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PGCE in Primary Education (5-11 years) with recommendation for QTS

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Study mode

1-year full-time

PG code


Start date


Study location

Brunel University London campus


Open Evenings

Come to one of our dedicated Information Evenings where our staff will be on hand so you can find out all you need to know about our PGCE courses including how the course is structured, entry requirements, skills tests, bursaries and funding and student loans. Dates are 16th October 2018, 13th November 2018, 11th December 2018, 5th February 2019, 5th March 2019, 2nd April 2019, 30th April 2019 and 25th June 2019 but drop in as soon as you can as our courses fill up quickly. Book here. 


Listen to an overview of the course

Join on online live webinar session on Thursday 12th July to find out about our PGCE Education programmes.

About the course

Our Primary and Secondary PGCEs are "Outstanding" (Ofsted, 2015).


All our Education courses have been developed in collaboration with Partnership schools and the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). This ensures not only the highest possible quality of provision, but also relevance in reflecting national and school-level priorities in Education.


School and Local Authorities are increasingly seeking to employ teachers with not only high levels of competence and skill in classroom practice, but practitioners who have advanced subject knowledge for teaching and enhanced knowledge of systems and theories relevant to education. Therefore, the aims of this program are:

  • to enable student teachers to develop a critical understanding of issues and theories that impact upon classroom practice in teaching, learning and assessment in secondary schools;
  • to support student teachers in their exploration and critical reflection on their own and others practice in relation to national and regional priorities and policies and current research relevant to the Key Stages for this programme;
  • to promote student teachers' practical teaching skills and subject knowledge for teaching across the relevant Key Stages for this programme, making links with relevant theory to inform practice.

The programme aims to further develop students' existing transferable skills in communication, literacy, numeracy and critical reasoning. It is suitable for those who wish to gain employment as teachers and who aspire to progress to leadership and management roles in schools or in the wider world of education. It will provide an excellent foundation for progression to either higher academic or advanced professional qualifications.


Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)

Course content

The PGCE is an intensive programme, which combines an exploration of principles and methods of teaching and learning with practical school-based teaching placements. It lasts for 36 weeks from early September to late June.

The Primary programme prepares you to work with pupils aged 5-11. At the heart of our programmes is a vision that our student teachers’ teaching will impact positively on pupil progress over time in schools and that our Partnership activities with schools will contribute to school improvement. We aspire for all our students to be outstanding teachers.

The PGCE Primary course is structured around three modules, which share a generic General Professional Education (GPE) component. The GPE programme involves an enquiry based learning approach, which combines taught sessions with independent professional learning activities (PLAs). These PLAs require independent research, which is either school-related or school-based.

The three PGCE modules are:

1. Education Studies I

This module covers the following GPE themes:

  • The role of the teacher and reflective practice
  • Professionalism and Values
  • Behaviour for Learning and Responding to Challenging Behaviour
  • Learning theories
  • Safeguarding
  • Curriculum and National Curriculum
  • Principles of Planning, Teaching and Assessment
  • Equality, Difference and Diversity
  • Supporting Pupils with EAL
  • Inclusive Practice – SEND and SEMH
  • Bullying and PSHEE
  • Pupil Progress and Data
  • Destined for Disadvantage including Pupil Premium
  • Challenging the More Able
  • Working with Other Adults
  • Resilience and Well-being
  • Applying for First Posts.

2. Education Studies II

This module aims to develop understanding of the learning, teaching and assessment of the National Curriculum for Key Stage 1 & 2, in the Core (English, Mathematics and Science) and Foundation subjects (Computing, Physical Education, History, Geography, MFL, DT, Religious Education, Art and Music).

The primary focus will be on developing approaches to maximise the impact you can make on pupil progress (TS2). This module focuses on special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and ways to meet the differentiated needs of a range of pupils in relation to theoretical perspectives and real-life classroom applications and strategies are addressed.

3. Education Studies III (Curriculum Enhancement)

Examples of Curriculum Enhancements that have previously been on offer have been in relation to: Bilingualism, Culture and Identities (BCI), Mathematics, Mathematical Thinking, Physical Education, Talk, Science, Computing.

This unique module aims to develop curriculum expertise in the chosen area, whereby student teachers can:

  • research and develop innovative skills and projects within the context of their curriculum enhancement study and school setting;
  • apply the skills and principles of highly effective planning, teaching and assessment principles of National Curriculum focus areas, using a broad range of learning, teaching and assessment resources and approaches;
  • explore and develop skills in ‘specialised’ cross-curricula approaches.


School Experience

School-based professional learning is a compulsory element of all programmes leading to a recommendation for QTS. The course involves the statutory requirement of at least 120 days of school experience in the form of block school placements undertaken in at least two different contexts.

Our current partnership schools are mainly located in the West London area and adjoining Home Counties. We have developed close links with a number of very good schools over a number of years, and offer placements within carefully chosen schools that provide an appropriate professional learning experience. The ethnic and cultural diversity of the schools we work with is a distinctive aspect of our provision and we are equally proud of the diversity of our student teacher cohort, who reflect the communities in which many of them go on to work as teachers.

We also offer student teachers the opportunity to experience placements in alternative settings, which include special schools and Pupil Referral Units (PRUs). This further demonstrates our commitment to preparing teachers to work with young people in a diverse range of educational contexts.

You will be allocated a school-based mentor, selected for their experience and expertise, who will be there to help you develop and learn while you are on placement. The importance of this person should not be underestimated. Teaching is a very challenging profession and with the help of your school-based mentor and your University tutor we aim to make sure that you have support every step of the way, encouraging reflection and development.

Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel and what you will learn on the course.


A Brunel PGCE with recommendation for QTS is a recognised symbol of high quality Initial Teacher Education. This is demonstrated by our outstanding employment rates over time and feedback from alumni student teachers, our partnership schools and Ofsted inspectors. Many of our students go on to work in our partnership schools and many in schools where they undertook a placement experience. This allows us to retain links with many former students and often they become school-based mentors for our students.

We also invite former students back for public lectures, research seminars, Education events and to be involved in steering groups and research activities here in the Department of Education to ensure they can continue to develop through a community of professional practice both within but also beyond the school in which they are working.

Our involvement in the Initial Teacher Education field has enabled us to develop an extensive network of former alumni who have gone on to hold positions of responsibility in schools across the country.

Further Postgraduate Study Opportunities

Beyond ITE, for early career teachers we offer a Masters in Education (MAEd). Other postgraduate courses include a Doctorate in Education (EdDoc) and PhD routes through the Department of Education. This continuum of provision ensures a commitment to teacher education and professional learning at all stages and the growing community of professional practice strengthens our partnership.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Entry criteria 2019/20

Our conditions of entry to the PGCE Primary programme require that applicants have:

  • An undergraduate or postgraduate degree. Normally this should be a 2.2 classification or above in preparation for Masters level professional study.
  • English, Maths and Science grades A* to C, or equivalent,  at GCSE level. (In-house GCSE equivalency tests will be offered to applicants who have not studied through the UK education system) Applicants would normally be expected to meet the GCSE requirements at the point of application.
  • Passed the required Skills Tests - via the UCAS TT application cycle. Brunel University London will accept applications for our PGCE courses prior to completion of the NCTL Skills Tests. However, if you are offered a place on one of the programmes, and have yet to meet the requirements of passing the Skills Tests, then your offer will be conditional based on passing these tests by a date specified in your offer email.

To further strengthen your application, we also recommend that applicants have:

  • An informed personal philosophy on the aims of primary education, drawing on relevant reading and research;
  • An understanding of statutory requirements for primary education within the state school sector;
  • An awareness of recent government policy or initiatives in education;
  • Recent and relevant experience of primary school education in England, either team teaching or observing with experienced teachers. This should normally be pre professional teaching experience where you have had the opportunity to develop relationships with a group(s) of pupils over a sustained period of time;
  • The ability to communicate effectively in both spoken and written English. If selected for interview, you will be expected to interact effectively with university tutors and school colleagues, and demonstrate the potential to form positive and productive relationships with colleagues and pupils in schools and in professional learning contexts;
  • An awareness of the Teachers’ Standards (DfE, 2013);
  • An enthusiastic and energetic approach which communicates clearly your commitment to teaching and working with young people.

Overseas applicants must have a minimum level of English language. One of the following qualifications can be considered:

  • IELTS: 7 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 64 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 70% (min 60% in all areas)

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), Childcare Disqualification and Prohibition Orders

As an accredited provider of Initial Teacher Education we have to have regard to the Department for Education’s statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education, when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

We ensure that all student teachers have been subject to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) criminal records checks, including a check against of the children’s barred list. The Department for Education has published statutory guidance on the application to schools of the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009 and related obligations under the Childcare Act 2006.

We undertake our responsibility to ensure that the student teachers are not, therefore, disqualified from childcare or that the student teacher has obtained a childcare disqualification waiver from Ofsted. We also check that candidates are not subject to a prohibition order for teaching issued by the Secretary of State.

The DBS application will cost £51.86 (this amount may be subject to change) and the University will send further instructions as part of the admissions process. Further guidance can be found here, alternatively email dbs@brunel.ac.uk.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU entry requirements

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 7 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 64 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 70% (min 60% in all areas)

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason.

We offer our own BrunELT English Test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options at the Brunel Language Centre.

Teaching and learning

We adopt an enquiry-based learning approach in our PGCE Primary courses where students are encouraged to research and investigate a range of broad and subject specific educational themes and issues and bring their findings back for discussion in interactive lectures, workshops and seminars. These themes and issues address national, regional and partnership priorities as well as specific areas for investigation with the subject area.

Various teaching and learning methods are used on our PGCE Primary courses for example:

  • Groupings of different sizes and compositions to provide as much variety of experience as possible;
  • Lectures, seminars and workshops;
  • Modelling of classroom practice;
  • Group-work, independent learning, investigation and guided discovery;
  • Observation, portfolio preparation, self-evaluation and reflection on teaching practice;
  • Guest speakers who are experts in their fields;
  • Visits to particular types of schools, for instance PRUs and special schools;
  • Fieldwork with pupils, and other visits to relevant places relating to the school curriculum.

Assessment and feedback

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

The PGCE Primary programme carries 60 Master’s Level credits and requires you to successfully complete three formally assessed pieces of academic work during the year.

All of these assessments also require an accompanying portfolio of evidence.

The Master’s Level credits provide an excellent foundation for future academic and professional study.

Qualified Teacher Status

Alongside the PGCE academic award for your programme, you will also be assessed for the recommendation of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). In order to be recommended for QTS you are required to demonstrate that you have met the Teachers’ Standards (DfE, 2013) in both the University and in school and alternative education settings. All aspects of the programme are designed around you being able to demonstrate that you are meeting the Teachers’ Standards.

Part 1 of the Teachers’ Standards require you to:

  • Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils
  • Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils
  • Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge
  • Plan and teach well structured lessons
  • Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils
  • Make accurate and productive use of assessment
  • Manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment
  • Fulfil wider professional responsibilities (Teachers’ Standards, DfE, 2013)

Part 2 of the Teachers’ Standards require students to demonstrate the highest standards of personal and professional conduct.

As the PGCE is a professional course, 100% attendance is an expectation.

Recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status will be made by the PGCE Examination Board for all those who successfully demonstrate the Teachers’ Standards as shown in the requirements for University and school-based work.

Special features

  • As a leading centre of education and with roots in teacher education dating back to 1798, we are able to provide first class teacher education that is internationally recognised.
  • A Brunel PGCE is a recognised symbol of quality teacher education which accounts for our high employment rates.
  • At the heart of our programmes is a vision that our student teachers’ teaching will impact positively on pupil progress over time in schools and that our partnership activities with schools will contribute to school improvement. We aspire for all our students to be outstanding teachers.
  • You will benefit from an established partnership between Brunel and a variety of educational institutions and local schools. Brunel education degrees offer multicultural placement learning opportunities. For example, our location in West London and our diverse and well-established schools network means you will gain highly-valued placement learning experiences in vibrant multicultural schools.
  • Beyond ITE, we also offer a Masters in Education (MAEd), a Doctorate in Education (EdDoc) and PhD postgraduate routes through the Department of Education. This continuum of provision ensures a commitment to teacher education and professional learning at all stages and the growing community of professional practice strengthens our Partnership.
  • Staff are nationally and internationally recognised for their research, and liaise with government and other agencies on education policy issues. The Department of Education is host to a number of research centres, including the Brunel Able Children’s Centre. The process of learning is informed by cutting-edge research by staff in the strands of: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Pedagogy and Professional Practice (PPP).
  • You can take advantage of free access to our excellent University Academic Skills service, ASK.
  • We have an award winning Professional Development Centre.
  • Our library has been nominated for national awards for its outstanding provision.
  • We have on-site volunteering opportunities through our Brunel Volunteers provision.
  • Our Disability and Dyslexia Service team have an excellent track record of support for students.
  • Our Union of Brunel Students provides you with a range of additional support and a broad range of extra-curricular opportunities and social events.
  • There is excellent University-wide access to PCs and the Internet, as well as free loan of media equipment and music/recording studios, and web space on the University server.

Facts and figures

What Ofsted Say

The Brunel University London Initial Teacher Education Partnership was inspected in 2015 and we were graded as ‘Outstanding’ in all areas of the inspection framework. In relation to our PGCE Primary provision specifically, the Ofsted inspection report identified the following key strengths:

  • The high proportion of trainees who reach an outstanding level of practice in their teaching.
  • The highly reflective, confident trainees and NQTs who know exactly what to do to improve the quality of their teaching.
  • The high employment rates and contribution of the partnership in meeting local recruitment needs exceptionally well.
  • The carefully designed training provided by the university and the partnership which prepares trainees exceptionally well for the demands of teaching.
  • The extensive choice, contrast and range of placements offered, including schools in challenging contexts and settings, which prepares trainees very well for the rigours of day-to-day teaching.
  • The effective focus of curriculum enhancement training on school-based priorities enables trainees to contribute successfully to their placement schools’ improvement and strengthens partnership working considerably.
  • The detailed knowledge of trainees’ personal and professional needs held by leaders and managers which helps them to plan activities that ensure trainees progress rapidly and achieve their potential.
  • The close attention to detail by leaders and managers that ensures very accurate self-evaluation, combined with the careful use of data and feedback from all involved in the partnership, and the effective way this is used to bring about rapid changes to the quality of training, leadership and management and improve the proportion of trainees attaining the highest levels.

Fees and funding

Fees for 2019/20 entry

UK/EU students full-time: £6,170 (Schools Direct); £9,250 (Core)

International students: £15,400 full-time

Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.

NCTL Bursaries

UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).