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Postgraduate course

Secondary (School Direct) PGCE

Start your career in teaching through this inspiring PGCE course, leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Choose from 12 subject specialisms and join one of our outstanding school partnerships. This School Direct route allows you to fully immerse yourself in your placements.

Students in seminar

Studying through a School Direct pathway means most of your learning takes place at your placement school, with time out each week for academic sessions. You will experience a high quality, relevant programme of training, equipping you with the professional knowledge, understanding, skills and attributes you need to succeed in teaching.


  • Duration – 1 year full-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

Your school placements will build your skills and confidence as you progress towards Qualified Teacher Status, while your academic sessions will deepen your understanding both of your subject and your profession. You will develop your knowledge of your chosen subject and its place within the curriculum while also exploring wider educational issues, reflecting local and national policy and practice. This equips you with both a strong subject specialism and a wider understanding of teaching and education. We encourage you to develop your own philosophy and values surrounding your subject, your professional identity and education itself.

Choose from 12 subject specialisms:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Modern Foriegn Languages
  • History
  • Geography
  • Music
  • Drama
  • Religious Education
  • Physical Education.

Course structure

Level 1


Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module focuses on educational issues which are common to all teachers. It reflects on local and national policy and practice. You will build your understanding of complex concepts surrounding teaching and learning. We will encourage you to consider wider professional issues and develop your own professional identity.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module focuses on how to teach your subject area in the classroom. You will develop your confidence in your subject knowledge and build the essential pedagogical skills relevant to the secondary school age range. You will consider historical developments in your chosen subject area and develop an awareness of curriculum developments. 

The PGCE School Direct is a school-based programme. It is made up of three school experiences. Student teachers are based in one school for the majority of the time with a shorter second school placement. Each placement must be successfully passed in order to proceed to the next.

Teaching and assessment

The teaching teams in both Subject Studies and Professional Studies integrate their modules to run throughout the course of the programme rather than delivering them as separate modules. This approach ensures that the programme provided is holistic and inclusive. Both masters level modules will be delivered by a combination of school and University based staff.

The programme employs a range of learning and teaching strategies, including enquiry based and active learning approaches. You are encouraged to develop a strong sense of your personal professional identity as subject teachers and are nurtured to develop your own philosophy and values about secondary education. Tutors and school-based mentors are available to guide you. You will undertake research-based activities to deepen your understanding of secondary practice.

Assessments are spread across the duration of the programme with timely feedback on your work. Alongside academic assignments you will be assessed throughout your school experiences, with your progress being tracked during the year to ensure you are meeting the teachers’ standards.

Entry requirements


Entry requirements for programmes leading to QTS are stipulated by the DfE (ITT Criteria 2018).

These are:

  • GCSE in English (or approved equivalent) at grade C/Level 4
  • GCSE in Mathematics (or approved equivalent) at grade C/Level 4
  • GCSE in Science (or approved equivalent) at grade C/Level 4 (for those student teachers undertaking the Secondary PGCE in sciences)
  • A first degree from a United Kingdom higher education institution or equivalent in the subject-based PGCE you are applying for

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 course will require you to attend an interview.

Once you've been invited to an interview, you'll be asked to complete a ‘Prior Achievement’ booklet. This enables you to match your current experience against the Teachers’ Standards.

The interview is designed to ensure that you:

  • Have the intellectual and academic capability needed to meet the required teachers’ standards.
  • Can communicate clearly and accurately in Standard English.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

You must obtain a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) enhanced disclosure check and/or any other appropriate background check.

Medical Report

You will need to obtain a satisfactory medical report.

Additional requirements

In addition to the previously listed requirements, you will also:

  • Satisfy the institution that they have the intellectual capability for the demands of teaching
  • 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).

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

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.

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 Secondary, School Direct, SLC code 874282 when making your finance application.

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

Teacher Training Bursaries and Scholarships

There are 3 types of funding available for teacher training in a range of subjects. These are tax free and awarded based on your circumstances. To find out more visit the Get Into Teaching website.

Get Into Teaching bursaries

International (non-EU) fees for 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.

Tuition Fees

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

    International 2020-21 £12,750 full time

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

You will leave us fully prepared to start work as a Newly Qualified Teacher, specialising in your chosen subject.

Apply for this course

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

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