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The Shire Foundation Primary (AE45)

PGCE with QTS part 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
3 to 11
Course length
Up to 2 years
Date you can apply from
13 October 2020
Date course starts
September 2021


About the course

This is a two year, part time Post Graduate Certificate in Education course (PGCE), validated by the University of Buckingham. Training covers the primary age range 3-11. On 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.

We also offer the opportunity to follow a specialism option in either mathematics or science.

Trainees will attend the course for 3 days a week (Monday - Wednesday), across the 2 years. Trainees will complete a total of 24 weeks of training within a school setting, undertaking teaching practices in two consecutive age phases and also school-based training.

In year 1 trainees will undertake a mixture of centre-based and school based training. This will include a formally assessed placement within their preferred age phase. Centre-based training focuses on the core and foundation curriculum areas and professional studies. This training is based largely at Hillborough Junior School in Luton. Sessions also take place in other settings, including partnership schools and a special school. In addition you will have the opportunity to focus on the areas of special educational needs and developing early reading through directed placements. All centre-based training takes place during the school day (9:15am - 4pm).

Year 2 will focus predominantly on school-based training, with two formally assessed teaching practices taking place. There will be some tutorials at the Shire base. Trainees will also complete their academic assignments within this year. You will be expected to attend school for the normal hours expected of a teacher, to allow you to meet with staff, attend relevant training and meetings, assess learning and prepare for lessons. This will vary across placement schools but is likely to be at least 8:15am - 4:30pm.

Centre-based tutors and the training managers are on-hand to offer guidance and support. Our Learning Platform provides a channel of communication as well as a range of support materials. Being based at our lead school allows trainees opportunities to work with teachers and pupils as an integral part of their centre-based training.

Shire has always been a school-centred provider, managed by head teachers, with training provided by outstanding current primary practitioners. This ensures that training is up-to-date and is relevant to current practice within schools.

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 4-day placement within a special school setting.

You will complete a 25 day teaching practice in your base school during Year 1, and six weeks in both chosen age phases in Year 2. Further visits to your schools will also be completed throughout the 2 years, allowing you to observe good practice, work with groups/individuals and prepare for your teaching practices.

The course is personalised to take account of any previous experience in school, but in general the expectation is that in Year 1 you will start by teaching groups of children, building up to 50% whole class teaching in the final weeks of Year 1. In Year 2, you will build up to 50% of the lessons in the consecutive age phase. In the final teaching practice, you will build your teaching up to 80% of the timetable.

You will be allocated a mentor within your teaching practice schools, who will oversee your training and development over the course of each 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 each practice you will be assessed against the Teachers’ Standards through the submission of an evidence portfolio and a final assessment interview will take place at the end of Year 2.

Shire will nominate a Visiting Tutor who will support and monitor your progress. They will spend a day visiting you within your teaching practice schools.

Entry requirements

Qualifications needed

Degree Applicants should have an Honours classification of 2:2 or above, or equivalent.

GCSE All trainees must have GCSE Grade C/4 or above in English Language, Maths and Science (or equivalent). Shire will consider applicants who have one of these qualifications pending, but they must all be in place by the date of enrolment of the programme. Recognised equivalency tests are accepted.

Overseas Qualifications Overseas equivalent qualifications are accepted if they have been certified through NARIC. Shire will not call any candidate to interview until these qualifications have been verified.

Personal qualities

Command of the English language Trainees must demonstrate an ability to communicate clearly and grammatically in spoken and written English.

Other requirements

Assessments of fundamental English and mathematics knowledge will be undertaken prior to the award of QTS. Shortfalls must be addressed by the trainee teacher.

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.

Disclosure and Barring Service/Medical 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 and a medical check prior to the start of their practice in schools.

Fees and financial support

The course fees for UK students in 2021 to 2022 are £10,000.

Course fees are payable as £5,000 per academic year.

About the training provider

The Shire Foundation is a well established (since 1994), school-centred 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.

Our lead school, Hillborough Junior School has been judged to be Outstanding by Ofsted, and is the lead school for the Luton First Teaching School Alliance. This partnership has 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 NQT employment rate (98 - 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.

Interview process

The interview day takes place at The Shire Foundation 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; Whilst the interviews are taking place the other candidates will complete an English, mathematics and science test papers.

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

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).

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