PGCE Education - Primary - September 2014

PGCert/ PGCertEd

Trainees who successfully complete the course, including success in the prescribed QTS skills tests, will be confirmed by the National College of Teaching and Leadership as newly qualified teachers.

This course is run by the School of Education

The one-year full time primary education PGCE course provides you with the professional skills required to become an effective classroom practitioner able to teach primary school children, in either the 3-7 or 5-11 age range. You will qualify with Qualified Teacher Status. If you received a First in your undergraduate degree you will be eligible for a £9,000 bursary. If you received a 2:1 you will be eligible for a £4,000 bursary.

Why choose this course?

  • You will gain the professional attributes, knowledge, understanding and skills required to become an effective classroom practitioner.
  • The course content is based on a reflective and critical approach to theory, policy and practice, through university-based teaching sessions and school-based professional training.
  • The 2010 full Ofsted inspection graded Oxford Brookes' primary teaching courses as 'outstanding', the highest rating possible.
  • A key element of this training consists of substantial periods of practical placement across the age ranges. With the support of a school mentor and university tutor you will integrate the professional knowledge and understanding developed through university taught sessions with school based learning and through practical application enable the development of professional skills in teaching.
  • The School of Education at Oxford Brookes is one of the largest schools of education in the UK, combining high quality teaching and significant research and consultancy activity in an outstanding location, with superb sporting, recreational and study facilities.
  • You will be joining a university which is widely regarded as a major contributor to the improvement of education and learning, locally and nationally. 
  • The School of Education is a focal point for lively, informed debate on education through its seminar and lecture programmes.
  • We work in close partnership with hundreds of schools and colleges and other organisations.
  • Our 110-acre Harcourt Hill campus offers all the benefits of a complete academic community on one site, provide a rich and diverse intellectual and social environment..
  • You will be  working with highly regarded academics who are at the forefront of their subjects. Drawing on our research-led teaching, our courses will advance your knowledge and develop your professional skills.  

This course in detail

There are three possible pathways:

  • 5 - 11 years
  • 3 - 7 years
  • Special Educational Needs (SEN) 
The SEN pathway is only available to a small number of students who register via School Direct as part of the Oxfordshire Teaching School Alliance. If you are interested in this route please see the application section below.  

You will have the opportunity to complete up to two of the module credits at Level 7 (master's Level) within this course, from:

  • Developing Reflection and Critical Practice encourages you to think critically about educational practice and to link this to your school based training
  • Research Informed Practice gives you the opportunity to study an area of your interest in more depth.  
  • Developing Professional Practice is concerned with the development of attitudes, skills and knowledge required to build understanding of the full professional life of a teacher.  It also applies your knowledge and understanding of the curriculum guidance to classroom practice through explanations of planning, teaching and assessment.
  • School based training - The Oxford Brookes Primary Partnership of schools is well established and mentors and teachers are involved in all aspects of your training. You will undertake periods of school experience teaching across classes within your chosen age range, within at least two partnership schools.
  • Curriculum Studies develops knowledge and understanding of the primary curriculum and the requirements of the national curriculum. This will cover English, mathematics, science, information and communication technology, design technology, geography, history, art, music, drama, physical education and religious education. Information and communication technology is addressed within other curriculum elements, as are further cross-curricular aspects of the course such as special educational needs, multicultural education and citizenship.

All elements of the course are compulsory.

As our courses are reviewed regularly, course content may change from the details given here.

2010 Ofsted feedback:

  •     the good attainment and outstanding progress of students, irrespective of their varied starting points
  •     communication across the partnership, which ensures high expectations and consistency
  •     very effective team working among enthusiastic, committed and knowledgeable trainers at all levels
  •     the commitment and enthusiasm of trainees, their outstanding professional attitudes to their development, and the capacity to identify their own learning priorities
  •     the outstanding support provided for individual trainees, particularly those who are at risk of failure.

Teaching and learning

Approaches to learning include lectures, directed reading, workshops, seminars, and practical and project work with professional tutor support. 

Attendance at lectures, workshops, seminars and school based training is a compulsory component of successful completion of the course and is monitored throughout and reflected in trainee references.

Teaching staff are drawn primarily from the School of Education. Visiting speakers from partnership schools, teaching unions, newly qualified teachers (NQTs) and other experts within the field of education provide further input.

Approach to assessment

Assessment is based on coursework, assignments and the achievement against the Teachers' Standards for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). 

All academic modules are rigorously assessed, mostly by written assignments. The school based training is assessed against the Teachers' Standards during school placements.

Specialist facilities

The Harcourt Hill library has a very well resourced school experience centre which operates a loan system for a wide range of resources which can be used during your school based training.

2010 Ofsted feedback

At the last assessment, feedback from Ofsted included: 

  • the good attainment and outstanding progress of students, irrespective of their varied starting points
  • communication across the partnership, which ensures high expectations and consistency
  • very effective team working among enthusiastic, committed and knowledgeable trainers at all levels
  • the commitment and enthusiasm of trainees, their outstanding professional attitudes to their development, and the capacity to identify their own learning priorities
  • the outstanding support provided for individual trainees, particularly those who are at risk of failure. 

Key facts


School of Education

Course length

Full-time: Up to 38 weeks

Teaching location

Harcourt Hill Campus

Start date

September 2014

Fees / Funding

Tuition fees

Home / EU full-time on-campus fee: £9,000

International full-time on-campus fee: £12,100

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

If you received a First in your undergraduate degree you will be eligible for a £9,000 bursary. If you received a 2:1 you will be eligible for a £4,000 bursary.

How to apply / Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • Recognised UK degree, or degree equivalent, typically at upper second class honours or above.
  • Passes at GCSE grade C or above in English Language, Mathematics and Science (or equivalent). There will be brief assessments of English and mathematics competence at interview.
  • To be considered for interview, candidates are expected to already have insights into the primary classroom, gained through experience in a school. Applicants must complete a minimum of two weeks in a UK state primary school prior to application.
  • Satisfactory health and criminal record audits.
  • You will need to pass the Department for Education's professional skills tests in Literacy and Numeracy before you can start the course. 

    You will have to apply for your teacher training course through the UCAS for teacher training application form. When you receive your offer letter, you need to book dates to take the Department for Education skills tests.

    When you go to the test centre you should take your offer letter with you as evidence that you have already applied for a course of teacher training.  You will not be allowed to take the test unless you can provide this evidence.

    Applicants are allowed three attempts to complete each test. The first attempt is free but a charge will apply if you are required to re-take either test.  We, therefore, strongly encourage you to familiarise yourself with the test content and take several practice tests before you attempt to book a test date.  Successful applicants will only be called for interview once we have confirmation that they have completed their Skills Tests.

    All candidates whose application forms indicate appropriate qualification and experience will be invited for interview. In order to be accepted on the course, you must also have satisfactory criminal record and health checks.

    Please also see the university's general entry requirements.

    The SEN pathway is only available to a small number of students who register via School Direct as part of the Oxfordshire Teaching School Alliance. If you are interested in this route please  contact Simon Knight on 01295 263520, email: . An application will then be required via the School Direct portal.


All applicants will be screened for fitness for practice and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be made.

Please also see the university's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the university's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the university's requirements.Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

Apply for this course through UCAS for teacher training.

We are fully committed to equal opportunities and welcome applications from all sections of the community, from people at all stages of life, and seek to make all our courses as inclusive as possible.

Conditions of acceptance

When you accept our offer, you agree to the conditions of acceptance. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Careers and professional development

How this course helps you develop

This course develops both your academic and professional skills, as you train to fulfil your potential as a future teacher.


There is currently a demographic bulge in the primary age population so career prospects for trained primary teachers are excellent.

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.


How Brookes supports postgraduate students

Each trainee is allocated a personal tutor who will provide academic and pastoral support. Tutor support is also provided during school based training.

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.


Research highlights

Oxford Brookes’ School of Education, in partnership with Science Oxford, has secured a £300,000 grant from the Educational Endowment Foundation. The grant will be used to fund a research project to work with 42 Oxfordshire primary schools to improve attainment in science. This builds on and extends work undertaken in a previous Oxford Brookes project in 2002-04, which demonstrated a clear link between cognitively challenging primary science and pupils’ levels of attainment.

Deb McGregor, Professor of Education and Helen Wilson, Programme Lead for Primary & Early Years Teacher Education recently secured £150K from the Astra Zeneca Science Teaching Trust for three years to promote CPD and research in (Primary and Secondary) School Science. Associated with this project is a funded doctoral research scholarship, focused on the impact of Action Research with teachers

Jane McNeil, Senior Lecturer in Primary Education (in collaboration with Graham Butt, Professor of Education ) has recently received a grant from the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) (£8K), and for her CPD project ‘Developing collaborative approaches towards securing proficiency in calculation’.

Members of the School maintain their activity with respect to publication in a variety of academic peer reviewed journals, professional journals, book chapters, monographs and books. Amongst a number of notable publications is David Aldridge’s (Senior Lecturer in Philosophy of Education) paper, 'What's Religious Education All About? A Hermeneutic Reappraisal' which was recognised in Routledge's 'Class of 2012' as the most read article in the Journal of Beliefs and Values during that year. His forthcoming book, A Hermeneutics of Religious Education, which develops these ideas in depth, is due to be published later in 2013 by Continuum.   

The School’s Early Childhood team, Mary Wild, Alison Street, Catharine Gilson, Ingram Lloyd, Helena Mitchell and Nick Swarbrick, launched their book, Themes and Debates in Early Years, in March 2013 (edited by Mary Wild and Alison Street).  This publication is the successor of Early Childhood Studies Reflective Reader (2007), edited and written by the same team. Both books are part of Learning Matters Early Childhood Series. 

Graham Butt is presently working on an edited book, MasterClass Geography – which includes chapters by other members of the School of education. It is due to be published by Bloomsbury in 2014.  

A forthcoming special edition of the journal   International Research in Geographic and Environmental Education, which has an international authorship, is being coordinated and edited by Graham Butt. Changing Methodologies,  by Jane Spiro (National Teaching Fellow) is recently published and and is described by Edinburgh University Press as: ‘the first book to teach methods and practice in a global context, including links to the latest developments in the field.’ It includes a chapter by Paul Wickens (Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics), and case studies derived from 10 years of Brookes MA TESOL teachers. 

As might be expected of such a research active school, many of its staff are engaged as editors, editorial board members or reviewers for various peer reviewed academic and professional journals, as well as online journals.

Sustained excellence in research and publication has ensured that a significant proportion of staff from the School have been entered for the upcoming REF 2014 exercise in the Education Unit of Assessment (UoA 25).

Honorary and Visiting Fellows and Professors
The School is proud of its continuing association with a variety of Honorary and Visiting Fellows and Professors who directly participate in the Faculty’s programme of seminars, lectures and conferences, as well as presenting reports of their research at appropriate forums. Contributions have been made from international partners and increasing use is made of an active group of honorary academics, including two recently conferred Emeritus Professors (Marlene Morrison and Simon Catling). Honorary staff include: Professors Harkin, Samier, Ecclestone, Arnold, Vass and Howson. An international Research Fellowship was taken up in 2013 by Dr Jongwon Lee (South Korea). 

View all staff profiles for School of Education 

Research areas and clusters

A number of staff have leadership roles in research groups which function beyond the School of Education. Graham Butt is the Chair for the Geography Education Research Collective (GEReCo), a group of 15 research active geography educationists from English Universities. Simon Catling is a member of GEReCo, as well as Honorary Secretary of the International Geography Union Commission on Geography Education (IGU CGE) – both these groups have held research seminars, and PGR research events, this academic year (IGU CGE Research Forum, Institute of Education, University of London, October 2012; PGR student research seminar, University of Oxford (OUDE), March 2013). GEReCo also hosted a major research seminar (with contributions by Michael Young and Margaret Roberts) on ‘powerful knowledge’ and geography at the Institute in May 2013. 

Deb McGregor is active on the Research Committee of the Association of Science Education (ASE), International, and the North American Research in Science Teaching (NARST) networks; making contributions at the National Science Learning Centre (NSLC) at York University (2010 - 2013); and undertaking research work sponsored by Astra Zeneca Science Teaching Trust (AZSTT) that has informed the recent completion of an on-line CPD unit (

The School’s five formal Research Groups thrive, engaging in a variety of research-led seminars and workshops. Amongst a wide range of different activities: the Educational Purposes, Ethics and Beliefs research group is currently putting together a large-scale inter-disciplinary project investigating the role of remembrance in educational communities. The Learning, Culture and Identity research group has bid to the British Council and British Association of Applied Linguistics, to research the impact of a whole school language policy on the development of English as an Additional language children in two Oxfordshire schools. The Educational Policy, Partnership and Leadership were instrumental in the launch of two BELMAS research interest groups - the first in Doctoral Research into Educational Leadership, the second in Research into Higher Education. The group has also hosted educational leadership seminars, including keynotes by international contributors such as Eugenie Samier (British University of Dubai). 

Further research events have been established with the University of Oxford through the ‘Oxford Alliance’, including an Educational Philosophy seminar series associated with the BEPS (David Aldridge), the Leadership for Learning Programme (Deb McGregor, Linet Arthur, Liz Browne and Linda Squire); and the University of Oxford / Oxford Brookes University joint seminar series (Helena Mitchell). The Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment research group’s staff seminar series on engaging with research (from ‘first principles to publication’) (Graham Butt, Deb McGregor); the Childhood, Families and Community  group’s seminar series with Oxfordshire LA on 'Making Research Work for Children' and 'Education in Research' seminars (keynote, Thomas (Birmingham))(Mary Wild, Georgina Glenny), and the Learning, Identity and Culture research group’s four annual research seminars, 'Global Citizenship, personal scholarship and pedagogic practices' conference (with CCI), and research writing for publication events (Jane Spiro).
In June 2013, the School of Education launched a new Centre for Education Consultancy and Development (Liz Browne). The Centre is designed to provide support to help schools and colleges achieve high standards for their students, at a time when local authority support is shrinking or disappearing altogether. It will also provide a dedicated resource for the School to bid for commercial tenders and contract research.

View all staff profiles for School of Education