University of Plymouth Post-Compulsory Education and Training (X341)

PGCE full time

Financial support
Student finance if you’re eligible

A postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) is an academic qualification in education.

It’s recognised internationally, though you should always check what qualifications are needed in the country you’d like to teach in.

This course does not lead to qualified teacher status (QTS).

Course length
1 year
Date you can apply from
12 October 2021
Date course starts
September 2022


About the course

The government aims to make sure that the Further Education and Skills (FES) sector provides the skilled workforce employers need and helping individuals reach their full potential. Central to achieving this stated aim is having highly skilled and effective teachers within the FES sector. If you want to teach in the Further Education and Skills (FES) sector then this is the programme for you. This programme meets the teaching qualification criteria for QTLS (Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills). During this one year, full-time programme you will be required to complete four 30-credit modules and eight teaching observations. As a full-time trainee, you will be committed to a Monday to Friday week of academic and professional study, consisting of two full days per week of on-campus study, two days per week of professional practice placement (arranged by the University) and one day per week of independent study and research. You will work closely with your colleagues on the programme, learning together and from one another, with peer-support an important part of the programme organisation and learning. University tutors and subject specialist mentors, in an atmosphere of professional evaluation and support, will carry out your teaching observations. The four 30-credit modules (one at level 6 and three at level 7) each consist of three assessed components and the emphasis is on the interplay between theory and practice with reflexivity the golden thread running throughout.

Teaching placements

We arrange your placement at one of our local colleges. You will be in the same placement organisation throughout the whole year and there is an expectation that you gain breadth of practice experience opportunities in different Further Education and Skills (FES) settings. You will typically be in placement for two days a week (Monday, Wednesday or Friday) and will be expected to participate in the full range of teaching activities including: planning, delivery and assessment of taught sessions and wider teaching related activities such as curriculum development and planning, student support and pastoral roles, course marketing events. Entry onto this programme is conditional on the University identifying a suitable placement and mentor.

Entry requirements

Qualifications needed

An undergraduate degree, or equivalent. This should be an honours degree (Third or above), or equivalent.

A bachelors or Maters degree in the subject you wish to teach

We’ll consider candidates with pending GCSEs.

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

Personal qualities

We expect our trainee teachers to work within our professional body’s code of conduct and uphold its values, skills and attributes at all times. Being a trainee teacher requires resilience, determination and excellent self-management skills. These qualities will be further developed whilst on programme to ensure that you are best prepared to enter your new career teaching in the further education and skills sector.

Other requirements

Applicants with overseas qualifications can check their compatibility with the UK equivalent through NARIC, who provide an advisory service.

Non-academic requirements

  • You’ll be required to complete a satisfactory enhanced DBS Disclosure, register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority and complete a criminal convictions self-declaration form.
  • You must be deemed fit to teach. All appropriately qualified candidates will be given equal consideration during the selection process.

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 £14,200

The fee’s displayed are those for 2022 entry.

Financial support from the training provider

Student teachers receive a contribution towards travel costs to placements that are a greater travelling distance than their travel from their term time address to the university.

About the training provider

With a mission to advance knowledge and transform lives through education and research, the University of Plymouth is among the emerging global elite of modern higher education institutions.

Plymouth is distinguished by its approach to combining world-class research and teaching with a commitment to widening participation and social inclusion. We aim to ensure you have every opportunity to stretch yourself and explore within a supportive environment.

Our University campus is at the centre of a thriving, ocean front city in one of the UK’s most beautiful regions.

Plymouth has everything you would expect from the largest city in the South West – major high street stores, theatres, multiplex cinema, art cinemas, and a wealth of small clubs and venues.

We also enjoy easy access to the fine beaches and beautiful countryside of the South West.

Interview process

We expect applicants to have a broad overview of the role of a teacher in the Further Education and Skills sector and be able to articulate this at interview. A member of the course teaching team will conduct the initial interview and then, if successful, you will be interviewed at a later date with a placement tutor. The second interview is to ascertain your levels of subject specialist knowledge within the teaching placement context. During the initial interview you will be expected to show and articulate your experience of the sector; your understanding of the role of a teacher of your subject specialism; and your ability to research government policies and initiatives relevant to the sector. You will also be required to prepare and present a five-minute micro teach on a subject that you might reasonably be required to teach. This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your potential to undertake Initial Teacher Education. You will also have a literacy, numeracy and free writing task to undertake. This final task does not affect the outcome of the interview but serves as an indicator of areas that might need refreshing. Please note: you are not required to undertake the professional skills test or have school experience for this programme.

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

Disability Services is part of Learning Support and Wellbeing and is here to help with your study support requirements if you have a disability.

Whether you’re a prospective student, applicant, current student or member of staff supporting students, we are here to assist. More information on University of Plymouth Disability services can be found here

Contact this training provider

01752 585858
Nancy Astor Building, 3rd Floor
Drake Circus

Support and advice

For support and advice, you can speak to a teacher training 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 chat online Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm (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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