Primary (36DS)

PGCE with QTS full time

Accredited body
York St John University
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.

Course length
1 year
Date you can apply from
8 October 2019
Date course starts
September 2020


About the course

Our programme is school-led. For the majority of your training you will be based in school, from the first day of term in September until the end of the course in June.

Polaris Teaching School Alliance and York St John University work in partnership to deliver contemporary and highly relevant education and training, providing excellent opportunities for you to develop knowledge and understanding of primary education. In addition to your ongoing classroom-based learning, you will come to regular ‘hub’ days at our lead school in Malton. Here you will receive quality professional training from Polaris Specialist Leaders and tutors to support you in gaining understanding of the primary curriculum, principles of planning, teaching and assessment, behaviour and classroom management, pupil achievement and barriers to learning, meeting the needs of all children, safeguarding and professional expectations. To underpin and enhance your practical teaching experience in the classroom, you will also attend twenty training days at York St John University across the year, where you will develop deep subject knowledge and pedagogy around primary education.

You will have plenty of opportunities to observe excellent teaching in the classroom, reflecting on and learning about good practice from teachers and mentors and getting to know the children in your class before you begin teaching a small amount of the timetable with lots of support. This gradually builds up over the course until you are teaching around 70-80% of the timetable for your final teaching practice. You will be based within one school for the majority of your training where you will complete two teaching placements in different classes. You will also benefit from a 6-week contrasting placement in a different partnership school. In school you will be welcomed as a valued member of staff, attending school staff meetings, participating in training days and other professional training opportunities throughout the year. Your training will focus on either the 3-7 or 7-11 age phase, although you will be trained and qualified to teach across both.

Ours is a very practical programme without a great weight on written assignments. You will need to pass two academic modules in order to meet the programme aims and gain your PGCE. These are designed to underpin your own understanding and practice as you progress through the course. More crucial are observations by teachers, mentors and tutors of your progress as a primary practitioner, which is an ongoing and supportive process.

Interview process

Our recruitment process is designed to enable us to assess the suitability of candidates for training and appoint trainees who have potential to be great teachers. Once you have submitted your application, York St John University will assess your suitability for the course using the following criteria:

Your personal statement; References; Detailed breakdown of degree content; Details of other academic, professional or vocational qualifications

Successful applicant details are then passed to Polaris and interviews take place shortly after. Interviews are held in one of our primary schools. Typical activities include a short teaching task, a written task and an individual interview with a panel made up of the Polaris team and university staff. Our aim is to find out what applicants know about teaching and learning and how they interact with others of all ages; we are not trying to catch anyone out! We want to get to know you and give you an opportunity to find out how we will support you in your training. If you are successful at interview you will be offered a conditional place. Recruitment takes place regularly during the year, although places are limited. Once the number of offered places meets the agreed programme numbers, the programme will be closed. We therefore recommend that you apply as soon as possible to avoid missing out on the programme of your choice.

How school placements work

The Polaris School Direct programme is a full time programme studied within one academic year (September to June). You will have three placements in two contrasting schools over the year - you’ll be based within one school for the majority of your training with a 6-week contrasting placement in a different school. In your home school you’ll be placed in two different classes to get a good grounding of experience across the key stages.

As the year is a very busy one and you do not want to spend too much time on the road, we aim to place you in a school within a 30 minute drive of where you live. We also try to match your interests with placements - for example you might prefer a school with a high number of EAL children, or a school with a special interest in sport.

We select placement schools very carefully - we only choose schools rated as Good or Outstanding and we place students in classes with established teachers who can model great practice and offer lots of support. In addition to our own Polaris schools, we work with lots of other local partner schools in order to offer quality and contrasting placement experiences. Our aim is for trainees to want to apply for jobs in our local schools at the end of the year programme.


The course fees for 2020 to 2021 are as follows:
Student type Fees to pay
UK students £9,250
EU students £9,250
International students £12,750

Financial support

You may also be eligible for a loan while you study – note that you’ll have to apply for undergraduate student finance.

Find out about financial support if you’re from outside the UK.



You need to be a graduate, ideally with a 2:2 or above, although consideration will be given to students with a lower classification who can demonstrate a commitment to children’s learning and development.

You should have GCSEs in English, maths and science, grade C/4 or above. Equivalency tests are available.

Personal qualities

We welcome graduates from a range of backgrounds; previous recent relevant experience of Early years and primary education is preferable but not essential. We are looking for high-calibre students who can demonstrate real passion and commitment to teaching; students who are resilient and resourceful, creative, hard working and who show a willingness to learn and reflect on their own development.

Other requirements

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Entrants to the programme must undertake an enhanced DBS criminal records check.

Medical Report All entrants are expected to obtain a medical report in order to assess your fitness to teach. Information on how to obtain this will be forwarded to successful interviews.

About the training provider

Our ITT programme is school-led - you will be learning from highly skilled teachers in the classroom, based in two contrasting schools.

We have more than 20 primary schools across North Yorkshire, York and East Riding offering an impressive breadth of experience, from large town schools to smaller village primaries, faith and community schools.

The PGCE School Direct Programme is full time for one academic year (September to June). You will specialise in either the 3-7 or the 7-11 age phase although you will gain experience across both of these to fulfil the requirements of the Teachers’ Standards for the award of QTS.

Our motivation for running the programme is to supply our schools with ‘home-grown’, highly skilled teachers – we are invested in making you the best teacher you can be.

Polaris Teaching School Alliance supports our new teachers through every stage in their career – from NQT to Headship. Your teacher-training year is just the first step in a career underpinned by high-quality continuing professional development.

We have a track record of supporting and mentoring trainees through all the challenges of undertaking the programme. We pride ourselves on our responsiveness to any obstacles you might meet along the way.

In addition to school-based training you will receive contemporary and highly relevant education and training from specialist curriculum leaders at our local hub in Malton and also from tutors at York St John University.

About the accredited body

York St John University (YSJU) has been involved in teacher education since 1841 and is highly respected across the region (Ofsted, 2017). Currently, the YSJU partnership works with approximately 550 schools across 15 local authorities in any given academic year. Employment rates are high across training routes.

School Direct ITT with Polaris in partnership with YSJU will provide you with high quality training that not only responds to the demands of the Teachers’ Standards and changes in the wider education landscape but also supports you in developing a reflective and critical approach to own your teaching practice.

Training with disabilities and other needs

Our training facility is based in St. Mary’s Primary school - Malton, which is a fully-accessible primary school. All our placement schools are accessible and we work with partners to ensure every placement meets the needs of the trainee.

Our HEI partner, York St John University is an inclusive university and has a range of support services for students with disabilities and other needs. YSJU has a dedicated Disability Advice Team and a strong track record of supporting all students, enabling them to complete their studies successfully.

Contact details

01653 692274
St Mary's Catholic Primary School
Highfield Road
North Yorkshire
YO17 7DB


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Support and advice

For questions about this course you should contact the training provider using the contact details above.

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