PGCE Design and Technology - Secondary Education PGCE - University of Sunderland

Course overview

This initial teacher training course equips you to share your passion in a creative subject and inspire young people to fulfil their potential. D and T is a core subject in the National Curriculum at Key Stage 3 and there will always be a need for good D and T teachers.

Currently (2015) there is a national shortage of D and T teachers, so this provision fills an essential gap in the shortage of training providers across the country. PGCE Design and Technology is a 36-week Post-graduate programme which prepares trainees to teach in an 11-18 education environment. Recent developments in the past year have resulted in an innovative programme which is at the cutting edge of ITE.

This programme is also offered as part of our School Direct route.

University-based subject academics have extensive experience in school and have published and exhibited their work internationally and had influence in developments in the subject both on a national and international level.

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 partnership schools.

The trainees spend a TDA specified minimum of 120 days on placement in partnership institutions. Theory informs practice and pedagogical knowledge is developed alongside subject specialisms. The Teaching Experience(s) with an emphasis upon a Partnership between the University course and the school further develops the concept of putting theory into practice whilst gaining confidence through increased contact with the school environment and facilitates progression towards the ITT professional standards. Many partnership schools employ trainees after successful placements.

It is expected that trainees, on being awarded QTS should offer at least one specialist field of knowledge to key stage 5 and a second specialist field of knowledge to key stage 3. All trainees are specialists in ‘Core’ design, regardless of their specialist field of knowledge. Fields of knowledge include Textiles, Food, Resistant materials and Electronics with Graphics throughout each area.

D and T at Sunderland adhere to the Design and Technology Association (DATA) subject related guidelines. As the professional body of Design and Technology, their requirements and benchmark statements are strictly adhered to within our programme and practical teaching experience is gained.

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 most recent 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”.

Course content

D and T at Sunderland is research led, with many of the subject studies sessions being school led, either in school or University. Trainees also receive sessions in museums and galleries across the region.

The new Sunderland University FAB Lab offers trainees the opportunity to have training in exciting new technology.

They are also offered opportunities to take part in a variety of creative projects in schools, i.e. a STEM day in March 2015 at a partnership school. This enriches their CV and provides opportunities for further subject development and networking.

Training is personalised to allow each trainee to develop and grow. Indeed in 2014/15 92% of the trainees achieved ‘Outstanding’ with 8% achieving ‘Good’ in their teaching by the end of the Programme.

September – January

  • One module covering general teaching/learning issues and subject application. Over seven weeks you will spend two days a week at the University and three days on placement in a school
  • First teaching placement in a secondary school or college for approximately six weeks full-time
  • One Masters Module
  • Development of Learning: A Case Study (30 Credits) - You will identify an intervention employed in the classroom or in the wider school and explore its use, impact and influence upon the learning of one or more pupils

January – June

  • One module which builds on previous work on general teaching/learning issues and subject application
  • Over 7 weeks you will spend two days at the University and 3 days placement in a school
  • One module that you choose from the MA suite

Masters module 2

  • Teaching placement in a secondary school or college for 10 weeks (full-time)
  • Negotiated Individual Study in Education (30 Credits) - You will undertake a piece of action research in school based on an area of interest in a subject or phase

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.

Within the subject application aspects of the programme, students will have the opportunity to work with education teams from Art Galleries; Museums; Practicing teachers in both mainstream and SEN schools and receive specialised training in the use and application of Smart materials and relevant Design Software.

Students will all have the opportunity to follow an accredited Design and Technology Core Health and Safety Programme which on successful completion will lead to Certification in the Core.

Students will all have the opportunity to follow a Food Safety Course which on successful completion will lead to an ICSET Level 2 Food Safety Certificate.

The most recent 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

The course is based at the Forster Building on City campus and at the Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s. Sunderland is a very vibrant and supportive environment with excellent resources for teaching and learning.

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.

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 Service

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.


Forster Building

City Campus, Chester Road, Sunderland, SR1 3SD

Entry requirements

We welcome applications from holders of an honours degree (at least a 2:2) in a subject related to Design and Technology i.e: graphics, electronics, engineering, resistant materials, 3D design, product design, food technology, fashion and textiles. We will also consider other equivalent qualifications and experience. Completion of the Teaching Agency skills tests prior to the course starting is an additional requirement, please see details below.

You should have at least grade C in GCSE mathematics and English (or equivalent). We will only accept equivalencies from Equivalency Testing. All successful applicants will be invited in for interview. Interviews start mid to late November time so we recommend for you to apply as soon as UCAS opens in October. 

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:

  • DBS Enhanced Disclosure
  • Completion of a medical pro forma
  • Completion of the Teaching Agency skills tests in literacy and numeracy before starting the course.  It would be helpful, but not essential, to take the tests before your interview, visit The Department for Education website for more details. 

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
  • £11,000 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.

University of Sunderland scholarships

Students on this course are entitled to a Get There 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).

The starting salary of an NQT is over £22,000, 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.

University Language Scheme

It is usually possible to take a module from the free University Language Scheme. This can be studied on top of your 120 credits or in some cases, can earn credits towards your degree.

Language skills increase your international mobility and you can choose between French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese and Arabic at a range of levels. If your first language is not English, please check with your tutor about entry requirements.

Staff and students talk about the benefits of the University Language Scheme: 

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

Our teaching events offer you the chance to speak to teachers and find out how to get into teaching:


Support for your learning

You can expect stimulating contact time that includes lectures, seminars and practical activities. There is also non-contact time when you will be studying on your own. Your tutors encourage your personal development and are a useful point of contact for any queries about your course and extracurricular activities. Tutors can also point you towards specialist services at the University including student counselling, financial advice and chaplaincy support.

Support in schools

We work hard to ensure excellent support while you are undertaking work experience in schools. The most recent Ofsted report on our Initial Teacher Education (secondary phase) states:

  • “School-based trainers understand their roles and responsibilities fully and are highly committed to ensuring the best for their trainees.”
  • “Partnership development meetings that include central trainers, school-based generic tutors and subject mentors enable high levels of engagement, contribute effectively to consistency and communicate key priorities and high expectations across the partnership.”

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 and make effective applications.

Extracurricular activities

The University supports student-led initiatives that enhance the extracurricular activities available to you. 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.

Apply for this course

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

Contact Sunderland

Programme Leader:
Angela Sandwith

Contact the recruitment team for further information about studying at the University of Sunderland:

Recruitment Team
Telephone: 0191 515 3000 

The details

Course Name PGCE Design and Technology - Secondary Education with QTS
Classification PGCE
Course Mode Full-time
Course Level Postgraduate
Duration 1 year
Study Location On-campus (Sunderland)
Starting 19 September 2016
UK/EU Fee £9,000
Intl Fee £11,000

Entry requirements

1st degree, with 2:2 award in Design and Technology related degree, and appropriate experience

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