This part-time primary teacher training course can be studied over two years and placements must be undertaken in England. The degree is taught online via distance learning with some focused on-campus learning sessions and classroom-based practice in school. The PGCE Primary Education course is designed to fit around your commitments whilst leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
The part-time PGCE course covers the development of teaching and learning across all National Curriculum subjects and Professional Learning – including safeguarding, behaviour management and overcoming barriers to learning. You will complete Practice of Teaching modules where you will develop your theoretical understanding in practical situations in Early Years and/or primary classrooms to prepare you for achieving QTS. You will have the opportunity to specialise in the 3-7 years route or the 7-11 years route, leading to a PGCE in Primary Education with QTS.
The part-time PGCE Primary Education course is taught through online and distance learning methods, face to face lectures and workshops, and online forums with personal tutors. You will also engage in work-based training through bespoke teaching placements. Assessment is through a range of methods including electronic assignment submissions, case studies, observations, presentations and production, and evaluation of learning resources.
You will be expected to study approximately 16 hours a week. You will spend two weekends on campus, one in Year 1 and one in Year 2. In order to be eligible for the award of PGCE with QTS, you must also spend a minimum of 120 days in school.
Although you can complete your teaching placement in the school you currently work in, as part of your assessed placement, you will be required to complete six weeks in a different school setting during your second year of study. You will need to be able to negotiate time away from your current employer for these six weeks.
Prior to starting this part-time PGCE course, you may wish to carry out a five-day pre-programme placement, assisting and observing in a primary school of your own choice, with a focus on your elected route. This ensures that all students starting the course have recent and relevant experience in school settings, which will subsequently be built upon during lectures at the University and in the teaching practice that follows. During the pre-programme placement, you will complete a pre-placement handbook, which is used as a record of the tasks carried out and a starting point for discussion with your personal tutor.
Immerse yourself in teaching institutions to develop professional knowledge about teaching and learning, to make judgements about the routines, skills and strategies that support effective teaching. Gain a variety of experience in a work-based learning environment to meet Professional Standards identified in Government legislation, consistently and over a sustained period of time.
Gain an introduction to research methods, focusing on school policy and practice to address the individual learning needs of pupils. Use the knowledge you have gained from your experience in a school setting where you have identified the way in which the school addresses the educational needs of a particular group of individual pupils, and show how learning is developed over time or what could be done to enhance development.
Investigate the content of subject areas taught within the curriculum. Consider the development of a variety of approaches to teach a particular subject or topic area. Formulate skillful questioning to reveal levels of pupil understanding. Examine ways of motivating pupils, including the provision of a challenging curriculum designed to foster problem solving abilities. Explore the setting of homework that is challenging, encouraging pupils to take responsibility for their own academic progress.
Undertake a piece of independent academic study related to your vocational/professional development and engage in intellectual challenge and dialogue. Develop both general and specific knowledge and skills, identifying the key skills that will enhance your ability to transfer learning to further study and to the workplace.
Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.
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You will usually need 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.
You must have a grade C or above in Mathematics, Science, and English Language, or equivalent qualifications. If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above. We will only accept equivalencies from equivalencytesting.com.
In addition to academic qualifications, you must also:
Your numeracy and literacy competency will be assessed continuously throughout the course following the DfE’s removal of the Professional Skills Test.
You may have work experience in a mainstream primary school to gain knowledge of Key Stage 1 and 2, but this is not essential. You will be assessed on your potential to learn and not your experience.
All successful applicants will be invited to an interview. Interviews start early November, so we recommend that you apply as soon as UCAS opens, in October.
Please note, applicants with a foundation degree will need to supplement this qualification with at least 60 credits at level 6 (HE level 3) in order to attain an equivalent single qualification.
This course is subject to revalidation to meet the requirements for Initial Teacher Training from 2024.
Fees are £4,625.
Please note, applications are not open 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.
Tuition fees for this course are eligible for funding through the Student Loans Company (SLC). Please apply through the SLC’s website; or contact our Student Financial Guidance team here at the University of Sunderland.
Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.
This information was correct at the time of publication.
This degree awards Qualified Teacher Status, which means that when you graduate you’ll be qualified to teach in any state-maintained primary school in England and Wales. Most graduates from this course go on to become a primary school teacher.
Good teachers area always in high demand. All qualified teachers will have a starting salary of at least £30,000, and this will be higher for teachers working in London. The amount you earn will then increase until you reach the top end of your pay scale, after which you can choose to progress into more senior roles, such as leading practitioner or head teacher.
The teachers’ pension scheme is also one of the most generous public sector pension schemes in the UK, one of the few guaranteed by the Government.
The University of Sunderland has partnerships with over 650 schools, colleges and other educational establishments across the North East and beyond. We’ll work with you to try and find you the perfect teaching placement – schools that can nurture and support your aspirations and interests, and help you become the best primary school teacher you can be. When you’re ready to start searching for a teaching job, you will already have valuable first-hand teaching experience, as well as a wide network of professional contacts who can help you find the right career opportunities.