Initial Teacher Education
Primary PGCE School Direct

Primary PGCE School Direct


  • University induction in late August, before beginning first school placement in your alliance school from the very start of the academic year
  • Carefully chosen placement within one of the schools in the alliance
  • University-based days spread across the year with Primary PGCE students, where you are part of a vibrant cohort of beginning teachers, reflecting on and developing practice
  • Second school placement in the spring term
  • Extra enrichment programme from your alliance to enhance your professional development and enable you to understand a multi-academy trust and the relationship between the schools within it
  • Rated 'Outstanding' by Ofsted in 2022

Teacher Training Events

Find out more about our Ofsted-rated 'outstanding' PGCE courses and how to apply.

Teacher Training Information Session
14 June 2022

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Entry requirements

  • UK undergraduate degree/equivalent – any subject
  • GCSE/equivalent – English language, mathematics and science, 4 (C) or above
  • Satisfactory medical report
  • Enhanced Disclosure from Disclosure and Barring Service

Course length

The course is 11 months long, starting late August and finishing in July. You can view the current course schedule to get an idea of your time in school and university.

Course structure

Your school placements will be supported by university-based teaching days, as well as periods of independent study. 

University-based learning

You will actively work with tutors and peers, constantly exploring teaching and learning. You will engage with theory and research to make you a better teacher, for example we will look at theories about behaviour for learning to help you analyse what is and is not working in your classroom. Your university experience will include:

  • working with groups of beginning teachers for your subject or phase
  • modelling of teacher approaches you can use in your classroom
  • exploring research and practice
  • keynote inputs from experts, for example staff that specialise in special and educational needs and disabilities
  • peer teaching and learning
  • exploring and practising all elements of being a teacher in a 'safe' space

You will be placed in your base school from September to July and follow your school through a full academic year and you will gain experience in a second school in the Spring term. You will also be able to engage in enrichment opportunities in a range of educational settings to further support your ongoing professional development - this will include a week in a special school. 


Learning and Teaching in School (Primary)

This 30-credit module explores teaching and learning in the primary context and more generally. An extensive programme of lectures and seminars will enable you to develop a practical knowledge of teaching informed by a critical understanding of theories of teaching and learning. The module is assessed through written assignments, presentations and related classroom-based work.

Issues in Primary Teaching

This 30-credit module considers various aspects of teachers' wider professional roles as well as social, cultural and legal aspects of schooling.

The module is assessed through written assignments and presentations, some of which are collaborative.

The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This course page may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.

Placements - school based learning

We have a very strong, collaborative partnership with the schools we work with. University tutors and school coordinators/mentors work closely with you, and each other, throughout the year to support and challenge you to develop into the best teacher you can be.

We firmly believe that learning to become a great teacher isn’t about doing as many lessons as you can as quickly as possible. It is about gradually building up your experiences and working with experienced teachers in lots of different ways. Your school experience will include:

  • a carefully structured programme to support your progress each term
  • a gradual build-up of teaching
  • observations across all key stages with expert teachers
  • weekly mentor meetings to discuss your progress and agree targets for development
  • involvement in all aspects of school life, for example helping with clubs, school trips, joining staff meetings, providing break-time duty 

Throughout your time in school you will undertake a wide range of professional development activities to develop your understanding of teaching and learning and the complex role of a teacher. Although placements are intensive and demanding, we carefully structure your progression, with a gradual build-up of teaching commitments, so you are well prepared to teach in different contexts. During your time on placement you will become part of your school's community and work professionally as a member of a team. 

Whilst on placement, you will undertake a small-scale research project where, working with others, you will formulate and develop a research project on an area of interest. To further personalise and support your ongoing professional development, your alliance will provide enrichment opportunities throughout the year.

Teaching methods and assessment

Your practical teaching will be assessed by University tutors and school-based mentors/coordinators and moderated by external examiners. All elements of your work across the year will be taken into account and there are no written exams.

You will need to demonstrate your practical abilities as a teacher and your theoretical understanding of this practice and must fulfil the requirements for the Teacher Standards by the end of the course. We take an holistic approach to assessing whether you have met the standards that avoids gathering pieces of evidence to tick off boxes. Our key message is that if you are engaging successfully with all elements of your course you will be meeting the standards.

Fundamental mathematics and English skills

Before being recommended for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), you must be able to demonstrate competence in maths and English. At interview we will discuss your current level of ability and if needed, we will direct you to resources to engage with before the course. Throughout the course you will be supported to develop further to ensure you are fully competent by the end of your course. 

How to apply

  • Identify your chosen lead school from our list (please note the Mathematics Specialist Route is only available through L.E.A.D.)
  • Visit DfE Find for more information on applying
  • Apply directly to the lead school via Apply for teacher training
  • Complete a personal statement
  • Suitable candidates will be invited to interview at the University and at your placement school
  • Successful applicants will be offered a place

 Read our Primary Education Network Blog

School of Education

University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

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