West Lakes Teaching School Alliance
Geography (39QP)

PGCE with QTS full time

Accredited body
Durham 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
13 October 2020
Date course starts
September 2021


About the course

The PGCE Secondary is the first phase of a career-long process of personal and professional development, which will equip you to become a secondary school teacher. The PGCE Secondary is a course in Initial Teacher Training which is accredited by the DfE, the successful completion of which will accord you Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Students who successfully complete their PGCE have the option to use 90 credits they have accredited towards a part time MA Education.

The course is organised as three modules:

  • Professional Issues in school based education
  • Teaching and Learning in the Curriculum
  • Self-directed Study

The programme of study for the academic year is organised as follows:

  • Term 1 (14 weeks) You will spend the first two weeks engaged in an induction programme on Durham University campus. For the six weeks following this, you will spend Monday - Wednesday in your preliminary placement school in west Cumbria, and Thursday - Friday at Durham University. For the final six weeks of this term, you will spend Monday - Friday in your preliminary placement school.
  • Term 2 (14 weeks) As in term one, you will spend the first two weeks of this term on Durham University campus. For the six weeks following this, you will spend Monday - Wednesday in your main placement school in west Cumbria, and Thursday - Friday at Durham University. For the final six weeks of this term, you will spend Monday - Friday in your main placement school.
  • Term 3 (9 weeks) You will spend almost all of this term at your main placement school, with only a handful of days at Durham University campus.

You will be assessed on your progress over the duration of this course. Assessments will be made related to:

  • school based tasks
  • teaching performance
  • professional conduct

Interview process

Applicants will need to attend one interview, conducted jointly by staff from Durham University and West Lakes Teaching School Alliance.

The interview will consist:

  • a written task
  • a formal interview
  • a short presentation on an aspect of geography that interests you
  • a discussion task

Your performance on the selection day, as well as your application form and your referee statements provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate to us that you not only possess the potential to become an excellent secondary teacher, but also that you will benefit from the West Lakes Teaching School Alliance Initial Teacher Training Programme in particular.

We will be looking for:

  • The ability to communicate ideas clearly
  • Reliability and industry
  • Evidence of ability in and enthusiasm for the subject
  • Experience of and commitment to working with young people
  • Motivation and commitment to the programme, to the teaching of young people and to a teaching career
  • Intellectual curiosity and responsiveness
  • Critical analysis of personal educational experiences
  • Ability and willingness to be reflective about own strengths and needs
  • Awareness of current issues in education
  • Degree of open-mindedness, especially with regard to educational issues
  • A range of extra-curricular experiences.

How school placements work

West Lakes Teaching School Alliance consists six schools all located in the west of Cumbria.

Our partnership schools are:

  • Beacon Hill School
  • Cockermouth School
  • Millom School
  • Solway Community College
  • Workington Academy
  • West Lakes Academy

All of our partnership schools teach students aged 11-16 and four have sixth forms. All teacher trainees on our PGCE course will have access to KS5 teaching experience.

All trainees will undertake a minimum of 120 days school experience during this programme. This will be split across two of our partnership schools. You will spend one term in one school, and two terms in another.

School placements are selected to ensure all trainees are offered a broad range of experience. Geographical location will also be taken into account where possible.


The course fees for 2021 to 2022 are as follows:
Student type Fees to pay
UK students £9,250
International students £20,500

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.



  • The equivalent of a UK upper second class honours degree of which approximately 50% is comprised of Geography or a closely related subject.
  • Significant and relevant subject knowledge. This should be demonstrated at both application and interview.
  • GCSE English and Mathematics at Grade C or above (or equivalent) which must be achieved at the time of application.

Personal qualities

Your professional and interpersonal qualities and your commitment to teaching will be considered when making an admissions decision.

We are looking for trainees who are committed to changing students’ lives through learning. We want candidates who have a passion for their subject and a drive to share that passion with young people from across the west of Cumbria.

Apply to us if you want to become the very best secondary teacher and are driven by a desire to make a difference.

Other requirements

Successful candidates will receive an offer conditional upon successful medical and criminal record checks. The latter is carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service and full instructions on how to apply will be provided.

About the training provider

West Lakes Teaching School Alliance is an alliance of secondary schools working together to provide high quality initial teacher training on the west coast of Cumbria.

We work in partnership with Durham University, an Ofsted Outstanding rated provider of ITT and a university with a strong tradition of engaging in cutting-edge educational research.

The Lead School in our alliance is West Lakes Academy, an Ofsted Outstanding rated school with a growing local and national reputation for providing high quality education for students and high quality professional development for staff as recognised in its accreditation as an SSAT Leading Edge school.

Students choosing to train with us will split their time between two placement schools in the west of Cumbria, and Durham University campus. This split, unique locally, ensures that our students have access to the highest quality academic training from Durham University alongside the experience of working in schools that really do make a difference to the lives of the students they serve.

Being located in the west of Cumbria means that our students have easy access to the Lake District National Park as well as to the bustling city of Carlisle. Our Teaching School is based in the market town of Egremont, found by a Royal Mail study in summer 2018 to be the best market town in Britain to live and work due to its good work-life balance, affordable housing and good schools.

Find out more.

About the accredited body

Durham University is one of the leading departments for education in the UK. Durham regularly features in the top five in national university league tables e.g. 3rd in the Guardian University Guide 2019. They also rate highly in the world rankings: 74th in the QS World University Rankings 2019.

As a department, the School of Education also lead the way in high quality research, 5th in the field of education nationally and joint 1st in the UK for world-leading research impact. They are a major contributor in the field of education.

You can be assured of high quality teaching.

Training with disabilities and other needs

We arrange appropriate provision for disabled students.

Across our alliance schools, we are able to accommodate a range of disabilities and other needs.

We have experience of accommodating students with physical mobility needs, visual impairment, and dyslexia.

Contact details

West Lakes Teaching School Alliance
Main Street
CA22 2DQ


Apply for this course

Choose a training location

You’ll also need to choose a training location – select the relevant location name on the application form.

Choose a training location - List of locations, vacancies and codes
Location Vacancies Code
Main Site
Main Street, Egremont, Cumbria, CA22 2DQ
Yes -

Support and advice

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

Get support and advice about teaching

Register with Get Into Teaching, the Department for Education’s free support and advice service, for personalised guidance from teaching experts. They can help you to prepare your application, book school experience, and access exclusive teaching events. You can also call them free of charge on 0800 389 2500, or speak to an adviser using their online chat service, from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday.

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