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What is a PGCE?

A PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) is a training qualification for teachers.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, a PGCE leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). The PGDE (Postgraduate Diploma in Education) is the Scottish equivalent. 


How long is a PGCE? 

A PGCE lasts one to two years if studied full-time, longer if part-time.  

Courses usually start in September, and follow the school year. 


What qualifications do you need for a PGCE? 

You usually need an undergraduate degree, and GCSEs at grade C or higher in English, maths and a science. You’ll probably also need sufficient work experience, a good level of fitness and a DBS check. 


How is a PGCE taught? 

You spend most of your time learning through practical placements in schools. You start by observing school classes, progress to assisting, and then lead classes on your own. 

You’ll also attend classes in university or college where you learn about education and how to teach. 


How is a PGCE assessed? 

As it’s a practical qualification, you’ll be assessed by observers who look at your skills in a school setting. 

PGCEs are usually graded as pass or fail. However, your written essays may be graded, as they can count towards a full master’s qualification. 


What skills do you learn? 

You’ll develop subject-specific skills if you choose to focus on one subject area. You’ll also build transferable skills such as: 

  • Communication 
  • Patience 
  • Creativity 
  • Conflict resolution 
  • Interpersonal 
  • Organisation 


How much does a PGCE cost? 

If taken full time, fees for PGCEs for UK students can be up to £9,250. They can cost between £11,000 and £16,000 for international students. 


PGCE facts

It's a Level 7 qualification (RQF).

Depending on the school age you want to teach, you can choose between PGCEs for primary or secondary schools, or further and adult education. 

In England and Wales, you usually apply for PGCEs through UCAS Teacher Training (UTT). In Scotland, you apply for a PGDE through UCAS undergraduate. 

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