PGCE Programme

Duration Full time 1 year
  • Education
LocationExeter (St Luke‘s)
Start date September


Based on the University’s St Luke’s Campus we are leaders in Initial Teacher Education. 

Why study PGCE at the University of Exeter?

  • 6th in the UK for world leading and internationally excellent research in Education1 and influencer of national education policy
  • Ranked 3rd amongst university providers of initial teacher training in the Good Teacher Training Guide 2017
  • Consistently recognised by Ofsted and the National College for Teaching & Leadership as an outstanding provider of Primary and Secondary initial teacher education
  • Excellent graduate employment statistics, with 92 per cent of PGCE trainees who achieved QTS in the 2014-15 cohort securing a teaching post within a year of completion
  • Very high student satisfaction with 96 per cent of our former trainees rating our provision of training as good or very good (NQT survey 2015)
  • Partnership arrangements with over 250 schools
  • Fantastic choice of PGCE programmes making Exeter one of the 10 largest PGCE providers in the UK
  • A leader in the provision of phonics training and the South West Centre for the Cambridge Primary Review Network
  • Home to one of the largest education libraries in the UK

1 Research Excellence Framework 2014 based on the percentage of research categorised as 4* and 3*.

Programme structure

The Primary programme

The programmes last 36 weeks with time spent in school placements and at the University.

All of our primary PGCE pathways will train you to teach across the primary curriculum.

Applicants need to choose one of the following pathways: English, Humanities, Mathematics, Modern Languages, Science, Primary Teaching and Learning, and Upper Primary Art.

Subject specialist pathways are unique to the Exeter Primary PGCE programme and prepare trainees to become curriculum coordinators.  The Teaching and Learning pathway prepares trainees to become leaders of curriculum innovation more generally.  The leadership skills developed across all pathways provide a distinct advantage as trainees begin their teaching careers.

Ages 5-11 (Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2)

Pathways available are:

The Secondary programme

The Exeter Secondary PGCE programme trains you to teach the 11-18 age range.

It is an 11-16 QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) course with post-16 enhancement. In effect, this means that whilst you must meet the standards for QTS within the 11-16 age range, you will also have additional experience of post-16.

All coursework is designed to provide engaging and varied opportunities for you to develop the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills to achieve QTS.

Dependent upon your degree subject, you can choose to teach:

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Learning and teaching

We are leaders in Initial Teacher Education. Consistently graded Outstanding by OFSTED, and ranked amongst the top five university providers of initial teacher training in the Good Teacher Training Guide 2015.

Our PGCE is uniquely characterised by innovative research-led teaching informed by professional practice and academic excellence. All our tutors have real-world experience as teachers, senior managers or OFSTED inspectors. They also lead and innovate, developing the latest ideas in teacher education, leading research, writing textbooks, leading subject networks and advising government.

Best practice teaching methods

We provide unrivalled opportunities for trainees to achieve through our highly original PGCE teaching model which is praised by OFSTED and cited as an example of best practice. By learning on campus for most of the first term, you access the tools to rapidly build professional knowledge to underpin your work in school placements.

Our unique approach gives you opportunities to learn and become part of a community of trainees and teachers who are passionate about education and will support you during your course and beyond. We carry out a detailed skills audit with every trainee so we understand your particular development needs and can personalise elements of training to strengthen the skills you need to excel as a teacher.

Our commitment to you doesn't end when you graduate. We offer you the opportunity to continue with us via our Masters and CPD programmes giving you access to the networks, peer support, facilities and good practice you need to develop professionally.

I value the focus Exeter put on 'learning' rather than 'teaching'. I think that once you have understood the difference fully, the job becomes a lot clearer and you fully understand what your role actually is

Samantha Bickham, Primary Modern Languages.


The University of Exeter has a strong reputation for excellence and our PGCE trainees are highly sought after – a distinct advantage in finding employment. We have links with local and national schools and teacher recruitment agencies across the country.  Employers visit campus to provide information about the job options they can offer.

We launch careers rather than jobs. Our commitment to you doesn’t end when you graduate – we offer you the opportunity to continue with us via our Masters & CPD programmes giving you access to the networks, peer support, facilities and good practice that you need to help you develop professionally long after your first year as a newly qualified teacher.

In an increasingly competitive job market for NQTs, schools are demanding PGCE students from the very best teacher training
establishments, and Exeter is very often mentioned by name. Our experience in placing teachers from Exeter has been entirely positive, as has been the feedback from our client schools. We’re proud of our continued association with the PGCE course at Exeter and look forward to working with many more outstanding NQTs.

In an increasingly competitive job market for NQTs, schools are demanding PGCE students from the very best teacher training establishments, and Exeter is very often mentioned by name. Our experience in placing teachers from Exeter has been entirely positive, as has been the feedback from our client schools. We’re proud of our continued association with the PGCE course at Exeter and look forward to working with many more outstanding NQTs.

David Cobb, Chairman, Edustaff

Having a PGCE is a qualification that is more than a ‘ticket to teach’ in a UK school. It could enable you to travel, and see the world whilst earning a salary. There are many international teaching programmes and schemes that recruit young teachers to work abroad.

It could also be a building block to other education and young people related roles– I meet many Specialists such as Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, Counsellors, Behaviour Advisors, social workers (the list continues) that studied a PGCE and gained some classroom experience before moving into their roles.

Kate Hurley, Assistant Head (PGCE Primary graduate)

I value the focus Exeter put on 'learning' rather than 'teaching'. I think that once you have understood the difference fully, the job becomes a lot clearer and you fully understand what your role actually is

Samantha Bickham, Primary Modern Languages


A PGCE course is demanding and to help you achieve your best results we take great care in providing excellent resources. In addition to the unsurpassed support and attention of our staff and school mentors, the campus facilities include:

  • modern seminar rooms and lecture theatres
  • Improved study areas (both silent and group research spaces) and IT facilities including a wireless network and self-service facility
  • print unit with full reprographic services

Time to unwind

Although academic resources are essential for your training, we also understand you will need some time to relax and unwind from your studies.

To help make your experience as enjoyable and complete as possible the following facilities are also available on St Luke’s Campus:

  • a restaurant
  • a bar and student centre
  • an indoor swimming pool
  • two gymnasia including a dedicated advanced conditioning studio
  • lawn tennis/volleyball during the summer

The University has a very active Students’ Guild, which offers a range of activities and events for all students. In addition to the St Luke’s Campus, students are encouraged to take advantage of further facilities located on the Streatham Campus, which is only a short 20-minute walk away.

Dedicated support

The University provides comprehensive student services that include AccessAbility, Student Learning Skills Service, Student Advice Unit, the Counselling Service, Students’ Union Advisors, the Student Health Centre, Family Centre and the Chaplaincy. Full details can be found on the University’s Postgraduate Study web pages.

Entry requirements 2016

Entry to the PGCE programme is conditional on:

  • Graduate or equivalent status
  • The relevance of an Honours degree content to the chosen specialist subject(s)
    (current University of Exeter students are allowed to take up to 30 credits outside of their degree programme, some of which may strengthen an application for a PGCE)
  • Passes at GCSE in English and Mathematics at grade C or above (or equivalent) for those applying for Secondary. If you are applying for Secondary Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Modern Foreign Languages or Religious Education and do not have a pass at grade C in either English or Mathematics, you will have the opportunity to sit the University’s equivalency test in order to gain attainment at an appropriate level
  • Passes at GCSE in English, Mathematics and Science at grade C or above (or equivalent) if you are applying for Primary. Please note: although the NCTL minimum requirement is a grade C at GCSE, we will generally only consider applicants with a grade B or above for Mathematics and English and a grade C or above for Science for the Primary programme
  • Selection based on the information provided on the UCAS Teacher Training application
  • Selection based on a successful interview
  • Successful completion of the professional skills tests
  • A medical report which is deemed satisfactory
  • A completed Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS)  enhanced check which is deemed satisfactory by the University

Note:  It is the University of Exeter's policy that the level 2 certificate in Adult Literacy or Numeracy is not acceptable as an equivalent to GCSE English/Mathematics.

Please note the above criteria are the national minimum entry requirements to be considered for a PGCE course - please see individual subject pages for further information on additional subject-specific criteria for University of Exeter PGCE courses.

Are you an undergraduate at the University of Exeter?  If so, find out if you're eligible for a guaranteed PGCE interview.

Professional Skills Tests

The NCTL website confirms that if you are thinking of applying for a teacher training course, you will need to take the professional skills tests as part of the application process, and ensure you have passed them before the start of the course.

The first attempt at taking your skills tests in each subject is provided free of charge. You can book up to two resits if required, but you will be expected to pay for these yourself.

You can book your tests up to three months in advance for a date by which you are expecting to have submitted an application. When you take the tests you will need to provide proof that you have applied for a teacher training course.   For further details, please see the NCTL website

We encourage you to take the professional skills tests as early as possible, preferably before interview. If you submit your application to us by 02 March 2017, and are successful at interview, a deadline of 01 June 2017 will be set for passing the professional skills tests.  If by 01 June, one or more of the tests have not been passed, your offer will be reviewed and you may lose your place on the programme.  If you submit your application to us after 02 March 2017, a deadline of four weeks from the date of any offer made will be set for passing the professional skills tests (or the first day of the course, whichever is earlier).

Note: Skills test passes for applicants to ITT courses remain valid for three years so if you pass the tests and then your plans for starting an ITT course change, your results will remain valid for three years.

Please note: as the booking and provision of the professional skills tests is not within the control of the University of Exeter we reserve the right to review this policy during the year.

Terms and conditions

All students will be required as a condition of enrolment to abide by, and to submit to the procedures of, the University's Regulations for Students, as amended from time to time.

A copy of the current Regulations for Students is available, on request, from the Registry.

Fees and funding

The tuition fee for Home/EU students for the University of Exeter's PGCE programme in 2017/18 is £9,250.  The tuition fee for Channel Island/Isle of Man students is £9,250. The tuition fee for International students is £16,500.

Government Grants and Loans for Teacher Training Courses

UK (Home) students can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan.  Please see Student Finance England for more information about Student Finance for Teacher Training Courses and Maintenance Grant details.

EU students who have come to the UK purely for the purposes of the Teacher Training Course (PGCE) will be eligible to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan.  They will not be eligible for the Maintenance Loan or Maintenance Grant.  Students should apply on form EU11N for the Tuition Fee Loan at:

If you have any questions on the maintenance grant/student loan application process please contact Student Finance England on 0845 300 50 90.

A resource you might find useful when considering the tuition fee system is Martin Lewis' Money Saving Expert website (this site is independent of the University of Exeter).

National College for Teaching & Leadership (NCTL) bursaries

In addition to the tuition support and student loans, the NCTL offers further financial incentives and support to offset the costs of PGCE training for some subjects.

Find out more.

University of Exeter Financial Support

As part of the University's OFFA agreement for PGCE programmes, trainees in receipt of the full £3,387 maintenance grant will also be eligible to receive a £500 University Bursary from the University of Exeter. This bursary is paid by BACS direct to eligible trainees by the Student Funding Team in November, subject to confirmation of your student finance entitlement.

PGCE Travel Policy

We offer a contribution to some of the travel and accommodation costs that PGCE trainees may incur as a result of the structure of the training year.  Please click on PGCE Travel Policy for further details.   Please read the policy carefully to see what it does and doesn’t cover.  If you have any questions about this policy in advance of starting the programme, please contact the Graduate School of Education Office on

Ted Wragg Awards for Outstanding Trainees

The Ted Wragg Awards for Outstanding Trainees (formally the Exeter PGCE Scholarship) are in honour of Professor Ted Wragg, a nationally recognised advocate of the teaching profession and a man who inspired a great many of today’s best teachers and teaching practices. These awards have been developed to recognise, encourage and financially reward our best PGCE Students.

Find out more.

Access to Learning Fund

The University also has an Access to Learning Fund to assist UK students in exceptional financial difficulty such that continued attendance on their course may be at risk. Students eligible for other bursaries, grants or scholarships must apply to those schemes in the first instance. In assessing hardship, all available sources of funding, including training bursaries and student loans, must have been utilised by the student. All awards from the Access to Learning Fund are discretionary. Students with dependants may apply to their Local Education Authority for financial assistance from the 'Parents Learning Allowance'.

Further information on the Access to Learning Fund and other Student Funding Schemes is available on the Student Finance webpages. Alternatively, it can be obtained by telephoning (01392) 723858 or emailing:

Contact us

PGCE Admissions Office

General enquiries

For general enquiries about enrolling on PGCE courses at Exeter, please contact the PGCE Admissions Office at:

For enquiries about a specific course, please contact the co-ordinator for that course listed on the course page itself.

For admissions enquiries specifically about any of our School Direct provision, please contact the appropriate lead school (see School Direct for details of the schools we are working with to deliver School Direct)

Our full address is:

Graduate School of Education
St Luke's Campus
Heavitree Road

For general University enquiries please call the main University switchboard (01392 6610000).

Fast Track
Current Exeter students
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A PGCE from Exeter

Learn about our Exeter PGCE Teacher Training programme.