Initial Teacher Education
Secondary PGCE

Secondary PGCE 


At the University of Nottingham we will support you to bring your passion for your subject to life in the classroom. We will help you develop a deep understanding of what it means to be an effective teacher of your subject so that you can make a difference to the diverse communities you will be joining.

Your intellectual curiosity will be nurtured through engagement with research and theories of learning. You will develop your own professional identity that will serve to sustain your long and successful career in the teaching profession. You will join a diverse and vibrant learning community working together to create sustainable and socially just societies.



Teacher training events

We hold monthly events from October through to July to give you the opportunity to find out more about starting your teaching career with the University of Nottingham.

Teacher Training Open Day - Saturday 14 October 2024



Entry requirements

  • UK undergraduate degree/equivalent – in all cases we will be looking at the relevance of your degree alongside other qualifications in your proposed teaching subject
  • GCSE/equivalent – English language and mathematics, 4 (C) or above
  • Satisfactory medical report
  • Enhanced Disclosure from Disclosure and Barring Service

Course length

The course is 10 months long, starting in September and finishing in June.

You can view the current course schedule to get an idea of your time in school and university, which will be full working days.

Secondary PGCE course schedule (PDF)


Placements - school-based learning

We have a very strong, collaborative partnership with the schools we work with. University tutors and school ITE leads 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-based learning 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.

As part of your second placement, you will undertake a small-scale research project exploring your subject in relation to schools and society. You will also have the opportunity to undertake a short placement in an alternative educational setting, such as a special school, to further personalise your training and support your ongoing professional development. 


University-based learning

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

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. Your university experience will include:

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



Learning and Teaching in School

This 30-credit module explores teaching and learning in subject disciplines 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.


Schools and Society

This 30-credit module considers various aspects of teachers' wider professional roles as well as social, cultural and legal aspects of schooling. Most of the teaching takes place in cross-subject seminar groups and is assessed through written assignments and presentations. Some subject work also contributes to this module.



Your practical teaching will be assessed by university tutors and school-based colleagues 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

Applications are closed for 2023 entry. Applications for 2024 will open early October.

Once you have submitted your application it is sent to us. Suitable candidates will be invited to interview at the university. Successful applicants will be offered a place on the course. When the offer has been accepted, access to a pre-course website will help prepare for the start of the course.


Whilst our beginning teachers are only with us for a relatively short period of time, we form strong relationships and it is a delight to get to know them as individuals. Everyone brings something unique to the course and each person’s journey through the course is different... There is nothing more professionally rewarding than seeing our students’ professional growth and development over the course of the year and beyond

Helen Bowhay
Director of ITE

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I honestly never expected to receive the amount of support we did. Both my school mentor and my university tutor were very knowledgeable and professional, but at the same time very caring. As a single mum to two very little boys, sometimes things would not go as planned, but I always felt I could count on them to help me get back on track with my course work and teaching practice. The support we were given was highly tailored to our needs as well.  

Greci Cristina Queiroz Taylor
Secondary PGCE Modern Languages 

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School of Education

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

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