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Mode of Study



1 year full-time

Start date

September 2023




If you have the ambition to inspire children aged 5 to 11 as they begin their learning journey, this accredited Primary PGCE – rated Outstanding by Ofsted after its latest inspection – is perfect for you.

You'll learn to be an amazing Primary school teacher who can engage your pupils, work productively with your colleagues, and keep improving your teaching practice throughout your career.

You'll study with expert practitioners and academic researchers in your university sessions, and spend at least 120 days on placement in a school or other educational setting, with support from school-based mentors.

We'll offer you school placements in both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, and give you a taste of teaching and learning outside mainstream primary education to broaden your knowledge of the sector.

When you graduate, you'll be eligible for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which qualifies you to teach in UK schools as a Primary teacher. You'll also be well placed for moving into school management roles, other training careers or any role that calls for creative communication and problem-solving skills.

We're offering a £1,000 bursary for students who start the PGCE Primary in 2023

Find out more about the bursary


This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

Course highlights

  • Gain the skills, confidence and expertise to earn Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and graduate ready to teach children aged 5-11 as a Primary school teacher in the UK and overseas
  • Spend a minimum of 120 days working in a school or educational setting on a teaching placement, where you'll work closely with mentors to build your teaching, lesson planning and classroom skills, as well as your wider professional development
  • Have the opportunity of a placement in an alternative educational setting that matches your career aspirations, such as Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), secondary schools or special educational needs and disability (SEND) schools
  • Develop your teaching knowledge and skills through five interconnected areas – Behaviour Management, Pedagogy, Curriculum, Assessment, and Professional Studies – as part of an integrated approach connecting theory to school-based practice
  • Share your experiences and learn from other PGCE students in lectures and seminars
  • Learn key teaching skills ahead of your teaching placements, including lesson planning, classroom management, and special needs and inclusion
  • Have access to free student membership of the Chartered College of Teaching, where you'll find career guides, online resources and new teacher events

Recognised by:

The PGCE Primary teacher training course was graded as 'Outstanding' by Ofsted in their 2018 inspection

Trainees and NQTs are overwhelmingly positive about the training they receive. The coherence of the training programme is very well thought out, with the teachers’ standards and the impact of trainees’ teaching on pupils’ learning at its heart.

Initial Teacher Education inspection report 2018, Ofsted

What you'll study


All modules on this PGCE Primary are core.

What you'll do
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Reflect critically on the impact of their developing practices by evaluating their own strengths and weaknesses and setting targets for future development.
  • Articulate and examine current literature and research regarding the wider professional role of the teacher and develop an understanding of these issues.
  • Prepare and demonstrate evidence that they are able to meet the QTS Standards through their teaching practice experience, following the support and guidance of their school-based mentors.
  • Construct specific activities with clear learning purposes that reflect placement school policies and subject guidelines and policies.

Explore this module

What you'll do
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Construct and evaluate an effective lesson which includes clear objectives, differentiation, appropriate references to statutory documents and shows how learning will be assessed.

  • Articulate and examine relevant academic reading and research into the pedagogy and subject knowledge of the Primary English curriculum.

  • Articulate and examine relevant academic reading and research into the pedagogy and subject knowledge of the Primary Maths curriculum.

  • Articulate and examine relevant academic reading and research into the pedagogy and subject knowledge of the Primary Science curriculum.

  • Construct and evaluate an effective lesson which includes clear objectives, differentiation, appropriate references to statutory documents and shows how learning will be assessed.

Explore this module

What you'll do
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Construct effective lessons that account for differing needs of learners, whilst understanding the role of memory in learning; showing how they contribute to pupil progression.
  • Design and carry out small scale educational research and evaluate and communicate its outcomes to inform teaching practice.
  • Critically reflect and evaluate their practice at a high level, drawing on a wide range of academic research to constantly inform and develop their own teaching.
  • Demonstrate good use of expositions and integrate appropriate ways of working and assist in modelling them to pupils.
  • Critically analyse and evaluate the use of assessment techniques to identify pupils understanding, recognising common errors and misconceptions, and where necessary adapting their teaching whilst maintaining high expectations.

Explore this module

What you'll do
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Demonstrate and appraise the professional behaviours and values expected of teachers.
  • Demonstrate and evaluate the required standards in planning, teaching, assessing and learning.
  • Demonstrate and evaluate management of behaviour in order to promote effective learning.
  • Demonstrate, evaluate and develop their knowledge and understanding of Primary teaching subject areas.
  • Critique a range of educational theories through a detailed literature review.
  • Critically evaluate the application of educational theories in order to inform their own practice.

Explore this module

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Careers and opportunities

Careers this course prepares you for

Once you graduate, you'll be ready to start your teaching career as a fully-qualified Primary school teacher. As a new teacher in 2022, you could expect a starting salary of between £25,714 and £32,157 in the UK, depending on where you teach.

As its an internationally-recognised qualification, this PGCE Primary course will also enable you to work as a teacher overseas, including in the USA, Canada and Australia.

And, as you progress in your career as an established teaching professional, you'll have opportunities for further career progression in teaching and management roles, including Head of Year and Subject Leader.

If you're interested in further study, you will earn 60 postgraduate credits on this course, which you can put towards a full Master's degree (worth 180 credits) in the future, such as our MA Education Studies.

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

This Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is a recognised qualification and once you graduate, you'll be eligible for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

QTS is awarded by the Teacher Regulation Agency (TRA) to identify that a person meets all the Teachers’ Standards and criteria. QTS is required in England to teach in a state school that is under local authority control and in special schools. QTS is also recognised in some countries outside England and Wales.

Over 90% of PGCE graduates from the University of Portsmouth go into full-time teaching.


As well as teaching, graduates of this course have gone on to work in areas such as:

  • education liaison
  • private tuition
  • activities leadership
  • further study at Master's level

Career planning

During your course you'll have expert career support from your tutors and from our Careers and Employability Centre, which you can access for 5 years after you graduate.

Career planning

During your course you'll have expert career support from your tutors and from our Careers and Employability Centre, which you can access for 5 years after you graduate.

Female student standing at careers and employability help desk

You'll benefit from:

  • Networking events
  • 1-to-1 appointments  
  • CV and cover letter advice
  • Interview preparation and practice
  • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
  • Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
  • Support starting your own business

Learn more about your career support

Placements and work experience

As part of this course, you'll spend at least 120 days on placement in a school or educational setting, working with pupils and teaching professionals. You'll gain real experience in real classrooms, putting your theoretical learning into practice and building practical teaching skills and techniques you can take with you into your career.

You'll have support from two school-based mentors throughout. Your subject mentor will work with you day to day to help you develop your teaching, lesson planning and classroom skills, while your professional mentor oversees your wider professional development and offers training and support on issues related to the Teachers’ Standards. 

As well as gaining experience in different Primary settings, you'll have the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks placed outside this to gain a broader view of education, and develop skills that will improve your practice. Possible alternative educational settings include:

  • Pupil Referral Units (PRUs)
  • secondary schools
  • special educational needs and disability (SEND) schools
  • hospital schools
  • educational departments in other organisations, such as museums, zoos or theme parks

How you'll spend your time

We recognise that you'll probably be juggling more demands when you do your PGCE, as you may be working or you may have family responsibilities.

We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to be on campus and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change. You should receive your full timetable several weeks before you start with us.

It is our expectation that all international students will join us here on campus in Portsmouth.

Course structure

Our PGCE Primary lasts 39 weeks, between September and July.

You'll spend approximately one quarter of your time in University-based sessions, and you'll spend the rest of your time on teaching placements, working in at least two of our partner schools or other educational settings.

For the first 4 weeks of the course, you'll be in University 5 days a week. You'll then spend the next 3 weeks splitting your weeks between University and your placement induction, before spending almost every day (5 days a week) on placement from November to late January.

After this, you'll spend another 3 full weeks in University, as well as 1 week in March. The rest of the time you'll be on placement or in after school sessions 5 days a week.

Your working hours will be similar to a full-time job – times will vary but you'll generally be at the University or on placement from 8.30am to 4.30pm. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.


PGCE study is deeper and more specialised than an undergraduate degree. This means you'll focus on something that really matters to you and your career as you work closely with academics committed to helping you become a teaching professional.

You'll spend more time in independent study and research than you did for your undergraduate degree, but the majority of your teaching time will be in-person and face-to-face.

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • work-based learning
  • supervised teaching practice
  • lectures
  • group participation
  • guided reading


The assessments that you'll complete on this course are designed to ensure that you meet the Standards for Qualifying to Teach set out by the Department for Education.

You'll be assessed through:

  • observation of the development of your teaching skills
  • formal assignments (including an oral presentation and a group poster project)
  • a reflective journal
  • an interview in which you'll demonstrate the evidence collected towards the standards including your subject knowledge
  • your personal statement

You'll also produce a digital portfolio of evidence based on schoolwork, observations of teaching, tasks and assignments.

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark. This includes group discussions, peer review activities, and virtual seminars.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Term dates

September start

The PGCE academic year runs from September to the following June/July. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter, and half terms in October, February and May.

Graduation Class of 2021

Joining us as an international student

You'll feel at home in our international community and our diverse city. You'll be joining over 5,000 international students from more than 150 countries who are studying with us.

Learn more about international student life and how we can help you with visas, applications, arrival and settling in. 

Information for international students

Supporting your learning

You'll get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor is usually your PGCE course leader. They give you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

You also get 2 school-based mentors when you’re on placement. Your professional mentor oversees your professional development and offer training and support on issues related to the Teachers’ Standards. Your subject mentor works with you day-to-day. They provide subject-specific feedback and support you with lesson planning and enhancing your knowledge of the subject you teach.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • Academic writing
  • Note taking
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Referencing
  • Working in groups
  • Revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

You'll get occupational health support for your physical, mental and social wellbeing when you’re on placement. If you need more specialist support, we can arrange a referral on your behalf to the Occupational Health Service.

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2023 start)

  • Full-time: £9,250

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £9,250
  • Full time: £17,200 per year

University of Portsmouth graduates may receive a 20% alumni tuition fee discount

Fees are subject to annual increase. Read our tuition fees terms and conditions.

You'll be able to pay your fees in instalments. Find out how to pay your tuition fees.

Funding your studies

Explore how to fund your studies, including available funding for teacher training.

If you're a UK student who achieved a first in your undergraduate degree you may be eligible for a £3,000 University of Portsmouth scholarship.


Funding to support your Primary PGCE training

£1,000 for students who start the PGCE Primary in 2023

We're providing a £1,000 bursary to ensure we can recruit the best primary teachers into the profession.

Find out more about the bursary

Fees and funding for teacher training

Find out more about how much teacher training costs, as well the options available to you for funding, including scholarships and bursaries.

students asking for information at myport hub
Explore funding

Funding for international students

Learn more about sponsorships, scholarships and loans for students applying from outside of the UK.

international business students
Discover your options

Fees and funding for Master's courses

Discover how you can fund your Master's study at Portsmouth – including loans, scholarships and bursaries – and read our guidance on topics like how to budget, and how to get support if you're disabled or have dependents.

Explore funding

Additional costs

These course-related costs aren't included in the tuition fees so you'll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. Additional costs could include:

  • Accommodation: Accommodation options and costs can be found on our accommodation pages
  • Recommended reading: You can borrow key texts from the library and if you choose to purchase these texts they may cost up to £60 each.
  • General costs: such photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
  • Placement expenses: You'll need to budget for travel to and from your placement or placements.
  • Final project transport or accommodation: where necessary, which related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Entry requirements


This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

September 2023

  • A UK degree or equivalent (a minimum of 2:2 is desirable).
  • GCSE Mathematics, English language and a science subject at grade C (Grade 4) or above, or equivalent.

Please get in touch if you're not sure if your undergraduate subject is relevant to this degree.

Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered, such as previous study, employment, voluntary work and training courses, including courses and qualifications you didn't complete. Learn more about our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

If you're applying as an international student with a non-UK degree, you’ll need to show you meet the UK entry requirements listed above.

To find out if your non-UK degree or other qualification is accepted, please visit our page for your country and view the UK equivalent of your qualification. 

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component score below 6.0.

You do not need an IELTS or equivalent certification if:

  • you have a UK degree
  • GCSE English language at grade C (Grade 4) or above
  • you have a degree from a majority English speaking country (not taught by Distance Learning)
  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country

Degrees taught solely in English from non-majority English speaking countries will be considered on a case by case basis. Find out more about our English language requirements.

If you do not meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

  • All shortlisted applicants are subject to interview.
  • All offers are subject to Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance and Occupational Health clearance.

Other requirements for this course

You will be assessed on your potential to meet the requirements of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) by the end of the course. We will be looking for an understanding of, and a commitment to, primary education and the personal and professional qualities required to train as a teacher.

We will also look for you to demonstrate sufficient competency in your English and Mathematical skills during the selection process.

How to apply

Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for PGCE courses are made directly to the Department of Education (DfE). When you're ready to apply, the link below will take you to the DfE Apply for Teacher Training service.

You'll need to create an account and then complete the online application form, including submitting a personal statement and providing two referees. You don't have to complete the form in one go, you can save your application and come back to it, so make sure you include everything before sending it off.

PGCE courses usually open for applications in October for entry the following September (sometimes January), but courses will close for applications once they're full, so it's best to apply early if you can.

If you're applying as an international student, remember that you'll need to leave plenty of time to get your visa organised.

Ready to apply?

Standard applications

Start this course in September 2023

Apply now (Full-time) – 1 year

Apply for our Primary PGCE course through the Department of Education.

You'll need the DfE training code X3X1.

After you apply

You'll usually receive a response to your application by email, so keep checking your inbox. If your application is successful, we'll invite you to an interview.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.