University of Cambridge Primary (3-7) (X110)

Postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) with qualified teacher status (QTS)

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
3 to 7
Course length
1 year
Date you can apply from
11 October 2022
Date course starts
September 2023


Course summary

Our Primary 3-7 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 early stages of Primary education. In line with the Faculty of Education’s social mission, we believe that all children in schools and early years settings 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 and early years settings 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 setting as a site for enquiry, our course supports trainees to develop a clear understanding of the links between educational theory, including play-based learning, 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 this research from leading experts who teach on the course and from researching their own practice. This inspires the trainees to become not only leaders in their classroom but also future leaders of schools, early years settings 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 3-7 Primary course gain experience in both Foundation Stage settings and Key Stage 1 classrooms.

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 early years specialists, classroom-based practitioners and experienced teacher educators. The trainees spend two thirds of the course in Partnership schools/ settings, undertaking four block placements (in a minimum of three different settings). Additionally, trainees benefit from visits to a variety of specialist providers 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.

School placements

Trainees spend a total of 120 days (two thirds of the course) in school/settings, 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 time in a special school reviewing SEND provision and an enrichment placement exploring specific aspects of enhanced provision during the Spring Term. 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 the whole Primary age range and with time spent in nurseries and Key Stage 2, which ensures 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 work alongside a skilled mentor who provides regular feedback and supports their day to day professional development. Additionally, 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.

Entry requirements

Qualifications needed

An undergraduate degree at class 2:1 or above, or equivalent.

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

We’ll consider candidates with pending GCSEs.

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

Personal qualities

We actively seek applications from people who have an authentic interest in children’s learning and working in this unique and important phase of a child’s education. 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 issues related to early stages of primary education, early 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.

Fees and financial support

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

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.

Interview process

We expect most interviews to take place in person at the Faculty of Education, however, we will try to offer an online option for applicants resident outside the UK. We ask that such applicants contact the PGCE office before applying to discuss the details as online interview dates are limited. Interviews last approximately 4 hours.

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

  • group discussions
  • an individual presentation
  • a written 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.

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

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 this training provider

01223 767674
Faculty of Education
184 Hills Road

Support and advice

You can speak to a teacher training adviser for free, dedicated advice. They are all experienced teachers who can give you one-to-one support with your application. They can also help you get school experience, and find events where you can speak to training providers and teachers.

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).

Is there something wrong with this page?

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