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Education (Primary) Graduate Diploma,Postgraduate Certificate (PGCE)

PGCE Primary Education

The Course Programme Structure Staff Profiles Why YSJ ?


The PGCE Primary programme is structured in phases (introductory, developmental and consolidation) and within each phase you will follow a similar pattern of learning to that of a ‘spiral curriculum’.  This is to enable you to reflect upon your learning and make effective links with curriculum and pedagogy through relating theory to practice.

Alongside academic assignments, you will be assessed in three school experience placements: these again follow the introductory, development and consolidation phases.  The nature of these placements enables you to progress effectively by building upon your skills as student teachers.  In addition to these teaching placements, you will also complete experiential placements in order to meet the requirement of 120 days of school-based training, as stipulated by the NCTL’s Initial Teacher Training (2012) criteria.  The experiential placements are specifically designed to integrate with the taught modules so that you can widen your experience and develop a deeper pedagogical knowledge.  You will observe children and young people in settings such as playgroups, nurseries and crèches, primary and secondary schools.  Enrichment opportunities could include an international placement as well as focused days on, for example, phonics and behaviour management.



Your programme consists of three modules:

  • Understanding Learning and Teaching and School Experience
  • The Emerging Professional and School Experience
  • Early Years and Primary Curriculum or Early Years and Primary Curriculum with Subject Specialism

Two modules are studied at Masters Level.  The first includes professional issues including child development, planning, learning teaching and assessment, behaviour management and meeting individual needs.  You will be provided with the opportunity to consider how learners from diverse cultural backgrounds can be supported within education and care settings.  This aspect of education is embedded through all modules where diversity is considered in order to meet the needs of all learners in all subjects and within the Early Years.  You will study, for example, current issues pertaining to inclusion, ethnicity, English as an Additional Language (EAL), SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) and the way in which settings cater for children of a range of abilities.  Aspects such as behaviour and classroom management, vital to the practice of the outstanding class teacher, are covered across a variety of sessions in all modules.

The second module focuses on your developing skills as a reflective practitioner and researcher.  You will cover aspects relating to safeguarding and your role as a professional, working with others, career opportunities and the transition from student teacher to newly qualified teacher.  You will also be supported in developing your understanding of how to conduct research within educational settings.

In the Early Years and Primary Curriculum module, you will be introduced to all core and foundation subjects of both the National Curriculum and the Early Years curriculum (for the 3-7 route). There is also the opportunity to develop cross-curricular and thematic planning through workshops where you will engage collaboratively to develop planning units that will consolidate and extend your own skills and those of children.  ICT is a strong component and is used to demonstrate effective, enhanced teaching.  Subject knowledge in English, mathematics and science will be prioritised and you will be required to demonstrate a secure level of knowledge beyond the Key Stage 2 curriculum. 


Full-time and part-time University centred provision

University centred full-time provision

University input on this route occurs across the full teaching week when you are not based in schools.  This enables you to benefit from working in collaborative group situations within all modules.  Assessments are spread across the duration of the programme with timely feedback on your work.  This includes a research focus which culminates in a conference towards the end of your programme.  Formative support will be provided through regular small group tutorials with a specified tutor.  One of the Masters level modules is organised in a series of whole day themes where you will be expected to lead some of the seminars in small groups.

University centred part-time provision

This route is organised in order to support the part-time nature of the programme as much as possible and will be completed over a two year period.  To this end, school experience and University input is organised wherever possible on a two day per week basis other than the necessary placements designed to demonstrate ‘sustained competence’ (ITT Criteria 2012). This enables you to plan childcare and employment opportunities if you need additional financial support during your programme.  At each stage of development there are a number of alternate weeks in University and weeks in school in order to facilitate meaningful tasks in school and the opportunity to synthesise and consolidate University input.  Assessment tasks have been designed so that they can be completed gradually over time to enable you to manage your studies on a part-time basis.  You will be set regular targets in order to receive feedback so that you can make improvements to your academic work.  Tasks on this route are largely completed on an individual basis as the student body is often drawn from a wide geographical area.


PGCE International Enrichment Opportunities

The full-time PGCE programme offers its student teachers the opportunity to engage in a two week international enrichment opportunity. The department has worked hard to foster close links with international schools and universities and as part of a continued drive to promote partnerships, we offer our students a wide range of destinations, including China, USA and Australia. This enrichment opportunity allows our students to experience an alternative culture and view a different educational ethos. It also provides valuable teaching experience and further prepares our students for their future career.    


Graduate profiles

After studying for a degree at York St John I chose to continue on to the PGCE programme. With the training salary available, I was able to study full-time. The programme provides an excellent combination of YSJ-based theoretical and practical work, alongside the school experience elements of the programme. It is a very demanding course, with an extensive workload over 10 months. However I have found the staff to be extremely supportive and willing to help with any problems that may occur.

Jonathan Moran - PGCE Full-time

I decided to study the programme via the part-time route because I was working in a school as a Teaching Assistant and supporting a child with behavioural difficulties. This meant that I could continue to gain important professional experience, which also supported my teaching qualification. The course is extremely interesting, especially the time spent in different schools. Learning about the Core and Foundation subjects has also been useful as it encourages you to revise your own subject knowledge and learn about subjects/topics you are not so familiar with.

Lina Tande - PGCE Part-time

I enjoyed my whole experience of York St John University and feel the course was well organised, well structured and delivered with innovation and enthusiasm. I believe that I was well trained and well prepared to embark on my first teaching post and this has reflected in the way I have been able to approach my first post in the profession.

Carrie Darley - PGCE Part-time


Degree programme information

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