University of Exeter Primary (2SBP)

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.

Age range
5 to 11
Course length
1 year
Date you can apply from
12 October 2021
Date course starts
September 2022


About the course

We run different pathways within our Primary PGCE programme and applicants should apply to the pathway(s) they are interested in. Our Primary Teaching & Learning course trains you to become a primary classroom teacher but also provides an additional strand in primary teaching & learning to help prepare you to become a future coordinator in curriculum innovation.

The components: 1.Curriculum studies - includes preparation for teaching the core subjects (English, Mathematics, and Science) and the subjects of Art, Computing, D&T, Geography, History, Modern Languages, Music, PE, and RE, delivered in shorter practical courses. These courses cater for trainees whose previous experiences may vary widely and give a substantial introduction to teaching these subjects.

2.Educational and Professional Studies - is designed to enable critical reflection on children’s learning and development, pedagogy, diversity, and teachers’ roles and responsibilities in multi-professional contexts and includes one 30 credit Masters-level assignment.

3.School experience - Central to the course is the developing your ability to meet the DfE’s Teachers’ Standards in order to be recommended for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). School-based tutors and mentors are responsible for your learning & development and receive well-designed training. You initially work with groups of children, before taking on more responsibility for planning and independently teaching whole classes. You will have two main placements offering contrasting environments.

4.Pathway module (Teaching & Learning) - This pathway is for those who do not wish to choose a subject specialism, but are instead interested in developing knowledge, understanding and skills in research-inspired primary teaching and learning across the whole 5-11 curriculum. Practical workshops and seminars make up the taught component, with contributions from school partners. Themes are taken from the Cambridge Primary Review Trust which examines facets of primary teaching and learning from national and international perspectives, offering a contemporary and critical view of primary education in theory and practice. It includes one 30 credit Masters-level assignment.

Note: The DfE entry requirement to pass professional skills tests in literacy and numeracy was removed in 2020. Instead trainees are now benchmarked during their training against a Government-defined set of fundamental mathematics and English skills. This is embedded into the training and does not involve any specific testing at interview. Trainees are given tools to help identify areas for development where needed. The course includes activities to enable trainees to demonstrate the requisite skills by the end of the course.

School placements

You will be working within at least two schools during the course and all of our partner schools have specially trained mentors who will assist you in learning to teach. These colleagues are essential to your development as a teacher and will help you to develop both classroom skills and reflective and evaluative strategies. Together with schools, we will provide you with opportunities, training and support.

Term 1 begins with two weeks of observation (preliminary school experience known as ‘Anticipating Practice’). This leads into the university-based course which focuses on professional development, specialist subject knowledge, pedagogy and teaching skills. In November you will spend two weeks in your first placement school to begin your classroom practice.

Term 2 is spent in your first placement school with three seminar days led by the university.

Term 3 is spent in your second placement school with two seminar days led by the university.

The University of Exeter currently has partnership agreements with over 250 schools across most parts of the South West (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset) as well as a small number of primary schools in London.

Every effort is made to take into consideration your personal circumstances and preferences when allocating your placements. Trainees generally live in and around Exeter or commute to Exeter for the Autumn term, and then move to the area their placements will be in. Once on placement, there are 5 seminar days led by the university throughout the year, offering the opportunity to share experiences and good practice. You can claim a contribution towards expenses for these days if you are living away from Exeter and the sessions are on campus.

Our accommodation office can offer advice regarding finding accommodation for the Autumn term. Many trainees will be placed further afield than Exeter for the whole of their school-based work, and will need to find accommodation in that area. Once registered, we provide an accommodation database, which lists many accommodation options previously used by our trainees. Many trainees live together during their time on placement and some live with school staff.

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’ll consider candidates who need to take a GCSE equivalency test in English, maths or science.

We accept equivalency tests from A Star Equivalency and (please do contact the PGCE Admissions team for further guidance before signing up for an equivalency test).

Personal qualities

We are looking for applicants with an interest in primary education who have the drive to become critically reflective teachers and change agents.

While as standard we normally only accept applicants who meet the 2:1 and above criteria, if you have a 2:2 or equivalent, or are coming from a different academic background equivalent to degree level, you are welcome to make an application for consideration or contact our PGCE Admissions team for more information. Diverse teachers enrich schools and pupils’ experiences and we value diversity in schools and encourage potential teachers from a range of backgrounds to consider applying.

Other requirements

In addition to the academic requirements listed, selection is based on performance at interview and a satisfactory fitness to teach assessment and DBS enhanced disclosure.

Although not essential it would be advantageous to be able to reflect on any school-based experience or experience working with young people in another context at interview.

Fees and financial support

The course fees for 2022 to 2023 are as follows:
Student type Fees to pay
UK students £9,250
International students £20,000

Note - eligibility for home fee status for applicants from EU countries has changed from 2021-22 onwards so please do check the guidance if this is relevant to you. For more information, please see our Fees and finance webpages.

Financial support from the training provider

For information on Government loans and training bursaries, please visit the Student Finance England and Get into Teaching websites.

The University of Exeter offers a £520 bursary to all UK students studying for a PGCE with us, whose household income is £25,000 or less. There is no separate application procedure for this bursary. Instead, we make an assessment using the household income information you provide to Student Finance England (you must make sure you give consent for details of your SfE application to be shared with the University of Exeter). This consent to share is requested during the application for financial support, but can be given at any time throughout the year by contacting SfE.

For more information, please see our Fees and finance webpages

About the training provider

We are leaders in Initial Teacher Education, consistently graded as outstanding in all areas by Ofsted and ranked 3rd amongst university providers of teacher training in the most recent Good Teacher Training Guide (2017).

We have strong partnerships with over 250 schools in the south west where you will spend two-thirds of your training year, putting into practice what you have learnt on the taught course. Our PGCE is uniquely characterised by innovative research-led teaching informed by professional practice and academic excellence. All our tutors have real-world experience as teachers, senior managers or OFSTED inspectors. They lead and innovate, developing the latest ideas in teacher education, leading research, writing textbooks, leading subject networks and advising government.

We provide unrivalled opportunities for trainees to achieve through our highly original PGCE teaching model ‘The Exeter Model’, praised by OFSTED and cited as an example of best practice. By starting with a University-led taught course for most of the first term, you access the tools to rapidly build professional knowledge to underpin your work in school placements.

Our unique approach gives you opportunities to become part of a community of trainees and teachers who are passionate about education and will support you during your course and beyond.

Interview process

For 2022-23 the interview process will take place online (this may change to face-to-face interviews later in the cycle, depending on the covid situation). It comprises various elements, all designed so that you can showcase (and so we can assess) your skills, attributes and subject knowledge. We notify all interviewees ahead of time what will be expected of them at interview, so you have plenty of time to prepare.

  • You will be sent a link to an online welcome presentation and some subject-specific information prior to the interview so you can find out about the structure of the programme, including school placements and the taught course
  • You will also be sent a link to a video and asked to submit a written reflection prior to the interview.
  • You will be asked to prepare a short presentation in which you present a teaching idea using an artefact of your choice
  • There will be a one-to-one interview with an Admissions Tutor, during which you will show your short presentation. This is where Subject Tutors will discuss your application, your suitability for teaching and your subject knowledge. This is also an opportunity to learn about the particular course you are applying for. The Admissions Tutor may be joined by a teacher from one of our partner schools.

The interview process is designed to give you a flavour of the programme. There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions. You should allow approximately half a day for the interview.

International students

We can sponsor Student visas, but this is not guaranteed.

You do not need a visa if you already have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or if you’re an Irish citizen.

Candidates with qualifications from non-UK institutions may need to provide evidence of comparability by applying for a UK ENIC statement.

Training with disabilities and other needs

The University of Exeter provides comprehensive student services that include AccessAbility and Wellbeing teams, Student Learning Skills Service, Student Advice Unit, Counselling Service, Students’ Union Advisors, Student Health Centre, Family Centre and the Chaplaincy.

For further details on the wealth of support available to you please go to Student Support Services

PGCE trainees can access the support of a Wellbeing Services Welfare Consultant to discuss concerns, talk through options for support or understand more about how the University Wellbeing Services may be able to help.

Alongside the support described above, every PGCE trainee is assessed by an Occupational Health provider as part of the admissions process to ensure they are fit to teach in a school setting. If the Occupational Health provider recommends any adjustments, the University’s Partnership Office will ensure you are placed in schools where these adjustments can be made, providing they are logistically possible and reasonable.

Contact this training provider

0300 555 6060
Admissions, University of Exeter
Innovation Centre
Rennes Drive
Exeter, Devon

Support and advice

For support and advice, you can speak to a Get Into Teaching adviser for free. They’re all experienced teachers who can help you to prepare your application, book school experience, and access exclusive teaching events.

You can also call Get Into Teaching free of charge on 0800 389 2500, or speak to an adviser using their online chat service Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm (except public holidays).

Find out about the different ways to train if you do not have a degree, or are already an experienced teacher.

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