Primary Education

Teacher in primary school classroom
  • UCAS code(s): X100
  • Level(s) of study: Postgraduate taught
  • Study mode(s): Full-time
  • Location: Clifton Campus
  • Starting: September 2018
  • Course duration: One year full-time

Primary teaching at Nottingham Trent University

This teaching degree provides graduates with the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to become primary school teachers. Time is spent both in the University and on classroom placements, ensuring that by the end of the course, trainees are confident professionals.

The award of PGCE is offered at two levels:

  • Professional Graduate Certificate in Education
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (where 60 Masters-level credits can be gained).

Both of these are recognised teaching qualifications, but the postgraduate degree will allow fast-track entry to Masters courses. The choice of which qualification to take will be made while on the course. Successful completion of the course will lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)*.

The course is designed to provide the knowledge and skills needed to meet the demands of a first teaching post in the primary age range (5 to 11 years). You will focus on primary education across both key stages, a National College for Teaching and Leadership (formerly the Teaching Agency) requirement which is essential to gain an overview of development and progression throughout the complete primary age phase. There may be an opportunity to place an increased emphasis on either Key Stage One (five to seven years) or Key Stage Two (7 to 11 years) during your school based training.

* The title of this award is subject to change due to an ongoing government consultation. For the latest information, please visit

What you'll study

We are currently reviewing the content of our courses to ensure that they remain relevant and current to out students’ future ambitions and society. Please continue to check this course webpage for the latest developments.

A distinctive feature of this Primary teaching degree is the curriculum breadth we offer. We provide modules in Teaching Primary English, Teaching Primary Mathematics, Teaching Primary Science and Teaching the Wider Curriculum. The Wider Curriculum module encompasses an introduction to the full range of foundation subjects along with RE and ICT. We also offer an introduction to the teaching of primary modern foreign languages for all trainees.

You will learn how to plan and resource your teaching in ways that engage and inspire young learners. In developing practical teaching and organisational skills, you will learn how to plan, teach and assess effectively. Understanding progression in learning, according to the diversity of needs and abilities of all pupils, will enable you to create an effective teaching environment that promotes and supports children’s learning. Also you will gain knowledge and understanding of the professional requirements for teachers along with an appreciation of the need for continued professional development throughout their career.

  • Module structure

    The course structure is designed to meet the current and developing changes in primary schools in the United Kingdom. The module structure allows sufficient flexibility to address the planned governmental curricular changes, as well as reflect effective research based practice both nationally and internationally. It is vital that the entire primary curriculum is reflected across the course and is supported by a professional studies module and is closely linked to the professional placement. The course structure is designed to support trainees in the early stages of their career as well as providing a lasting support for their future careers.

    The course’s four modules run concurrently throughout the year. With the exception of Primary Professional Practice, which is taught at level 6, each module is offered at either level 6 or masters level.

    Primary Professional Practice (0 credits)

    This module aims to develop you as a teacher who exercises responsibility: for your pupils as individuals and as members of groups within and beyond the school community; and for productive interaction both with professional colleagues including teaching and support staff in school, staff from external agencies, and with other adults, including parents and carers; and for your own professional development.

    This module aims to equip you with theoretical and practical understanding and experience of:

    • planning, setting high expectations and appropriate targets;
    • monitoring and assessment; and
    • teaching and behaviour management.

    Learning and Teaching: Professional Studies (20 credits)

    This module is designed to support you in developing:

    • knowledge and understanding of a wide range of professional practices and a constructively critical approach toward innovation in professional practice;
    • an informed stance in relation to key issues in education;
    • a capacity to express your professional values through high quality work in all areas of the curriculum.

    Learning and Teaching: Primary Curriculum and Related Pedagogy (40 credits)

    You will be expected to work proactively to further your professional development to enable you to plan, teach and assess across the range of subjects specified by the primary national curriculum including RE, as well as cross curricular themes and strands, at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 (EYFS and KS3).

    This module is designed to support you in becoming:

    • a reflective practitioner who is confident and capable of furthering the progress and achievement of learners;
    • a well-researched and knowledgeable professional who can use formative assessment strategies to plan for teaching which promotes learning for all children; and
    • a leading practitioner who is able to contribute to the long term aims of learning for both individuals and schools through identifying next steps in both learning and teaching.

    Primary Education Independent Study (60 credits)

    This module is designed to support you in:

    • engaging in an independent, professional enquiry; and
    • developing a focus for your own research and in depth study.

    It will also support you in becoming:

    • a confident professional with the knowledge and understanding of related pedagogy in English, maths and science to enable you to teach effectively across the age and ability range for which you are trained;
    • an active contributor to the knowledge base of teaching and learning; and
    • a research informed practitioner who has a research oriented approach to the development of your professional practice.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

Further information on what you'll study

Professional accreditation

We are accredited by the UK Government's National College for Teaching and Leadership as a provider of Initial Teacher Training courses. Successful completion of the course leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This means you can be employed as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) in a school to complete your induction year.

How you’re taught


The taught part of the course involves interactive lectures and seminars. There are no exams as coursework and teaching experience are assessed. Trainees undertake focused preparation in the core subjects (mathematics, english and science) and the full range of foundation subjects (history, geography, art, design and technology and physical education).

Students will also receive an induction into citizenship and the teaching of primary modern foreign languages. Creative cross-curricular approaches to teaching are developed and trainees are supported in strengthening their understanding of their specialist subject as it relates to the primary curriculum.


Approximately two-thirds of your year will be spent in primary schools. There are three periods of School-based Training: an initial placement in school during the autumn term, followed by two major block placements (a nine week period in the autumn and spring terms and a nine week block at the end of the course). There is also a ten day enhancement opportunity in the spring term, which will broaden your experience and will be organised based on each individual's needs and interests.

The school based training may be in city centre, suburban or semi-rural locations. This variety provides opportunities for a wide range of teaching experiences and lays a good foundation for your professional development. Course members are encouraged to develop increasing levels of self-reliance, independence, enterprise and capability to manage their own learning.

Assessment methods

  • Year 1 coursework (80%), practical exams (20%)
  • Year 2 coursework (80%), practical exams (20%)
  • Year 3 coursework (100%)
  • Year 4 coursework (75%), practical exams (25%)

Contact hours

A full-time student on average can expect to spend 1200 hours a year learning which will typically be broken down as follows:

  • Year 1 lectures/seminars/workshops (40%), independent study (35%), time on placement (25%)
  • Year 2 lectures/seminars/workshops (35%), independent study (35%), time on placement (30%)
  • Year 3 lectures/seminars/workshops (35%), independent study (30%), time on placement (35%)
  • Year 4 lecturers/seminars/workshops (25%), independent study (40%), time on placement (35%)

Careers and employability

The vocational nature of the PGCE Primary Education degree and the fact that successful completion of the course leads to a recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) means that graduates are ideally placed to pursue a career as a teacher in the primary age range (5 to 11 years).

Links with industry

We involve industry experts in our courses in a number of ways:

  • We consult with employers when we design and update our courses.
  • We ensure you are prepared to meet the demands of the workplace by continually checking the currency and validity of our courses with employers.
  • You will have the opportunity to have a work placement (if not already in paid or voluntary employment).
  • Employers may input directly into your course through guest lectures, projects, and other work-related activities.

96% of our postgraduates are employed or engaged in further study six months after leaving (Latest DLHE Survey Postgraduate results 2015/16).

Entry requirements

You will need:

  • A 2:1 honours degree is preferred, but strong applicants with a 2:2 in a degree related to National Curriculum subjects, or to education or child development more generally, will also be considered.
  • GCSE English, Mathematics and Science at minimum grade C or equivalent, these must have been gained prior to application
  • Disclosure and Barring Service and Prohibition Order checks passed prior to enrolling
  • Professional ITT Skills Tests in Numeracy and Literacy passed prior to enrolling
  • two references - one academic and one vocational.

It may strengthen your application to have had some experience in a classroom in a UK mainstream school, setting or college, although this is not an entry requirement. If you do wish to gain some experience prior to your application, you can find out more about how to arrange this on the  NCTL's School Experience Programme webpage.

Applicants will need to undertake an interview as part of the selection process.

If necessary, you can take a relevant GCSE as a private candidate. Find out how to do this on the AQA's website.

How to apply

You can apply for postgraduate teacher training courses through UCAS.

You can search for courses at UCAS Teacher Training, and apply using a two-tiered process. Apply 1 allows you to choose three teacher training courses. If you are unsuccessful in Apply 1, you can choose to apply for alternative courses during Apply 2.

Find out how it all works on the UCAS teacher training website.


Our basis for selecting candidates for interview is the UCAS application form. The interview procedure will take between three to four hours and includes a group task in which you will be asked to discuss an issue, reach a decision and make a group presentation. In an individual interview you will be asked questions in relation to the selection criteria and information provided on your application form. Each candidate is also expected to talk informally with the interviewer about an educational issue. The choice of issue is entirely up to individual candidates and should last no more than five minutes. In a written task you will be asked to write about an issue relating to teaching and learning. Candidates will be asked to nominate a subject strength, which relates to the National Curriculum within the primary school.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Further information on how to apply

Professional ITT skills tests

If you apply for a teacher training course, then you must pass professional ITT skills tests in numeracy and literacy as part of the application process. You must have passed these tests before you start the course.

Registration and booking for the tests is available on the Department for Education website.

Find out more about the tests and how to prepare for them with our teacher training skills tests FAQs sheet

Fees and funding

Course fee for 2018 entry

CourseHome / EU tuition fee
PGCE Primary Education£9,250

Home students can apply for a student loan for tuition and maintenance fees. In addition students may be eligible for maintenance or special support grants. More information on the funding for Initial Teacher-Training courses can be found on and the National College for Teaching and Leadership website.

Your eligibility for financial support, and the amount you can expect to receive, will depend on the subject in which you train and your degree classification, or highest relevant academic qualification.

Still need help?

Education course enquiries
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