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PGCE course

A PGCE is a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and is one of the many courses that trains you to teach.

Do I need a PGCE to Teach?

No, you only need QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). The PGCE is an additional qualification you can gain alongside QTS, which is professionally and academically recognised.

What is a PGCE?

The PGCE is one of the most popular teaching qualifications and combines both academic study and teaching practice. It is a postgraduate qualification, so you will need to have studied for an undergraduate degree first. However, this doesn’t always have to be in a relevant subject as you can undertake Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE). Many PGCEs also offer Masters-level credits.

So, what’s a PGDE?

A PGDE is a Postgraduate Diploma in Education and is similar to a PGCE. We offer both, depending on which subject you are studying, in partnership with two local universities. The PGCE is with Sheffield Hallam University, and the PGDE is with the University of Sheffield.


What are the benefits of gaining a PGCE or PGDE?

Studying for a PGCE or PGDE allows you to extend your knowledge, experience and confidence, so you are better prepared for the world of teaching.

If you ever decide to teach in Scotland, Northern Ireland or other countries, it’s likely you’ll need an academic qualification such as a PGCE alongside QTS to register as a qualified teacher.

Our PGCE offers 60 Masters credits, while our PGDE offers 120 Masters credits.


Which age group can I teach with a PGCE or PGDE?

You can train to teach any of the following:

  • Early Years (5-11)
  • Primary (3-7)
  • Secondary

We also have a Primary SEND course which prepares you for teaching in a Special school.

What’s the Difference Between a University-Led PGCE and our School Direct PGCE?

A School Direct course is run and managed by schools, rather than universities. It usually involves more hands-on training in schools and we believe it can prepare you better for life as a teacher.

Our School Direct courses provide a blend of academic teaching, school placements, and our own professional learning sessions on subjects such as behaviour management, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), time management and lesson design. The whole course is tailored to provide you with the skills, knowledge and confidence you need to manage from day one in your first teaching job.

Unlike other courses, Sheffield TSA’s PGCE School Direct route ensures that the majority of your days are in the classroom – whether that’s observing other teachers or being involved in lessons yourself. You have two placements in schools, with one being your main 'host' school and the other a shorter placement in a contrasting school. You will have your own mentor in each school, who you will have regular, weekly meetings with.

University-Led PGCE versus our School Direct PGCE?

From the Students’ Union to the Staff Room

You get the best of both worlds - all the benefits of being a student, as well as being included as a member of the teaching team. You can still access university support and services, but you will be part of a department or wider teaching team in school, so you can learn first-hand from more experienced colleagues.

University-Led PGCE versus our School Direct PGCE?

Delivered by Outstanding Practitioners

As one of the first Teaching Schools, we have honed best practice from our partner schools and provide an outstanding programme of teacher development for new teachers. Your journey will be led by outstanding practitioners who teach children every day and by experienced academics who are at the cutting edge of educational research.

University-Led PGCE versus our School Direct PGCE?

Additional Training Opportunities

As well as your university lectures and school placements, we also provide a number of professional learning days to fully prepare you for life as a teacher. All our trainees come together for these days, providing you with an opportunity to catch up and share your experiences. Our trainees tell us that this is a highly valued part of our course.

Examples of topics covered include:

  • The Professional Teacher
  • Safeguarding
  • Lesson/scheme design
  • The curriculum (early years/primary/secondary, as applicable)
  • Assessment: marking and feedback
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Barriers to learning
  • Child development
  • Organisation of self
  • Role of SENCO
  • Behaviour management
  • Outdoor learning
  • Building resilience
  • SEND and inclusion
  • EAL and new arrivals
  • Communication with parents
  • Planning for transition
  • Careers

University-Led PGCE versus our School Direct PGCE?

A Wider Choice of Placements

As one of the largest and longest established Teaching Schools in the region, we have worked with over 60 local schools to provide placements for our PGCE trainees in Sheffield. These include nursery, infant, primary, secondary and special schools.

A high level of support

STSA is big enough to provide a fully rounded training course, yet small enough to give you a really high level of support. You’re not one of hundreds to us.

We know every trainee on our course and can help you out whenever you need it – with advice and support on everything from finance and transport issues to school placements and job applications.

The STSA team is made up of teaching professionals and administrative staff who are dedicated to providing you with support – ensuring you make a smooth transition from applicant to trainee, then trainee to Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT). They even support you as you apply for your first job, with both applications and interview preparation. They bring together expertise from a wide range of areas – from primary, secondary and special schools, from the classroom and leadership teams at both school and trust level, and from commercial life as well as education.

You will have your own school-based mentor, who will be a practising teacher based in your main placement school. You will have weekly meetings with them to review your progress and raise any issues you may have. They are responsible for providing you with a thorough induction and ensuring you can access a variety of useful opportunities within the school – from attending staff meetings to observing outstanding teaching. They will stay in touch with you during your second placement - where you will also have another mentor, providing similar support during this shorter period.

You will also have a university tutor to support you with your academic progress.

As a training provider, we will do everything we can to meet your needs. We work in full partnership with the universities where you are a fully enrolled student with access to all their facilities. If you have a disability, including long term medical conditions, specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and A(DHD) and mental health conditions, you can access additional support for your academic studies whilst at university. Contact us for further information.

A strong track record of getting trainees into their first job

Our employment rate for the trainees in well above the national average. Each year well over 80% find a job in the first month!

Our trainees achieve amazing results themselves: 

Primary School

91.2 %

Secondary School

84.1 %

SCITT Languages

86.4 %

in 2017/18 we saw 97% of trainees being graded as good or outstanding (69% achieved outstanding which is truly phenomenal).

An Ethos That Chimes with Yours

Our work is rooted in the belief that education can changes lives, and this is reflected in the Outstanding status of our founding school. You can find out more about our Alliance and our partners here.

We're with you throughout your career

We don’t just train new teachers; we also support them throughout their careers. We offer professional learning courses on everything from behaviour management and subject specialism training through to middle and senior leadership. Many teachers also work for us in providing support for schools in particular areas; they get released from their day job in school to go and support colleagues elsewhere.

Because we’re so well connected, with both individual teachers and schools, we have a great network to help you find your first job. You can also sign up to our vacancies bulletin, even before you finish your course.

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