Education (IDL) PGCE

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Students must apply via one of the following online application forms:-

Application Deadline - 14th February 2020

Course starts: 17 February 2020Apply now

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Qualify as a teacher from anywhere in the world with this distance learning course. Gain a globally recognised qualification. Expand your career possibilities.

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PGCE Education Independent Distance Learning (IDL) at the University of Sunderland is an internationally recognised teaching qualification. The course blends applied teaching theory and practice in three taught modules and one extended teaching practice module. It has been developed so that it can be delivered to primary, secondary and post-16 teachers and to any subject specialism. It is a 36-week full-time course, completed in one academic year which can be undertaken both in the UK and in international settings.

Two of the modules are research-based and at Masters level, preparing you for further postgraduate study which will qualify you for progression to Stage 2 of our MA International Education or MA Education, both available as distance learning courses.

While this course does not provide a direct route to QTS, it can be used with our Assessment Only Route to QTS, if a candidate is suitably qualified and experienced.

Why us?

  • University of Sunderland is at the forefront of PGCE (IDL). Having developed the PGCE Education over 15 years ago in one country, we now operate across the world
  • ‘World-leading’ research in Education, according to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF)
  • The chance to engage with leading teaching and learning principles in both theory and practice that parallels the on-campus PGCE provision
  • Graduate from a UK university which has been training teachers for over 100 years
  • The PGCE Education (IDL) offers the opportunity to have guidance from expert tutors who have many years of experience as both teachers and academics; a combination that gives students a unique opportunity with which to explore and debate the complexities of education
  • Tutors make on-site quality assurance visits so you may have the opportunity to meet with them to discuss your ongoing professional development

Course structure

The programme is split into two semesters and has four core modules. There is one taught module, two research modules, and one teaching practice module.

We use a wide variety of teaching methods with tasks including required reading, directed activities and self- assessments.

There are online discussion forums where trainees are invited to debate current issues relevant to the module content and, if you live close to other students on the course, we encourage you to form a study group.

The teaching practice is work-based and conducted entirely in a school or other educational institution that you have secured a placement at or currently working at. This is supported by a mentor and university staff.

We assess both the theoretical and practical elements of the course.

Assessment is through written assignments, a profile of evidence of teaching standards and observed teaching.

Progression through the programme:

Subject Studies (EDP381)

This module will investigate the content of subject areas taught within your specific subject and/or curriculum, including:

• Consideration given to the development of a variety of approaches to teach a particular subject or topic area
• Formulating skilful questioning which reveals levels of pupil/student understanding
• Ways of motivating pupils/students including the provision of a challenging curriculum designed to foster pupils’/students’ problem solving abilities
• Setting homework or home-based activities that are challenging, consolidate work already completed and encourages pupils/students to take responsibility for their own academic progress


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Practice of Teaching (EDP380)

This module involves trainees immersing themselves in teaching institutions to develop professional knowledge about teaching and learning and to make judgements about the routines, skills and strategies that support effective teaching. It provides them with the breadth and variety of experience in a work based learning environment to meet professional Teachers’ Standards identified in Government legislation current at the time of study, consistently and over a sustained period of time.

The first block will entail 6 weeks of teaching practice with approximately 11 hours of teaching per week. The second block will entail 6 weeks of teaching practice with approximately 14 hours of teaching per week. Please note that QTS will not be recommended after completion of this programme.

Development of Learning: A Case Study (EDP M01) (Masters level 7)

During your time in an educational setting, prior to engagement with this module, you will identify the way in which the school/college/setting in which you are placed addresses the particular educational needs of a particular small group of individual pupils/students (or it might be one student) and which shows how learning is developed over a short period of time, or alternatively, what could be done to enhance its development in the future.

Examples to consider could be: the way in which the school/college/setting deals with those identified as having special educational needs; how the school/college deals with pupils who routinely do not engage in aspects of classroom learning or homework or with their peers; how the school supports more able and talented pupils; or how the school supports improvements in behaviour.

Please note that you will not study an individual pupil/student but the intervention, process, or aspect of teaching and learning put in place to support them.

There will be a range of material provided which will enable and empower you to approach the work which will be entirely relevant to you at this point in your training. You will be able to engage with, and critically evaluate, teaching and learning at a scale other than that of whole class planning. Support will be available throughout the time enrolled on the module from your subject tutor. This will enable you to discuss your research and proposed methodology/problems as you progress through the work.

Negotiated Individual Study in Education (EPD M97) (Masters level 7)

This module provides students with the opportunity to structure and undertake a piece of independent academic study related to their particular vocational/professional development, which will encourage them to engage in intellectual challenge and dialogue. Students will develop both general and specific knowledge and skills, which will vary according to each student’s chosen projects. These will be negotiated and agreed between the student, the subject supervisor and the supervising university tutor. Students will also identify and develop key skills that will enhance their ability to transfer learning to further study and to the workplace. The students will each make an interim presentation of their research proposal and a final written account of their learning.

  • As a distance-learning student, you'll be able to remotely access online journals, articles and e-books.

    The library team offer real-time online help through ‘Live Chat’ at various periods throughout the day, and they also offer online tutorials to help you make the most of our electronic resources.

    Library Services - distance learning


This distance-learning course can be studied from anywhere in the world. You'll need internet access to use our Virtual Learning Environment, where you will access specially designed learning materials, e-books, e-journals, relevant websites and multimedia.

Entry requirements

We usually require applicants to hold an honours degree or equivalent.

For those without a first degree studied in the medium of English, Academic IELTS is required. (A minimum Academic IELTS band score of 6.5, with 6.5 in writing, and no less than 6 in Reading and Speaking and Listening)

If you are currently NOT employed as a teacher and will be seeking a placement school please read the following before applying:

Advice to applicants seeking a placement

PGCE Education FAQs (.pdf)

Observation of experienced teachers

You should secure a reasonable number of teaching observations per week to support your work on the Subject Studies and Practice of Teaching modules. This can be in a school of your choice, and it is usually the school where you will undertake your placement.

Before applying please note:

Along with your application form, you must upload the following Supplemental application documents:

1. Postgraduate agreement form

2. Postgraduate school proposal form completed by the Head Teacher of your placement school

3. Postgraduate mentor form completed by your Mentor

You must also provide us with a copy of your degree certificate.

We accept the following as evidence of English Language:

  • Transcript or certificate of your degree which clearly states you studied in the medium of instruction in English
  • Letter from your University clearly stating the medium of instruction to be English
  • Academic IELTS If English is not your first language you need to send proof of Academic IELTS level 6.5 or equivalent (Applicants whose first language is not English must achieve a minimum Academic IELTS band score of 6.5, with 6.5 in writing, and no less than 6 in Reading and Speaking and Listening.)

Without all of the above documents, we will not be able to make you an offer on this course.

Fees and finance

The annual fee is £7,100.

A £1000 deposit must be paid prior to the start of the course. This deposit is refundable up until the point of enrolment.


Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.

Scholarships calculator

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

Student in the Sunderland Futures department


This degree is ideal for teachers and other people working within international education institutions who want to quickly progress their careers. It will qualify you for more senior positions in teaching and educational management in international schools.

The knowledge and skills you develop will also transfer to many other sectors, particularly education policy and government.

Please note that this course does not award Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which you would normally need to teach in a state-maintained school in England.

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