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Postgraduate course

Primary (University-centred) PGCE

Our Initial Teacher Education Partnership leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), preparing outstanding teachers through inspiring training in creative school partnerships.

Two students reading a book in primary education classroom

Our initial teacher training is up-to-date with current developments in education and the primary curriculum and will equip you with the professional knowledge, understanding, skills and attributes to become an outstanding Early Years practitioner or primary teacher.

York campus

  • Duration – 1 years full-time | 2 years part-time
  • Start date – September 2022
  • School – School of Education, Language and Psychology

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2020-21 £9,250 full time

    International 2020-21 £12,750 full time

Course overview

We work closely with partnership school colleagues to support you in developing your professional practice, providing you with excellent opportunities to engage in wider professional issues relating to pedagogy and the curriculum. 

You will choose to specialise in either a lower primary or an upper primary route. The lower primary route covers the 3-7 age range and you will have assessed placements in both Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. The upper primary route covers the 7-11 age range and you will have assessed placements in both lower Key Stage 2 (year 3 or 4) and upper Key Stage 2 (year 5 or 6). Whichever route you choose to specialise in you will be qualified for the whole 3-11 age range on successful completion of the course.

You will be expected to critically engage with educational issues and develop as reflective practitioners, able to evaluate and adapt your practice to meet the needs of learners from diverse cultural backgrounds. The University provides a strong centre-based opportunity to develop and share good practice.

Your professional development will be underpinned throughout the course by essential theoretical knowledge. You will assess current research and developments at local, national and international levels, critically engaging with the educational issues which will shape your teaching practice.

You will gain a thorough understanding of the current primary and early years curriculum, including core and foundation subjects. We emphasise the importance of meeting the individual needs of children from diverse backgrounds. This includes learning about the impact of ethnicity, the challenges raised by teaching those with English as an Additional Language (EAL) and the needs of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEN/D).

The PGCE Primary programme is structured in phases (introductory, developmental and consolidation). Each phase builds upon the last to enable you to reflect upon your learning and make effective links with curriculum and pedagogy through relating theory to practice.

Unlike the school-centred route, you can also study for your University centred PGCE on a part time basis. This makes the course more accessible if you have care responsibilities or want to work while you study. It also allows more time for reflection and the development of key skills. The part time course runs over two academic years. You will work alongside the students on the full time PGCE course. You will access the same taught sessions and opportunities.

Course Structure

Level 1


Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module covers a range of topics. You will be introduced to all core and foundation subjects of both the National Curriculum and the Early Years curriculum. You will consider how learners from diverse cultural backgrounds can be supported in education and care settings. A focus on diversity is maintained to meet the needs of all learners in all subjects. Study current issues pertaining to inclusion, ethnicity, English as an Additional Language (EAL), Special Educational Needs and Disability. You will also investigate how settings cater for children with 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.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module focuses on your developing skills as a reflective practitioner and researcher. You will cover issues relating to safeguarding and your role as a professional. Prepare for the transition from student to a newly qualified teacher. Investigate career opportunities and learn how to research in educational settings.

Credits: 0

Compulsory module

The PGCE Primary programme involves school experience placements across the year. SE1 is in the autumn term, SE2 and SE3 are in the spring and summer terms. Each placement must be successfully passed in order to progress to the next school experience.

Teaching and assessment

The University-centred programme is integrated with school-based experience and training. Your developing professional practice is underpinned by knowledge and understanding of educational theory and current local, national and international research.

For the university-centred route, there are opportunities to 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 (2018) criteria. The experiential placements are specifically designed to integrate with the taught modules so that you can widen your experience and develop 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.

Alongside academic assignments, you will be assessed in three school experience placements. The nature of these placements enables you to progress effectively by building upon your skills as student teachers.

If you choose to study part time for your PGCE, the course is split over two years. The first year of the course runs from September to June. In this year, we hold teaching sessions on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. There are two blocks of assessed school experience in your first year. The first of these will be part time, but the second, in May and June, you will complete on a full time basis.

The second year will run from September to April. This year, teaching sessions will be on Thursdays and Fridays. This may be subject to change. This year also includes a final period of assessed school experience. You will complete this on a full time basis.

Entry Requirements


Entry requirements for programmes leading to QTS are stipulated by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) ITT criteria 2012. These are:

  • An Honours degree from a United Kingdom higher education institution or equivalent (non-honours degrees cannot be accepted)
  • GCSE in English (or York St John University approved equivalent) at Grade C/Level 4 or above
  • GCSE in Mathematics (or the GCSE award from at Grade C/Level 4 or above
  • GCSE in Science (or York St John University approved equivalent including GCSE Human Physiology, GCSE Human Biology, Intermediate GNVQ Science or the GCSE award from at Grade C/Level 4 or above

In addition, applicants must also:

  • Satisfy the institution that you have the intellectual capability for the demands of teaching
  • Take part in an interview designed to assess their suitability to teach
  • Obtain a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) enhanced disclosure check and/or any other appropriate background check
  • Obtain a satisfactory medical report
  • Pass additional safeguarding checks including a prohibition check and other checks in line with the Government Keeping Children Safe in Education policy
  • Obtain an Overseas Police Check (where applicable).

If your first language is not English then you must either complete an English language GCSE, IGCSE or take the equivalency test from You will need to achieve level 4 or higher to meet requirements. We do not accept IELTS or other equivalency tests.


Entry onto this PGCE will require you to attend an interview.

The interview is designed to assess your suitability to teach.

School experience

Whilst school experience is no longer an essential criteria for entry onto the PGCE programme, it has proven highly effective in supporting candidates with the application and interview process, as candidates are able to reflect on their experiences and demonstrate their emerging/developing knowledge and understanding of teaching and learning in a secondary school. Furthermore, having some school experience has proven to support preparation for the programme as students already have a foundation they can build on.

In order to gain maximum benefit from your time spent in school you should try to:

  • Work out a timetable, with the teacher who is supporting your placement, to ensure that everything you observe/do in the school has been agreed to.
  • Ensure you adhere to school policies and procedures, like signing in/out at the reception each day.
  • Look at a range of schemes of work, lesson plans and resources in the subject you will be doing your PGCE in.
  • Talk to a range of staff in the school about their roles, for example, classroom teachers, subject leaders, pastoral leaders, teaching assistants, SENCO, data/assessment leader. However, please remember that they are busy people and ask them for a time it might be more appropriate to meet/talk.
  • Talk with pupils about their work and the progress they are making. Look at how their work is marked/assessed and how pupils are encouraged to respond to this.
  • If appropriate, become involved with wider aspects of the school, for example, accompany staff on break duties, support with after school clubs and extra-curricular activities.
  • Try to look at a range of school policies, for example, on rewards and sanctions, teaching and learning.
  • Keep notes, especially of resources, activities and strategies which work well.
  • Reflect on each day and consider what you have learnt/observed (both positive and negative aspects) and consider how this might affect you as a classroom teacher, in the future.

Fees and Funding

UK and EU fees for 2022 – 2023

The tuition fee for 2022 entry to this postgraduate course is £9,250 for full-time UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

For UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students studying part time, the tuition fee for 2022 entry to this postgraduate course is £4,625 per year.

You can use the same student loans system as undergraduate students to pay for this course. You are eligible whether you study full time or part time.

When applying for funding, you will need to apply as an undergraduate student and find your course by searching the title when you make your finance application. 

You will not be able to apply for a postgraduate master’s loan for this course.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2020-21 £9,250 full time

    International 2020-21 £12,750 full time

International (non-EU) fees 2022 - 2023

The tuition fee for 2022 entry to this postgraduate course is £12,750 for international students.

Due to immigration laws, international students on a Student Visa must be studying full-time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

More information about funding your studies is available on our International Fees and Funding page.

Additional costs and financial support


Whilst studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.


View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Apply for this course

To apply for this course please visit the Department for Education teacher training courses page.

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