School of Education

School Direct Primary Course Details

The PGCE Primary School Direct course will allow you to gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) with the opportunity of gaining up to 60 credits at masters level, as well as meeting the requirements of Teacher Standards. 

The PGCE Primary and Early Years' School Direct programme is a dynamic, school-based route into teaching, drawing on the best that university and schools have to offer.

The programme leads you through the development of learning from 3-11, covering the theory at university and specific classroom teaching and observations across the school during placements. The university programme is based on a spiral curriculum integrating theory with practice.

Course structure

The course includes:

  • a two day induction at the University 
  • a training day each Friday at the University (this means that you are not timetabled in school on Fridays as you will need to be at the University) 
  • an individual training plan 
  • a minimum of four tutor visits during the year 
  • a structured professional development tutorial programme 
  • mentor and coordinator training specific to the PGCE Primary School Direct route 
  • access to web-based support, library resources and administrative support 
  • a second school placement - where possible this will be a paired placement with a fellow trainee on the course  

You will follow your school calendar and the timetable at the University, working in school four days per week throughout the whole school year.

Each Friday you attend the University to learn as part of a professional cohort of beginning teachers and spend the rest of the week learning to teach in your placement school. 

You will also complete a placement in a second school that promotes collaborative learning, and have the opportunity to undertake placements in a range of educational settings. 

All primary trainees take part in collaborative working with secondary trainees to enhance their knowledge of the transitions for pupils and of the difference between the roles of teachers in different settings.


The PGCE Primary School Direct is an individualised route and the teaching load will be influenced by prior experience. However, you will have a structured introduction into teaching and you can expect to to build up your classroom teaching gradually. 

University teaching

Although you will be based in a school, an important element of this PGCE Primary School Direct programme will be training days held each week at the University. 

University teaching includes input from cutting edge researchers working in primary education at the University. The teaching is always research informed and is underpinned by developing an understanding of child development, social justice, working with disadvantaged children and in schools in challenging circumstances.

You will be attached to a 'collaborative seminar group' where you will work with your peers to reflect on your learning across the week and consider how you have synthesised theory and practice.


In school, you are assigned a trained mentor who will work with you to develop your classroom skills which are complemented by the pedagogic development supported at university. Your mentor will attend mentor training at the University.

Throughout the year you will meet with your mentor formally once a week to review your individual training plan and to set professional development targets.

The NCTL/DfE regulations state that each trainee teacher must have teaching experience in at least two schools. A second school placement of five weeks during the spring term will be arranged for you. 

Your second placement will enable you to work in the school where a fellow trainee is employed. You will visit your paired trainee in school for five weeks and your paired trainee will visit you for five weeks. During this time you will work collaboratively in both schools, engaging in some joint planning, team teaching and solo teaching.

Course Details


Course details are subject to change. While we will do all we can to ensure the information on these pages is accurate and up to date, the University of Nottingham reserves the right to change the content, modules and titles of any courses listed without prior warning.



School of Education

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

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