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
8 October 2019
Date course starts
September 2020


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.

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.

How teaching placements work

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.


The course fees for 2020 to 2021 are as follows:
Student type Fees to pay
UK students £9,250
EU students £9,250
International students £13,800

The fee’s displayed are those for 2020 entry.

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.

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.



  • Bachelors, Masters degree or higher in a relevant subject
  • Evidence of Level 2 English and Maths by the end of the programme. equivalent
  • Good information and communications technology (ICT) skills. If English is not your first language, you require:
  • IELTS at level 7 with 7 in all four components or GCSE in English language at grade C or above
  • IELTS at level 6 and an undergraduate degree in the UK or IELTS at level 6.5 and a postgraduate degree in the UK. Note-The professional skills test and school experience are not pre-requisites of this programme.

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.

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.

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 details

01752 585858
Nancy Astor Building, 3rd Floor
Drake Circus


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, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon, PL4 8AA
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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