PGCE | (2023)

The Postgraduate Certificate in Education, commonly known as the PGCE, is one of the most popular academic qualifications for teaching

Offered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, PGCEs are designed to enhance and increase academic training, preparing students for life as a teacher. Usually taking one academic year to complete full time, and two years part time, securing a place on certain PGCE courses can be incredibly competitive.

You only need a training course to offer Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) to teach as a qualified teacher in England. However, a PGCE will increase your academic knowledge and provide you with the flexibility to teach internationally. The Scottish equivalent to a PGCE is the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).

What is a PGCE?

A PGCE combines substantial school placements with studying the theory behind teaching and learning. Most courses run from early September to July and take nine months to complete if studied full time. Some longer part-time and distance learning options are available.

PGCE courses can either be university or school-led and the majority of programmes lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), making you eligible to teach in a variety of countries. Scottish PGDE courses, and Welsh and Northern Irish PGCEs, are similar in structure to university-based programmes.

There is a shortage of teachers in some subjects - making securing a place on these particular PGCE courses relatively easy, while other programmes are more competitive. You should research this with the provider you're interested in and be prepared to look in other areas of the UK for places.

If your undergraduate degree doesn't link closely to the subject you intend to teach you may be offered asubject knowledge enhancement courseas part of your application. This is taken before the PGCE so you'd be studying for a little longer.

Do I need a PGCE to teach in the UK?

In short, no - you only need QTS. The PGCE is an additional qualification offered by some providers, which you can gain alongside QTS.

However, it's advisable to gain a PGCE if you want to teach in Scotland and other countries such as the USA, as the PGCE is an internationally-recognised qualification. It's possible to gain a qualification such as a PGCert with PGCE, if you have QTS and want to gain Masters credits and a university qualification. Find out more about theroutes into teaching.

Be aware that not all courses award QTS - the further education PGCE, for example. Speak to your training provider if you are unsure about whether your programme awards QTS.

(Video) PGCE in South Africa|| Become A teacher||SA YouTuber

Types of PGCEs

In England a PGCE may be led by a:

  • higher education institution (HEI)
  • school/charity/multi-academy trust (MAT)
  • consortium of schools in partnership with the HEI, as in School Direct, School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) or Teach First.

Different types of PGCE include:

  • Primary- prepares you to teach children up to age 11. Programmes focus on the core curriculum, although some may allow you to specialise in a certain subject. This is the most popular PGCE and demand for places is high.
  • Secondary- focuses on a particular subject and prepares you to teach children between the ages of 11 and 16.
  • Further/Adult education- if you want to teach infurther educationcolleges or conductadult educationclasses, completing one of these PGCEs means you can apply for Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status rather than QTS.

All types include placements for a minimum of 24 weeks in at least two key stages and schools.

To see what's available,search for a PGCE.

What does a PGCE involve?

It can be a very intense nine months, at times balancing lesson planning, teaching, marking and your own assignment deadlines.

Often starting with an academic focus, PGCE courses usually cover teaching and learning theory,managing classroom behaviourandcurrent educational issues. After the first few weeks you'll spend up to two thirds of your time on placement in schools, teaching in two different key stages. Your placements will help you to explore theory in practice. You'll be immersed into school life gradually, with an emphasis on research-informed and evidence-based teaching.

You will also work towards meeting the professional standards, which determine recommendation for QTS. Assessment is ongoing and progressive, developing the academic standards required for the Masters-level PGCE and QTS. At the same time you will work through personalised development plans to ensure that you're able to target individual strengths and improvements.

In this way, your academic performance and teacher development are closely linked. You will reflect, get feedback from others and be assessed against the teacher standards as you progress through the PGCE.

What will I learn?

You will study modules such as the:

  • Professional teacher- Looking at key issues in teaching and learning, tailored to the context in which you're working. Sessions will often be a lecture and seminar, or workshops.
  • Subject specialist- Building on your knowledge of the subject range, this would be led by a specialist tutor with expertise in your subject/s, both in university and in your placement, and supported by a mentor. You may study and evaluate key theories and policies, analyse and model best practice, and develop the skills required for teaching the subject. This will be further developed in your placement with your school mentor.
  • Reflective teacher- Looking at what you're teaching in the classroom, thinking about why you do it, and reflecting on what works. This would include tutorials, group work and peer support to develop your experience in practice.
  • Research informed teacher- Learning from and participating in research linked to your specialism and teaching.

What's the difference between school-led and university-led PGCEs?

As a university-led PGCE/PGDE trainee you will have more opportunity for studying and reflecting on your progress, as well as spending valuable time with other trainee teachers. You will need to pay fees but bursaries are available. You'll be able to move from a placement if it's really not suited to you.

If you'd like to be placed in a school from day one, school-led training may be the route for you. Trainees are often paid as trainee teachers and may have to pay fees. School-led trainees can be chosen by the school, participating as a team member from the beginning. Discover how you can build your experience byvolunteering in schools.

(Video) PGCE Requirements Explained|| PGCE In South Africa || SA YouTuber

Both routes may include a Masters-level qualification, such as a PGCE and QTS leading to the Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT)/induction year.

What are the entry requirements?

Some course providers may have specific eligibility criteria, but in general you must have:

  • An undergraduate degree or equivalent. For primary teaching a degree in a national curriculum subject is useful. For secondary you must have a degree or at least 50% of the degree in the subject you're applying to teach.
  • GCSE grade C/4 or above in English and maths (a B in Wales).
  • GCSE grade C/4 or above in a science subject to teach pupils aged 3-11 (primary).
  • An IELTS with an average score of 6.0 if English is not your first language and you don't have a GCSE grade C in English.

Plus non-academic requirements of:

  • some recent experience of working with children in a mainstream UK school in the phase for which you're applying
  • medical fitness
  • a declaration of convictions through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

There are some variations and exceptions to these entry criteria so you should check with the admissions department of each individual institution you're applying to.

Applicants with a degree in a subject not included in the national curriculum, such as marketing or education are able to apply for early years, primary and post-compulsory teaching.

If you have A-levels in a shortage secondary subject, such as maths, and your degree included a large mathematical element, you may be able to do a subject knowledge enhancement course and go on to train as a maths teacher.

Some courses are very competitive so you need to get plenty of work experience and apply early. If you aren't sure whether you meet the criteria, or if you gained your degree overseas, you should contact the admissions department of the institution you're considering or attend an open day.

How much does it cost?

The standard tuition fee in 2023/24 for UK students is £9,250 and approximately between £11,000 and £16,000 for international students, although overseas fees vary widely. Universities may offer special reductions for alumni, so check with individual providers.

You will also need to consider living costs. You're likely to have additional costs for travelling to school placements. Some providers may offer support towards travel expenses - contact them to find out more.

The majority of trainees find that they have limited time for part-time work, especially while on placement. International students are advised to check their visa restrictions on working.

There are three main ways to fund teacher training and depending on your circumstances you could receive them all. Tax-free bursaries and scholarships are available - the amount of which differs depending on the subject studied, postgraduate tuition fee and maintenance loans are available to help pay tuition fees for unsalaried teacher training routes, and additional financial support is available if you have children or a disability. Seefunding teacher trainingfor more information.

(Video) My experience | PGCE at Wits

Will a PGCE/PGDE guarantee me a teaching job?

The Teacher Induction Scheme in Scotland offers a guaranteed one-year training post to every eligible student graduating with a teaching qualification from one of Scotland's universities. This is not the case across all of the UK.

A PGCE is a well-recognised and valued qualification and normally includes QTS (although not all courses do), but this doesn't mean that you will automatically be employed when you graduate.

Traditionally, graduates quickly find their first teaching job, the placements completed as part of their course and any additional school experience stands them in good stead. If your School Direct/school placements go well and the school has a vacancy when you graduate, you may well be offered a job.

Pupil numbers are rising and this increases the demand for teachers. If you've completed a PGCE in a shortage subject, such as physics, maths, chemistry, computing, languages, biology, geography or design and technology, your knowledge and skills are particularly sough after.

To learn more, seehow to get a teaching job.

How do I find a PGCE?

You should attend open days and meet course tutors to make sure you get answers to all your questions. Consider asking:

  • How much does the course cost?
  • Does the course include a PGCE, as for many overseas teaching roles you will need a university or college teaching qualification (BEd or PGCE)?
  • Does the qualification lead to QTS?
  • How much school experience do you get?
  • Are there grants/loans/bursaries available?
  • What is the school's Ofsted rating?
  • What is the employment record after graduation?
  • What is the institution's reputation and department ranking?
  • How much access do students have to tutors?
  • How many lectures and tutorials are there per week? How many days a week do you need to be on campus?

To find out what's on offer and which institutions match your requirements,search PGCEs.

When do applications open?

PGCE applications in England are normally made through the DfE'sApply for teacher trainingservice. Courses in Wales and Scottish PGDE applications are made through the UCAS undergraduate system in the autumn for courses starting in September the following year.

Applications can be made throughout the academic year. However, providers are able to close the applications after a minimum of two weeks if they have enough quality applicants. They may open again later in the year but it is strongly recommended to apply early for the more popular courses.

In Northern Ireland, applications for PGCEs are made directly to the institution.

For more information, seeapplying for teacher training.


Where can I get more advice?

  • Alumni- ask them what it was like to study at a particular university.
  • Careers service- advisers can explore your options, help you decide which course is best for you and assist your application.
  • Current students- they'll tell you how much work is involved, and recommend books and other resources.
  • Open days and fairs- you can meet representatives from numerous universities, meet tutors and take a look at the campus. Take a look at upcomingopen days and events.
  • Tutors- find out more about the course content and how your career goals match up.

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(Video) Top 5 Teacher Training PGCE Interview Questions and Answers


How to answer PGCE interview questions? ›

Try to avoid clichés in your answer and focus on your personal reasons for wanting to enter the teaching profession. If you've wanted to be a teacher since you were a child, you can speak about what began your initial interest. Example: 'My interest in teaching grew from my experience as a child.

How hard is it to get into Cambridge PGCE? ›

We expect most applicants will hold three A-levels at grade B or above. All applicants must hold GCSE passes (minimum grade C) in English language and mathematics. Early Primary and General Primary PGCE applicants must also hold a GCSE pass (minimum grade C) in a mainstream science subject.

What are interviewers looking for in the PGCE? ›

PGCE interview questions like this are an opportunity to talk about your background and personal connection to the teaching profession, as well as the wider issues within education. Interviewers will be looking for a mix of personality and knowledgeability.

What is PGCE equivalent to in USA? ›

According to Education International, equivalency assessments place the PGCE as equivalent to a Masters Level degree in the United States and Canada.

How to pass a PGCE interview? ›

How to prepare for your teacher training interview
  1. Tailor your preparation. ...
  2. Think of the qualities you'll bring to teaching but don't second-guess the questions. ...
  3. Read about the education sector. ...
  4. Show passion for your subject. ...
  5. Don't forget about your other life experiences. ...
  6. Be prepared for more than just the formal interview.

What makes a good PGCE personal statement? ›

Questions your personal statement should answer

Why do you want to be a teacher? Why do you want to teach a particular subject, Key Stage or age group? What are your strengths? What experience do you have and how has this influenced your desire to teach?

Is it easy to pass PGCE? ›

If you've done a little bit of research into PGCE study, you'll probably have read about how tough the course is! It's true that it's a lot of work, but it's also worth the effort.

How competitive is PGCE? ›

Usually taking one academic year to complete full time, and two years part time, securing a place on certain PGCE courses can be incredibly competitive. You only need a training course to offer Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) to teach as a qualified teacher in England.

Is it possible to fail PGCE? ›

You'll submit academic essays, and end up simply with a pass or a fail for the PGCE. You will also be judged against the Teachers' Standards to be awarded QTS.

How long do PGCE interviews last? ›

The individual interview usually lasts around 20 minutes but may be anything from five minutes to an hour or more.

What should I wear to my PGCE online interview? ›

Keep it simple
  • Wear professional attire that you feel good in. ...
  • Avoid casual clothes such as jeans and sneakers. ...
  • Make sure you think about how long it will take you to get there, and then plan to arrive early.
Nov 3, 2021

What questions should I ask at the end of a PGCE interview? ›

Here are my top questions to ask at the end of an interview: "If appointed and successful in the post what opportunities are there for progression within the school?" "What CPD opportunities will be available to me to develop in the role?" "What is the last person in the post doing now?"

Can Americans get PGCE? ›

Absolutely, there is no barrier to a US citizen getting a taught PGCE, and obtaining NQT status, completing induction or obtaining QTS.

Can I teach in USA with UK PGCE? ›

Yes, you can teach a subject including English in America. A large community of foreign teachers reside, study, and teach in the US. Public and private schools, as well as higher education and adult education, offer English teaching opportunities.

Can I teach abroad without a PGCE? ›

To be eligible to work at the vast majority of schools abroad, you'll need a teaching qualification or licence from a reputable Western university, such as England's Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), Scotland's Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), the Irish BEd/MA in Education or a US state teaching ...

Do you have to interview for PGCE? ›

Applying for a BEd, BA, PGDE, PGCE or school direct training course? A teacher training interview with a school or university require PGCE interview questions & answer responses to be well planned for a successful outcome. Questions the interviewer will ask depends on the university.

What are the 10 most common teaching interview questions and answers? ›

More prep = less chance of a flub.
  • What are your strengths as a teacher?
  • What's your biggest weakness as a teacher?
  • How do you interact with parents?
  • Why did you leave your last teaching (or other) job?
  • What's your educational background?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • How do you handle classroom management?
Jan 4, 2023

How do I ace an online teaching interview? ›

Before the Interview
  1. Know the Platform. A friend of mine was interviewing a candidate and asked them to share their online teaching portfolio during their Zoom call. ...
  2. Test Your Technology. ...
  3. Rehearse. ...
  4. Practice Good Bbody Language. ...
  5. Limit Distractions. ...
  6. Be Authentic and Build Rapport. ...
  7. Follow Up.

How do you survive a PGCE? ›

PGCE Stress: A Survival Guide!
  1. Stay Organised. A PGCE requires you to stay highly organised. ...
  2. Seek Support. ...
  3. Focus on the positives! ...
  4. Get to know the people around you. ...
  5. Don't forget to look after yourself.
Apr 26, 2022

How do I write a motivational letter for PGCE? ›

I would like to study a PGCE as I embrace teaching as an opportunity to engage pupils in subjects about which I am passionate. I am confident that I am suited to study a PGCE because this particular course of study allows developing teachers to apply their specialist subject(s) in a creative way.

How long should a PGCE personal statement be? ›

You can use up to 47 lines of text (4,000 characters) in your personal statement.

Is PGCE just pass or fail? ›

PGCE Graded Awards

7.14 A PGCE is only awarded as a Distinction or as a Pass.

What is the pass mark for PGCE? ›

achieve 60 credits at Level 6 • successfully 'Pass' all 4 observations linked to the first 4 modules • achieve a mark of at least 40% in all assessed tasks.

How many hours do you need to pass a PGCE? ›

A: All trainees complete a minimum of 150 hours. Typically full-time trainees teach an average 8-10 hours a week, although this may vary; perhaps 3-6 hours in the early weeks rising to 8-12 hours later on.

What is the acceptance rate for PGCE? ›

3 in 8 applicants to this programme received an offer.

Is PGCE worth doing? ›

PGCE and Your Teaching Career

This means all teachers are expected to engage with academic research and this will be demanded of you if you want to progress in a career in education. PGCE study provides training for this and gives you the academic skills to not only survive but thrive in teaching.

Is PGCE better or Masters? ›

Is a PGCE equivalent to masters? NO. A postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) is the first stage towards a masters degree giving 60 credits award. A masters in education is a higher academic award that comes after PGCE teacher training course.

Can you fail PGCE but pass QTS? ›

No. The academic award, such as a PGCE or teaching degree, is separate and a trainee may meet the academic requirements but still fail to meet the standards laid down for QTS. The skills tests are one of these standards and trainees will not be awarded QTS until they have passed them.

What can I do if I fail my PGCE? ›

  1. withdraw from the course.
  2. withdraw temporarily and come back next year with some more experience in school.
  3. Retake the first placement, however if you fail thats it no more retakes.

What happens if you fail a PGCE assignment? ›

What happens if you fail PGCE assignment? You're aiming to score 70% to get those coveted Masters credits. But don't panic — if you fail to achieve a grade of 50% or more, there will be opportunities to re-write assignments.

How many times can you apply for PGCE? ›

If you do not get a place

You can then apply again, to up to 3 courses at a time. You can do this as many times as you want to get a place. Many people succeed second or third time round.

Is PGCE phased out? ›

The PGCE is designed to help you teach subjects that are relevant to your prior undergraduate degree/national diploma. The university has phased out all PGCE programmes except the Senior and FET PGCE programme, with all other PGCE programmes being phased out.

How long does a PGCE take to complete? ›

Typically one year, PGCE programmes are a popular graduate route into teaching in England, combining academic study on campus with a minimum of 24 weeks on school placements, while you train towards your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) recommendation.

Can I wear jeans to a teacher interview? ›

Shoes and jewelry should be comfortable AND yet not be noisy or distracting. No perfume or cologne: Your presence should not enter the room before you do. Jeans are never appropriate for a job interview. For both men and women, adding a little color is a great choice.

What should you not do in an online interview? ›

Do not answer your phone. Turn it off, not to vibrate but off to silent. Minimize your chance for distracting background noises as well. Find a quiet place and tell the other members of your household you have an important interview and are not to be interrupted.

How do you nail a teaching interview? ›

Here are my 5 top tips for nailing your teacher interview!
  1. Research the School. Before any teacher interview, take the time to get to know a little bit about the school. ...
  2. Know Yourself as a Teacher. How would you describe yourself as a teacher? ...
  3. Think Through Practice Questions. ...
  4. Be Who You Want to Work With. ...
  5. End Strong.

How do you stand out in a teacher interview? ›

Teacher job interviews: How to make a great impression
  1. Put away the resources you have used. ...
  2. Be nice to your rivals. ...
  3. Say thank you. ...
  4. Be innovative. ...
  5. Tell your stories. ...
  6. Ask insightful questions.
Jun 12, 2021

What are the 7 most common interview questions and answers for teachers? ›

Bonus teacher interview questions
  • Why are you interested in teaching at this school?
  • What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
  • How do you use technology in the classroom?
  • What would you do if a student is in danger of failing your class?
  • What adjectives would you use to describe your presence in the classroom?

How do you ace an interview for a teaching position? ›


This prompts you to think of actual examples, rather than mere ideas or buzz words. The more specific you can get, the better. Make sure you discuss concrete examples that show your teaching philosophy in action.

Can a US teacher teach in UK? ›

To teach in England you will need: the correct visa or status. teaching skills and experience you can demonstrate to an employer. to pass criminal and professional safeguarding checks (these will be organised by your employer)

Can international students apply for PGCE? ›

International students

As well as UK qualifications, we accept many equivalent overseas qualifications. To check to see if your qualifications are of an equivalent standard to the UK academic entry requirements for the PGCE programme we recommend that you contact UK NARIC.

Can international students apply for PGCE in UK? ›

Once you have chosen on of our PGCE courses, you can apply. All applications for PGCE programmes are made via the Department for Education's (DfE) application system. Along with your academic qualifications and personal information, your application will need to include a personal statement and references.

Does the US hire foreign teachers? ›

At a Glance: The J-1 visa teacher program is one of the most common types of US exchange programs. Foreign teachers can visit the US and teach in an accredited primary or secondary school for up to 3 years.

Can I teach with PGCE only? ›

The PGCE doesn't qualify you teach on its own, and so you'll normally complete it with QTS if you want to work as a qualified teacher. The PGCE is an extra qualification, but one that really grounds you in the theory of education and allows you to engage with the latest research.

What teaching qualifications are Recognised in USA? ›

In the USA, high school teachers require a bachelor's degree in secondary education, or in a subject the teacher wishes to specialise in (e.g. Physics). To teach in public schools, prospective teachers in the US will also require a state teaching license.

Which countries recognize PGCE? ›

A PGCE is an internationally recognised qualification, so you'll be able to seek work in countries such as America, Canada and Australia – to name just a few.

What countries can I work with a PGCE? ›

The more competitive countries like Japan, South Korea, and Western Europe (where wages are higher) are looking for qualified teachers with degrees, so you'll be in the best position to secure these jobs.

In which country can I teach with a PGCE? ›

PGCEi - A Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is a typical teaching qualification in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. This qualification involves some classroom teaching as well as observed student teaching.

How do you answer a postgraduate question in an interview? ›

The key to answering it successfully is to match your answer with your application. Express your interest in the university based on your research. Explain how you're impressed with the successes and achievements of the department or a particular academic that will be involved on your course.

How long do Pgce interviews last? ›

The individual interview usually lasts around 20 minutes but may be anything from five minutes to an hour or more.

What are the 4 teaching styles? ›

4 Elementary Teaching Styles
  • Instructor-Focused Teaching. Instructor-focused teaching—the approach to education that involves a central figure guiding the learning experience—is probably the most well-known teaching style. ...
  • Student-Focused Teaching. ...
  • Student-Led Teaching. ...
  • Collaboration-Driven Teaching.
Nov 18, 2022

How do I ace my first teaching interview? ›

Here are some winning tips to help you prep like a pro.
  1. Look the part. This may seem like an obvious one but the saying really is true: you never get a second chance to make a first impression. ...
  2. Stand tall. ...
  3. Do your homework. ...
  4. Get into the nitty gritty. ...
  5. Ask intelligent questions.
Nov 5, 2018

What is a good weakness to say in an grad school interview? ›

Examples of weaknesses might include: Lack of confidence speaking in public. Not detailed-orientated enough. Competitive.

How can I impress a graduate interview? ›

Eight steps to graduate interview success
  1. Get to grips with the types of questions you might face. ...
  2. Research the employer again. ...
  3. Think about yourself. ...
  4. Consider questions to ask in the interview. ...
  5. Practice makes perfect.

How do you stand out for postgraduate applications? ›

10 tips for master's applications
  1. Don't be vague. ...
  2. Check the guidelines for application. ...
  3. Secure funding. ...
  4. Tell them your motivations. ...
  5. Check your spelling and grammar. ...
  6. State why your experience is relevant. ...
  7. Don't undersell your achievements. ...
  8. Outline other skills.
Apr 25, 2017

What is the dropout rate for PGCE? ›

There's a notoriously high drop-out rate amongst trainee teachers (10-20% quit their PGCE before completing), so the tough entry requirements are there to protect you as much as the course providers and the schools. There might be different criteria for online PGCE courses.

How long does it take to hear back from PGCE? ›

We typically contact applicants within 2 weeks after your interview. If you're successful, you'll receive guidance on how to accept our offer and information on preparing for your course.


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