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Postgraduate course

Primary (School Direct) PGCE

Our Primary School Direct) PGCE leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), providing you with the skills, understanding and professional knowledge you need to succeed as an outstanding teacher.

Students painting

On the School-centred route you will be assigned to one of our Teaching School Alliance partners and the majority of your time will be spent at school. You will be fully immersed in your placement from the start and your academic learning will take place both at university and within the teaching school.

York campus

  • Duration – 1 years full-time
  • Start date – September 2021
  • 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

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.

Within this school direct programme 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.

You will gain a thorough understanding of the current primary and early years curriculum, including core and foundation subjects. We also emphasise the importance of meeting the individual needs of children from diverse backgrounds.

We have established excellent partnerships with teaching schools across the north of England. This allows us to work closely with 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.

On graduation you will be qualified to teach the full 3-11 age range, but you will have a specialism in either lower or upper primary.

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

For the school-centred route you are immersed in your school placement from the start and have opportunities for a range of experiences provided by the teaching school partnership. There are academic sessions both at university and within the teaching school which are designed to integrate theory and practice and develop a deeper pedagogical knowledge.

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.

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 they 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.

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.


Interviews for the PGCE Primary School Direct route will take place within the alliance and will involve a range of assessment activities to evaluate your suitability.

The day provides us with the opportunity to meet with prospective students to find out why they have applied for the course, and to discuss in more detail the information provided on their application form. It also gives applicants an opportunity to talk about themselves, and to demonstrate their practical and academic skills relevant to the programme through a variety of tasks.

Activities may vary between alliances but all will involve a teaching activity where you will be asked to plan a whole class or group lesson. You will also be observed interacting with a group of children and consideration will be given to your ability to support learning. You will take part in group/individual interviews and be asked to reflect on your teaching activity. You will also be asked to respond to an academic article and demonstrate your potential to study at Masters Level.

Assessments are made during the day regarding the candidates:

  • commitment to and understanding of primary education
  • potential to successfully meet the demands of the programme
  • personal and intellectual qualities
  • ability to communicate effectively with adults and children in a school context

Fees and Funding

UK and EU fees for 2021 - 2022

The tuition fee for 2021 entry to this postgraduate course is £9,250 for full time UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

You can use the same student loans system as undergraduate students to pay for this course.

When applying for funding, you will need to:

  • Apply as an undergraduate student
  • Find your course by searching, PGCE Primary, School Direct SLC code 874271 when making 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 for 2021 - 2022

The tuition fee for 2021 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.

Career outcomes

On graduation you will be qualified to teach the full 3-11 age range, but you will have a specialism in either lower or upper primary.

Apply for this course

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

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