Primary PGCE

PGCE, 1 year, full-time

This is for you if... you have an undergraduate degree and you want to train to become a primary school teacher by developing your understanding of pedagogy, whilst gaining experience in a variety of schools.

Course Description

Our Primary PGCE has been running for 60 years and schools tell us we are developing the kind of teachers they want to employ. This is reflected in 95% of our students achieving Good or Outstanding teacher grades at the end of their course and 93% of our graduates securing a teaching post within 12 months.

All of our PGCE courses are made up of both campus-based sessions - which will give you a grounding in the principles of good teaching practice - and school-based placements, giving you the chance to apply your knowledge and experience to a wide range of classroom situations. These placements will be in contrasting schools to provide you with a broad range of experience; they could be in city, suburban or rural schools, in the independent or state sector.

The PGCE Primary course prepares you to teach across the full range of the Primary Curriculum. We will introduce you to the wider context of teaching, including responding to diversity in schools and the inclusion of Special Needs Education, as well as equipping you with classroom management and planning skills.

By the end of the course you will meet the required professional standards for Qualified Teachers Status (QTS) and will be awarded a University of Leicester PGCE. Our strong ethos of reflective practice will prepare you will for your future career in teaching.

We offer four different routes:

  • Age 3-7: Lower Primary (X124)
  • Age 5-11: Upper Primary (X174)
  • Age 5-11: Primary with Mathematics (X00G)
  • Age 5-11: Primary with French (X4R1)

Lower Primary or Upper Primary?

If you choose Lower Primary you will specialise in Foundation and Key Stage 1, whereas Upper Primary focuses on Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.

Primary with French or Primary with Mathematics?

If you choose one of these specialist routes you will study the same things as other PGCE students but you will also develop specific expertise in teaching French or Maths, with a view to potentially becoming a subject leader. These courses cover Key Stage 1 and 2.

Primary Specialism

You will be required to select a specialism at the beginning of your PGCE. In addition to Maths and French, other options include Early Years, Inclusion, Science, Computing and English (subject to availability)

Not sure which PGCE route is right for you? Have a look at our Routes into Teaching pages to find out more about PGCE, School Direct and SCITT routes.

Alongside this ‘provider-led’ PGCE, we work in partnership with schools across the region to offer a School Direct Primary PGCE

Key Facts
Start date
September each year

Primary PGCE Office
Belinda D'Sa, +44 (0)116 252 3677
Adam Brant, +44 (0)116 252 3687

School of Education website

Why Leicester?

95% of our students achieve Good or Outstanding teacher grades at the end of their course. 93% of our former students have secured a teaching post within 12 months of graduating.

We work with over 200 primary and secondary schools in city, suburban and rural settings, in both the State and independent sectors.

The latest Smithers Good Teacher Training Guide ranks our School of Education as a top 20 university.

You'll have access to the very best, and most inspiring, practising teachers – participating in their seminars, observing them in the classroom, or being guided by them during your placements.

Course Structure

  • Taught Strands

    The PGCE Primary covers the following three taught strands:

    Professional Studies Strand

    The Professional Strand of the PGCE course provides generic foundations for you as a future Primary teacher. It will support your development as a skillful practitioner by helping you to understand and engage with the complex act of teaching. You will cover a range of important elements including planning, teaching, learning, assessment and classroom management, according to the Teachers’ Standards. The sessions are designed to help you develop pedagogical understanding through critical discussion and reflection on classroom action. You will also develop an understanding of the role of teachers and their wider professional responsibilities.

    Curriculum Strand

    Whilst there is an emphasis on teaching Maths and English, PGCE Primary teaching sessions cover the full range of the Primary National Curriculum and the equivalent strands of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum Guidance. Sessions may focus on a single subject area or involve cross-curricular or thematic approaches currently adopted in many schools. Some curriculum work will take place through Focus Days in schools and in other education-related settings with direct links back to specific coursework at the School of Education.

    Specialist Studies Strand

    An engagement with research is an important element of developing as a critically reflective classroom practitioner; the sessions in this strand will introduce you to a range of theoretical ideas about learning and teaching and their implications for practice. This strand is also designed to help you develop skills related to professional inquiry and will show you how to can carry out small scale studies in your placement classrooms which can then be written up for your two assignments. A significant element of the strand is undertaking a specialist study which includes taught sessions at the University combined with a small project in the spring term school placement. During the autumn term you will select your area for specialist study from options which may include:

    • Computing
    • Early Years
    • English
    • Languages
    • Learning, Teaching and Inclusion
    • Mathematics
    • Science and Knowledge and Understanding of the World
    Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.
  • School Placements

    During the PGCE, you will be placed in three contrasting Partnership schools. We are proud to work with over 200 primary schools in the state and independent sectors, and in city, suburban and rural settings, as well as special schools.

    Upper Primary students (specialising in the 5-11 age range) are placed in a range of KS1 and KS2 classes, and Lower Primary students (specialising in the 3-7 age range) work in Key Stage One and Foundation Stage settings. In addition to the three block teaching placements you will also visit different schools as part of a series of 'focus days', studying specific subject and professional topics in an intensive school-based context.

    The school-based time is a vitally important element of the course. You will have the opportunity to observe skilled class teachers working and to discuss the things that underpin day-to-day classroom activities, as well as work alongside experienced teacher-mentors who will support your learning about classroom practice.

    Teaching Experience 1

    This is a six-week paired placement with two students working together in one class. This gives you the opportunity to work with a partner to develop classroom skills in a supportive environment. You will focus on developing observation skills to support your understanding of teaching and learning and to put your learning into practice. During this Autumn Term placement you and your partner will work towards taking an increased responsibility for teaching the class.

    Teaching Experience 2

    This takes place in the Spring Term and lasts for six weeks. The amount of time spent teaching the class increases over the placement until you have responsibility for up to 80% of the timetable.

    Teaching Experience 3

    This is an eight-week placement in the Summer Term with students working towards taking responsibility for 80% of the teaching timetable.

    Throughout each of these placements you will be encouraged to participate fully in the life of the school and to take full advantage of the tasks and activities designed by your tutors to support your development.

    Your placement schools will be decided by your personal tutor following discussions about your professional development needs.

    Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Teaching and Assessment

The majority of your taught sessions will be with students from the other routes into teaching, allowing you to benefit from their variety of experiences and knowledge. Some of your sessions will also be taught in age-phase groups (e.g. Lower Primary and Upper Primary). There are also specialist study groups for all students, including Key Stage 1 which is a key component of the training for all our students, whichever route you choose.

Our course has been praised by external examiners for its focus on reflection. You will be encouraged to evaluate your own teaching and share your learning with your peers.

Throughout your PGCE course you’ll have the support of a range of tutors, and the confidence this brings. We’ll make sure you have the right support at the right time – whether that’s at university, in school or within your own specific discipline.

As well as gaining your Postgraduate Certificate of Education and QTS, you will also be able to take 60 credits which can be put towards a Masters qualification (you need 180 credits to complete a Masters).

You will complete two written assignments which make up the academic part of your assessment. The rest of your assessment will take place continuously throughout the course. There are no exams

Research Stories

Entry Requirements

  • 2:1 degree or above
  • GCSE grade C or above in English Language, Maths and Science. (If you do not hold these qualifications, you will need to pass our equivalency tests once you've been made an offer.)
  • A pass in the Professional Skills Tests in Literacy and Numeracy.
  • You also need to have some recent experience in a mainstream school in an appropriate age group.
  • Please consult our School of Education website to find detailed explanations of our recruitment and selection processes and criteria.

Primary with French

  • In addition to the requirements listed above, you should hold a degree in French (or have learned French to an equivalent level by other means), or a degree subject with elements of French within it.
  • As an absolute minimum you should have an A-level (or equivalent) in French, with further evidence of experience of using conversational French.

Primary with Mathematics

  • In addition to the requirements listed above, you should have an interest in and enthusiasm for maths.
  • You should ideally have studied the subject beyond GCSE e.g. have an A-level (or equivalent) in Mathematics, have a degree in Mathematics, or a degree subject with elements of maths within it. However we also welcome applications from anyone who has a strength in maths but who doesn't necessarily have these qualifications.

Additional requirements

Admission to the course is subject to a satisfactory medical report. The University will provide more information about this should you be offered a place.

All offers are subject to a satisfactory enhanced DBS disclosure. We will provide instructions regarding the DBS application process once you have accepted an offer of a place on the course.

Application Process

The application process for a PGCE is different from other postgraduate courses so please see our information on how to apply.

You should also read this advice for applicants before you apply.

English Language Requirements

You must have a GCSE Grade C in English Language. Please see our entry requirements (left) for more information.

International Qualifications

Find your country in this list to check equivalent qualifications, scholarships and additional requirements.

Countries list

Fees and Funding

Career Opportunities

We will support you in applying for teaching posts. The mock interviews we include as part of the course have directly resulted in job offers for our students.

We foster your continued relationship with the School of Education once you become an NQT by supporting your career development in a number of ways.

Education CPD+ offers a range of professional development opportunities for practicing teachers, and we offer Masters courses with a focus on Learning and Teaching, Educational Leadership, TESOL and Applied Linguistics.

Our PhD and EdD opportunities are very popular with those wishing to pursue a particular research interest at doctoral level. We are committed to training excellent teachers during the PGCE and beyond, and we are proud that so many of our students return to the School of Education for further study once qualified.

During your NQT year you will be invited to attend an NQT conference which includes keynote speakers, a variety of workshops and networking opportunities. Previous attendees have said:

  • “It made me think a lot about my ethos in the classroom. Humorous and insightful, put the year into perspective.”
  • “Fantastic and inspiring."
  • “Lots of ideas to put in place tomorrow!"

Our Career Development Service is here to support you, with advice on interviews, CVs, work experience, volunteering and more. From Freshers’ Week to Graduation and beyond, they are here to help you reach your professional goals.

Course Qualification Duration Start Dates Availability
Primary Education PGCE 1 year full-time September each year Apply Now
Primary Education
1 year full-time
Start Dates
September each year

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