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PGCE Primary

Course Description

The Primary PGCE prepares you to teach in Primary and Early Years schools and settings.

All Primary PGCE trainees follow a programme of University based training and school experience to prepare them for Qualified Teacher Status. You will also study at Masters level and, if successful, will graduate with 60 masters level credits.

You will work with tutors and school teachers who are highly knowledgeable about their subjects and able to support you in teaching. You need to be resilient, resourceful, robust and open-minded; you may be a recent graduate or looking for a career change. On the programme you will develop teaching skills and techniques as well as acquire curriculum knowledge and understanding within a broad and relevant theoretical framework.

As the programme progresses, your teaching responsibilities increase. You will experience inspirational teaching, individualised support and high-quality phonics preparation, and will benefit from strong links between schools and the University.

Within the Primary PGCE, you have the opportunity to follow one of the following pathways and routes:
- Early Years (3 – 7)
- Primary (5 – 11) pathway
- Primary (5 – 11) with Foreign Language Leadership pathway
- Primary (5 – 11) with Special Educational Needs
- Primary (5-11) with Mathematics Specialism

- Primary (5–11) Pathway
This pathway prepares you for teaching posts in primary schools (KS1 and 2). Choose this pathway if you are interested in shaping the child as they start on their compulsory schooling. You will work alongside and help children as they learn to read, to understand and apply mathematics and to appreciate how the world works.

- Primary (5–11) with Foreign Languages Leadership Pathway
This pathway gives you the experience, opportunity and knowledge to work in KS1 and KS2. Choose this pathway if you are interested in becoming the Subject Leader or Primary Languages Co-ordinator in your future school. It enables you to teach languages to young learners and become an effective Primary Languages Co-ordinator.

- Early Years (3 – 7) Pathway
The Early Years pathway gives you the experience, the opportunity and the knowledge to work in both Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) settings and Infant/Primary school settings. The EYFS is a unique phase of education which involves learning through play and first hand experiences both inside and outdoors. This phase leads into Key Stage 1, when children really start to engage with learning to read, applying their mathematical knowledge and making sense of how the world works. Choose this pathway if you are interested in early learning and early child development. By choosing this pathway you will experience both the EYFS and KS1 phases and therefore be highly skilled in two curricula. If you are interested in the rewards and challenges of being an Early Years expert teacher choose this pathway.

- Primary (5–11) with Special Educational Needs Pathway
This pathway will enable you to develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of working with children with disabilities, within mainstream and Special School settings. You will undertake placements in mainstream schools with additional resources units, as well as Special Schools. Choose this pathway if you would like to deepen your understanding of teaching and caring for children with special educational needs, either in mainstream or Special School settings.

- Primary (5-11) with Mathematics Specialism
This route prepares you for teaching in primary, infant & junior schools. It enables you to follow a particular interest in mathematics, leading to subject leadership and/or specialist teaching of mathematics within a primary setting. You will have a minimum grade B at GCSE (or equivalent) in mathematics and typically have a B or higher in A-level mathematics and/or evidence of mathematics at degree level. Choose this specialism if you are interested in leading and championing mathematics in your future school.

Please note: in order to receive the additional bursary for the mathematics specialism you must have B or higher at A-level.

See the website http://www.reading.ac.uk/ready-to-study/study/subject-area/education-pg/pgce-primary.aspx

Modules include:

- Professional studies
- The core subjects
- (English, maths and science)
- The foundation subjects
- Special educational needs*
- Leadership*

*These modules lead to Master’s credits.

What career can you have?

In addition to the many masters' and PhD graduates, each year we have over 500 students become newly qualified teachers (NQTs). Our excellent links with local schools ensure that our employment rates are consistently high, with well over 90 per cent of our NQTs finding a teaching job last year.

With pay scales to match other industries, job security, an excellent pension and better work-life balance, teaching is becoming one of the most sought-after professions of today. Our masters' and professional courses have allowed many teachers to gain promotion within their institutions. A number of students also continue their studies onto EdD/PhD courses to develop a career in educational research.


We are one of the leading providers of teacher training in the UK.

Our Institute of Education is committed to providing quality postgraduate courses for teachers to enable them to meet their personal career aspirations and to have a direct positive impact on the lives of the children and young people in their care.

We have a flexible range of courses to suit your interests. As well as our teacher training courses, you can also study for a Master’s in Education or choose one of our pathways, which will give you a more specialised qualification.

We also have excellent partnership arrangements with over 300 local schools. These partnerships ensure that we can offer first-rate placement opportunities to our students, many of which lead to roles once they graduate.

Our work extends around the globe with consultancy work and other projects taking us to countries as varied as China, Jamaica, USA and Singapore to name but a few. We also have a wonderfully varied community of international students from over 100 countries, taking short courses, master’s degrees and PhDs with us.

Visit the PGCE Primary page on the University of Reading website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Honours degree (2:2 or above), plus grade C or above in GCSE mathematics, science and English or equivalent required. Prior experience (minimum two weeks) in a maintained primary or Early Years school.

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