Our Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Secondary Education provides a high standard of training for those preparing to take up a teaching post in the secondary school sector. The course complies with the statutory guidance from the Department for Education for Initial Teacher Training courses.
The PGCE in Secondary Education is specifically designed to ensure that those who are successful will be recommended for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) - the professional award required by all those who wish to teach in a maintained school.
Social Sciences is an exciting secondary school curriculum subject area. It covers topics such as: sociology (socialisation, culture, identity, social differentiation, power, stratification, education, family, health, work, poverty, welfare religion, globalisation, media, crime, research methods); health and social care (human growth and development, communication and values, positive care environments, social aspects and lifestyle choices, activities for health and well-being, public health, meeting individual needs, promoting health and well-being, investigating disease, using and understanding research, social issues and welfare needs, understanding human behaviour); and personal, social, health and economic education. As a trainee you will learn how to teach social sciences to pupils in the 14-19 age range within the secondary age phase, with additional experience in the 11-14 age range and primary enhancements. You will learn how to develop skills, knowledge and understanding for teaching social sciences through a combination of university-led and school-led training.
Successful completion of the course will lead to recommendation for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), along with 60 credits at Master’s level.
Over this one year course, you will undertake learning at University and other educational settings. You will spend 120 days divided between at least two different school placements across the 14-19 age range, with additional experience in the 11-14 age range within the secondary age phase.
Your University tutor team is available to assist you throughout your training, supporting development of reflection. Every effort is made to ensure that high-quality school placements are provided to you, facilitating learning through observing, co-teaching and being observed by experienced teachers in the classroom.
All course modules provide examples of good practice in pedagogy which you will reflect upon as you develop your own teaching style - you will be expected to actively participate in your own learning and development.
Teaching on the course comprises a variety of methodologies that will prepare you for life in the classroom including teacher-led discussions, pupil-led exploration, peer-group discovery, problem based learning, e-learning and the provision of individual targets.
You will be assessed in a variety of ways including written assignments; classroom based investigation and other school-based activities, and appraisal of practical teaching skills.
Typical activities may include:
PGCE: Programme Structure
The PGCE course takes place over 180 days, and 120 of those days are spent in a school. You will have one school attachment during the autumn term and another (in a different school) in the spring/summer terms.
One of our strengths is that we have a vast network of high quality partnership schools in which to place you for the extended school placements. We ensure that you receive high quality school-based training by selecting schools with highly trained mentors and a proven track record of excellent trainee outcomes. We will also take other factors into consideration when placing you, such as your geographical location and transportation, to provide you with the best possible experience in a convenient and suitable setting.
The University-led elements of the course take place at our Walsall Campus. Our PGCE starts in early September and ends in June, and it is an intensive academic and professional training course that effectively prepares you for your first teaching post and beyond.
The course comprises of a two day professional placement in mixed subject groups, two extended school placements in your subject specialism and two periods of University-based teaching – September to October and January to February. The programme also includes a short Primary school placement and additional opportunities for a range of enhancements to your course; for example, experience of teaching pupils with special educational needs or teaching pupils for whom English is an additional language.
What do Ofsted say?
The University of Wolverhampton provision is particularly effective in developing highly professional teachers with the skills to reflect critically on the quality of their teaching in order to improve it. They are valued highly by the schools, colleges and other settings where they secure employment in the region. The university has an excellent reputation that enables it to build strong partnerships across the region to support high-quality teacher training and educational improvement. Employment rates in all phases are high, with many former trainees working in the region.
Ofsted (2013), Initial Teacher Education Inspection Report, London: Ofsted
The PGCE in Secondary Education leads to recommendation for QTS, and enables you to take up a qualified teaching post in a secondary school.
In secondary schools you could be considered for a Teaching and Learning Responsibility (TLR), which may comprise any of the following:
Later, you could progress to a senior leadership position such as a deputy or assistant head and head teacher - at which point you will have overall responsibility for the leadership and management of a school and the education its students receive.
Following successful completion of this award, you could also use your 60 Master’s level credits towards any of our Master’s degrees in the field of education.
If you are successful you will be recommended for the award of Qualified Teacher Status and you will be prepared to teach pupils in the 14-19 age range within the secondary age phase, with additional experience in the 11-14 age range and primary enhancements. You will also gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) which includes 60 Master’s level credits.
You will also be given help to find your first post in school. The course will provide you with an excellent start to your teaching career as you experience teaching in two separate secondary schools with trained school-based tutors to aid your development. You will have the opportunity to help develop the teaching within this fast-developing subject and have a real impact on children’s education.
You will be enabled to become a critically reflective teacher with high levels of subject knowledge and a wide understanding of educational theory and practice.
You will also develop the professional skills required to achieve outstanding results in relation to student progress including lesson planning, assessment methods, data analysis, and communication.
You will also have access to a high quality, bespoke subject knowledge booster course in psychology to broaden your employment opportunities.
The University will award students with the PGCE in Secondary Education with 60 credits at Master’s level.
All students who have fully met the Teachers’ Standards as set by the Department for Education will be recommended for the award of QTS.
The award of QTS is essential to teach in a maintained school in the United Kingdom and, upon gaining this award, the student becomes a qualified teacher.
You will have to possess a real interest and aptitude for social sciences and an ability to think creatively about presenting the subject to others. Candidates will be expected to teach from potentially any area of sociology; health and social care; and personal, social, health and economic education, as agreed between you, the placement school and the University tutor. Above all, you will need a real commitment to the education of young people. Also you will need:
Please note we do not accept GCSE Equivalent Tests from other institutions or organisations and be aware that not all equivalency tests are accepted, if you unsure please contact our Admissions Department firstname.lastname@example.org for clarification.
You will be required to provide evidence of your original qualifications.
Interview and Selection
Once your application has been received, your readiness to train to teach is individually assessed. If you meet the entry requirements, you will be offered an interview where you will be required to sit a subject-specific written task and verbal audit.
The audit and task have both verbal and written components and are designed to identify your strengths and areas for development. They contain a mixture of Key Stage 4 and A-Level style questions that cover the secondary social sciences curriculum. You will be sent information on how to prepare when you are notified of your interview.
The main purpose of the interview is to:
Pre-entry Professional Skills Tests
Applicants for initial teacher training (ITT) courses are required to have passed the professional skills tests in Literacy and Numeracy before the start of the course. Further information is available on the Department for Education website.
You can register for the skills tests before applying for teacher training. You must take the tests after you have applied and you will need to provide evidence of your application when you attend the test centre. If you are offered a place following interview, you will have to pass both the Numeracy and Literacy skills tests as one of your conditions of acceptance before the course starts.
We also offer support with the taking and passing of the professional skills tests. To find out more about the kind of support we offer, please see the following link.
Please note that:
Application forms should be able to demonstrate not only your depth of subject knowledge but also your enthusiasm and commitment to a career in teaching.
Once you have a Conditional Offer, you will need to complete a current enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, a medical declaration clearance and a prohibition check prior to starting the course.