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PGCE (PCET) one year full-time - Postgraduate Certificate in Education - Level 7 (PGCE)

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Have you considered a Career in Teaching? Are you an enthusiastic, motivated individual? 

About Us

Cardiff University has more than thirty years experience of delivering PGCE programmes. The programmes at Cardiff University maintain contemporary, cutting-edge quality and high status among training and education providers locally and across the UK. Our philosophy is firmly located within the notion of adults as learners where instruction, learning and content draw on the professional experiences of our respective course members. Whilst encouraging individual learning approaches, the course programmes also recognise the value of group and team work in interrogating professional experience and further developing skills and expertise. The Cardiff School of Social Sciences is the only provider in Wales and England independently rated excellent for its teaching and research. 

The PGCE Post Compulsory Education and Training (PCET) programmes are designed for those teaching/training or wanting to pursue a career in post 16 contexts, e.g. higher, further, adult, community and nurse education, vocational training in industry, commerce or other professions, school sixth forms, 14-19 school/tertiary courses. The PGCE (PCET) programmes address a range of teaching placement subjects and vocational areas.

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Student Experience

We asked some of our recent graduates on the full-time PGCE (PCET) Programme to tell us about their experience of the course and this is what they said.

Our Programme

Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) (PCET) at Masters Level 7

Length of Course

1 year full-time, commencing in usually in the third or last week of September of each academic year and finishing in mid June of the summer term.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have a good honours degree (classified at 2:2 or above) in the subject they wish to teach.

In line with Cardiff University’s English Language Policy all UK applicants are required to hold GCSE English (or equivalent) at grade C or above. Applicants whose first language is not English must obtain a British Council IELTS score of at least 6.5 or equivalent prior to commencement of the course.

All applicants must provide copies of their English Language qualifications in support of their applications. 

Who is the PGCE intended for?

The course is designed for those who wish to teach in post compulsory settings such as  Colleges of Further Education, Vocational Education Training Centres, Sixth Form Colleges, Sixth forms in 11-18 Schools and also includes 14 - 19 pathways provided by School Tertiary Link Programmes. Our students have been placed in the education and training departments of Prisons, Adult Education Centres and [ if applicants are suitably qualified] Higher Education Institutions.

What does the Cardiff PGCE qualify me to do?

The PGCE (PCET) course is a recognised pathway and can lead you on to the QTLS (Qualified Teacher Learning Skills) qualification route.  It is a sound preparation for employment in the life long learning sector and suitable for Sixth Form and Tertiary Colleges, as well as Further and Vocational Education and Business / Commercial Agency training.

Course Structure

The course operates over approximately 35 weeks:

Semester 1: This is predominantly Cardiff University based from late-September through to mid-December.  Induction, initial training and preparation for teaching practice are addressed through lectures, seminars, practical workshops and tutorials.

Semester 2: Supervised teaching practice occurs from January through to late May. This takes place under the guidance of a subject-specific mentor at a college or other placement venue which may also be a private institutional / business location. The majority of placements are in partner FE colleges with whom the PGCE has established relationships.

De-briefing of teaching practice and professional consolidation of own learning occurs towards the end of the course culminating in an Annual PGCE student conference.  This is based at Cardiff University for approximately one week in late May to mid-June.

Aims of PGCE (PCET) Programme

The aims of the programme are to enable you to explore, build on and further develop the professional skills required for successful teaching and training in post-compulsory education.  We want to stimulate active learning, develop your critical and creative thinking about educational matters in general (and your own teaching and training areas in particular) and encourage the desire to continue learning at the end of the course.

The course will enable you to further develop and nurture your:

  • Professional knowledge and understanding
  • Personal skills and attributes
  • Competence in key areas of teaching and training

These aims are informed and underpinned by a commitment to the values of:

  • Reflective practice and scholarship
  • Collegiality and collaboration
  • The centrality of the learner and learner autonomy
  • Entitlement, equality and inclusiveness

The course will concentrate on developing your professional and practical teaching skills and competencies through lectures, practical workshops, seminars and presentations.  You will also undertake an extended period of teaching practice at a college or other suitable location. This enables the fulfillment of 120 hours of “teaching practice” required to achieve the award of PGCE (PCET).

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Closing Date

Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the 15th of August 2014 in order to be considered for the academic session 2014-15. Applications received after this date may not be considered.

Early application is encouraged and advised as the course is popular and well regarded nationally.

Interviews will be normally be held between January, through to July with some late applicant interview sessions held during August if places on the course remain available. Many ‘subject’ places fill up quickly.

Course Start Date

The course will commence on the Monday the 22nd September 2014.

What is the Selection Procedure?

The more complete your application is [e.g. 2x academic references, copies of certificates etc] the easier it is for the admissions panel to deal with your application. Delays occur when an application is incomplete.

If short listed by the Admission Panel, you will be invited to an interview during which you be asked to address and talk to identified questions that will have been sent to you in advance of the interview in a briefing pack. You will also undertake a short written task and hear a presentation from a member of the PGCE Course team which will provide an overview and outline expectations. The University Registry will write to you with the result of the selection process.  This constitutes a formal offer and we urge you to accept this offer as soon as possible.

What happens if I am not selected?

Cardiff University Registry will inform you of the reasons which we feel make you unsuited to our programme. However, if we have met our recruitment target number in the subject area and you meet our selection criteria, a place will be offered to you on the reserve list. This means that if an individual fails to confirm their uptake of a provisional offer, or fails to arrive for induction in September having agreed and enrolled following their formal offer, you may be accepted.

Can I get an incentive bursary?

For 2014/15 students studying on the full-time PGCE (PCET) Programmes will be eligible for a Welsh Government bursary of £1000 as part of the Initial Teacher Training Grants. Trainee teachers in STEM subjects such as Mathematics, Sciences, Electronics, Engineering, Computing, Technology and Literacy will qualify for £3000 as part of the Governments incentives. Bursaries are awarded following successful enrolment on to the PGCE (PCET) Full-time Programme. Payments are distributed on a monthly basis.

Tuition Fees and Finance

.The fees for the PGCE (PCET) full-time programme during academic year 2013/14 for home and EU students were £9,000. Home and EU programme fees are reviewed annually and are set to increase in line with inflation. Full details regarding fees for 2014-15 will be published on our web pages as soon as these are available.

You can contact our Fees Office on 029 2087 5253 to request further information regarding tuition fee costs or visit the web address where up to date information is available on tuition fees for all Cardiff University programmes of study.

Welsh domiciled students may be eligible for a Tuition Fee Grant and / or an Assembly Learning Grant [ALG] from their Local Education Authority towards this cost.  Please contact your Local Education Authority to request information regarding grants and types of financial support available.

If successful in securing a place on the Cardiff PGCE, you are responsible for organising the payment of your tuition fees through liaison with your LEA, a student loan company, a career development loan or self-funding.

For information on grant support, fees and loans please see the Welsh Government [National Assembly for Wales] website (  Please take time to refer to eligibility criteria at the time of your interview.  There are separate criteria used in Wales regarding grants, loans and fees.

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Useful Contacts / Links

1) Student Finance Wales

Tel: 0845 602 8845

2) Student Finance Information - England

Tel: 0845 607 7577

3) Student Loans Company

4) Welsh Assembly Government

Is the PGCE (PCET) course hard work?

Yes.  The course is very demanding and requires a high level of commitment.  You will be challenged and, in turn, be well prepared for the job ahead.

Attendance is full-time and compulsory.  The course is a professional training course and attendance is required at all scheduled programme sessions in Semester One which generally run from 9.00am - 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.  There are no weekend sessions.  To enable the timely completion of module course work assignments, the PGCE timetable does have non contact time identified as SDL [self directed learning]. During teaching practice you will teach for an average of between eight to ten hours per week.  You will have to negotiate with your placement the times you are required to be present on campus/ on site when not actually teaching.

Does the course develop my specialist subject knowledge?

No.  It is a professional studies course which takes a ‘generic’ approach to the development of your teaching skills.  It is assumed that you already possess specialist subject knowledge in the area you wish to teach, as demonstrated through possession of a good honours degree in the subject you wish to teach and / or relevant practical and professional experience. Opportunities do exist however for you to research subject knowledge and to apply relevant “approaches to teaching and learning” in demonstration teaching sessions.

What  type of Assessments will Students experience?

We offer a system of formative and summative assessment.  Assignments / projects are required at various stages during the course.  In addition, you are expected to prepare and participate in seminars, workshops and other discussions and also present your work regularly to other student teachers.  A tutor from Cardiff University and a mentor at your placement jointly assess your teaching practice.

Where do I undertake my teaching practice?

The majority of our students are placed by our Placement Officer in our partner colleges which are located primarily in South Wales and the West of England (for example, Bristol).  You should not approach our partner colleges to organise your own placement.  You may be advised to  arrange your own placement only after your interview with us if you feel you have special circumstances or wish to teach in an institution in which you already have connections and contacts.

Do I get credits for this course?

Yes, the Cardiff PGCE course awards 60 credits at (M) Level 7 and 60 credits at level 6. The Masters credits can be used as a basis to build up into a full MSc or MEd or MA in Education. At Cardiff School of Social Sciences, a number of successful graduates from the PGCE programme have continued studies on the school’s MSc Education programme. One student is also mid way through the Professional Doctorate on Education.

Do I need a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) police check?

Yes.  You will be provided with relevant details in your pre-registration packs should you be offered and accept a place on the PGCE course.  If, after joining the course you obtain an unsatisfactory CRB disclosure you would normally be required to withdraw from the course.  A criminal record must be disclosed on your application form, failure to do this is in itself a criminal offence! The current fee which you will pay for CRB check is £44.

What about fitness to practice and “Occupational Health” matters?

A University occupational health check is required if you are offered a place on the course. You will complete in confidence an occupational health form before or at the interview day, and this will be collected in and forwarded to the University’s Occupational Health department.

Do you find jobs for us after qualifying?

No, this is your responsibility. We do however run some valuable sessions about job applications, interview techniques and writing effective letters of application to help you!

Please note: this course is not suitable for those wishing to teach in primary schools and does not confer QTS or an endorsement from GTCW.


For more information, please contact:

Tel: +44 (0)29 208 74021

Year of Entry: 2014


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