PGCE Business Education - Secondary Education PGCE - University of Sunderland

Course overview

This PGCE Business Education trains you to teach – you will be able to share your knowledge of business subjects and inspire young people to fulfil their potential. More and more pupils are choosing business studies so there is a growing demand for great teachers in this discipline.

The course has two strands. The first strand is based at the University and provides a solid grounding in theory and practical issues. The second strand is based in partner schools where you will undertake practical teaching experience. A high proportion of our trainees subsequently obtain teaching posts in schools where they have completed successful placements.

Sunderland has a heritage of teacher training which dates back to 1908. What’s more, we’re one of only 25 ‘outstanding’ teacher-training institutions in the UK, according to Ofsted. So you can be confident that our courses are excellent preparation for a satisfying and rewarding career.

The 2011 Ofsted report on our secondary provision rated Sunderland as ‘outstanding’ for attainment of trainees, capacity to fulfil the potential of trainees, and effective and efficient use of resources. The report also included the following comments: “all aspects of training are highly coherent”; “there is a very high level of commitment from all staff”; “strong attention is paid to individual needs”.

As a student on this course you will be eligible for many of the University of Sunderland scholarships. Full details of the Sunderland scholarships available to you can be found on the Entry requirements tab of this course.

A video showing the benefits of becoming a teacher:

Course content

September – January

  • Professional Studies 1 – which covers general teaching/learning issues and subject application
  • Teaching practice in a secondary school or college for approximately six weeks full-time
  • Development of Learning: A Case Study – you will identify an educational intervention and explore its use, impact and influence upon the learning of one or more pupils

January – June

  • Professional Studies 2 – which builds on previous work on general teaching/learning issues and subject application
  • A full-time placement of teaching practice for 10 weeks
  • Negotiated Individual Study in Education – you will undertake a piece of action research into an educational issue

Teaching and assessment

We use a variety of teaching and learning methods which include lectures, seminars, tutorials, project work and group work as well as placements and work-based learning.

Assessment methods include written work, evidence profiles and assessment of your teaching practice.

The 2011 Ofsted report on our Initial Teacher Education (secondary phase) states: “Subject tutors are skilled practitioners and make excellent contributions to training that help to develop trainees’ strong subject knowledge and awareness of related teaching skills. They are highly informed of best practice in their subjects.”

Information about our policies relating to student experience and quality assurance processes can be found on the Academic Services website.

Facilities & location

Course location

This course is based on the banks of the River Wear at The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s. When it comes to IT provision you can take your pick from over a hundred PCs in the St Peter’s Library, three computer laboratories, and wireless access zones. If you have any problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.

Secondary partnership

The University of Sunderland forms part of a secondary partnership that includes more than 230 schools and colleges. This means that there are wide opportunities for placements during the professional year.

According to Ofsted in 2011, there is “strong communication and positive relationships between the University and its partnership schools which ensure all are aware of their roles and responsibilities”.

Ofsted also noted “high levels of coherence in training between the schools and the University, and between the generic and subject training, that contribute to trainees’ progress”.

University Library Services

We’ve got thousands of books and e-books on education topics, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals. Resources include the EBSCO Professional Development Collection, which is a specialised collection of over 500 education journals.


The David Goldman Informatics Centre

St Peter's Campus, St Peter's Way, Sunderland, SR6 0DD

Entry requirements

We welcome applications from holders of an honours degree (at least a 2:2) in Business. We will also consider other equivalent qualifications.

You should have at least grade C in GCSE mathematics and English (or equivalent). We will only accept equivalencies from Equivalency Testing.

Applicants whose first language is not English must achieve a minimum IELTS band score of 6.5, with 6.5 in writing, no sub section below 6.

After 6 April 2015 you must take your IELTS exams at one of the test centres listed on the UKVI website. If you took your IELTS exam before 6 April 2015 this does not apply, and your qualification is still valid regardless of which test centre you used.

Additional requirements:

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

If you feel you already know some of the topics covered in this course, either due to previous learning or from experience of work, then you may not need to study all of the course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the name given to the process of gaining credit towards a qualification because of something you have learnt in the past. If you are eligible for APL you won't have to learn the same topic again, and so you can be exempt from a module, set of modules or year of a course. 

Read more about APL in the Quality Handbook (.pdf). If you think you may be eligible for APL, please contact the course leader.

Fees & finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,000 if you are from the UK / EU
  • Tbc if you are an International student

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or International student, please see the International section of this website.

Government scholarships

The UK Government is keen to encourage high-quality graduates to train as teachers, and so offers bursaries to attract more people into teaching.

For more information and to check the eligibility criteria, please see

University of Sunderland scholarships

Students on this course are entitled to a Get There Campus Scholarship. Full details and eligibility criteria can be found on the University of Sunderland Scholarships page.

If you have any questions about your eligibility for any of the above scholarships, please contact:

The Scholarships Team
Tel: 0191 515 2865

Employment & careers

Everyone who wants to teach in a state-maintained school in England and Wales needs Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This course leads to QTS and, on successful completion, you will become a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT).

According to recent research, twice as many teachers find their work extremely enjoyable when compared to professionals with careers in marketing, IT and accountancy. Almost half say they regularly experience a ‘natural high’ at work.

The starting salary of an NQT is over £21,000, with extra if you work in London. Teachers see their salaries rise by an average of 30 per cent after their first four years in the job.

The Enterprise Place

If you have a good idea for a new business and have the dedication and motivation to make it happen, then we want to hear from you. The Enterprise Place, based on-campus at St Peter's Gate Business Centre, is the perfect environment for entrepreneurial students and graduates to turn their business ideas into reality. You will have access to free hot desk space, IT facilities, specialist advice and support and business mentors and networking opportunities.

To find out more about how we can help you start a business, please contact the University's Enterprise Team:

Tel: 0191 515 3751

Claire Rushworth talks about the inspiration and motivation she received from her lecturer:


Support for your learning

From the start of the course you will be allocated a Personal Tutor who will meet with you at agreed times throughout your course. Personal Tutors encourage your personal development and are a useful point of contact for any queries about your course, extracurricular activities and issues where they can point you towards specialist services at the University. These include student counselling, financial advice and chaplaincy support.

Support for your development

To help ensure the course is meeting aspirations for personal development, we invite students to fill in questionnaires at the end of modules. This provides a structured way for you to keep us up-to-date with your views.

During your course, and particularly towards the end of it, we encourage you to make full use of the resources at our Careers & Employability Service. The Service helps you explore your options, clarify your ideas, develop a career focus and make effective applications.

Extracurricular activities

The University supports student-led initiatives that enhance the extracurricular activities available to you. Some of these are related to particular subjects while others allow you to pursue interests and social activities. It’s all part of the vibrant and life-changing atmosphere at the University of Sunderland.

For more information about all the support services you will have access to as a Sunderland student, please see Student support and guidance.

"Sunderland University is simply the best preparation you could have for entering the teaching profession and I wholeheartedly recommend it to you."

James Abela N1X1

James Abela, PGCE - Business Graduate

Head of Department, Bangkok Patana School

"I chose Sunderland because of its OFSTED ranking, its focus on spending time in the classroom and the quality of the tutors. You soon learn how vital your tutor is in that year and how important your colleagues on the course become. The course is smartly designed to get you into the classroom early, give you assignments that enable you to reflect on your practise and time to discuss your practise with your colleagues. In college, I remember that Barbara carefully chose people from the local area to come in and share their experiences and she found people who had the experience, but had not completely forgotten what it was like to be in our shoes."

"I was a mature student and so my wife and two children lived in the halls of residence for a year. My children had the most wonderful experience living there. They found there were always other children to play with and Sunderland offers so many activities for children in the museums, parks, libraries and there’s even a beach."

"I found a job a few weeks into my second placement and if you look hard and are flexible about location, then you will not find it too difficult to get a teaching position. My experience in Sunderland greatly helped me in that position and gave me the confidence to apply for a Head of Department position soon after."

"Since my time at Sunderland, my career has very much taken off. I was able to help in the writing of the new computing curriculum and have been made 21st century Teacher of the Year (2014), an award sponsorted by Pearson. It was truly humbling to be flown to Hong Kong to receive the honour for my work in developing coding resources for children across the globe."

"Sunderland University is simply the best preparation you could have for entering the teaching profession and I wholeheartedly recommend it to you."

"The 'best thing I have ever done' it's been an excellent experience and one which I would certainly recommend."

CS - Richard McCullough - PGCE Business N1X1

Richard McCullough, PGCE Business - Graduate


"Nowadays, the current world of teaching is a very complex and demanding sector. This is shown throughout the process of becoming a teacher, from the application process and right through the PGCE year. The process and experience I have gone through with the University has been fantastic. This excellence begins at the application process, the welcoming nature of my interviewer immediately helped the interview become a successful one, ultimately resulting in a place on the PGCE course.

"During the summer of 2012 I had researched and read blogs from current and past trainee teachers taking the PGCE route into teaching. From my research, I imagined the year would be challenging and demanding pushing me to levels that I had not experienced before, and I was not wrong. The support, preparation and access to close professional contact with the Programme Leader was the key driver of success to the PGCE Business. The overall teaching course experience could be summed up using many carefully chosen words, however, I would sum it up as the 'best thing I have ever done' it's been an excellent experience and one which I would certainly recommend."

Apply for this course

Applications for entry must be submitted through UCAS Teacher Training (UTT).

Contact Sunderland

Programme Leader:
Barbara Evans

For more information, contact:

The Recruitment Team
Tel: 0191 515 3845

The details

Course Name PGCE Business Education - Secondary Education
Classification PGCE
Course Mode Full-time
Course Level Postgraduate
Duration 1 year
Study Location On-campus (Sunderland)
Starting 12 September 2016
UK/EU Fee £9,000
Intl Fee £Tbc

Entry requirements

Honours degree (2:2 or above) with strong business emphasis

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