School of Education

English - PGCE and School Direct


  • Do you have a passionate interest in English in all its forms?
  • Are you keen to empower learners through their use and understanding of spoken and written language?
  • Are you interested in a challenging, rewarding career working with young people?

Our English course combines a strong practical base with the chance to reflect; to decide what kind of a teacher you want to become. Our partnership with schools across the region gives us opportunities for rich comparisons in order to understand the variety of approaches to education in English.

The course offers you a chance to integrate research-informed thinking with your developing experience and encourages you to begin to establish your own principles and theories. Our purpose is to prepare you to teach in any school and in national and local circumstances which are subject to constant change.

English will have been your preoccupation for some time and your subject knowledge and enthusiasm will be an invaluable resource for teaching. The course will explore how that knowledge can be structured to enable learning and how learners can be engaged. Your classroom experience will be underpinned by opportunities to collaborate in detailed examination of educational theories and practices as they differ across schools.

The English course allows you to explore a wide variety of teaching methods through which children can be encouraged to enjoy and extend their experience of texts of all kinds and come to use the resources of language more fully and flexibly.

We work very closely with partnership schools to ensure that you develop an in-depth understanding of the English curriculum and its assessment through GCSE and post-16 specifications. We want you to take a critical and imaginative approach to the course and to ask your own questions about the curriculum, about appropriate methodologies and about teaching style.

We are interested in encouraging you to become a capable and inspiring teacher. We want you to be able to meet the expectations of your schools as you move through your career, to be able to adjust to changes as they occur and to be confident in thinking for yourself.

English course content

This is a vocational course, preparing you to work in schools. Consequently, we shall be paying attention to English teaching perspectives on:

  • lesson planning and evaluation
  • explaining and questioning
  • differentiation and assessment for learning
  • behaviour and motivation for learning
  • the ways the subject has been historically constructed

Subject sessions will be focused on understanding the learner, school cultures and procedures and the personal and professional identities of the English teacher.  

The English-specific elements of the course relate to the requirements of the curriculum and the needs of learners.

They will include the following:
  • Ways of developing children's abilities with spoken and written language to enhance their lives
  • Helping children to understand that language is a workable material and that knowledge about all aspects of the language is interesting, purposeful and powerful
  • Studying narrative as the primary means by which we understand the world, and as something we can appreciate and control
  • Teaching poetry as a live art form with an exciting history
  • Understanding and using media critically and with pleasure
  • Drama as a discrete subject and as a means of activating the English curriculum
  • Teaching Shakespeare as if his work was a spectacular treasure instead of an academic entry qualification
  • Making post-16 English exploratory and creative, focusing on its intrinsic interest as well as its preparatory role with regard to higher education
  • Inclusive practice, differentiation, special educational needs and the needs of learners with English as an additional language
  • Assessment of the English curriculum
  • Technology enhanced learning in the English classroom
  • Opportunities for learning outside the classroom and using the community as a resource for learning in English 

Course tutors

The English team is made up of experienced colleagues. 

Read more

David Beddow

David Beddow worked in comprehensive schools in Derbyshire for 37 years. He was Head of English and was also an Advanced Skills Teacher. He was Assistant Head Teacher with responsibility for Learning and Teaching. Alongside his main classroom role he was a consultant in Teaching and Learning working with schools across the East Midlands, in Merthyr Tydfil, Walsall and Durham, and in an international project in Hong Kong. He is now an Associate Tutor in PGCE English.

Alan Dewar

Alan Dewar worked in comprehensive schools in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire for 38 years. He was a Head of English and Assistant Principal, eventually helping to found the Nottingham University Samworth Academy as Vice Principal (Research and Development). During this time Alan developed research interests in the writing process and in educational leadership. He began the second half of his career in 2013 when he became a teacher educator. He teaches on the PGCEi and School Direct courses as well as the PGCE.

Dorothy Mountford

Dorothy Mountford originally worked in secondary schools and afterwards in a sixth form college where she was vice principal and later acting principal. Throughout her career in senior leadership Dorothy has always kept up her teaching of English Literature. Learning and teaching as an integral part the quality of the classroom experience for the students has always been her motivating force. It was with great joy that she joined the English team at the School of Education to have the privilege of helping and supporting the next generation of secondary English teachers.

John Perry

John Perry is an experienced English teacher who has taught in several secondary schools over the past 25 years. He was a Head of English, Assistant Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher and then a Headteacher in a coastal secondary school. Throughout his career John has always worked with beginning teachers, and has been a mentor, a professional tutor, and a CPD coordinator.

Since 2015, John combined supporting schools through his own education consultancy business, with working as a PGCE tutor and academic researcher. John is now a full time member of the English team at Nottingham. John is committed to the importance of both language and literature for helping people make sense of their worlds. He is currently researching metacognition and thinking skills, as well as the importance of context for learning.

Colin Morley

Colin Morley is an experienced English and drama teacher, both in the UK in a variety of roles, and also abroad. As well as teaching on the PGCE in English he is involved with both School Direct and the PGCEi. He's also part of the Building a City of Literature project which involves the University and three local secondary schools collaborating on explorations of space and place and which is going to be launched towards the end of this year. As well as his teaching in English and drama in the classroom he is also interested in the different methodologies by which they are assessed.


How to apply


View PGCE availability and then visit our application guidance page.

School Direct

To apply for a place on the School Direct English programme you will need to search for a School Direct place on the UCAS-TT website

From the table below, you should identify a placement school in which you wish to undertake your training. When you apply in UCAS you will then need to search for and apply to the relevant Lead School as found in the same table below. The University of Nottingham will be listed as an accredited provider. Visit our application guidance page.

View School Direct placement schools...
Placement schools 
Placement school School location Places available Lead school 
The de Ferrers Academy Burton upon Trent  Available The de Ferrers Academy 
The Bramcote School Nottingham Available The de Ferrers Academy 
Djanogly City Academy Nottingham Available The de Ferrers Academy 
East Leake Academy East Leake Available The de Ferrers Academy 
St John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy Ilkeston Available The de Ferrers Academy 
Chellaston Academy Derby Available Chellaston Academy
Schools across the Trust Nottingham Available Greenwood Academies Trust
The Minster School Southwell Available The Minster School
Schools across the Alliance Derby/Nottingham Available L.E.A.D Teaching School Alliance

PGCE details

School Direct details

Student profiles

The English Team

  • Alan Dewar 
  • John Perry 
  • Colin Morley 

Subject specific staff work with a wider circle of colleagues dedicated to our teacher training programmes including:

  • Stefanie Sullivan - Director of Initial Teacher Education
  • Helen Bowhay - Secondary Phase Leader


There are two routes to qualification, PGCE and School Direct. For both routes you will have a University interview.

If you have more than one UCAS application choice for routes and/or schools we are working with, you will only have one University interview.

That one successful interview will result in an offer of a place on the PGCE programme if that was one of your choices, and will lead to your application being instantly sent to all of your School Direct choices (should they have places remaining). This should increase your opportunities of quickly securing a place.

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School of Education

University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
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Nottingham, NG8 1BB

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