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PGCE Early Years Education with QTS

Course Description

Successful completion of the programme leads to recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status and enables you to gain 60 Level 7 / Masters Level credits (equivalent to 60 ECTS credits for Republic of Ireland students).

This programme will equip you with the skills, understanding and experience to become a leader of learning in a wide variety of Early Years settings, including primary schools, nursery settings and children’s centres.

You will be trained across the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, combining on-campus study with high quality training in schools, ensuring you gain the experience to be an outstanding teacher of children aged 3-7.

On completion of the course you will have the confidence to take up your first teaching post with a clear appreciation of the latest approaches and strategies to teaching theory, combined with extensive practical experience, to enable you to educate and inspire Early Years children.


The programme starts with an extensive subject knowledge and understanding audit, to identify your main strengths and weaknesses, and enable your tutor to focus on your individual development needs.

The PGCE consists of four main elements:

- Personal and Professional Development – you will develop your learning skills and will learn how to reflect upon and take charge of your own development as a trainee teacher. Gaining knowledge of how children learn and how their needs differ, you will also develop strategies for the core skills of planning, assessment, teaching and class management, along with an understanding of the education system, and of the wider professional role of a teacher in school. A critical appreciation of theoretical perspectives, philosophies and research-based findings will also be conveyed;
- Curriculum – you will learn about the National Curriculum at Key Stage 1 for each subject and how to plan, teach, and assess it across the whole primary age range. You will also learn about the Early Years Foundation Stage and the areas of Learning and Development within this;
- Specialist Strand – you will follow this both at Edge Hill University and in school. The aim is to enable you to pursue your own particular interests in Early Years and prepare for an eventual leadership role in schools or settings;
- Research Specialism – you will be immersed in the contemporary key theories and principles of early years education and undertake a relevant small-scale research project.

The importance of play-based learning will be examined in each element. Cross-curricular themes are also considered as are the practical skills of planning for learning, promoting positive attitudes and working in an extended team and with parents and carers.

One of the most important elements of this programme is the practical teaching experience you will gain through placement in one of our partnership schools or nurseries. This hands-on approach is combined with tutor-led sessions and self-study so that you can increase your ability to plan, teach and manage the learning of children aged 3-7 years. You will learn how to teach pupils across the ability range, how to assess pupils’ progress in learning, manage behaviour and maintain a happy learning environment.

The programme will develop your understanding of how children learn and also consider behaviour management, child development and other important professional issues related to the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. You will be encouraged to develop as a reflective and well informed professional.


A combination of academic study, group discussion and reflection, practical and work-based learning in the classroom will give you the knowledge and skills you need to become an excellent teacher. You will be supported by online and distance learning materials and encouraged to develop key skills, including the use of ICT, to support your own learning.

The course involves a significant amount of time in schools and settings over a series of placements, including at least one block placement in the Early Years Foundation Stage (3-7 years) and one in Key Stage 1 (5-7 years). Here, you will work alongside mentors and peers to further your professional development.

In schools and Early Years settings you will undertake a range of differentiated training experiences which will be closely linked to your individual targets. Your teaching timetable will increase in relation to responsibility, as your training progresses and you become more confident and competent in the classroom. You will progressively assume the responsibility for the children and their achievement and progress, involving excellence in teaching, learning and assessment.


A balanced combination of coursework and observed classroom experience will be assessed against the Professional Standards for QTS.

Before the end of your PGCE you will need to complete a Career Entry and Development Profile (CEDP) which acts as a useful bridge between your initial teacher training programme and your Induction Year as a Newly Qualified Teacher.


The teaching team delivering this programme has a wide range of experience and expertise as Early Years practitioners, local authority advisers, teachers in school and university tutors. They are committed to being at the forefront of developments and research within Early Years education.

Entry Requirements

To join this programme you need: A first or second class Honours degree from a UK university, in any subject; A commitment to (and understanding of) early years education; GCSEs at grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics; GCSE at grade C or above in combined Science (dual or single award) or in Physics, Chemistry or Biology; Two further GCSEs at grade C or above in National Curriculum subjects; Suitable personal and presentational qualities. Professional Skills Tests in Literacy and Numeracy must be successfully completed prior to entry. Disclosure and Barring Service Enhanced Disclosure required.

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