University of Cambridge
Primary (5-11) (X100)

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

Our Primary 5-11 PGCE programme recruits high quality applicants from a variety of backgrounds and cultures and is recognised nationally and internationally as providing an outstanding preparation and development in the Primary age range. In line with the Faculty of Education’s social mission, we believe that all children in schools throughout the UK deserve the very best educational experience and our aim is to empower our trainees to provide it for them. This strong moral purpose sits at the heart of all we do and we are proud that a significant proportion of our trainees go on to teach in schools in challenging circumstances.

We aim to provide a high quality, Masters level course which enables our trainees to achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and become reflective practitioners who are committed to life-long learning. With a strong emphasis on the classroom as a site for enquiry, our course supports trainees to develop a clear understanding of the links between educational theory and classroom practice. We advocate the importance of educational research and our course is designed to allow trainees to learn first-hand about the transformational power of classroom research from leading experts who teach on the course and from researching their own practice. This inspires them to become not only leaders in their classroom but also future leaders of schools and wider educational communities. Many of our trainees are promoted to middle and senior leadership positions in the first few years of their career.

Trainees studying on the course follow either:

  • a 5-9 specialist option with substantial placements in Key Stages 1 and 2
  • a 7-11 specialist option with substantial placements in Key Stage 2 and a short placement in Key Stage 1.

In order to develop teaching skills gradually, our trainees take on increasing responsibility for teaching as the course progresses, with personalised training activities supported by skilled classroom-based practitioners and experienced teacher educators. The trainees spend two thirds of the course in Partnership schools, undertaking four block placements (in a minimum of three different schools). Additionally, trainees benefit from visits to a variety of specialist settings across our extensive Partnership and there is also an opportunity for some trainees to undertake a museum education or SEND embedded placement. Gaining experience within at least ten diverse settings, our trainees feel confident to begin their career in teaching, as demonstrated through our consistently high employment and retention rates.

Interview process

Interviews usually take place at the Faculty of Education and last approximately half a day. However, interviews may need to take place online when the public health situation demands it; this will most probably be the case throughout the autumn (Michaelmas) term of 2020, and possibly beyond.

If selected for interview, candidates will be required to engage in a number of group and individual tasks. These may include:

-group discussions -an individual presentation -a written task -a maths comprehension task -an individual interview

Applicants will be interviewed by representatives from the Partnership, including staff from both Partnership schools and the Faculty. The small numbers involved in each panel allow interviewers to get to know candidates really well and applicants often form friendships with each other that continue into the course.

We view our interview process as a two-way dialogue in which potential trainees can find out if the Cambridge PGCE is the right course for them. Candidates will have the opportunity to learn more about the course and to ask any questions which are pertinent to them. Feedback from our recruitment days are that candidates find the atmosphere established positive, friendly and informative so they are able to perform at their best and, in turn, this influences their decision to apply to Cambridge.

How school placements work

Trainees spend a total of 120 days in school (two thirds of the course), comprised of four main placements. The first is a home-based school placement (1 week), which takes place in the first week of the course and is designed to support trainees to reflect upon key themes surrounding classroom management and behaviour for learning. Following this, trainees undertake three more placements: one of four weeks and two of eight weeks.

In addition to their main placements, trainees also spend a week in a special school reviewing SEND provision and an enrichment placement exploring specific aspects of enhanced provision during the Spring Term (1 week). Trainees also benefit from a number of visits to a range of settings which draw upon best practice across our diverse Partnership. Trainees gain experience across both Key Stages 1 and 2 and also visit a Key Stage 3 setting to ensure they have a good understanding of curriculum progression and transition.

To ensure that trainees build up their teaching skills gradually, teaching responsibility increases as the course progresses and they complete their course having gained substantial experience of teaching up to 80% of the timetable. Throughout their time on placement, trainees are based in one class alongside a mentor. In addition to regular feedback from their mentor, trainees are visited a minimum of six times during the year by Faculty staff whilst on placement. Working alongside school colleagues, Faculty staff will observe lessons and provide trainees with suggestions about how they can move their future practice forward. Trainees also benefit from support from a number of specialist Faculty staff (i.e. behaviour management expert, voice coach, subject specialists etc.).

Throughout the course, great emphasis is placed on trainee and pupil wellbeing. In line with this, extensive structures and pastoral support from a range of tutors and specialists is made available on an individual basis. This enables trainees to feel supported and helps them to be successful in their quest to make a difference to children’s lives.


The course fees for UK students in 2021 to 2022 are £9,250

Fees for EU, Islands and Overseas:

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.



A 2.1 honours degree in any subject.

We may consider applicants with a 2.2 if they have an otherwise strong academic background (eg. a subsequent higher degree qualification) but please contact the PGCE Admissions Office before you apply.

All applicants must hold GCSE passes (minimum grade C/4), or an overseas equivalent, in English language, mathematics and a mainstream science subject. If a applicant does not yet hold a Science GCSE, they may still apply but they must achieve this qualification before starting the course.

We will consider applicants holding overseas qualifications that are equivalent to those described above.

Personal qualities

We actively seek applications from people who have an authentic interest in children’s learning and working with young people. Candidates should demonstrate positive personal qualities that are relevant to teaching e.g. good interpersonal and communication skills, self-awareness, open-mindedness, the ability to critically reflect and analyse and resilience. In addition, candidates should have an interest in educational issues, child development and a passion for learning which they will be able to share with children.

Other requirements

Applicants are not required to have prior school experience as long as they have relevant experience with children in other capacities.

However, we do recommend that you spend some time in school to help you decide if teaching is right for you. We look for evidence of commitment to, and enthusiasm for, working with children and young people. You should consider how you might demonstrate this in your personal statement and be prepared to discuss during an interview.

If you are unable to arrange school observation in the current circumstances, please reflect very carefully on your own schooling instead.

About the training provider

The Faculty of Education provides high quality courses in both the Primary and Secondary age-range. Our trainees are always in demand from headteachers and many of our ex-trainees go on to positions of school leadership very quickly.

We consistently receive outstanding feedback from our trainees on course evaluations. We are delighted to be ranked as the number one teacher training provider in England in the 2017 Good Teacher Training Guide.

School colleagues are involved in all aspects of the course from interviewing through to Faculty course teaching.

Our outstanding benefits are:

  • Well-established and diverse school partnerships
  • Exceptional employment rates
  • The stimulation of being a part of a group of high-attaining future leaders in education
  • Expert staff - experienced teachers and research active subject specialists in the Faculty
  • An intellectual and social hub to live in, comprising College life in the dynamic city of Cambridge

The PGCE courses are assessed at Masters level and trainees who successfully complete all examined elements of the Cambridge PGCE course can apply to undertake the part-time Master of Education (MEd) in just one year.

Training with disabilities and other needs

The Faculty is committed to equal opportunities for all and to the provision of support for students with a disability and aims to ensure that no present or prospective student receives less favourable treatment than another on grounds of any condition or status not directly affecting study or work.

The University’s Disability Resource Centre works with the Faculty to provide support to trainees throughout the PGCE course.

Contact details

01223 767674
Faculty of Education
184 Hills Road


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
Faculty of Education, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PQ
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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