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MA Education

Course Description

The key aim of the PGCE Primary programme is to deliver a high quality initial teacher education programme that is up-to-date with current developments in education and the primary curriculum and will equip you with the professional knowledge, understanding, skills and attributes to become outstanding Early Years practitioners and primary teachers.

There are two University centred PGCE routes, enabling you to choose the one most appropriate to your circumstances in terms of managing your studies around existing work and commitments. Both lead to recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS):

Full-time route: 39 weeks to complete starting in September and ending the following July with 120 days of school-based training
Visit the UCAS website to apply for the full-time PGCE programme (course codes below).

Part-time route: Two years to complete starting in September and ending the following summer with 120 days of school-based training.

Upon the award of QTS you will be qualified to teach across the full 3-11 age range although you will specialise in specific Key Stages within the programme assessed school experiences. You choose one of two options:

The ‘Lower’ option will cover the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) ages 3-5 and Key Stage 1 (KS1) ages 5-7
The ‘Upper’ option will cover Key Stage 2 (KS2) ages 7-9, and 9-11

Across all routes, programme teams work closely with partnership school colleagues to support you in developing your professional practice, providing you with excellent opportunities to engage in wider professional issues relating to pedagogy and the curriculum. The programme is integrated with school-based experience and training to ensure that your developing professional practice is underpinned by knowledge and understanding of educational theory and current local, national and international research.

You will be expected to critically engage with educational issues and develop as reflective practitioners, able to evaluate and adapt your practice to meet the needs of learners from diverse cultural backgrounds. The University provides a strong centre-based opportunity to develop and share good practice in order to enhance the experiences of all student teachers.

School Centred Training

We also offer a school centred training PGCE route (School Direct) where Teaching School Alliances work in partnership with York St John to offer PGCEs in Primary Education and a range of secondary subjects, inlcuding English, mathematics and science. For more information on this route please visit the School Direct webpages.

Course Structure

The PGCE Primary programme is structured in phases (introductory, developmental and consolidation) and within each phase you will follow a similar pattern of learning to that of a ‘spiral curriculum’. This is to enable you to reflect upon your learning and make effective links with curriculum and pedagogy through relating theory to practice.

Alongside academic assignments, you will be assessed in three school experience placements: these again follow the introductory, development and consolidation phases. The nature of these placements enables you to progress effectively by building upon your skills as student teachers. In addition to these teaching placements, you will also complete experiential placements in order to meet the requirement of 120 days of school-based training, as stipulated by the NCTL’s Initial Teacher Training (2012) criteria. The experiential placements are specifically designed to integrate with the taught modules so that you can widen your experience and develop a deeper pedagogical knowledge. You will observe children and young people in settings such as playgroups, nurseries and crèches, primary and secondary schools. Enrichment opportunities could include an international placement as well as focused days on, for example, phonics and behaviour management.


Your programme consists of three modules:

• Understanding Learning and Teaching and School Experience
• The Emerging Professional and School Experience
• Early Years and Primary Curriculum or Early Years and Primary Curriculum with Subject Specialism

Two modules are studied at Masters Level. The first includes professional issues including child development, planning, learning teaching and assessment, behaviour management and meeting individual needs. You will be provided with the opportunity to consider how learners from diverse cultural backgrounds can be supported within education and care settings. This aspect of education is embedded through all modules where diversity is considered in order to meet the needs of all learners in all subjects and within the Early Years. You will study, for example, current issues pertaining to inclusion, ethnicity, English as an Additional Language (EAL), SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) and the way in which settings cater for children of a range of abilities. Aspects such as behaviour and classroom management, vital to the practice of the outstanding class teacher, are covered across a variety of sessions in all modules.

The second module focuses on your developing skills as a reflective practitioner and researcher. You will cover aspects relating to safeguarding and your role as a professional, working with others, career opportunities and the transition from student teacher to newly qualified teacher. You will also be supported in developing your understanding of how to conduct research within educational settings.

In the Early Years and Primary Curriculum module, you will be introduced to all core and foundation subjects of both the National Curriculum and the Early Years curriculum (for the 3-7 route). There is also the opportunity to develop cross-curricular and thematic planning through workshops where you will engage collaboratively to develop planning units that will consolidate and extend your own skills and those of children. ICT is a strong component and is used to demonstrate effective, enhanced teaching. Subject knowledge in English, mathematics and science will be prioritised and you will be required to demonstrate a secure level of knowledge beyond the Key Stage 2 curriculum.

Visit the MA Education page on the York St John University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You require an honours degree in an appropriate discipline, satisfactory interview, references and evidence of qualifications. You may qualify for entry based on other equivalent relevant qualifications or experience. International applicants whose first language isn't English will be required to demonstrate they possess sufficient competence in written/spoken English to succeed. If you have a PGCE gained within the last five years we recognise up to 60 relevant M level credits for this to provide exemption from 2 modules normally studied in the second year of part-time study, you would complete and pass the first-year modules and proceed to dissertation study.

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