Smiling primary school teacher with a pupil

Primary PGCE

Inspire children into a lifetime of learning by training as a primary teacher. Study with an expert Primary PGCE team, with support from expert mentors on your school placement.

Key information


This course is Accredited

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If you have the ambition to inspire children aged 5 to 11 as they begin their learning journey, this accredited Primary PGCE 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 teacher training sessions, and spend at least 120 days on placement in a primary 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.


This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

Course highlights

  • Gain the skills, confidence and expertise to earn Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) - the teaching qualification you'll need to become a primary school teacher in the UK and overseas
  • Spend a minimum of 120 days working in a primary school or other 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 primary teaching knowledge and skills through five interconnected areas – Behaviour Management, Pedagogy, Curriculum, Assessment, and Professional Behaviours – as part of an integrated approach connecting theory to school-based practice
  • Share your experiences and learn from other PGCE teacher training students in lectures and seminars
  • Learn key primary 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
  • Be guaranteed an interview when you apply for this PGCE as an undergraduate student or graduate of the University of Portsmouth, no matter your subject or when you graduated

Recognised by:

Our PGCE degree course 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.

The PGCE Primary teacher training course was graded as 'Good' by Ofsted in their 2024 inspection.

Tutors, who are experts in their field, provide trainees with high-quality guidance and support. They assist trainees to develop a rich understanding of theory based on current research, alongside classroom practice.

A key thread running throughout the programme is the sharp focus on trainees developing their knowledge and skills to identify and support pupils with additional needs.

University of Portsmouth Initial Teacher Education inspection report 2024, Ofsted

Study your PGCE with us

Discover our PGCE courses that can set you on the path to becoming a teacher. Whether you're interested in Primary, Secondary or Further Education, our PGCE courses will help you start a rewarding career in teaching.

Andrew: I really do think that people who come to Portsmouth to teach here will stay here for a really long time. At Portsmouth, we offer three different programmes for teacher training.

We have a Primary programme which you can come on as a post-grad or an undergrad.

We have a Secondary teacher training programme across a range of subject areas and we have an F.E. programme so if you want to teach 14 year olds to adults, the Further Education programme is ideal.

Tanya: The reason that I selected the Further Education strand rather than the Secondary was purely because of my specialism.

Being able to teach in Further Education meant that I was able to teach fashion in its fullest.

Andrew: We want the curriculum we offer at Portsmouth to be ambitious and we want it to be personalised for the students.

We put training in to help our trainees to really think about the needs of children that they're going to encounter and I'm really proud that our courses are tailored to be able to do that.

Tanya: When you first start, you will do a week or a few weeks specifically in university learning new skills, etc. and you then go on to get selected or given your placement.

Andrew: If you're on the Primary or Secondary programme, you have to train in two different schools and that would be the same on any teacher training programme that you're on.

We try to make sure there are contrasts in the placements to really give you a range of experiences and different types of pupils. That ultimately makes you more employable.

Jack: [For me], placement one at The Priory School in Southsea enabled me to really focus on behaviour management skills.

At St Edmund’s Catholic School for my second placement. I was then able to really hone in and practice my subject knowledge. It then allowed me to observe how outstanding lessons were delivered.

Andrew: On the Further Education programme, you spend the whole year in one college and that also has advantages because you really get to know those pupils over a very long period of time.

We put wellbeing and support for trainees right at the heart of what we do, and I think that's what's unique about Portsmouth.

You can train to teach anywhere, but you're not going to necessarily get that level of individual support from everybody.

Jack: I want to be a teacher because I want to make a difference. I really want to see that I can deliver English lessons and teach English in exciting, stimulating and creative ways.

The University of Portsmouth has been a great experience for this PGCE journey.

Tanya: If I'm honest, the University of Portsmouth has my heart. It's given me everything that I needed, from my undergraduate to my teaching degree and then beyond that as well. What more could you want really?

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions

Entry requirements


This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

September 2024 start

  • 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. 

  • Applicants whose first language is not English, and who do not have GCSE English language at grade C (Grade 4) or above, require English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component less than 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.

Equivalency qualifications in place of GCSEs

If you don't have a GCSE in Maths, English or one Science subject, you can still apply for this course. We accept equivalency qualifications in place of these GCSEs, which you can obtain from one of two providers - Equivalency Testing or A Star Equivalency.

These providers also offer discounts for PGCE offer holders. To find out more about equivalency qualifications for this PGCE, please email us.

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.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2024 start)

  • Full-time: £9,250

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £9,250

  • Full time: £17,200 per year

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.

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.

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Explore funding

Funding for international students

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

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Fees and funding for Master's courses

Explore Master's funding options, including loans, scholarships, bursaries and more.

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.



Core modules

You’ll learn how to master essential teaching techniques while gaining invaluable classroom experience through teaching placements.

With the support of mentor teachers, you’ll chart your professional growth through self-driven progress tracking, reflective evaluative practices and portfolio building.

You’ll develop the vision, virtues and skills you’ll need for teaching excellence - from designing enriching lesson plans to fostering productive learning environments where all children can thrive.

Through your teaching placements in primary classrooms, you’ll be able to apply your learnings on child cognitive development and subject pedagogies by collaboratively designing and teaching impactful lessons.

You’ll develop your teacher identity through constructive feedback, ongoing reflective practices and portfolio building guided by your mentor teachers.

You’ll also expand your perspective by reviewing current academic research on challenges and innovations in primary education, and learn about the assessment methods, curricular vision and real-world complexities teachers navigate.

Through ongoing peer review and mentorship, you’ll develop your pedagogical skills and hone the art of creating safe, stimulating environments primed for growth.

You’ll deepen your understanding of assessment methods, lesson design, student engagement and behaviour management, and continue to accumulate evidence of attaining teaching standards through your professional portfolio.

You’ll evaluate approaches to primary topics like integrated cross-curricular learning, educational technologies and equitable assessment models to expand your perspective.

You’ll examine pedagogical approaches to learning outside the traditional classroom environment, and spend time on a short placement outside the mainstream primary phase, in an educational area that interests you.

You’ll also research current educational theory and policy issues within an area of professional interest and relevance to you.

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.

Teaching placements

As part of this primary teaching degree, you'll spend at least 120 days on placement in a primary school or educational setting, working with pupils and teaching professionals.

You'll gain real primary teaching experience in real classrooms, putting your theoretical learning into practice and building practical teaching skills and techniques you can take with you into your primary teaching career.

You'll have support from two school-based mentors throughout your primary teaching placements. Your subject mentor will work with you day to day to help you develop your primary 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

I chose to apply for the Primary PGCE because it’s really rewarding working with this age, seeing them grow. 

I’m friends with a PGCE course rep from the University of Portsmouth, and she only had positive things to say about the course – that it’s really well organised, the placements are good, and you’re buddied up to help support you on your placement.

Liberty Bourke, PGCE Primary

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 primary schools or other educational settings.

For the first four weeks of this primary teaching degree, you'll be in University five days a week. You'll then spend the next three weeks splitting your weeks between University and your placement induction, before spending almost every day (five days a week) on placement from November to late January.

After this, you'll spend another three full weeks in University, as well as one week in March. The rest of the time you'll be on placement or in after school sessions five 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 primary teacher.

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 primary teaching degree include:

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

Teaching staff

These are some of the expert staff who'll teach you on this primary school teacher degree:

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Mr David Hill

Senior Lecturer

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Mrs Sarah Cox

Senior Teaching Fellow

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Mrs Gena Dansey

Teaching Fellow

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The assessments that you'll complete on this primary school teacher degree 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 a research project)
  • professional interviews, looking at how you are developing as a teacher
  • professional reflections, as a result of weekly mentor meetings while on placement 

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

Career development

Careers this course prepares you for

Once you graduate this primary teaching degree, you'll have everything you need to become a primary teacher.

You'll be ready to start your career as a fully-qualified primary school teacher, on a starting salary of at least £30,000 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 primary teaching career, 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 Primary PGCE, which you can put towards a full Master's degree (worth 180 credits) in the future, such as our MA Education Studies.

Trainees describe course leaders as ‘inspirational’ and always available.

Leaders nurture trainees and provide them with bespoke guidance to give them the best possible start to their careers. One trainee, summing up the views of many, stated, ‘We are known as individuals and given the help we need to succeed.’ 

University of Portsmouth Initial Teacher Education inspection report 2024, Ofsted

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 becoming primary teachers, 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.

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

Supporting you

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.

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.

Guaranteed interviews for Portsmouth students and graduates

If you're a final year student or a graduate of one of our undergraduate degrees, you'll be guaranteed an interview if you apply for this PGCE course, regardless of your subject or when you graduated.

Ready to apply? If you're currently studying at Portsmouth or graduated with us last year, you can apply through fast track. Otherwise, apply as normal below.

Ready to apply?

Start this course in September 2024

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.

I'm a current Portsmouth student, or a recent Portsmouth graduate

If you're currently in your final year of study at Portsmouth, or you graduated since July 2023, you're eligible to make a fast track application. You'll have:

  • a shorter application form to complete
  • access to the 20% Alumni fee discount
  • a guaranteed conditional offer, for most Master's courses 

Learn more about fast track

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.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

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.