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Why train to teach at Worcester?

Our Secondary Post Graduate Certificate Education (PGCE) empowers you to motivate others to explore and understand the world. Expert tutors will challenge and support you to achieve the very highest levels of subject knowledge, pedagogy, and academic achievement. We offer a dynamic partnership with the placement schools in the region, and our employability statistics are a credit to the highly skilled, passionate teachers we produce. Whichever specialist subject you choose, you will be taught in small seminar groups and will discover academic and classroom strategies.

Inspire the future generation of learners by studying a PGCE in Secondary education at Worcester or through one of our regional hubs.

The University of Worcester has a rich legacy of high-quality teacher education. If you’re passionate about your subject, our Secondary PGCE course will give you the skills to share that passion with the next generation.

We are proud that our Secondary PGCE was rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in March 2023. Ofsted identified that:

Trainees benefit from an exceptional learning experience at the University of Worcester. This experience instils in them a deep-rooted commitment to making a difference to the lives of the children and young adults in the communities they serve.’

Placements, university sessions and mentors will support your development and our trainees are ‘exceptionally well-prepared for their first teaching post’ (Ofsted, 2023)



Key Features

  • Exceptional levels of support from university and school mentors
  • 120 days teaching in schools plus additional days which allow opportunities to prepare and rehearse key teaching skills, covering three foundational teaching skills; explanations and modelling, talk for learning, and assessment for impact. These additional days will explore practical strategies for the classroom, with opportunities to practice, rehearse and implement in school
  • Placements in at least two different schools, giving you a breadth of experience and the chance to specialise while you develop the skills of self-reflection and self-confidence
  • You will be trained to teach pupils 11-16 with post 16 enhancement apart from Business/Economics and Psychology who will train to teach the 14-19 age group.
  • The course lasts for 10 months and you may be eligible for an excellent tax free training bursary or scholarship
  • Opportunities to develop additional specialisms in areas such as special educational needs, teenage mental health, education in climate emergency, technology-enhanced learning, and leadership
  • Extra-curricular opportunities, such as conferences, additional courses, off site visits and special projects, to boost your employability.
  • 60 credits at Masters’ Level, the Secondary PGCE can open doors to further study and employment opportunities
  • You can apply directly to the University of Worcester or one of our regional hubs.
  • To find about Summer Schools abroad at the end of the PGCE course, please contact the course team.

Regional Hubs

Regional Hub Leads and the staff within hubs work closely with the PGCE staff to ensure that all content is aligned and of the same high quality. All Regional Hub Leads across the Partnership meet regularly with the PGCE team to review trainee progress; undertake joint moderation visits and discuss course developments. Regional Hubs:
Rated outstanding by ofsted for primary and and secondary teacher training

Ofsted PGCE Secondary

‘Leaders across the secondary phase have established a truly high-quality provision. From subject tutors to subject mentors, everyone has an unequivocal understanding of their role in helping to develop trainees.’


Ofsted 2023

The PGCE course “The PGCE course at Worcester perfectly prepared me for a career in teaching. The subject-based sessions were focussed and provided me with an array of practical activities to implement in my teaching practice.”at Worcester perfectly prepared me for a career in teaching. The subject-based sessions were focussed and provided me with an array of practical activities to implement in my teaching practice.

Kieran, PGCE Graduate & Current Head of Year

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Please consult individual subject specialism pages for full details of entry requirements, but most specialisms ask for:

Academic requirements

  • Honours degree normally (2:2) or higher from a United Kingdom higher education institution or equivalent qualification, in a relevant subject area. Applicants with a 3rd class degree will be considered on an individual basis.
  • All entrants have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade 4 (formerly grade C) in the GCSE examinations in English Language or English Literature and Mathematics (applicants must have these qualifications by the start of the course). Alternatively, we offer an equivalency test if you don’t have the required GCSE grade to apply for our courses. Trainees who begin courses before providing evidence of the required GCSE standard (or equivalent) will not be eligible for financial incentives, such as bursaries or grants until they achieve the required standard.

Qualifications not listed? Contact the Admissions Office for advice by email: 

Additional requirements

  • An Enhanced DBS check. You will be sent details of how to apply for your DBS in the summer term. You will need to pay for this.  You may already be part of the DBS update service. Find out about the update service here. As part of the DBS process you will be checked against the Children’s Barred List.
  • A check against the Prohibition List.
  • If you have lived, studied or worked overseas for three months or more in the last five years a Certificate of Good Conduct from the country of residence will be required. Further information and guidance associated with additional costs are available from the Home Office.
  • An online occupational health check. All those on a teacher training programme must be certified as meeting national requirements for physical and mental fitness to teach, as set by the Department for Education.
  • International students: IELTS 6.5 or equivalent

Other information

To help you prepare for your interview you can expect questions covering the following:

  • the subject knowledge required for teaching the subject curriculum in school
  • your ability to critically reflect on your prior experiences in relation to your future development as a teacher
  • your understanding of the UK education system and the wider role of a teacher
  • how you have overcome challenges in your life and shown resilience
  • how you plan to meet the academic and teaching demands of the course.

In addition, we are looking for enthusiasm, commitment, and potential. Clear verbal and written communication skills are integral to this which you will have an opportunity to demonstrate throughout the interview.

  • School experience is desirable, but not essential.
  • Interviews will be conducted online. Applicants will be contacted directly with more details.

All applications for PGCE Secondary should be made via the Government's Find Postgraduate Teacher Training website.

Additional useful information is available on the Government's Get Into Teaching website.

Course content

Course content

120 days teaching in schools plus additional days which allow opportunities to prepare and rehearse key teaching skills, covering three foundational teaching skills; explanations and modelling, talk for learning, and assessment for impact. These additional days will explore practical strategies for the classroom, with opportunities to practice, rehearse and implement in school.

Modules within this course are linked to your specialist subject and professional studies.

Modules relating to professional studies are the backbone of the course and feed into subject sessions, your work in school and related teaching. Subject sessions explore theories, knowledge, and practices of teaching and learning your specific subject area. Please consult individual subject specialism pages for full course content details:

Age phase: 11-16 with post sixteen enhancement

Age phase: 14-19

You are encouraged to pursue an area of personal interest through selecting one of our Enhancement Activities (EA). There are currently seven EAs available: SEND, Teenage Mental Health, Education in Climate Emergency (ECE), Citizenship & PSHE, EAL, Technology Enhanced Learning and Careers:

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

This EA gives you the opportunity to think further about the principles and practice of successful teaching of students with ‘special educational needs’. This EA includes a 2-day placement in a Special School setting arranged by the University.

Teenage Mental Health

This EA will help you to identify and understand poor mental health in your students and the factors which impact on both good and poor mental health. You will learn reliable strategies to help yourself and the students in your classroom to cultivate well-being.

Education in Climate Emergency

This EA will give you the opportunity to explore the knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes required to support teachers, learners, and school communities in our time of climate crisis.

Citizenship and PSHE

This EA provides a real opportunity to explore some of the principles which underpin effective citizenship and PSHE education and put some of these principles into practice.

English as an Additional Language (EAL)

This EA will introduce you to EAL learners and give you some insight into the way languages are learnt. It will also give you practical advice on supporting EAL learners in mainstream classrooms and provide a closer look at the language in the curriculum and the demands this places on EAL learners.

Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL)

This EA provides the opportunity to use and assess these electronic resources in a subject-specific context to enhance the learning process for the pupils.

Careers Education

This course sees trainees exploring the importance of careers education before giving them the resources, experience, and confidence to make a difference to the lives of pupils in their own subjects and beyond.

Aspiring Leaders

Aspiring Leaders is an additional EA that will be run towards the end of the course. You will be invited to apply during the PGCE course.

This EA will give you the opportunity to understand how schools are run and your role within the school. Trainees who choose this EA have an opportunity to gain a greater insight into the difference between the academic and pastoral roles within schools by speaking to experienced staff about the differences.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment

At the heart of good teaching is the desire to promote learning, and the love of learning. Nothing is taught until it is learnt. To achieve this, the programme aims to develop teachers who are:

  • Resilient, supportive professionals with strong values and high standards of personal conduct.
  • Effective communicators who collaborate to support wider educational opportunities for all.
  • Ambitious participants who are creative, informed intellectuals and promote a love of learning.
  • Confident and critically reflective practitioners motivated to continuingly improve practice.
  • Highly skilled and inspirational subject/phase specialists committed to ensuring the safety, well-being, and educational progress of all learners.


The PGCE secondary programme enables all trainees to become autonomous learners. The course is designed to support trainees of varying experience, needs and backgrounds; to develop key/transferable skills and to disseminate good practice in learning and teaching. To achieve this, we closely monitor the quality of your experience in university and on placement.

Training enables you to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to teach within the subject specialism and age phase for which you are training. All trainee teachers teach pupils aged 11-16 with post 16 enhancements apart from Business with Economics and Psychology trainees who teach pupils within the 14-19 age range.

All successful trainees will meet the Department for Education Teachers' Standards (2013). These postgraduate programmes with QTS are designed to meet specific requirements laid down by the DfE and against which judgements by OFSTED inspections are made. It is also informed by and reflects the most recent legislation concerning the well-being of children and young people expressed in government legislation regarding Special Educational Needs and Disability and equality and diversity.

All trainees are required to spend 120 days in at least two contrasting schools/colleges. We find these placements for you and your subject tutor will visit you whilst on placement as well as delivering taught sessions in university.

Subject tutors are also Personal Academic Tutors. All Personal Academic Tutors at Worcester have three basic roles:

  • To support your academic development
  • To act as the first point of call if you are experiencing issues or problems arising whilst at University or on placement
  • To provide your official University reference.


‘Leaders have ensured that the curriculum is carefully and deliberately constructed around subject and phase. Expert subject tutors have constructed a highly ambitious curriculum which is rich and suitably broad in its content.’ Ofsted 2023

Contact time

There is no typical week on the PGCE course - every week is different. Your time will be predominantly spent on school placement (a minimum of 120 days). When you are not in school you will be in university attending either subject sessions or professional studies.

Typically, university contact time will be structured around a range of teaching, learning and assessment methods including

  • lectures
  • workshops
  • peer group activities
  • Intensive Training and Practice weeks (ITaPs ) - opportunities to prepare and rehearse key teaching skills
  • seminars
  • directed reading
  • independent research
  • directed study
  • presentations
  • tutorials
  • fieldwork


10 months – Beginning of September to end of July.


A course calendar will be available one month before beginning the course. Timetables are available once you have registered.


The course is assessed in two strands:

  • Professional practice
  • Subject studies

The programme aims to train you to meet the Teachers’ Standards (2013) for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Two assignments provide the opportunity to gain 60 credits at Masters level. The course is taught in a holistic fashion with constant re-visiting of themes, topics and skills.

The modules are:

Module 1: Developing Learning and Teaching

This module builds on taught sessions in the autumn/winter terms and school experience. This culminates in Assignment A that is submitted in January and is assessment at Masters’ level.

Module 2: Evidence Informed Teaching

This module focuses on school experience in the later section of the course and develops research skills to support you towards becoming an evidence informed practitioner. This culminates in Assignment B in the summer term that is marked at Masters’ level.

In addition a professional portfolio which provides evidence of meeting the Teachers’ Standards (DfE 2013)

This portfolio focuses on your school experience.

The overall PGCE course is assessed as pass or fail and requires you to pass all three components.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.

Meet our PGCE Secondary Course Leader.

Sarah Emmerson

Sarah is the PGCE Secondary Course Leader. Prior to joining the University of Worcester, Sarah has worked in secondary education as a middle and senior leader with roles including Head of Humanities and Assistant Head. With over 20 years of teaching, Sarah began her teaching career with a BA Religious Education (with QTS) from the University of Sunderland, before leading RE in a variety of secondary schools. Whilst still working in a school, she gained her MA Education at the University of Nottingham, exploring the role that mentoring has in preparing teachers for leadership posts



There are excellent prospects in teaching, Early Career Teachers (ECTs) have one of the highest employment rates of all graduates and are very much in demand, especially those who have trained in a shortage subject.

"Our high quality programmes and innovative teaching methods prepare and train the very best professionals. Worcester graduates have made a huge difference in the field of education."

Catriona Robinson, Head of School

Two students are walking next to each other and smiling

Careers and Employability

Our Graduates pursue exciting and diverse careers in a wide variety of employment sectors.

Find out how we can support you to achieve your potential
A female teacher training student in a classroom working on placement as part of her degree to get into teaching.

PGCE Alumni Scholarship

If you are a University of Worcester graduate starting a full-time PGCE in September 2024 then you may be eligible for a £500 Cash Scholarship.

See our scholarships page for more details.

Fees and funding

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fee for full-time UK and EU students enrolling on a PGCE in the academic year 2024/25 will be £9,250 per year.*

* Please note that for EU students training as Physics or Languages teachers and in receipt of a UK government bursary/scholarship package the fee is £17,400 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international students enrolling on a PGCE in the academic year 2024/25 will be £17,400 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Teacher training funding

You can get help with the costs of teacher training. A student finance package will include a Tuition Fee Loan and a Maintenance Loan. You may also be eligible for extra help if you have children or have a disability.

Some courses are also eligible for a tax-free bursary or scholarship depending on your subject, degree classification or highest academic qualification.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for essential books, stationery, printing and photocopying.

Travel costs for placements vary depending on the location of schools and your mode of transport, sometimes these may be reclaimed depending on your individual circumstances.

We organise occasional visits to increase subject knowledge. Travel costs are at your own expense but we do encourage car sharing. In addition there is sometimes a fee but this is not normally more than £20 in total.

In addition, we encourage you to join subject specific associations. The cost is typically between £25 to £50 for which you benefit from their support, guidance and resources.

The DfE requires all trainee teachers to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check, which you will need to pay for.

You will need clothing suitable to be worn in a school setting and access to a laptop with reliable internet access.


Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Chestnut Halls' at £131 per week to 'Oak Halls' at £221 per week (2024/25 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

Subject Knowledge Enhancement

Not sure about your subject knowledge?

Build up or refresh your existing knowledge with a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course before starting the PGCE programme. This will be discussed during your interview.

Subjects offered; Biology/ Chemistry*/ Computer Science*/ Design and Technology/English/ Maths*/ Physics*/RE.

*Funding available from the Department for Education. Find out about the bursary here

Register your interest

Enter your details below and we will keep you up to date with useful information about studying at the University of Worcester.

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How to apply

How to apply

Apply now

Applications for PGCE courses, both Primary and Secondary, should be made online through the government's Find Postgraduate Teacher Training website.

Visit the Get Into Teaching website for detailed information on how to apply for a PGCE.

Read our How to apply pages for more information on applying and to find out what happens to your applications.

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.

Secondary PGCE Office