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PGCE in Secondary Education (English) with recommendation for QTS

Enquire now Subject area: Education
Study mode

1-year full-time

PG code


Start date


Study location

Brunel University London campus


Drop in to one of our dedicated Open 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 16 October 2018, 13 November 2018, 11 December 2018, 5 February 2019, 5 March 2019, 2 April 2019, 30 April 2019 and 25 June 2019 but drop in as soon as you can as our courses fill up quickly. Book here.

We regularly host online webinars to give you the chance to find out more about our courses and what studying at Brunel is like. For a playback of our recent PGCE webinar, click here

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

Postgraduate Loans: From 1 August 2018 , students who live in England will be able to apply for a Postgraduate Loan in academic year 2018/19 of up to £10,609. Find out more

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

Generic Course Structure and 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 Secondary programme prepares you to work with pupils aged 11-16. 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 Secondary courses are 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:

  • Professionalism, values and reflective practice;
  • Safeguarding, child protection and e-safety;
  • Understanding curriculum and the National Curriculum;
  • Supporting learners, learning and effective behaviour management;
  • Inclusive education, with a specific focus on supporting pupils with SEND and SEBD;
  • Effective planning and teaching to promote pupil progress;
  • Assessment and its role in promoting effective learning.

You will also focus on teaching and learning issues of particular concern to your phase or subject specialism.

2. Education Studies II

This module covers the following GPE themes:

  • Applying for your first post;
  • Understanding data analysis to support effective teaching and learning;
  • Behaviour for learning and the wider professional responsibilities of the subject teacher;
  • Inclusive education, with a specific focus on supporting pupils with English as an Additional Language, pupils receiving the Pupil Premium and able pupils;
  • Safeguarding with a focus on the Prevent and Channel national strategy and bullying and homophobic bullying.

You will also continue to focus on teaching and learning issues of particular concern to your phase or subject specialism.

3. Education Studies III

This module focuses specifically on supporting student teachers to make an effective transition into their first post and examines the following themes in GPE:

  • Preparing for induction and the professional learning action plan for your first post;
  • Pathways into leadership in education;
  • Learning outside the classroom;
  • Contributing to the wider aspects of the formal and informal curriculum and your wider professional role as a teacher.

Subject Specific Course Content

English is one of the three core subjects in the National Curriculum along with Mathematics and Science. As such, it is accorded a high status and there are ample opportunities for the promotion of good teachers. As a core subject in the National Curriculum, English is at the heart of education in the twenty-first century. Interest in the content and practice of the English curriculum is sharpened further by an increasing awareness of the importance of language in relation to learning and the role of communication in an advanced technological society.

English teachers today need more than a solid grounding in the study of literature. They need to be aware of the ways in which children read a vast range of texts in a variety of media; they need to understand how speaking and listening skills are developed; they need to be able to respond to and assess pupils' use of language; they need insight into the needs of very able pupils, those with special educational difficulties and those for whom English is an additional language.

Teaching English in the secondary school is a demanding but exciting and worthwhile career that should be rooted in a confident familiarity with the kind of innovative classroom practice to which, as one of our PGCE student teachers, you will be immediately introduced.

The intensive programme combines courses in principles and methods of teaching with practical school-based teaching placements and students are assessed on both elements.

The Teachers’ Standards are mapped to every aspect of course provision to facilitate the best possible opportunities to support the process of your professional learning.

The Brunel PGCE Secondary course in English equips you with the skills of subject specialist teaching. It also allows you to gain an understanding of teachers' professional knowledge in both the University and school contexts.

The course aims are to ensure you are able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the vital role of the teacher and the school in ensuring excellence in the educational experiences of young people
  • Undertake professional practice which enables you to evidence the Teachers’ Standards which facilitate the award of Qualified Teacher Status
  • Understand the relationships between Education and English within current national and government frameworks, and critically reflect on the impact of these in the work of schools and the educational experiences of young people
  • Recognise the contribution that English as part of the whole school curriculum makes to the development of the individual learner and groups of learners
  • Apply a thorough knowledge and understanding of the English National Curriculum to the planning of curriculum experiences for pupils in school
  • Demonstrate competence and confidence in your ability to teach across the contexts for pupil learning in the English National Curriculum range and content, applying principles of continuity and progression
  • Use subject knowledge and relevant course specifications to plan and deliver the 14-16 curriculum including examination and vocational courses
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the subject knowledge and specification requirements for the 16-19 curriculum;
  • Utilise a range of teaching strategies to meet the identified learning needs of a wide range of pupils
  • Utilise a range of resources, including information and communication technology, to enhance pupil learning in English
  • Understand the importance of safe practice and safeguarding and apply these in working with young people both within and beyond lessons
  • Use a wide range of class management strategies to maximise pupil learning
  • Understand the principles of inclusion and apply these to ensure equality of opportunity for all pupils in the subject area
  • Understand national frameworks for assessment within the subject area and use these to support the recording and analysis of data, and the subsequent use of this to plan the next phase of learning
  • Raise the status of the subject area by demonstrating high standards of professionalism at all times
  • Understand the crucial role of professional learning for the teacher, the pupils and schools.

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, Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), young offender’s institutions. 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.


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

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 Secondary Education programme require that applicants have:

  • An undergraduate or postgraduate degree in the field in which you intend to teach. Normally this should be a 2.2 classification or above in preparation for Masters level professional study.
  • Maths and English grades A* to C or equivalent at GCSE level.
  • 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 letter.

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

  • Modules within your degree course which should provide a foundation of preparatory knowledge for the phase or subject you are applying to teach;
  • An informed personal philosophy on the aims of your phase/subject area, drawing on relevant reading and research;
  • An understanding of statutory requirements for your phase/subject area within the state school sector;
  • An awareness of recent government policy or initiatives in education and your phase/subject area
  • Recent and relevant experience of state 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.

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 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 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. For further guidance please 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 Secondary 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 all our PGCE Secondary 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

The PGCE Secondary 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 Secondary 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 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 Secondary provision specifically, the Ofsted inspection report identified the following key strengths:

  • The efficient personalisation of training programmes to meet trainees’ individual learning needs, including complementary placements, subject knowledge enhancement programmes and regular high-quality developmental feedback to trainees both orally and in writing.
  • The strong rise in the proportion of trainees gaining employment as teachers over time, which reached full employment of all newly qualified secondary teachers from the 2014/15 course.
  • The outward-looking professional attitudes of newly qualified teachers that allows them to rapidly become fully engaged in all of the work of their employing school, including tutoring and extra-curricular programmes.
  • The significant improvement in trainee outcomes since the previous inspection, resulting in all trainees substantially exceeding the minimum level of practice expected in the Teachers’ Standards, and with many excelling.
  • The high levels of subject knowledge deployed by trainees to captivate and sustain pupil interest, with the consequent high standards of behaviour-management by trainees and NQTs in a wide range of settings.
  • The highly proficient skills of lesson evaluation by trainees that consistently assesses the impact of their teaching on pupils’ learning, especially upon disadvantaged groups of pupils and the most able.
  • The effectiveness of leaders and managers at all levels in evaluating and then acting swiftly to improve training provision in the context of rapid change in the range of subject courses offered and numbers of allocated places.
  • The strong impact on school improvement in partnership schools through collaborative high quality professional development of their teachers led by the university.
  • The relentless focus on equality of opportunity for trainees and their pupils, supported by the partnership’s diverse range of schools coupled with high quality, equitable recruitment of trainees from different heritages, genders and age groups.
  • The consistently very high quality of mentor training, training resources and support for school-based mentors and tutors which centres on maximising the impact of trainees’ teaching on pupil progress.

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.

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).

Fees quoted are per year and may be subject to an annual increase. Home/EU undergraduate student fees are regulated and are currently capped at £9,250 per year; any changes will be subject to changes in government policy. International and postgraduate fees will increase annually in line with RPI, or 5%, whichever is the lesser.

There is a range of financial support available to help you fund your studies. Find out about postgraduate student funding options.