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Teacher Training – University of Exeter

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University of Exeter

Secondary Education (Mathematics) PGCE

The PGCE Mathematics course at Exeter is designed to help you develop your understanding of the subject, of current good classroom practice and how students can best be supported in their learning. All of this is underpinned by a commitment to supporting you in your professional development so that you enter the profession as an enthusiastic and highly skilled teacher.

Our aim is to help you to become a reflective practitioner, a teacher who is willing to critically evaluate and develop your practice in the light of experience and research evidence. You will be laying firm foundations for a thoughtful and rewarding teaching career. You will take part in activities that we hope will challenge your thinking and help you to develop a clear and positive rationale for your own values, beliefs and approaches.

You will also need to commit to a significant amount of independent study. As well as exploring your own professional development you will be asked to think about students’ learning and how best to plan and organise lessons that allow all pupils to be active and successful. Again, we will interweave practice and research to help you to develop ideas about how students learn – and what to be aware of that might inhibit learning. In the first term of the PGCE year, based at the University, we will draw on your experiences, video material, whole group discussion, small group work, paired work, lectures, peer teaching and peer- and self-evaluation to help you prepare for your school-based work in the following two terms. You will also complete three academic assignments, one each term, in which you will explore aspects of learning and teaching mathematics in depth.

Mathematics is a subject with a high profile in the curriculum yet is one about which many learners can have negative feelings. We will explore with you the nature of mathematics and the teaching of mathematics and how this might affect student enjoyment and engagement. The Exeter PGCE is designed to help you to develop your own 'academic' knowledge of mathematics, where appropriate, including dedicated sessions on the use of ICT. Furthermore, the development of academic knowledge into 'curriculum' and 'pedagogic' knowledge to support your practice will be an important focus.

The programme lasts 36 weeks and consists of University-based studies and school-based work

Entry requirements

The usual entry requirements for this course are a good A level mathematics grade and a 2:2 degree with at least 50% mathematical content. However, equivalent or alternative qualifications are always considered and, where necessary, applicants may be required to complete some subject enhancement before joining the course.

We anticipate that all applicants will have had some experience or observation of mathematics education in a state secondary school, so that they come to interview informed about the subject they wish to teach.

The PGCE Mathematics course at Exeter requires enthusiasm, energy, commitment, a love of mathematics and a strong desire to teach. In return, the mathematics team, together with school-based partners, will offer you every opportunity to advance towards becoming a confident and inspirational teacher of mathematics.

For graduates who need to develop their mathematics subject knowledge to gain access onto a PGCE it is possible to take a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course. There are several options available and you can discuss at your interview or beforehand by contacting Thomas Ralph.

Course modules

The programme has three fully integrated components:

Secondary Education and Professional Studies Module
The Professional Studies component introduces you to key educational ideas and principles within a range of educational contexts. The module is followed throughout the year with both University and school-based elements and is concerned with classroom issues, whole school issues and the role of education in the wider society.

Secondary Professional Learning Module
Central to school-based work is the development of your ability to meet the standards of professional competence which trainees must demonstrate in order to meet national standards for the award of QTS.

Secondary Mathematics Subject Knowledge and Pedagogy Module
The principal aims of the module are to equip students with a comprehensive understanding of the background issues and practice of the current teaching of Mathematics in the secondary school, and to enable them to meet the Professional Standards for Teachers in England (2007).  In addition, the module seeks to nurture reflective and autonomous professional practitioners who are able to identify strengths and areas for development in their subject knowledge and pedagogy, through evaluating current professional practice in relationship to developments in research and curriculum theory.

Assessment methods

Through University and school-based assignments. There are no formal exams.

Academic assessment
Two assignments:

  •     An essay on a topic related to mathematics of your choice
  •     A research project investigating an aspect of learning in maths, linking your academic reading directly to your own classroom practice and the impact that it has on student learning.

In common with all routes to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) you need to meet The Professional Standards for Teachers: QTS. This is based on a portfolio of evidence that you build up during the year.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Fee locale Course duration
PGCE Full-time £ 9,250 (Whole course) Home/EU 36 Weeks
PGCE Full-time £ 16,500 (Whole course) International 36 Weeks

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