Post Compulsory Education and Training Pre-Service ProfGCE

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The Post Compulsory Education and Training (PCET) Pre-service is a professional teacher education course that will qualify you to teach in the post-compulsory education and training sector.

This course is designed for graduates with degrees from a wide range of subjects, including those not widely taught in secondary schools (such as Sport Science, Health and Social Care and Dance). If you would like to pursue a career in teaching, but are unable to attend university on a full-time basis because of other obligations, for example, work and family commitments, then this part-time course could be for you. It will equip you with the necessary tools to teach adults and young people and give you the opportunity to share your knowledge in a way that helps others to fulfil their potential. The course benefits from its direct link to the University of Sunderland’s Centre for Excellence in Teacher Training (SUNCETT), one of only 10 Centres for Excellence in this Sector. The course is directly informed by both the national and international educational research and development work of the team.

There is also a certificate route available for entry onto this course.

This pre-service course is for people who have not necessarily had any previous experience as a teacher, but who want to make a positive difference in the Further, Adult and Vocational Education sector. If you are already employed in the PCET sector, we also offer an In-Service Part-Time (PCET).

Why us?

  • ‘World-leading’ research in Education, according to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF)
  • 95.3% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2016/17 (based on UK postgraduate students)
  • The course is led by a highly qualified team who are extremely research-active and lead on a number of sector research projects

Course structure

Contact time is four hours per week in an encouraging and productive learning environment that provides student teachers with opportunities, time and space to develop their knowledge of theory, and refine their teaching practice alongside highly experienced and research-active teachers and teacher-educators. 

We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods, including; interactive teaching, lectures, seminars, practical teaching workshops, tutorials, directed learning and group work.

You will also be expected to successfully complete a minimum of 100 hours of teaching practice placement over the two year course (50 hours per year).

Assessment methods include assignments, seminars, presentations and formative and summative observations of teaching practice.

This course is for people who don’t have previous experience of teaching. If you are already employed in the Post Compulsory Education and Training (PCET) sector, you may be interested in our part-time Post Compulsory Education and Training In-service.

Modules on this course include:

  • Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (20 credits)
  • Developing Theories of Teaching Learning and Assessment in PCET (20 credits)
  • Subject Specialist Knowledge and Pedagogy: English Literacy (20 credits)
  • Practical Teaching and Professional Development 2 (20 credits)
  • Contextualising Policy and Curriculum in PCET (20 credits)
  • Enhancing Subject Specialist Learning through Innovation and Change (20 credits)
  • Advancing Subject Specialist Teaching and Professional Development (20 credits)


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

  • You can access free Wi-Fi throughout the University campus, so you can work from anywhere. If you don't want to carry a laptop around, just use one of the University’s PCs or Apple Macs. We have hundreds of computers for you to use in the Murray Library, St Peter's Library, and the David Goldman Informatics Centre. If you ever have any technical problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.

    IT provision
  • We’ve got thousands of relevant books and e-books, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.

    Resources which will be particularly useful for your course include:

    • Community Care Inform, which helps professionals who work with children and young people to make, and evidence, their decisions
    • JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’), which provides access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences
    • EBSCO Professional Development Collection, which is a specialised collection of over 500 education journals
    • Professional Development Collection, which features hundreds of education journals and reports
    Library Services - education
  • Map and directions


You'll be based at The David Goldman Informatics Centre, situated on the award-winning St Peter's riverside campus. The location benefits from dedicated library services and has superb transport links with the city centre and City Campus.

Entry requirements

For the Professional Graduate Certificate you will usually need to hold a 2:2 (or above) honours degree from a UK Higher Education institution or an equivalent qualification and be deemed suitable to train to teach by the School of Education at the University of Sunderland.

For the Certificate route (part-time on campus), the entry requirements are as follows:

  • HNC, an advanced NVQ Level 3/4 or Professional Qualifications
  • Evidence of work experience

It is an entry requirement for both part-time on campus qualifications that you must also have:

  • An enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check
  • Completed a medical pro forma (based on DFEE Circular 8/92)

You will also need English and Maths at GCSE grade C or above or equivalent. If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

Applicants invited for an interview will be asked to complete a pre-interview written task, participate in a group activity and complete a short in-house literacy assessment.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.


Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is tbc.

This part-time course is not available to international students.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

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

Scholarships calculator

This information was correct at the time of publication.

City Campus by night


When you complete this course you will have a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and Training in Post-Compulsory Education and Training qualification or a Certificate in Education (PCET) depending on which route you follow.

Please note that this course does not lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Teaching Practice Placement

We will help to arrange a minimum of 100-hours teaching practice placement in the Learning and Skills sector, over the course of your two years of study (minimum of 50-hours teaching practice per year). Your Teaching Practice Placement will provide you with valuable opportunities to work alongside experienced teachers and to learn how to design, deliver, assess and evaluate teaching and learning in the sector. You will be supported and guided by a Subject Specialist Mentor who will be allocated to you through the University of Sunderland’s Placement Office. Please note that you will be expected to pay for your own travel to and from placement.

Career opportunities

Previous graduates of this course have been employed in the following areas:

  • Further Education colleges
  • Sixth Form colleges
  • Training organisations
  • Prison education

Following successful completion of the course, and once in a teaching post, you will be able to apply to the Society for Education and Training (SET) who provide the recognition route to Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status through their professional formation process.

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