Secondary Education RE PGCE

The key aim of the PGCE Secondary RE programme is to deliver a high quality, current and relevant programme of training that equips student teachers with the professional knowledge, understanding, skills and attributes they need to become outstanding teachers in our local and national secondary schools.

York St John University
Course fees
2018 - 2019 Full-time Home & EU students: £9,250, International (non EU) students: £12,500 per annum
Full-time only
How to apply
Through UCAS with the code Y75 YSJ

Course overview

The PGCE Secondary programme is a community of learning with partnership at the heart of the programme. University based staff work together with schools, mentors, subject communities, local and national subject communities and other education professionals 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 backgrounds.

Course structure

The Secondary PGCE programme is structured in phases (introductory, developmental and consolidation) and within each phase, you are expected to reflect upon your learning and make effective links with curriculum and pedagogy through relating theory to practice. 


The programme is made up of four modules, two of which are based on Subject Studies and two on Professional Studies, as follows:

  • Introduction to Subject Specialism
  • Teaching Strategies: Planning for Learning, Teaching and Assessment in Subject Specialism
  • Understanding Learning and Teaching and School Experience
  • Emerging Professional and School Experience


How will I study?

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 links are strengthened between the modules and that the programme provided is holistic and inclusive. The two Professional Studies modules also include the Masters Level work and Secondary School Experience. All 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 and facilitate you. You will undertake research based activities to deepen your understanding of secondary practice and related subject knowledge. This has proven to be an effective approach in learning how to become a teacher to promote reflection on practice and learning. There are also a range of enrichment opportunities within the programme such as trips and events and the opportunity to engage with the wider professional RE community.

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

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


We are looking for applicants with potential to become outstanding teachers. Only applicants who have demonstrated their suitability for the programme during an interview will be offered a place.

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for programmes leading to QTS are stipulated by the DfE (ITT Criteria 2017).

These are:

  • GCSE in English (or approved equivalent) at grade C
  • GCSE in Mathematics (or approved equivalent) at grade C
  • GCSE in Science (or approved equivalent) at grade C (for those student teachers undertaking the Secondary PGCE in sciences)
  • a first degree of a United Kingdom higher education institution or equivalent
  • a pass in both the professional literacy and numeracy skills tests.

In addition, applicants must also:

  • Have recent and relevant experience within a secondary school setting and applicants should preferably have at least two weeks of secondary school experience prior to applying for a place on the programme, or have this planned. At least two weeks school experience will be expected prior to joining the programme. This might be for example, in a teaching assistant role or a voluntary placement. Please see School Based Experiencefor guidelines.
  • Take part in a rigorous selection process 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.
  • Have passed the professional skills tests in literacy and numeracy prior to entry.


For this programme successful applicants will normally have at least a 2:1 honours degree from a UK higher education institution, or equivalent, although applicants with a 2:2 are accepted if they can demonstrate certain aptitudes at interview. This degree is subject related to the PGCE applied for. In some circumstances candidates without a subject specialist degree may be considered if, for example, they can provide evidence of strong subject knowledge, and have at least an A ‘level in the subject.

In addition applicants must satisfy the institution that:

  • They have the intellectual and academic capability needed to meet the required teachers’ standards, that they possess the appropriate qualities and characteristics, attitudes and values expected of a teacher
  • That they can read effectively and are able to communicate clearly and accurately in Standard English
  • That they meet the requirements for physical and mental capacity for teaching

All applicants will need to satisfy the institution that they meet these criteria through their application form, an interview, a medical check and a criminal record check.

PGCE Secondary Interviews

Candidates invited to interview will be asked to complete a ‘Prior Achievement’ booklet that enables them to match their current experience against the Teachers’ Standards. This supports tutors in giving successful candidates relevant pre-course tasks to complete to enable them to be fully prepared for the start of the programme.

Interviews for the PGCE secondary programme, for both the university-centred RE programme and school centred (School Direct) programme, will be conducted in a school setting by members of the university academic staff in collaboration with school-based staff and in accordance with the practices and procedures currently employed by the PGCE Secondary Partnership. As part of the interview activities applicants will be expected to undertake a short teaching and learning activity with pupils.

At interview applicants will need to demonstrate their commitment to, experience of and understanding of secondary education in addition to demonstrating their intellectual qualities. They will also be assessed on their ability to communicate effectively with others and on their knowledge of current educational issues. In addition, candidates will be required to demonstrate an appropriate level of competence in literacy to reflect the M-Level demands of the programme.

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.

If your first language is not English, you need to take an IELTS test or an equivalent qualification accepted by the University, please refer to this page for more information.

If you do not have traditional qualifications, you may be eligible for entry on the basis of Accredited Prior Learning (APL) or Accredited Prior Experiential Learning (APEL). Please see this page 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



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.