Your Career• 3 Min read

7th March 2023

PGCE: What does it mean? Engage Education |

A PGCE is a Postgraduate Certificate in Education. PGCEs are one or two-year higher education courses in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland that result in a qualified teacher status.

The PGCE is a well-respected teaching degree which is recognised worldwide, so is an attractive qualification for teachers who want to travel internationally throughout their career. As a postgraduate qualification, the PGCE is also a popular route for people who have an undergraduate degree and want a change in career, or have decided to teach right after graduating from university.

As a postgraduate qualification, you do need to be a graduate to qualify for a PGCE course. Ideally, your degree will be in the subject you want to teach or an associated subject, as the PGCE won’t teach you about your subject in detail.

What types of PGCEs are available? 

There are three different main types of PGCE courses available, so it’s important to understand which is suited to the age range of students you’d like to teach:

  • PGCE Primary – the course prepares you to teach students up to year 6 (children aged 5-11). You have the option to specialise in a particular age group or subject. PGCE Primary courses are the most popular and so you’ll face competition for spaces.
  • PGCE Secondary – this course prepares you to teach secondary school students up to the sixth form years (aged 11-18). This is ideal for those who want to teach a particular subject and specialise in that area.
  • PGCE Further and Adult Education – if you’re looking to teach in colleges or adult education classes, then this PGCE course is for you. If you decide to teach children later down the line, you’ll have to requalify with a qualified teacher status (QTS).

What does a PGCE entail?

Taking a PGCE usually involves both academic assignments and in-school placements, as the qualification’s goal is to help you pass a set of requirements called “The Teachers’ Standards” as well as learning the theory behind teaching.

The academic assignments are taught through a university, whether that be in a physical building or taken online. The practical side of the qualification will take place in a primary or secondary school depending on your chosen level of teaching. The school may be chosen for you or you may be able to choose, depending on who you take your PGCE with.

Once you finish your PGCE, you’ll be known as a Newly Qualified Teacher. You’ll have this status for your first year while you work through this probationary period. If you have enrolled on the Engage Teacher Training Programme for your PGCE, our Teaching & Learning Partnership team will remain on hand throughout your NQT year to make sure you’re being the best teacher you can be.

What skills do you need to complete a PGCE? 

The skills you need to complete a PGCE are synonymous with the skills required to become a great teacher:

  • Strong communication
  • Patience
  • Creativity
  • Enthusiasm
  • Confidence
  • Dedication
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Organisation

During a PGCE course, a great deal of time will be spent on learning about behaviour management, which will help to improve your confidence in conflict resolution. The course will also involve placements in schools, giving you the opportunity to put these skills into practice.

How much does a PGCE cost?

Taking a PGCE course can cost around £9,250 for UK students and up to £25,200 for international students. However, PGCE students are eligible for student loans and maintenance grants, through tuition fee loans, maintenance loans, teacher training bursaries and other funding options.

You also have to consider how you’ll support yourself while you take your PGCE, especially if you’re taking a full-time course, as it will be difficult or impossible to work alongside your studies.

At Engage, we offer a completely funded, free PGCE course for graduates who want to get into teaching in the UK, what’s more, you’ll receive a complete full-time salary for the time you spend teaching on your course, so funding yourself will not pose a problem. We’re confident that the Engage Teacher Training Programme is the smoothest route into teaching for recent graduates and career-changers alike.

If you’d like to know more about our Teacher Training Programme, email us at pgce@engage-education.com, or register your interest here.

Do you need a PGCE to teach in the UK?

You don’t necessarily need to have a PGCE and qualified teacher status to teach in the UK as schools are free to choose who they wish to work for them. However, many schools may not employ someone who doesn’t have a QTS.

If you plan on making teaching your career, it’s highly recommended that you obtain your QTS by doing a PGCE course. This is highly recognised throughout the UK and will help you find a teaching job, though it’s not a guarantee, it’ll help along the way.

What are the benefits of having a PGCE?

Having a PGCE shows that you’re serious about embarking on your career as a teacher. It also provides you with an understanding of teaching practices, educational research and theory. 

It’s a widely recognised qualification in both the UK and internationally, giving you an advantage over others who may not have the qualification. Having a PGCE is a fantastic way to prepare for your future career and market yourself as well-respected and hireable. 

Join Engage to fast-track your career!

Irish teachers who register with Engage receive comprehensive relocation support from our Dublin-based team of former teachers from the moment they get in touch.

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