The Shire Foundation Primary (2HL2)

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

Accredited body
Chiltern Training Group
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 11
Course length
1 year
Date you can apply from
11 October 2022
Date course starts
September 2023


Course summary

The Shire Foundation is working in partnership with our accredited provider of initial teacher training, Chiltern Training Group and Bedfordshire Schools’ Training Partnership to offer high quality training across Luton, Bedfordshire and the neighbouring counties.

This is a one year, full time Post Graduate Certificate in Education course (PGCE). On the meeting all of the Teachers’ Standards you will be awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). On successful completion of the academic course work you will be awarded 60 credits at Masters level, validated by the University of Buckingham.

Key features of the course

  • The Shire Foundation has been a primary school-centred provider since 1994, with training provided by outstanding current primary practitioners. This ensures that training is up-to-date and is relevant to current practice within schools.

  • Trainees choose to train within one of 2 age ranges: 3-7 (EYFS/KS1) or 5-11 (KS1 and KS2).

  • Trainees complete 24 weeks of training within a school setting, undertaking teaching practices in two consecutive age phases and also school-based training.

  • Highly regarded centre-based sessions, run jointly by Chiltern Training Group and the Shire Foundation, take place at the outstanding Hillborough Junior School, based in Luton. This allows trainees opportunities to work with teachers and pupils as an integral part of their centre-based education.

  • Additional inspiring education sessions take place in outstanding partnership schools, a local special school and Whipsnade zoo.

    • Strong focus on engagement with current research and reading
    • Opportunity for trainees to follow a specialism option in mathematics, science, PE or music.
  • Bespoke course elements designed to meet your individual needs.

  • Excellent support and well-being structures, with all trainees allocated an expert quality assurance tutor. They are on-hand to offer guidance and support.

  • Workload is managed well through the provision of well designed online tools and careful course structure.

  • Consistently very high employment rates following the award of QTS, with former trainees progressing quickly into leadership roles.

School placements

The Shire Foundation takes responsibility for organising placements for trainees on this route. We work predominantly with schools located within Luton, but are willing to work with other schools within a 30 mile radius of our lead school.

Trainees complete assessed teaching practices within 2 schools and within 2 consecutive age phases. These can be selected from EYFS (nursery school or a reception class), KS1, Lower Key Stage 2 (Years 3 and 4) or Upper Key Stage 2 (Years 5 and 6). Trainees also complete a Taster Week in another age phase and also a 3-day placement within a special school setting.

You will complete a 25 day teaching practice in your base school during the autumn term, and six weeks in both the spring and summer terms. Occasional visits to your schools will also be completed throughout the year, starting in early September.

The course is personalised to take account of any previous experience in school, but in general the expectation is that you will start in the autumn term by teaching groups of children, building up to 50% whole class teaching in the final week of the Autumn Practice. You will also teach 50% of the lessons in the consecutive age phase by the end of the spring practice. In the summer term, you will build your teaching up to 80% of the timetable.

You will be allocated a mentor within both your teaching practice schools, who will oversee your training and development over the course of the training year. They will meet with you for at least an hour on a weekly basis, as well as observing your teaching, in collaboration with other members of the school staff. At the end of the year you will be assessed against the Teachers’ Standards through the submission of an evidence portfolio and a final assessment interview will take place in July.

Shire will also nominate a Quality Assurance Tutor who will support and monitor your progress. They will spend a day each term visiting you within your teaching practice schools.

Entry requirements

Qualifications needed

An undergraduate degree at class 2:2 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.

The candidate should use a third party for this. We are able to suggest suitable organisations.

Personal qualities

  • A strong desire to impact positively on the learning of pupils within a nursery or primary school setting.
  • Confidence
  • Patience
  • Compassion and understanding
  • Enthusiasm
  • A sense of humour
  • Dedication to excellence
  • Command of the English language
  • An ability to communicate clearly and grammatically in spoken and written English.

Other requirements

Assessments of fundamental English and mathematics will be undertaken at interview.

Prior experience in school is not required. However, where candidates have been able to gain experience in schools, Shire might find references from these schools a helpful part of our R&S process.

We are committed to safeguarding the welfare of children. All applicants who are offered a training place will be required to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Check, with Update Service

A medical fitness to train to teach check will take place prior to the start of the course.

Fees and financial support

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

About the training provider

The Shire Foundation is a well established (since 1994), teacher training provider working with primary, nursery and special schools, mainly within the Luton area.

Ofsted (March 2013) judged the provision as Good with many Outstanding features. Our training in mathematics and behaviour management was in particular cited as Outstanding. Trainee course evaluations demonstrate a very high level of satisfaction.

We have built up an excellent reputation in teacher training in the local area, and trainees consistently rate the quality of the course and support as very high. We have a consistently excellent employment rate (95 - 100% in recent years), with a high percentage of trainees securing a teaching job within one of their placement schools.

Shire utilises a range of outstanding current primary practitioners to lead training sessions.

About the accredited body

The Chiltern Training Group (CTG) is an outstanding provider (Ofsted, 2014) of school centred initial teacher training based in Luton, with a long heritage of training teachers. They have been at the forefront of school centred initial teacher training for over 28 years.

A full range of training routes are offered from primary aged 3 to secondary aged 18. We believe the best place to train teachers is in schools, having access to an incredible range of different settings. Primary schools in rural settings, multi-ethnic urban schools, middle schools, special schools, secondary high schools, and a dedicated sixth form college.

Interview process

The interview day takes place at Shire and comprises of:

  1. Planning and delivering a short teaching session with a group of children; You will be assessed on your ability to engage the children; manage behaviour and make effective use of resources to enable learning to take place.

  2. Written report; Following this taught session you will be asked to write a short reflective report on the learning that has taken place. There will be a 30 minute time limit for this task. You will also be graded on your standard of written English.

  3. Presentation; After you will be asked to make a presentation to the interview panel and other candidates, on a current educational issue. It must be no longer than 10 minutes in length. PowerPoint facilities will be available.

  4. Interview; After the presentation there will be the formal interview with 2 panel members in which you will be asked a series of questions relating to your suitability for the PGCE route. You will be assessed on the quality and relevance of your responses to the questions.

  5. Subject Knowledge Tests; You will complete a written task focusing on your fundamental English skills. Prior to interview you will be asked to complete an online assessment of your fundamental mathematics knowledge.

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, you may need to apply for a visa. The main visa for fee-paying courses (those that you have to pay for) is the Student visa.

To apply for a Student visa, you’ll need to be sponsored by your training provider.

Sponsorship is not available for this course.

If you need a visa, filter your course search to find courses with visa sponsorship.

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

Accommodation at the Hillborough Junior School base and the partner schools has appropriate disability access.

Each year we work successfully with trainees with disabilities and other needs. Our personalised approach to training ensures that support and provision is tailored to each trainee’s particular needs, in order to facilitate success during all aspects of the training year.

Contact this training provider

The Shire Foundation, Hillborough Junior School, Hillborough 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).

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