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PGCE Secondary (English)

Course Description

The PGCE Secondary is the first phase of a career-long process of personal and professional development, which will equip you to become a secondary school teacher. The PGCE Secondary is a course in Initial Teacher Training which is accredited by the DfE, the successful completion of which will accord you Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Our course has recently been inspected by Ofsted which resulted in an “Outstanding” grading for all aspects of our provision.

Subject pedagogy is explored in curriculum groups, examining techniques for making each subject accessible and stimulating in a classroom environment.

Our popular English course aims to:
-Provide you with the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills needed to become an effective and innovative teacher of English.
-Extend your awareness of the range and scope of English as a subject in schools today.
-Provide opportunities for you to experience and explore a variety of approaches to teaching the subject.
-Allow you to develop an appreciation of your own strengths and weaknesses.

Over the course, you will be based in one of our Partnership schools where you will have the opportunity to develop your skills in a teaching background. The school-based activities involve structured classroom observations, planning and research projects and practical teaching - the latter starting by teaching individual pupils, eventually leading through group work to full classroom teaching.


The course is organised as three modules:
-Professional Issues in school based education
-Teaching and Learning in the Curriculum
-Self-directed Study

The Professional Issues in School Based Education relates to the Teacher Standards and is delivered in two parts, prior to each of the two extended teaching practices. The teaching is related to those classroom-based issues such as the psychology of learning, the law, curriculum groups, examining techniques for making each subject accessible and stimulating in a classroom environment and is followed up in subject groups and during school placements The block practices in the Autumn and Spring allow for practical opportunities for full professional development where there is a progression from observation, structured activities and group work to whole class work.

Teaching and Learning in the Curriculum and Self Directed Study are studied at Masters Level. The Teaching and Learning in the Curriculum Module draws on the international research expertise within the School of Education enabling student teachers to engage critically in issues relevant to the classroom and school, particularly those that impact on the success of children as learners. The Self Directed Study module draws on students’ experience during weekly visits to schools and their own small scale action research, and links this to critical engagement with published educational research.

These Masters modules provide an opportunity to explore, in a more theoretical way, the issues to do with teaching and learning through lectures and mixed subject and phase seminar groups taught as a conference week usually after Christmas. In addition to covering Teacher standards these modules will enable assessment work to be carried out for the award of PGCE.

On successful completion of the course, student teachers will have 90 credits and QT.

Other admission requirements

-Significant and relevant subject knowledge and recent experience of the English teaching environment. This should be demonstrated at both application and interview.
-A demonstrable interest and involvement in the lives and development of young people. GCSE English and Mathematics at Grade C or above (or equivalent) which must be achieved at the time of application.If your equivalent qualifications are from an overseas institution, you must apply for a Statement of Comparability from NARIC.
-Pass in the QTS Skills Tests by 1st August prior to the beginning of the programme.
-Must have undertaken at least ten days of work experience in a UK mainstream school environment within the three years prior to application.
-Must have completed the 10 day Primary School Experience in a UK Primary School (or a Primary School which follows the English National Curriculum) prior to commencing the University course in mid September. Offer holders will arrange this for themselves in their own local area.

Your professional and interpersonal qualities and your commitment to teaching will be considered when making an admissions decision. Candidates who meet the criteria, will be invited to a selection day. Selection days will involve individual interviews with a pre-prepared presentation element and tests to assess written English and other skills. Successful candidates will receive an offer conditional upon successful medical and criminal record checks. The latter is carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service and full instructions on how to apply for a DBS Disclosure are issued with offer letters. If you have a criminal record of any kind, you may contact the School of Education DBS Manager, Steph Tunstall, for further advice and information. All enquiries will be treated in confidence.

We strongly encourage you to register for the DBS Update Service, which lets you take your certificate from one employer to another without having to apply for a new check. Please note, all DBS Enhanced Disclosures for our Students must be applied for through Durham University unless you have applied to the Update Service.

Visit the PGCE Secondary (English) page on the Durham University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

The equivalent of a UK upper second class honours degree of which approximately 50% is comprised of English or a closely related subject. If your degree is from an overseas institution you must apply for a Statement of Comparability from NARIC. See course description for further details.

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