By virtue of its complexity teaching requires constant and continual classroom observation, evaluation and subsequent action. However, to be an effective practitioner it is imperative to understand `Why?, `How? and

`What if.? in addition to the analysis of the observed events. This understanding comes through the consistent practice of reflective thinking and writing which is supported by the webfolio, assignments and profile review process. In essence, the continuous development of your skills of reflective analysis provides you with key learning tools through which to evaluate your progress as a developing professional.

Reflective thinking is a learned process that requires time. The course encourages you to develop the skill of critical self-evaluation and to discover meaningful and creative problem-solving strategies to support your classroom practice. In doing so you are expected to synthesise the knowledge and understanding gained from your reading, learning experiences and teaching practice.

Frequent formative feedback -

The course team members share a pedagogic belief that all aspects of the course should present you with models of best teaching practice from which you are able to form your own pedagogic principles. One key feature of that model of practice is the emphasis placed on the role of formative assessment. That is, a belief that assessment tasks should be used as one of the tools by which to promote learning, rather than simply to measure what learning has taken place. In all units, therefore, support is provided in the form of frequent feedback about your progress against the assessment criteria, in order to recognise, respond to, and enhance the learning that has taken place. Support includes scheduled tutorial meetings, to allow you to assess your progress and identify specific targets for continual improvement, with opportunities to improve your work prior to final submission.

Integration of performance and learning outcomes -

All teacher education courses are required to provide support to achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) by meeting the requirements of the professional standards (currently the Teacher Standards 2012.) A defining principle of this course is the commitment to intellectual engagement with the standards, rather than superficial claims of performance against them. To support this, the qualitative descriptors are used to show how satisfactory, good and outstanding student teachers might present themselves. Your professional development record will be organised within the framework of Teacher Standards and the assessment strategy, described in detail later in this document, ensures that your critical analysis of experiences from the course forms the basis of your evidence against those standards. In this way, your intellectual and performance development are intrinsically linked.

Webfolio -

The webfolio is the medium through which your reflective writing, other assessments and documentary evidence are managed. As such, it forms the central spine of the course, drawing the range of experiences and activities together in a coherent structure. The webfolio is a required element of the course and most of your assignments will be submitted by making the webfolio available to your tutor.

The webfolio is designed to help you allocate time and space to engage in critical self-reflection and self-evaluation of your practice, which could then be shared with others, helping you to identify areas of strength and areas for future development. The webfolio will also provide you with a flexible means by which you can gather and store information about your understanding, knowledge, values and beliefs. Its portability ensures that you will be able to continue to use it as a gateway for your professional development beyond the award of QTS.

You will share your webfolio with your mentor to aid professional dialogue and as part of the Profile Review process. It will also be used as an instrument to identify opportunities for deeper personalisation throughout the course.

Differentiated achievement outcomes -

The course is designed to support all students in developing the knowledge and skills which satisfy the requirements of level 7 (Masters level) qualifications. It is acknowledged, however, that some students will choose, or need, to direct their attention and effort towards other aspects of their professional development. For this reason, level 6 and level 7 assessment criteria are organised as a continuum.

There are two units which each offer 30 credits at either level 6 or level 7.

If you pass both the assignments for these units at level 7 you will be awarded a Post Graduate Certificate in Education with recommendation for QTS

If you pass both the assignments for these units at level 6 or either one of these assignments at level 6 and one at level 7, you will be awarded a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education with recommendation for QTS

Career Management Skills

Tutors will help you to structure your career profile in a number of ways:

- Career Entry Development Profile (CEDP) - this document will help you to identify the areas for continuous professional development during the NQT (newly qualified teacher) year. You are required to take this profile with you to your new place of employment in order to engage readily in a dialogue about your career development needs.
- Webfolio helps you to monitor your progress, record your achievements and plan for future development more effectively. In addition this resource can be shared readily with all those involved in your professional development. This improved level of access allows for greater personalisation opportunities to better meet your development needs.
- Profile Review Points (PRPs) there are four review points in total spread throughout the academic year. You will be assessed at the point in time by your placement based mentor so as to establish the progress you have made, your strengths and areas for development. PRPs provide an opportunity for the student and mentor to set personalised targets to help you improve further.

Further support and resources are available from the Centre for Professional and Career Development (CPCD) and include:

- One-to-one career coaching on job search, applications, interviews, postgraduate study and career planning/exploration both face-to-face and through E-guidance
- The careers website http://www.beds.ac.uk/careers or via the BREO Careers tab - gives access to a wide range of information sources on such topics as: finding work, careers events, subject discipline related information on employment, vacancy sources, our Jobshop for part time casual, placements
- Full-time graduate vacancies and UoB Volunteering which enables current students to engage in a wide variety of community and employer based unpaid experience
- Teaching Fair
- Interview and application taught session

Self assessment tools are available on the Careers tab of BREO or at http://breo.beds.ac.uk/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_id=_482_1

Career/Further study opportunities


The course provides knowledge and skills relevant to a career in teaching. The transferable skills that you will develop through the course, together with the ITE requirements as prescribed by the Teaching Agency, provide the basis for careers in education management and education administration.

You will receive help and advice from a number of sources regarding preparation for your first teaching post including: mock interviews; guidance on completing application forms; writing a cover letter; references and rights in the workplace.

Further study:

Any level 7 credits awarded on the course may count towards credit on the MA Education courses at the University of Bedfordshire or other institutions.

Visit the PGCE Primary Early Years page on the University of Bedfordshire website for more details!

All Available Videos:

Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

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