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Secondary Religious Education (PGCE)

Course Description

PGCE Secondary Religious Education at Winchester is an innovative, flexible postgraduate programme that enables prospective Religious Education (RE) teachers to study either full-time or part-time. Graduates with a 2.1 or higher are eligible for a government training bursary of up to £9,000.

Programme Content

This course combines a tradition of high-quality provision in Theology and Religious Studies with a national reputation for Initial Teacher Education (Ofsted Outstanding 2010/11).

The programme is flexible and adaptable to the individual needs of students. Study is designed to give students the theoretical knowledge and professional skills to teach RE in secondary schools. Students may prepare to teach the 11-16 or 11-18 age ranges. They also have the opportunity to gain Masters level credits (up to 60 credits).

The programme consists of seven modules, all of which have to be completed for the award of PGCE with recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Throughout the course, students develop an understanding of both the theory and practice of teaching RE using a range of learning and teaching approaches. Students are supported in developing practical classroom skills both in teaching RE and in the teacher's wider professional role.

See the website http://www.winchester.ac.uk/Studyhere/Pages/pgce-secondary-religious-education.aspx


- Enhancing and Applying Subject Knowledge
Students consolidate and deepen their subject knowledge and apply it to good practice in the classroom. This module considers the place of RE in the secondary school and the range of content that is found in locally agreed and examination syllabi.

- Current Issues Related to Subject Specialism
Students are introduced to a range of subject-related teaching and learning pedagogies. They consider how assessment, data and effective planning contribute to pupil progress. This module involves students engaging with new technologies for teaching and their creative application in the classroom.

- Subject Practitioner Development
Students engage with issues that are pertinent to their professional and subject development, including recognising students' misconceptions and creating effective intervention strategies. Development Week placements enable students to follow areas of particular interest in schools. This module is designed to be flexible, to meet the needs and interests of individual students and they are guided in their selection of appropriate placements accordingly.

- Professional Studies 1 and 2
Students are introduced to a wide range of teaching and learning approaches and broaden their knowledge and experience of the role of the teacher and their professional responsibilities. Students draw on their reading and school experience to demonstrate understanding of how effective teachers help children to learn. This includes consideration of behaviour management strategies and
personalising learning for children with additional needs.

- School Experience 1
Students have the opportunity to begin to develop their teaching skills in a secondary school. With support they move from working with small groups to whole-class teaching over a period of several weeks.

- School Experience 2
Students spend an extended period in school towards the end of the programme. They are expected to demonstrate that they meet the Teachers' Standards (Department for Education 2012) for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Students spend a substantial amount of time teaching RE to whole classes, together with ongoing training in both subject and generic issues. Throughout their time in school, they continue to be supported by a professional teacher tutor.

Learning and Teaching

The teaching team includes University staff with specialisms in RE and in Initial Teacher Education; Local Authority advisers and staff; Diocesan advisers; and secondary school teacher tutors. Students are supported through a combination of face-to-face University-based teaching and directed self-study/ research. Seminars and workshops are supported by school-based tasks to enable theory and practice to be integrated.


All modules are assessed either by assignment or by achievement of success against the Teachers' Standards during School Experience. Assignments are varied to capture students' differing strengths and include essays, presentations and portfolios. Feedback is given for all assignments in order that students can improve their academic writing as the programme progresses. School placements are assessed through graded observations measured against the Teachers' Standards. The observations include detailed feedback, usually made by the class teacher and a university link-tutor.

At the University of Winchester validated programmes may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances. The University is committed to ensuring that all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used in the programme you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day/Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.


The programme leads to a PGCE Secondary Religious Education with a recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Graduates go on to obtain teaching positions in various secondary schools and other school settings (such as academies, comprehensives, special schools, independent schools, pupil referral units and Sixth Form colleges) as highly successful RE teachers and leaders.

Visit the Secondary Religious Education (PGCE) page on the University of Winchester website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Evie Forsey

PGCE Secondary Religious Education

“I completed my undergraduate degree at Winchester in Theology and Religious Studies and Education Studies so this PGCE was a natural fit for me.

“I have recently had a baby and I have found the Universty to be very understanding and flexible. I study part-time and the lecturers really get to know your individual needs, so they can give you the right support.

“You are able to gain Masters credits for some modules on the PGCE, which is great when considering future options. I think one of the best aspects of this course is the variety of ways you are assessed from essays relating to school experience to subject enhanced portfolios – this helps to build a good range of knowledge.

“When I finish my aim is to go into teaching full-time. I enjoy debates around the modern world and religion and also being able to help students challenge preconceived ideas and understand more about different religions.”


Entry Requirements

Applicants are required to have a good Honours degree (second-class or higher) in Religious Studies, Theology, Philosophy or a related field with a strong element of religious or philosophical study. Applicants must also have GCSE grade C or higher in English Language and Mathematics as a pre-course requirement. It is also a pre-course requirement that prospective students pass the DfE Professional Skills Tests in Literacy and Numeracy.

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