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Primary with Qualified Teacher Status PGCE

Our PGCE Primary leads to the recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and prepares you for a fulfilling career where you can make a real difference to children’s lives. You will be fully equipped for the practical demands of the role, including teaching all the National Curriculum subjects. 

An outstanding learning experience
With a rich heritage in teacher training dating back over 165 years, we have a strong reputation for nurturing successful, confident and forward-thinking primary teachers. In our 2015 Ofsted inspection, we received an ‘outstanding’ rating for the quality of our work. Our primary leadership team was praised for putting students at the heart of all they do and for ensuring they have excellent career outcomes.

Practical classroom skills
Hands-on teaching experience in schools is a key part of our PGCE Primary. For a total of 24 weeks, you will undertake two main teaching placements – and a number of shorter enhanced placements – in different settings, supported throughout by our trained school mentors and link tutors.

As one of the major Initial Teacher Education providers in the East Midlands, we have longstanding partnerships with more than 400 schools across the region – a relationship which Ofsted described as ‘excellent’. All placements are organised for you by our Partnership Office. 

Choose a curriculum enhancement and age phase
You can tailor your studies to match your own interests and career plans. Depending on your preference and any prior experience, you can choose to specialise in teaching Early Years (3–7 year olds), Primary (5–11 year olds), or Later Years (7–11 year olds).

Our Professional and Curriculum Enhancement module also enables you to select from a range of subjects, such as Maths, English, Science, Wider Curriculum, PE, Inclusion or Primary Modern Foreign Languages to advance your skills in specific areas.  
Relevant, up to date and challenging
At a time when rapid policy shifts are transforming the educational landscape, we will help you to meet the challenge of change in the modern classroom. Ours is an intellectually stimulating course which will keep you up to date with all the latest developments, including the Primary National Strategy.

You will learn principles and practice associated with the National Curriculum but will also undertake a focused curriculum enhancement module which will be named on your degree certificate.
Our highly competent and qualified team of tutors includes published authors and influential researchers whose work is helping to shape the future of the profession. They are an excellent source of ideas for you to take back to the classroom. 

An environment to inspire you
Our impressive Kirtley Building offers specialist facilities to prepare you for the demands of 21st-century teaching and learning. 

It includes specially designed collaborative learning spaces to replicate school classrooms and dedicated rooms for primary Science, English and Maths. The extensive Kirtley Hall is used for activities such as PE, dance and music and features a mezzanine level for observing teaching and learning in action. 

Entry requirements

You must have a good UK Honours degree (preferably 2:1) or equivalent, plus grade C or above in GCSE Mathematics, English Language and a Science. You need to have already gained the required GCSE grades when you apply. There are currently a range of equivalences which can be accepted - please contact our Admissions team if you need clarification.

Demand for places on the course is very high, so you must also:

  • be able to communicate clearly and in spoken and written English, with a good understanding of correct grammar
  • meet the Secretary of State's requirements for physical and mental fitness to teach
  • achieve clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service at the start of the course. You must not have previously been excluded from teaching or working with children
  • have recent and sustained experience in a school or setting with children aged 3-11 years
  • meet all the Department for Education entry requirements for Initial Teacher Education courses including suitability and fitness to teach checks
  • have successfully gained a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, which is required at the point of accepting a place at the University The Disclosure and Barring Service was established when the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) merged in 2012 and will now provide the criminal records checking service for this course
  • have successfully completed the National College for Teaching and Leadership’s Skills Tests in literacy and numeracy before 1 May in order to secure a place on the course. You must have registered for the tests before we can interview you. We offer Skills Test preparation days to help you to gain the knowledge to successfully complete the tests.

You will specialise in Early Years: age 3-7 (Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1), Primary: age 5-11 (Key Stage 1 and 2), or Later Years: age 7-11 (Key Stage 2). You must demonstrate engagement with the relevant Key Stages prior to application.

We value applications from students with a range of talents, experiences and backgrounds, but only UK residents are entitled to funding.

If you apply when you are in the final year of your degree, you may not have a degree certificate before you start the course. Statements of Achievement, Diploma Supplements or a letter from the awarding University are acceptable provided it contains full details of the degree that has been awarded and the date of award. Ensure you obtain a copy of the certificate as soon as it is available.

Course modules

This course is designed to help you become a creative classroom practitioner across all primary curriculum subjects, with the skills and confidence to respond positively to children’s wide-ranging learning needs. At the same time you will gain a deep understanding of child development and theories of learning.

Routes through the PGCE

As part of the course, you can choose to specialise by studying:

  • PGCE 3-7 (Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1)
  • PGCE 5-11 (Key Stages 1 and 2)
  • PGCE 7-11 (Key Stage 2)

Your modules

You will study modules such as:

  • Professional Practice: Becoming a Teacher
  • Professional Practice: Aiming for Excellence
  • Professional Studies: Understanding Aspiration and Achievement
  • Curriculum Studies: Principles of the Primary Curriculum
  • Professional and Curriculum Enhancement - for this module, you will choose a subject such as Maths, English, Science, Wider Curriculum, PE, Inclusion or Primary Modern Foreign Languages

Your school placements

With the support of your mentor and link tutor, you will undertake two assessed school experiences as well as shorter placements, adding up to 24 weeks in total.

For 'Professional Practice: Becoming a Teacher' you will observe experienced practitioners in the classroom, teach alongside your mentor and begin to take responsibility for the class as a whole. You will put into practice the skills of planning, delivery and assessment that you cover in your University-based training. You will also gain the wider professional skills demanded of a teacher such as dealing with parents, contributing to after-school activities and planning school trips.

For 'Professional Practice: Aiming for Excellence' you will be placed at a different school or setting, with the opportunity to work with children from another age group. At first, you will be given time to observe other teachers and get to know your class. You can then expect to progress more quickly to taking fuller responsibility for the class. 

Assessment methods

To achieve Qualified Teacher Status, you will need to pass all modules of the PGCE course and the Department for Education's Skills Tests in literacy and numeracy. We run special preparation days to build your confidence and skills in advance of these compulsory national tests – many participants say these sessions provide excellent support.

Assessments are spread across the course and focus on practical, professional and academic competences. Your professional progress towards the Teachers’ Standards will be assessed in school by your trained mentors. At the University, your academic work will be assessed using a variety of strategies including essays, subject knowledge audits, presentations and posters.

Sponsorship information

We offer a 10% discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Get in touch today and increase your future employability