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What does PGCE stand for?

The PGCE stands for the Post Graduate Certificate in Education. It’s a postgraduate qualification that gives you qualified teacher status (QTS). QTS allows you to teach in state schools in the UK.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE/PGCertEd) is a one- or two-year higher education course in England, Wales and Northern Ireland which provides training in order to allow graduates to become teachers within maintained schools. In England, there are two routes available to gaining a PGCE – either on a traditional university-led teacher training course or school-led teacher training.

In addition to gaining the PGCE qualification itself, those who have successfully completed the course in England or Wales are recommended for qualified teacher status (QTS) - the requirement to teach in state maintained schools in England and Wales. Those passing PGCEs in Northern Ireland are granted 'eligibility to teach' in Northern Ireland (equivalent to QTS). 

Though the QTS/eligibility to teach only applies in the Home Nation it was awarded in, applying for QTS/eligibility to teach in either of the other two Home Nations is a formality, and is nearly always awarded to PGCE holders. Furthermore, the PGCE is also widely recognised in Scotland and the rest of the world, allowing holders to easily register as teachers there.

What is the structure of the PGCE?

The Post Graduate Certificate in Education is a mix of university study and teaching practice. This course takes a year, or two years part time. It’s not designed to teach subject knowledge – you have to have an undergraduate degree that’s relevant to the subject you want to teach.

If you don’t, you can do a conversion course. This usually adds another six months full time onto your training.

During the university sections of the Post Graduate Certificate in Education, you study topics around teaching and learning theory, behaviour management, and current educational issues. There will be several assessed assignments to complete.

After the first few weeks you’ll spend most of your time on school placements. Part of the challenge is to fit in your studies and assignments outside school hours.

A student usually spends a short time observing in a school before the course starts, and then works in two different schools as you progress from assisting to teaching a full schedule of classes on its own. He/She is assessed through occasional observations so the assessors can see how they manage in a real school environment. The student receives plenty of feedback and advice after these observations to help him/her improve.

Do I need a Post Graduate Certificate in Education to teach?

No. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a PGCE to teach. All you need is QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) or the equivalent, QTLS (Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills).

The PGCE is an additional qualification earned alongside QTS. It isn’t necessary to earn a PGCE to teach in the UK, but it can be useful if you wish to teach in Scotland or the US, as it is an internationally recognised qualification. 

Key details about your PGCE mentoring sessions

✅ Experts available : 6
✅ Average price : £50/hr
✅ Session format : Face-to-Face or Online
✅ First lesson free : Yes
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