University of Bristol Music (W3X1)

PGCE with QTS full time

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

“Music for all” is at the heart of all work.

You’ll explore the unique contribution that music can have to a child’s development. We will prepare you to work within the National Curriculum for Music and to teach exam specifications, including: GCSE, A-level and BTECH. You’ll learn strategies and methods to engage students and to stimulate creative music making. The programme will also develop your reflective and analytical skills, useful in teaching and beyond. All the work will draw on the latest research into learning and teaching, and music pedagogy.

One key aspect is music technology. We provide workshops to develop your music ICT skills. These are designed for beginners and for those with considerable experience. You’ll undertake individual and group sequencing and recording work and learn how technology can support musical learning in classrooms. There are opportunities to learn how new technologies support students with special needs and disabilities to make music.

There are many other practical activities on offer including workshops on conducting, steel band, and singing. In the summer term, you’ll also have the opportunity to develop skills in teaching drama. In past years, students have also taken active roles in community ventures: previous events include a music hub instrumental workshop, and a concert for primary school children across Bristol.

In the Summer there’s also an opportunity to spend time in special schools working with students with additional needs or disabilities, and/or to take part in the Green Apple scheme.

We will support you throughout your teaching experiences. You have a personal university mentor and a specially trained mentor in school. Your teaching and your written work is assessed separately. There are 3 Master’s assignments (20 credits each, of approximately 4,000 words in length). One is submitted in each term.

The University of Bristol PGCE Music postgraduates are sought after for first appointments locally and nationally, and employment rates are very high: 100% for the last 3 years’ cohorts.

PGCE Music student teachers comment on the course: “The constant support from my university tutors has been amazing - whenever and wherever you need it.”

“SEN/D in music discussions -understanding how to differentiate effectively for a range of needs - were really good.”

“The technology support was great – I’d never used Cubase, Logic before. Excellent help… and how to apply to teaching.”

“Tutorial on masters writing were really helpful giving me a nudge in the right direction!”

School placements

Our stable and well-established Partnership comprises approximately 65 schools. Some are in the City of Bristol itself, and others are within a day’s commute of Bristol (up to one hour travelling) - in North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset as well as a small number in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Somerset. We work with some schools in South Wales. The Partnership comprises a diverse range of schools and we are therefore able to offer opportunities to experience different contexts across the year including schools with high numbers of BAME and/or EAL pupils. Where appropriate, we are also able to offer experience in a special school.

You will be placed in a minimum of two schools and when making placement decisions we consider where you live as well as doing our best to accommodate personal circumstances. We know our Partnership schools well, however, and our priority is to place you in schools where your needs will be met, where you will be well-supported and where you can thrive. Most student teachers are required to travel for at least one placement, and we offer some assistance with the cost of travel where appropriate.

Our programme comprises three distinct phases. In the Induction Phase (Autumn Term), you complete a short teaching placement. During the Assimilation Phase (Spring Term) you will complete your main placement in a second school. In the Summer Term, you will complete a final, short placement as part of the Extension Phase. Typically, this is in the main placement school, but may involve gaining additional experiences in other schools, such as teaching pupils with EAL, Key Stage 5 teaching or experience in a special school. Whilst most of our Partnership schools teach pupils 11-18, some teach 11-16 or 16-19. Therefore, a priority when selecting placement schools is to ensure that everyone has experience across the age ranges including post-16.

Due to the unpredictable nature of the COVID 19 pandemic, we may make changes to the placement structure of the PGCE. This is to ensure that our student teachers are able to carry out their placements safely.

Interview process

If the potential to be a good Music teacher is evident in your application, we will invite you for a half day interview session at the University or to an online interview. Interviews take place every few months according to the number of applicants at the time. Your interview is, typically with a University PGCE Music tutor and, where possible, a school music mentor.

To gain an overview of your musical skills, we test the following:

  • Aural: 2-part melody dictation;
  • Reading skills through piano prepared sight reading at about grade 4 standard;
  • History of music, including Classical and Pop repertoire;
  • Your ability to sing in tune: you teach a song of your choice, suitable for a year 7 class;
  • Your performance skills on your first instrument (which can be voice).

We also ask you to send in, and discuss, a piece of tonal harmony. This must be your own work and not an arrangement.

At interview it is helpful to have had experience within a state school music department, even if you have developed considerable teaching skills through community ventures or instrumental teaching. After the visit, we ask you to write a short account of what you learned from your visit, with a particular focus upon good practice in teaching Music in the classroom, and how students learn in Music lessons. This is an analytical, rather than a descriptive account and between 1-2 sides of A4 in length. You bring this to your interview.


The course fees for 2021 to 2022 are as follows:
Student type Fees to pay
UK students £9,250
International students £20,100

Fees for EU students are £20,100

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.

Financial support from the training provider

You may be eligible for a bursary. Visit the ‘Get into teaching’ website to find out more:

Bursaries and Scholarships

You don’t have to apply for a bursary - if you’re eligible, you’ll automatically start receiving it once you begin your course. Find out about eligibility and how you’ll be paid.

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.

In addition to teacher-training bursaries, the University of Bristol offers a small contribution to travel expenses during placements.

We have a dedicated department who can offer support and guidance on finances throughout your training year. Further information on additional sources of financial support can be found here: Financial support



Most applicants have a music degree and have studied music to Advanced/BTech level; we accept those who demonstrate that they have all-round subject knowledge/skills including:

Grade 8 or equivalent on an instrument or highly developed music technology skills; Grade 4/5 keyboard skills; Experience of playing/singing with others; Sound notation reading skills (treble and bass); Competence in writing traditional harmonies; Aural skills at Advanced level; and A broad awareness of music: 1500 to present

GCSE Grade C/4 in Maths and English must be in place for the start of the course.

Personal qualities

We look for applicants with passion who want to inspire the next generation. The PGCE is demanding but we’ll support and guide you to become an excellent qualified teacher.

As our aim is for you to thrive and become a confident and successful teacher; we look for:

  • good subject skills
  • good understanding of the secondary curriculum
  • awareness of current effective teaching and learning in your subject
  • interest and awareness of what working with young people involves
  • commitment to the state sector
  • communication skills
  • critical analysis
  • good organisation
  • reflection
  • resilience.

Other requirements

In addition to the academic entry requirements, all applicants will be subject to suitability checks. This includes a full enhanced disclosure and barring check for child workforce, as well as clearance by our Occupational Health department.

If there are any concerns with either of the above, applicants will be referred to the University’s suitability panel.

About the training provider

Our Partnership offers subject-specialist training in 8 secondary subjects. We are currently rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted and our programme was ranked in the Top 5 of the Good Teacher Training Guide 2017. As a designated 11-19 provider you are guaranteed training and direct experience of A level/BTEC teaching as part of your programme. We also offer comprehensive training in generic elements such as behaviour management, pastoral care and working with pupils with SEND.

Throughout the year, you will be supported by a subject specialist university tutor, as well as dedicated mentors in Partnership schools. The support that we offer is highly praised by our student teachers, and in the last two years, 99% of student teachers rated the quality of their training with us as either good or very good.

You are also able to take advantage of being part of a research-intensive university which offers the opportunity to benefit from cutting edge research in areas such as neuroscience and education. As part of the University’s Green Apple Project, we encourage our student teachers to focus on ‘sustainable education’ for the future.

Typically, over 50% of those qualifying with us choose to remain in the Bristol area and many have successfully secured teaching posts within our partnership schools by the end of the PGCE year. Our student teachers often progress quickly in their careers, taking on roles such as subject leader and head of year. A number have gone beyond this, joining senior leadership teams.

Training with disabilities and other needs

We welcome applications from candidates with disabilities and other needs and, within the context of University of Bristol support structures, we make reasonable adjustments to ensure that the programme is accessible to all. When a specific need is declared, offer holders are assessed by the University’s Occupational Health department and recommended to liaise with our Disability Service to ensure a Learning Support Plan can be put in place.

Many lectures are audio-recorded and are made available via our VLE. When possible, lecture slides and handouts are made available to the whole cohort at least 24 hours in advance of the session. All University buildings are accessible including ramp/lift access. In cases where student teachers are required to move around the University campus to attend lectures, provision is made to support them, as appropriate. The University works closely with placement schools to ensure that needs are met whilst on teaching practice. For example, a student teacher with hearing disabilities was placed in a school that could provide carpeted classrooms.

The University has a comprehensive support structure to support students with a wide range of medical conditions, including mental health. This includes support from the University Tutor, the Senior Tutor and Programme Director, Professional Services staff as well as department-based Student Welfare Advisors. If appropriate, student teachers can be referred to the University’s specialist Counselling Service or Occupational Health team. Further information on student wellbeing can be found here:
Student health and wellbeing

Contact details

0117 3314492
University of Bristol
School of Education, 35 Berkeley Square


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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
Senate House, Tyndall Ave, Bristol, BS8 1TH
Yes -

Support and advice

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

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