Secondary Religious Education (11-16) with QTS PGCE

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PGCE Secondary Religious Education (11-16) with QTS will qualify you to teach RE at Secondary level in any state-maintained school or academy in England and Wales.

This one-year course blends theoretical knowledge with carefully supervised teaching experience. You will attend placements in a variety of educational settings, to build a rich understanding of the realities of secondary level teaching.

In addition to the development of effective and engaging teaching styles, you will also be prepared to meet the requirements of RE within the National Curriculum and GCSE/A Level specifications. Subject enhancements in Humanities, British Values and SMSC are embedded as additional levels of specialist knowledge end employability. 

Why us?

  • The University of Sunderland has been training teachers for over 100 years
  • The starting salary of a newly qualified teacher is £22,000, and the average salary for a teacher is £37,400
  • ‘World-leading’ research in Education, according to the Latest Research Excellence Framework (REF)
  • You’ll spend at least 120 days on placement in schools or colleges

Course structure

This course is taught via lectures, workshops, seminars, tutorials, Canvas (the Virtual Learning Environment), support from your personal tutors and teaching group.

Placements are an important part of this course. You will engage in work-based training through bespoke teaching placements in North East schools with specialised subject mentors.

Your progress will be assessed through electronic assignment submissions, case studies, observations, presentations, and production and evaluation of learning resources.

Prior to starting the course, you are required 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 trainees have recent and relevant experience in school settings at the start of the course.

Modules include:

  • Practice of Teaching (30 credits)

Immerse yourself 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. Gain a variety of experience in your specialist phase 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.

  • Subject Studies (30 credits)

Gain subject knowledge in Religious Education. Complete subject knowledge audits to identify your individual learning needs and action plan for subject knowledge development alongside subject tutors and mentors to meet professional standards for QTS. Study pedagogical approaches and gain knowledge of what constitutes effective planning for children’s learning. 

  • Development of Learning: A Case Study (30 credits)

Gain insight into the nature of teaching and learning generically and within the educational context. Reflect upon your current knowledge and understanding of teaching and learning and continue to develop these through observation in your placement, reading and investigation, analysis, and discussion. Cover areas such as behaviour management, safeguarding, planning and assessment.

  • Negotiated Curriculum Study in Education (30 credits)

Structure and undertake a piece of independent academic study related to your subject. Engage in intellectual challenge and dialogue. Develop both general and specific knowledge and skills, which will vary according to your chosen project.


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 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.

    Library resources which you might find particularly useful include:

    • Professional Development Collection, which features hundreds of education journals and reports
    • EBSCO Professional Development Collection, which is a specialised collection of over 500 education journals
    Library Services - PGCE
  • Map and directions


You'll be taught in the David Goldman Informatics Centre on the Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s - a modern and vibrant campus with a riverside view.

The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s is nestled between the River Wear and the sea, just two minutes from the coast, and set in expansive green space on the banks of the river next to the historic St Peter's Church. This provides a picturesque backdrop and a great location for travelling to the beach or the city centre.

The David Goldman Informatics Centre is one of our most striking buildings inside and out and has been described as a ‘computing cathedral’ in the past, and with over 300 computer workstations in one space it’s easy to see why.

Entry requirements

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.

You should also have GCSE grade C or above in Mathematics and English, 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

In addition to academic qualifications, you must also:

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

If English is not your first language, you will also need International English Language Testing System (IELTS) at a score of 6.5, with at least 6.5 in writing, and no section below 6.0.

The Department for Education (DfE) are removing the Professional Skills Test for all trainees from April 2020, instead numeracy and literacy will instead be assessed continuously throughout your course. Further information can be found on the DfE website.

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.

If you are accepted onto the course, you are advised to source your teaching placements prior to the start of the course, though this is not compulsory.

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is £9,250.

RE teachers are in short supply nationally. The Department for Education have announced Training Bursaries of £9,000 for trainees with a First Class degree, 2:1, 2:2, PhD or Masters.

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.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's by night


This degree awards Qualified Teacher Status, which means that when you graduate you’ll be qualified to teach in any state-maintained secondary school in England and Wales. Most graduates from this course go on to teach in secondary schools.

Good teachers are always in high demand. The average starting salary for a teacher is £22,000, and experienced teachers can earn up to £56,000 outside London, and £64,000 in London. Head teachers can reach a salary of between £42,379 and £112,000.

Teachers also benefit from excellent holidays, and the teachers’ pension scheme is the second largest public sector pension scheme in the UK.

School placements

The University of Sunderland has partnerships with over 200 schools, in 12 local authorities. You’ll spend at least 120 days on placement. We’ll work with you to find you the perfect placements - schools that can nurture and support your aspirations and interests, and help you become the best secondary teacher you can be.

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