The University of Nottingham Primary (32HV)

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


Course summary

The PGCE primary course is a one-year full-time programme. It prepares you to teach in primary schools. You are supported and challenged to evaluate your experience against the government’s initial teacher training requirements and participate in activities throughout the year to develop new skills and knowledge.

You will spend at least two thirds of your time on the course working in schools, returning to the University for a number of days across the year.

Prior to the course, you will undertake pre-course activities and reading. We expect you to keep up to date with educational debates and current issues in the media. It is also a very important time for you to develop your knowledge of the subjects in the primary curriculum.

Course structure

University-based days: At University you are part of a vibrant cohort of beginning primary teachers. You will explore principles which underlie the teaching of the primary curriculum, varied and detailed approaches to teaching the curriculum and wider issues of becoming a teacher such as safeguarding and special educational needs.

Assessment: The PGCE course is at a postgraduate Masters level. It offers you the opportunity to gain up to 60 credits at Masters level that can contribute towards a Masters level course. Assignments relate to two modules - ‘Learning and Teaching in Schools’ and ‘Issues in Primary Teaching. One of the assignments is a school-based inquiry project.

University tutors, school-based colleagues and external examiners assess your professional development and practice using a wide range of evidence across the whole course. This evidence includes academic assignments, lesson observations, written reflections, presentations, and collaborative tasks.

All our Initial Teacher Training courses are highly rated locally and many of our students go on to work in partner schools each year. In 2022, Ofsted judged our PGCE courses to be ‘outstanding’.

Some of the key strengths are:

  • University leaders who have an excellent track record of improving this already high-quality provision and demonstrate an outstanding capacity to develop and improve the quality of training and trainees’ outcomes even further.
  • Their very strong integration of theory and practice, informed by the most up-to-date and relevant research, enabling trainees to gain an in-depth understanding of the latest developments in education and in their subject areas.
  • The shared vision and ethos, which permeates the partnership.

School placements

First placement: In the Autumn term you will spend most of your time in your first placement school, September through to December, with regular days returning to the university to reflect upon and develop your knowledge and practice.

During this placement you will undertake a variety of tasks and observations and will be gradually introduced to teaching. As the term progresses, you will take on more teaching commitments, working closely with your school-based mentor and your university tutor.

Second placement: Beginning in January through to June with some university days.

You gradually build up your teaching commitments. This placement allows you to become part of the school community and to work professionally as a member of a team.

During this placement you will negotiate and agree a personalised programme of work. The emphasis is on formulating, developing and reflecting on the insights derived from the experience of earlier placements; meeting the standards required for the Teachers’ Standards, and preparing you for your ECT years.

Within school, your mentor and other teachers will be immediate sources of support and advice. Your university tutor will visit to observe lessons and to discuss your progress and development needs.

During the second placement, you will return for several university-based days that focus on a wide range of professional development issues and provide contact with your peers and tutors.

As well as the two main placements, in January you will spend a week in an alternative provision setting and an Early Years’ setting.

Entry requirements

Qualifications needed

An undergraduate degree, 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 or maths.

We are able to offer an equivalency test in English and maths to University of Nottingham PGCE offer holders only.  

You are only able to take the equivalency test once.

There is no charge to take the test.

We do not accept any other equivalency tests.

Personal qualities

  • A desire to teach and work with young people
  • Effective communication skills
  • A commitment to work hard on the course: Teaching is a job where you can really make a difference to young people’s lives
  • Determination to succeed: Success rates on the Nottingham PGCE course are high. It isn’t because the course is easy! It is because of the high calibre of the students on the course, the course itself and the teachers we work with.
  • A readiness to listen and share and work collaboratively
  • A flexible approach to learning and teaching

Other requirements

Admission to the course is subject to a satisfactory medical report, as you are required to meet the standards for ‘Fitness to Teach’. It is important that you disclose any medical condition or disability so that we can look at the best way of supporting you if you are offered a place on the course.

You will be subject to safeguarding checks which include an enhanced DBS check.

Before a recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status can be made we will need to be assured of your proficiency in English and mathematics.

Fees and financial support

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

About the training provider

The University of Nottingham has been involved in teacher education for over 125 years and our postgraduate Initial Teacher Education provision is one of the largest in the country; courses inspected during our latest Ofsted visit were rated ‘outstanding’.

All of our courses emphasise practical school-based training, supported by an exploration of established and current educational theory and thinking. We have a clearly articulated set of strands and phases outlining the development of specialised teacher knowledge over the year, these support you to understand, and take ownership of, your professional development. Our courses are designed to challenge your ideas on learning and teaching and enable you to experience and develop for yourself a wide variety of styles and techniques to use in the classroom. All university tutors working with beginning teachers were successful and innovative teachers in schools, they are now experienced teacher educators committed to developing you as part of the next generation of teachers.

With a strong partnership with schools in the region, all of our courses are underpinned by a shared ethos and together we work toward shared aims. Our students are highly rated and a large proportion going on to work in partner schools each year.

The University of Nottingham ITE courses are popular and large cohorts offer excellent peer support throughout the course. We have a strong emphasis on emotional wellbeing, supporting our beginning teachers to develop their own identities and embed work ethics that enable them to thrive and enjoy teaching as a profession.

Interview process

We look very closely at your application form. In particular, we are interested in your personal statement, your qualifications and your experience.

Based on our consideration of your application form, we will decide whether to invite you for an interview.

When you come for a PGCE interview, there are likely to be other applicants being interviewed alongside you. You will not be in competition with the other applicants – in fact, we are keen to see that you can work collaboratively with others.

You will be interviewed by PGCE tutors from the School of Education. As part of the interview, you will be asked to carry out certain tasks that allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and skills, individually or in groups. The letter of invitation will give you details about specific requirements.

What happens next? We will inform you of our decision as soon as possible after your interview. If you receive an offer of a place on the PGCE course, you will receive a link to our pre-course website containing information describing the steps you should take next. If your offer is a conditional offer, it will become unconditional when we have received your acceptance and all the necessary clearances and documentation.

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

Admission to the course is subject to a satisfactory medical report, as you are required to meet the standards for ‘Fitness to Teach’. It is important that you disclose any medical condition or disability so that we can look at the best way of supporting you if you are offered a place on the course.

The University of Nottingham is committed to creating an inclusive and equitable teaching and learning environment and we work closely with our partnership schools to ensure that any student who has a specific need is supported to thrive as a beginning teacher. We believe the teacher workforce should reflect the diversity of school communities.

We have a wide range of facilities to meet the needs of students with special needs, differences or disabilities. The School of Education is supported by our wellbeing and disability support teams who work with students when necessary to ensure they access all available support from the University but also to support with any issues that specifically relate to being a student teacher.

We have many examples of supporting students with a range of needs and, in the past, have worked with students to plan placements in advance that accommodate their needs and mediated needs with partnership schools to ensure additional support is in place.

You are welcome to discuss any needs with us at any time during, or after, the application process.

Contact this training provider

0115 951 5151
The School of Education
Jubilee Campus

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).

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