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What is a PGCE?

Put simply, a PGCE is a postgraduate qualification that trains students in the skills needed to become a teacher. PGCE stands for Postgraduate Certificate in Education, and is a widely-recognised stepping stone between an undergraduate degree and your first job in teaching. The course is typically one year long and combines practical school placements with taught theoretical elements.


Why do a PGCE?

If you’re hoping to embark on a career in education, a PGCE will provide you with relevant training, equip you with the necessary teaching skills and enable you to achieve your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This latter is a requirement if you are hoping to teach in state schools.


Types of PGCE

A career as a teacher can mean many different things. For instance, what age group are you hoping to teach? Is there a particular subject you would like to specialise in? Your answers to the above questions will determine the type of PGCE you choose to study. In the main, PGCE courses can be divided in to Primary School PGCEs, Secondary PGCEs and Further/Adult Education PGCEs.


Primary School PGCEs train you in the teaching of children up to Year 6. Some require you to specialise in a subject or an age range (which are often divided up by Key Stage levels).

Secondary PGCEs are for those who want to teach at a secondary school level. You will normally specialise in one subject (usually the subject focussed on in your undergraduate degree), and you can occasionally specialise further by Key Stage Level. Some courses focus on Key Stages 3 and 4, for instance, while others cover the entire age range, from Key Stage 3 through to Sixth Form teaching.

Further/Adult Education PGCEs are courses that specialise in adult and college teaching. It’s important to note, however, that these PGCEs won’t give you your Qualified Teacher Status (therefore if you want to teach in a state school, you’ll need an additional qualification).



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