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PGCE - What does it mean?

  • Publish Date: Posted 6 months ago
  • Author: Toby Green

The PGCE, or Post Graduate Certificate in Education, is a respected postgraduate qualification that grants Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Having QTS permits you to teach in state schools. This one or two-year higher education course is widely popular across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It holds global recognition, making it attractive to teachers seeking international opportunities.

To join a PGCE course, being a graduate is necessary, and it's preferable to have a degree in the subject you plan to teach. While detailed subject knowledge is not a focus of the PGCE, having a background in your desired teaching area will be beneficial.

Types of PGCE

There are three main kinds of PGCE courses. It's important to pick the one that matches the age group you want to teach.

PGCE Primary

This course prepares you to teach kids up to 6 years old. You have the option to specialize in a particular age group or subject within this popular PGCE, making the competition for available spaces quite high.

PGCE Secondary

This program prepares you for teaching high school students, ranging from ages 11 to 18. It's a great option for individuals passionate about teaching a specific subject and aiming to specialize in that particular field.

PGCE Further/Adult Education

This PGCE course is a suitable choice for those who want to teach in colleges or adult education classes. However, it's worth mentioning that this course grants a QTLS (Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills) instead of a QTS. So, if you plan to teach children later on, you'll need to go through the qualification process to attain QTS.

What does a PGCE entail?

A PGCE, or Postgraduate Certificate in Education, is a specialized program that trains individuals for a teaching career. The structure of a PGCE involves a combination of classroom experience and theoretical learning. This dual approach ensures that educators are trained with practical skills and pedagogical knowledge.

You'll cover the theoretical aspects of the course through a university, either attending classes in person or taking them online. The practical side of the qualification involves working in a primary or secondary school, depending on the level of teaching you've chosen. In addition to this, you'll also cover teaching methods, student learning, classroom management, and staying current on education trends.

After completing the PGCE, you'll be recognized as a ‘Newly Qualified Teacher.’ This status applies during your first year, serving as a probationary period as you begin your teaching career.

What level is a PGCE?

PGCE is categorized as a level 7 qualification on the Higher Education Qualifications scale. It provides the equivalent of 60 postgraduate-level credits. You earn these credits at the Master's level, and if you wish, you can later transfer them to a Master's of Education. If there are no Master's credits offered, the PGCE is referred to as a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education.

While a PGCE isn't precisely a postgraduate degree, it's acknowledged as an advanced non-degree qualification. The reason for this difference is that a PGCE is a hands-on program made especially for people who want to become teachers.

What skills do you need to succeed in PGCE?

To be proficient in a PGCE, the skills you need align with those essential for being an outstanding teacher. These include:

  • Communication skills

  • Patience

  • Creativity

  • Enthusiasm

  • Confidence

  • Dedication

  • Conflict resolution skills

  • Organization

The course will also provide hands-on experience in schools, allowing you to apply and develop these skills.

What are the entry requirements for a PGCE?

To start a PGCE, you'll need to meet specific eligibility criteria, which can vary between courses. Generally, you should have:

  • An undergraduate degree

  • GCSE grade C/4 or above in Maths and English

  • GCSE grade C/4 or above in a science

  • IELTS score of 6 If English is not your native language

The requirements can differ based on the specific course you're enrolling in. If you graduated in English, Math, or a specialized science, consider taking a subject knowledge enhancement course to specialize in your field. It's advisable to check with the admissions department of your chosen institution for the exact entry requirements.

How much does PGCE cost?

The cost of a PGCE depends on your origin:

  • UK and EU students pay around £9,250

  • International Students pays around £11,000 and £16,000

Keep in mind to consider living expenses, travel, and commuting costs.

Do you need a PGCE to become a teacher?

In the UK, you aren't always required to have qualified teacher status (QTS) to become a teacher. Schools have the flexibility to select their staff, but some academies may insist on QTS. Overall, if you aspire to pursue teaching as a career, it's strongly advised that you attain QTS through a PGCE.

Bottom line

All in all, doing a PGCE not only helps you become a teacher but also earns you credits for a Master's degree. Some universities even have part-time courses, so you can complete your Master's while teaching.

This additional qualification enhances your overall educational experience, providing a valuable foundation for a successful teaching career.

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