This course is no longer accepting applications for 2021 entry.

Course overview

We believe that every child deserves to have an education that enables them to reach their full potential. By becoming a teacher, you can nurture and inspire children to acquire knowledge and develop essential skills that form the blueprint for the rest of their lives. A career in teaching gives you the opportunity to play a pivotal role to help break cycles of poverty and low academic achievement.

It’s no secret that teaching will be challenging at times, but any career can be. With teaching, the difficult times are far outweighed by the rewards of influencing and shaping the lives of young people, instilling self-worth, bringing them out of their shell and helping them to develop lifelong values. The work is full of life, vibrancy and colour and no two days will be the same.

Key features of the Primary PGCE School Direct

  • Qualified to teach Early Years and Foundation Key Stage 1 and 2 (5-11)
  • University and school interview
  • Apply to the partnership school you would like to be based in as your main placement
  • Placement in a second school
  • PGCE qualification with Qualified Teacher Status
  • Mathematics specialist route offered
  • University-based 'theory' days spread across the year
  • Support of academic tutors and school-based mentors
  • Opportunities for enrichment activities
  • 60 masters-level credits which you can use towards a masters qualification

Student profiles

View our Primary PGCE School Direct student profiles.

Why choose this course?

Rated 'Outstanding'

in our last Ofsted inspection

Over 95% of graduates

secure employment as teachers

School partnerships

across the East Midlands

Top 50

in the world for education

Over 100 years

of experience in the field of education

Course content

This programme is designed to equip you with the skills you need to become an effective educator and to enable you to develop your own theories of learning and models of good practice. It gives you placements in at least two schools, enabling you to gain a broad experience of different and contrasting educational settings.

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.

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


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.

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.

In addition to your school placements, you will also complete university-based days on Fridays, where you are part of a vibrant cohort of beginning teachers, reflecting on and developing your practice.

Further information about our PGCE courses can be found on the School of Education Initial Teacher Education website.

Mathematics Specialist Route

This route is ideal if you want to become a primary school teacher but have an extra, mathematics focused, dimension to your training year. This will give you an enhanced profile for NQT employment and increased potential for leadership roles. There is a £6,000 bursary available if you hold an A level Mathematics at Grade B or above.

The course includes: 

  • an additional university-based induction day that will explore your personal mathematics background, the aims and values of mathematics education and the importance of being a champion and advocate for mathematics
  • two half-day university-based teaching sessions, focusing on your role as a mathematics specialist and the leadership and management of mathematics in primary schools
  • a twilight university-based teaching session once per term, that focuses on teaching challenging mathematics topics
  • an immersion day once per term, in which you will take part in a lesson study at a partnership school
  • the opportunity to teach mathematics to more than one age range when on placement
  • the opportunity to see mathematics teaching at Key Stage 3 and in the Early Years, in order to understand the progression of the subject


Core modules

Learning and Teaching in Schools (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 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. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Tuesday 03 August 2021.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Group study
  • Tutorials
  • Placements
  • Discussion group

How you will be assessed

  • Workplace-based assessment
  • Presentation
  • Coursework

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.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

Undergraduate degreeUK undergraduate degree/equivalent – any subject, plus GCSE/equivalent – English language, mathematics and science, 4 (C) or above



All listed fees are per year of study.

Qualification PG Certificate
Home / UK £9,250
International £20,000

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will pay international tuition fees in most cases. If you are resident in the UK and have 'settled' or 'pre-settled' status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be entitled to 'home' fee status.

Irish students will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our information for applicants from the EU.

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

As a student on a teacher training course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. This includes travel costs to your placement school which will obviously vary according to where you live, where you need to travel to, and your mode of transport.

Some of our courses will also include local visits or field trips which will also incur costs.You should be able to access most of the books you'll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles. The school covers the cost of a DBS check.


Teacher training bursary

You may be eligible for a bursary of up to £24,000. Please visit the Department for Education website for further information.

Tuition fee and maintenance loans

You may be eligible to apply for a fee loan which covers the cost of the tuition fee. Maintenance loans are also available. Please visit the Student Loans Company website for more detail.

University of Nottingham Core Bursary

As a student on a PGCE course, you may be eligible for income assessed Core Bursary of up to £2,000.

These bursaries include support for students with financially dependent children or adults, or students who have been in care.

Please download our Student Services fact sheet (PDF) for more information on funding for initial teacher training.

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

Over 95% of our graduates secure employment as teachers, a lot with local partnership schools where they have been placed during their training. Some graduates go overseas to work as a teacher. 

Other graduates have gone on to work as counsellors, education advisers and vocational/industrial trainers and instructors.

Your 60 masters-level credits may be used towards an MA Education or MA Education (Flexible) if you wish to continue studying at postgraduate level.

Career progression

As a newly qualified teacher you'll begin on a salary of at least £22,467, or £28,098 in inner London.

You complete two school placements over the duration of this course and will spend time in your first placement school from week one.

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 have a very strong, collaborative partnership with the schools we work with.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" My personal tutor has supported me so much throughout the year and is always there for any query or question I may have. This has been highlighted more since we switched to virtual learning and I could not thank the primary team more for all they have done. Through the pandemic, we have been fully supported and given the most in-depth and interesting tasks to complete which allows you to deepen your subject knowledge ready to put it into practice. I have also learnt how to use research methods within the classroom to recognise the full impact my practice is having on the children. "
Samantha Clark, Primary PGCE School Direct graduate 2019/20

Related courses

This content was last updated on Tuesday 03 August 2021. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.