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Exeter is one of the best places in the country for PGCE courses, and as I did my undergrad degree at Exeter it made sense to study my PGCE here. The two full terms of teaching experiences in different schools enabled me to learn so much from the wide variety of teachers I worked with.

The student life is excellent, so is the campus, and all the staff are really helpful and friendly. The library is good, and the teaching to a high standard also.
At one of my placement schools and at the school where I got a job, they said they preferred Exeter students because they were always at a much higher standard than other PGCE students.

Helen Taylor, PGCE Secondary Maths

PGCE Secondary with Maths

Our Secondary Maths PGCE is run by a team of committed, passionate and experienced staff who offer a diverse range of expertise and a genuine conviction that our approach to teacher education is the best way to develop outstanding teachers. Our staff have extensive school and university teaching experience, and are active in researching in and working with schools to push forward the frontiers of Maths teaching. Our graduates enter the profession as enthusiastic and highly skilled teachers.

The PGCE Mathematics course at Exeter is designed to help you develop your understanding of the subject, of current good classroom practice and how students can best be supported in their learning. All of this is underpinned by a commitment to supporting you in your professional development so that you enter the profession as an enthusiastic and highly-skilled teacher.

Our aim is to help you to become a reflective practitioner, a teacher who is willing to critically evaluate and develop your practice in the light of experience and research evidence. You will be laying firm foundations for a thoughtful and rewarding teaching career. You will take part in activities that we hope will challenge your thinking and help you to develop a clear and positive rationale for your own values, beliefs and approaches.

You will also need to commit to a significant amount of independent study. As well as exploring your own professional development you will be asked to think about students’ learning and how best to plan and organise lessons that allow all students to be active and successful. Again, we will interweave practice and research to help you to develop ideas about how students learn – and what to be aware of that might inhibit learning.

In the first term of the PGCE year, based at the University, we will draw on your experiences, video material, whole group discussion, small group work, paired work, lectures, peer teaching and peer and self-evaluation to help you prepare for your school-based work in the following two terms. You will also complete two academic assignments during the year, in which you will explore aspects of learning and teaching mathematics in depth.

Mathematics is a subject with a high profile in the curriculum yet is one about which many learners can have negative feelings. We will explore with you the nature of mathematics and the teaching of mathematics and how this might affect student enjoyment and engagement. The Exeter PGCE assists you to develop your own academic knowledge of mathematics and includes dedicated sessions on the use of ICT. Furthermore, the development of academic knowledge into ‘curriculum’ and ‘pedagogic’ knowledge to support your practice and working within the context of the National Curriculum will be an important focus. 

Timetable overview

Term 1 Term 1 begins with two weeks of observation (preliminary school experience). This leads into the University based course which focuses on professional development, specialist subject knowledge, pedagogy and teaching skills.
Two weeks of this term will be spent in your first placement school as part of the Beginning Practice phase of your training.
Term 2 Term 2 is spent in your first school placement with three seminar days held at the University.
At the end of the term, you visit your second school placement for a short induction period.
Term 3 Term 3 is spent in your second school placement with two seminar days held at the University.

We are leaders in Initial Teacher Education. Our unique approach to teaching PGCE is praised by OFSTED and cited as an example of best practice.

We provide unrivalled opportunities for trainees to achieve through our highly original Exeter Teaching Model. The programme runs over three terms with each term providing progressively more school-based work training.

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.

During placements Exeter trainees benefit from the focused support of two School-based Tutors: a Principle Tutor who works as an expert partner, and a Mentor who develops and challenges your thinking about teaching in ways that can be used to enhance performance.

You will be supported in developing the full range of teaching skills and effective reflection that you will need in your first teaching post as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT).

The PGCE is a Masters level programme and once you have achieved QTS, you can continue your studies during your first year of teaching and work towards achieving a Masters in Education.

How am I assessed?

Through University and school-based assignments. There are no formal exams.

Students are also required to pass the Government's numeracy and literacy tests prior to the course.

The programme has three fully integrated components:

Secondary Education and Professional Studies Module

The Professional Studies component introduces you to key educational ideas and principles within a range of educational contexts. The module is followed throughout the year with both University and school-based elements and is concerned with classroom issues, whole school issues and the role of education in the wider society.

Secondary Professional Learning Module

Central to school-based work is the development of your ability to meet the standards of professional competence which trainees must demonstrate in order to meet national standards for the award of QTS.

Secondary Mathematics Subject Knowledge and Pedagogy module

The principal aims of the module are to equip students with a comprehensive understanding of the background issues and practice of the current teaching of Mathematics in the secondary school, and to enable them to achieve QTS.  In addition, the module seeks to nurture reflective and autonomous professional practitioners who are able to identify strengths and areas for development in their subject knowledge and pedagogy, through evaluating current professional practice in relationship to developments in research and curriculum theory.

The usual entry requirements for this course are a good A level mathematics grade and a 2:2 degree with at least 50% mathematical content. However, equivalent or alternative qualifications are always considered and, where necessary, applicants may be required to complete some subject enhancement before joining the course.

We anticipate that all applicants will have had some experience or observation of mathematics education in a state secondary school, so that they come to interview informed about the subject they wish to teach.

The PGCE Mathematics course at Exeter requires enthusiasm, energy, commitment, a love of mathematics and a strong desire to teach. In return, the mathematics team, together with school-based partners, will offer you every opportunity to advance towards becoming a confident and inspirational teacher of mathematics.

For graduates who need to develop their mathematics subject knowledge to gain access onto a PGCE it is possible to take a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course. There are several options available and you can discuss at your interview or beforehand by contacting Thomas Ralph.

Further information

Read more about entry requirements and how to apply.

Academic staff

  • 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.
  • 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.

Course leaders

Dr Thomas Ralph has worked in several comprehensive state schools in London and Dorset and also as a consultant at SMILE Maths developing educational software. Most recently he was a Head of Department in a school with a specialism in mathematics. Thomas has a wide range of experience working with student teachers and NQTs. His research interests are in the teaching and learning of pupils who are resistant to school.

David Lunn was previously a deputy head at a school in Exeter and has a great deal of teaching experience. He has worked with many trainees and NQTS, enabling them to become outstanding teachers.