Sunningdale School Primary (Special Educational Needs) (34T6)

PGCE with QTS full time

Accredited body
University of Northumbria at Newcastle
Financial support
Student finance if you’re eligible

A postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) with qualified teacher status (QTS) will allow you to teach in state schools in England and may allow you to teach in other parts of the UK.

It may also allow you to teach overseas, though you should always check what qualifications are needed in the country you’d like to teach in.

Many PGCE courses include credits that count toward a Master’s degree.

Age range
5 to 11
Course length
1 year
Date you can apply from
11 October 2022
Date course starts
September 2023


Course summary

This course is designed for postgraduates who would like to develop expertise in teaching children with special educational needs. These may be exhibited as behavioural, emotional and social difficulties; speech, language and communications needs; hearing, visual or multi-sensory impairment; physical disabilities and autistic spectrum disorders.

Our course will be of particular interest to graduate staff working within special needs schools who are seeking a progression route to become fully qualified teachers.

The training provides opportunities for students to immerse themselves fully in school life to provide a comprehensive experience of working with these special children.

Trainees complete two full time placements over the course of the academic year. The majority of the time is spent in the special needs school to which the application has been made, with one placement in a mainstream primary school.

The placements will provide trainee teachers with experience of working with children at key stages one and two. There will be a specific number of assessed weeks within each placement and throughout the training students will receive mentoring support to help them develop the attributes required to demonstrate Teaching Standards for QTS.

All trainees will attend their school placements on Monday to Thursday throughout the school year and will attend training sessions provided by Northumbria University and Sunningdale Teaching School on Fridays.

The training delivered by Sunningdale will provide equip students for teaching in mainstream primary schools but will also provide a deep understanding of strategies to support the learning of children with special needs that many mainstream training providers are unlikely to make available within their training programmes.

With the support of the partner school mentors, trainees will be responsible for collating a portfolio of evidence which demonstrates their capacities to teach against the Teachers’ Standards for QTS. This portfolio development is monitored by Sunningdale Teaching School and the designated Northumbria University tutor.

The partner school, the Teaching School and Northumbria University will formally assess student portfolios at the end of the programme and make recommendations to the Examination Board at Northumbria University as part of the PGCE award, noting that the trainee has successfully achieved the Teachers’ Standards for QTS.

Upon successful completion of the programme, students will be awarded either a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (level 7) or a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (level 6) subject to the University Examination Board. Both of these qualifications confer QTS.

School placements

All candidates are required to undertake teaching in at least two schools with consecutive Key Stage 1 and 2 phases which will take place over the full academic year.

Student performance will subject to ongoing assessment. The main placement will take place in the school to which the candidate has applied to undertake their training. Sunningdale Teaching School arranges the second six-week long school placement in a mainstream school setting with its alliance partners.

The placement will start in September within the school to which the candidate has applied. This enables students to become familiar with their host schools and the training programme.

Preparation for the mainstream school placement will begin at this time, including school visits. Mainstream placements run for six weeks and will take place during October and November.

Thereafter, students will return to their host schools for the remainder of the training programme.

During placements, students’ mentors will complete 2 observations per week and set targets for trainees during the assessed period which will cover a minimum of 15 weeks spread across the academic year.

The placements will be organised to ensure that students can be observed working across the range of teaching contexts required to enable them to demonstrate that they have reached the Teachers’ Standards for QTS.


You can select one of the following locations when you apply.

List of locations and vacancies
Location Vacancies
Ash Trees Academy
Bowes Road, Billingham, Stockton, TS23 2BU
Columbia Grange School
Oxclose Road, Washington, Tyne and Wear, NE38 7NY
Hadrian School
Bertram Crescent , Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE15 6PY
Keelmans Way School
Campbell Park Road, Hebburn, Tyne and Wear, NE31 1QY
Main Site
Shaftoe Road, Springwell, Sunderland, SR3 4HA
Sunningdale School
Doxford Park Way, , Sunderland, SR3 2PP
The Dales School
Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9QW
Thomas Bewick School
Linhope Road , West Denton , Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE5 2LW

Entry requirements

Qualifications needed

An undergraduate degree at class 2:2 or above, or equivalent.

Grade 4 (C) or above in English, maths and science, or equivalent qualification.

We will not consider candidates with pending GCSEs.

We will not consider candidates who need to take a GCSE equivalency test.

Personal qualities

Candidates should have made a considered decision to work with children who have special educational needs and have some experience of working with them in either an educational or care environment. Candidates should have a genuine passion for teaching, be empathetic and highly motivated, and be excited by the opportunities to be creative in meeting the very diverse needs of children with special needs.

Other requirements

Candidate will require an enhanced background check by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Fees and financial support

The course fees for UK students in 2023 to 2024 are £9,250.

Financial support from the training provider

Bursaries or student finance if your eligible

About the training provider

Sunningdale Teaching School Alliance is a partnership of high performing schools (including other teaching schools), academic institutions and organisations that support children with special educational needs. Our alliance is based in the North East and North Yorkshire and we work together to make the most of our collective experience for the benefit of our children.

We create opportunities for postgraduates to train as primary teachers within our schools as either salaried or fee-paying trainees depending on the availability of places. Our programmes are specifically designed for postgraduates who would like to develop expertise in teaching children with special educational needs.

Our vision is ‘to equip all teachers working with special needs pupils with high quality expertise and to ensure that all children receive the education they deserve’.

Roughly one in six children have recognised special educational needs. These include emotional and social difficulties, multi-sensory impairment and physical disabilities. Working with an extensive range of professionals, and through programmes of research and development, we have devised a range of workshops which demonstrate how strategies and therapies which will be unfamiliar to many mainstream schools are used to support the learning of children with special needs.

The skills you will develop with us will consequently be valuable in a wide variety of educational contexts. Previous students completing our training have left us with the knowledge and expertise to confidently enter the profession – all have qualified and immediately secured teaching positions.

Interview process

Sunningdale School coordinates the recruitment process. On interview day the shortlisted applicants will be invited to the school for a tour and will then undertake an observed teaching activity. This process will be completed with an assessment task and an interview by a panel which will include representatives of Sunningdale Teaching School, Northumbria University and the school to which the applicant has applied.

Candidates are only required to attend one interview. The interview day is an opportunity for both the candidate and the school to meet each other, assess suitability and discuss school placement options. During the process the candidate will be able to showcase their knowledge and skills, view the placement school and discuss the course/training content.

The process is designed to get the best match of applicant to the places available.

International candidates

You’ll need the right to study in the UK. You already have this if, for example, you:

  • are an Irish citizen
  • have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (you may still be able to apply)
  • have indefinite leave to remain in the UK

If you do not already have the right to study in the UK for the duration of this course, you may need to apply for a Student visa.

To do this, you’ll need to be sponsored by your training provider.

Before you apply for this course, contact us to check Student visa sponsorship is available. If it is, and you get a place on this course, we’ll help you apply for your visa.

Alternatively, check if you’re eligible for a different type of visa, such as a Graduate or Family visa, that allows you to train to be a teacher without being sponsored.

Find out more about training to teach in England.

International qualifications

If your qualifications come from a non-UK institution, we may want to see a ‘statement of comparability’ from UK ENIC. This will show us how they compare to UK qualifications.

You can call Get Into Teaching on 0800 389 2500 for:

  • guidance on the UK equivalents of your qualifications
  • a free statement of comparability once you’ve submitted your application (if we ask you for this)

Training with disabilities and other needs

Sunningdale Teaching School is mindful that there will always be a broad range of applicants to our teacher training programme which may include applicants who have a disability or additional needs.

The Equality Act 2010 underpins practice at Sunningdale and is intrinsically linked to a set of policies that provide the guidance for daily support. Our school has developed systems and procedures for supporting disabled students and making sure they progress in their studies. As a provider working closely with Northumbria University we are able to signpost students requiring support for dyslexia/mental health issues and those requiring physical adjustments. We also have access to a mini-bus with a lift for those requiring transportation.

It would be important in the first instance to understand the additional support a prospective student may require, and as part of that process we would work closely with each student to gain information about any disability, health condition, or learning support needs they may have. This would include undertaking a joint risk assessment. By having as much detailed information as possible the right kind of support can be put in place.

It would be unlawful for Sunningdale to refuse an applicant a place on their teacher training programme or treat them less favourably because of a disability (Disability Discrimination Act since 2001, Equality Act 2010). We welcome all applicants whatever their ‘need’.

Contact this training provider

Shaftoe Road
Tyne & Wear

Support and advice

For support and advice, you can speak to a teacher training adviser for free. They’re all experienced teachers who can help you to prepare your application, book school experience, and access exclusive teaching events.

You can also call Get Into Teaching free of charge on 0800 389 2500, or chat online Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm (except public holidays).

Find out about the different ways to train if you do not have a degree, or are already an experienced teacher.

If there is something wrong with this course listing, contact us by email.