Primary Education PGCE

The key aim of the PGCE Primary programme is to deliver a high quality initial teacher education programme that 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 outstanding Early Years practitioners and primary teachers.

York St John University
Course fees
2018 - 2019 Full-time Home & EU students: £9,250, International (non EU) students: £12,500 per annum

Course overview

There are two University centred PGCE routes, enabling you to choose the one most appropriate to your circumstances in terms of managing your studies around existing work and commitments. Both lead to recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS):

  • Full-time route: 39 weeks to complete starting in September and ending the following July with 120 days of school-based training

Visit the UCAS website to apply for the full-time PGCE programme (course codes below).

  • Part-time route: Two years to complete starting in September and ending the following summer with 120 days of school-based training.

Upon the award of QTS you will be qualified to teach across the full 3-11 age range although you will specialise in specific Key Stages within the programme assessed school experiences. You choose one of two options:

The ‘Lower’ option will cover the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) ages 3-5 and Key Stage 1 (KS1) ages 5-7

The ‘Upper’ option will cover Key Stage 2 (KS2) ages 7-9, and 9-11

Across all routes, programme teams 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. The programme is integrated with school-based experience and training to ensure that your developing professional practice is underpinned by knowledge and understanding of educational theory and current local, national and international research.

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 in order to enhance the experiences of all student teachers.

School centred training

We also offer a school centred training PGCE route (School Direct) where Teaching School Alliances work in partnership with York St John University to offer PGCEs in Primary Education and a range of secondary subjects, including English, mathematics and science. For more information on this route please visit the School Direct webpages.

Course structure

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.

Learning & Teaching and School Experience

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.

Emerging Professional & School Experience

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.

Early Years & Primary Curriculum

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.

Programme specification

Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.

Learning support

York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of learning support services to assist students throughout their studies.

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 (Ordinary 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:

  • Have a minimum of ten days' classroom experience in a UK state primary school, with at least five days in the last twelve months. For those with a third class honours degree, all ten days must be within the last twelve months. Other experience such as international experience in a primary school will be considered though applicants maybe be required to complete the required UK state primary school experience before the start of the course. Please see School Based Experience for guidelines.
  • 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. 

For the full-time programme successful applicants will normally have an 2:1 honours degree from a UK higher education institution, or the equivalent.

For the part-time programme lower degrees will be considered if there is sufficient additional relevant experience to support the application.

QTS Skills Tests

Anyone applying for an initial teacher training (ITT) course is required to have passed the QTS skills tests in literacy and numeracy before starting the course.

Once you have submitted your application to us, you will need to arrange to take and pass the tests, ideally before interview.

Please refer to the skills tests guidance for more information.

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

Tuition fees

UK & EU 2016 / 17

The tuition fee for 2018 entry to this postgraduate course is £9,250 for full-time UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Postgraduate Loan: A new Postgraduate Loan is now available to help you pay for your Master’s course for students commencing in the 2018/19 academic year. Find out more about the postgraduate loan.

Fees & Funding


Overseas 2016 / 17

The tuition fee for 2018 entry to this postgraduate course is £12,500 for international students.

Due to immigration laws, International Students on a Tier 4 visa must be studying full-time. For more information about Visa requirements and Short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration webpages.

International Fees & Funding



How to Apply

To apply for full-time please visit the UCAS Teacher Training pages.


Ask a question

Do you have a question about this course? Fill out our form to send a question to our Admissions team. Alternatively, you can call us on 01904 876922.