PGCE Secondary Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) with French

The PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) offers a course in French to graduates who are keen and eager both to bring to life within the 4 walls of the classroom the French language and the cultures of la francophonie which they themselves love and to nurture a life-long interest in language learning. The course enables you to explore the opportunities and challenges that face both teachers and learners of the French language in Britain today, the strategies for language acquisition and the need for intercultural understanding within the European dimension.

The University-based term offers the opportunity to engage with up-to-date research in languages education and provides a solid grounding in the approaches to language teaching, which also puts emphasis on communication and language as structure, as recommended in the National Curriculum. This part of the course includes interactive, practical workshops and seminars, peer teaching and assessment, subject-specific lectures, small group work and discussions. The school-based terms are spent in dynamic MFL departments of a wide choice of schools across the South West.

Provision is made for students to develop competence in German or Spanish as a second teaching MFL. The use of ICT is developed to enhance the future teacher's own skills as well as to contribute to the preparation for effective MFL teaching in the 21st century.

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 French 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 French in the secondary school, and to enable them to achieve QTS.

Applicants will normally be expected to have a good Honours degree in French (minimum of a 2.2). Other qualifications of degree level equivalence will be considered, e.g. Final Diploma of Institute of Linguists. Native speakers of French should hold a qualification equivalent to a UK degree at a minimum of 2:2, usually a minimum of 3 years of study at an institution of Higher Education. The qualifications can be in any subject, since they have, by definition, the necessary language skills. An OU degree or other degree qualification in a subject other than a foreign language may be acceptable if the applicant can show at interview that residence abroad or other relevant experience has developed appropriate competence in the foreign language. Some further enquiry may be necessary in such cases to ensure adequate written competence and cultural awareness.

Trainees in French, German and Spanish should have a second language (even if only at beginners' level) as this will help with the provision of placements, as well as finding a teaching post. However, applicants offering only one language are encouraged to still apply for a place on the course.  If successful, and as a condition of their offer, applicants without a second modern language will be directed to apply for Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) funding from the DfE to complete an SKE course in a second language course prior to the PGCE course starting.  Therefore it is essential to submit an early application to allow time for this.  SKE is also available in applicants’ first language provided they already have a reasonably strong second language. As part of the offer,  successful applicants will be signposted to appropriate courses to attend. 

Applicants ideally need to have one week's experience in a UK state secondary school prior to interview. If this is not possible because an applicant is living abroad, please contact PGCE Admissions to enable us to consider applications on an individual basis. 

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

Dinah Warren joined the University in 2009 after teaching languages for twenty five years in comprehensive schools in London and Devon.

She was Head of Languages in an outstanding school in North London for eight years and has worked alongside trainee teachers as a Tutor and Mentor in her most recent school, where she taught until 2013.

Dinah is Head of Initial Teacher Education at the Graduate School of Education and course leader for the Primary Modern Languages Pathway module.

Dinah also contributes to the Primary PGCE course and has a strong interest in KS2/KS3 transition.

The German specialist course is taught by Chris Wakely who has a wealth of experiences as a teacher, an MFL Advisor and an Ofsted inspector. The Spanish specialist course is taught by Tim Melia, who has a wealth of experience teaching languages in secondary schools and FE colleges in the region.

The University of Exeter is one of the best providers of ITT in the country. The support that all the staff offer is second to none and the variety of schools available to train in through placements is great. I now teach in a relatively large secondary school in North Devon and enjoy every moment of it! The MFL PGCE from the University of Exeter is highly regarded by schools in the area.
It set me up for a very successful NQT year and, hopefully, a very long and rewarding career as a teacher. It was completely worth it.

Grace Hawkins, Secondary Modern Foreign Languages