Primary programme

Why choose Exeter for your Primary PGCE?

  • Our most recent Ofsted inspection, in 2017, rated the Exeter Primary programme as “outstanding”.
  • Our latest statistics show that in 2017/18, 94 per cent of Primary trainees were awarded QTS of which, 78 per cent were graded as “outstanding”. In the latest employment statistics (2016-17) 94 per cent of those awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) secured a teaching post within six months of completion.

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

The University modules are designed to give you experience of all the subjects you will be expected to teach for your specified age range.

Our PGCE programme offers you the opportunity to develop your understanding of the opportunities and demands of leadership roles within schools and consider planning your career path. You will also have the opportunity to reflect on your own leadership in the classroom and how these skills can support pupil learning. In addition to lecture and optional seminar input, you may elect to undertake a school-based leadership task in your final placement.

Subject specialist pathways are unique to the Exeter Primary PGCE programme and prepare trainees to become curriculum coordinators. Students who meet the entry requirements for our subject specialist pathways will normally be expected to follow that specialism:

For students whose academic background does not match with one of our subject specialisms, we have the Teaching and Learning pathway which 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.

The programme, over three terms, includes time spent both at the University and in school placements. University modules are designed to give you experience of all national curriculum subjects, as well as looking at cross-curricular learning and wider educational concerns. The taught element is made up of timetabled seminars, lectures and self-directed study. You will work individually and as part of small and larger groups. University lecturers, teachers and your peers will all contribute to your learning. Each term provides progressively more school-based work training:

Preliminary School Experience 2 weeks
University Taught Course 10 weeks
School Placement 1: Autumn Experience 2 weeks
School Placement 1: Spring Experience 11 weeks
School Placement 2: Summer Experience 11 weeks

The programme has four main components

1. Curriculum studies

There is substantial preparation for teaching the core subjects of English, Mathematics, and Science through taught sessions combined with self-directed activities based both in the University and carried out in school. There is a particular emphasis on the teaching of writing, reading and mathematics to reflect the government’s current educational priorities. This module also covers the subjects of Art, Computing, Design Technology, Geography, History, Modern Languages, Music, Physical Education, and Religious Education, which are all delivered in shorter practical courses. These courses cater for trainees whose previous experiences may vary widely and aim to give a substantial introduction to the teaching of these subjects.

2. Educational and Professional Studies

The module content is designed to enable critical reflection on children’s learning and development, pedagogy, diversity, and teachers’ roles and responsibilities in multi-professional contexts. There is engagement with relevant government reports, policies and academic research in order to develop appraisal of contemporary social trends, and issues in theory and practice. The content of the module is inter-dependent with other modules in the programme, and will be developed in the professional studies element of school experience settings, where you will consider the practical implementation of educational principles and policies.

3. School experience

The University has excellent working relationships with its partnership schools, where trainees will be based for their school experience. School-based tutors and mentors are responsible for trainees’ learning and development and receive well-designed training. Trainees will initially work with groups of children, before taking on more responsibility for planning and independently teaching the whole class. There will be two main placement schools assigned and these will offer contrasting environments.

4. Pathway module (specialist or generalist)

Primary trainees will receive training in a chosen subject specialism from Art, English, Humanities, Mathematics, Modern Languages, and Science. The specialism builds on your subject knowledge strengths (from your degree or A levels) and aims to prepare you for an eventual role as subject leader or coordinator. Alternatively, we also have a generalist pathway, ‘Primary Teaching and Learning’, which will develop your knowledge, understanding and skills in research-inspired primary teaching and learning across the whole 5-11 curriculum.

Note: the DfE entry requirement to pass professional skills tests in literacy and numeracy has been removed for 2020/21 entry onwards. Instead, PGCE trainees will be benchmarked during their training against a Government-defined set of fundamental mathematics and English skills. This will be embedded into the training year and will not involve any specific testing at interview. Trainees will be given tools to help identify areas for development and improve their skills where needed.  The PGCE course will include activities to enable trainees to demonstrate they have the requisite skills by the end of the course.