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PGCE Post-compulsory


Key facts

Start dates

September 2023


Harcourt Hill

Course length

Full time: 12 months – Harcourt Hill Campus only


School of Education


Inspire others with a love for your subject or trade - and develop the methods and skills to teach in adult and further education.

On this course, you’ll build a deep understanding of adult education teaching pedagogy, and ways to support student learning. You’ll master teaching skills and techniques. You’ll apply your knowledge in the classroom. And you’ll graduate with the skills and confidence to help your students achieve their goals.

You’ll join a supportive community of trainee teachers - from all different backgrounds. You’ll learn from each other, and share experiences as you progress.

You’ll emerge a confident, versatile professional, ready to teach in further and adult education settings, like:

  • higher education
  • the health service
  • adult and community education
  • the prison service
  • the armed forces
  • private training.
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How to apply

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

GCSE: GCSE English and Maths grade 4-5 are required prior to entry. 

Entry requirements for full-time course (one year)

Applicants are welcome from any academic discipline that is taught in FE or post-compulsory education and training. 

Admission is open to those with a good undergraduate honours degree (or equivalent) or other professional / vocational qualification relevant to the subject you wish to teach. 

We also accept those with relevant vocational qualifications and experience who do not necessarily possess a degree.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.


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

Selection process

A successful application leads to a teaching interview invite from Oxford Brookes University. A successful interview will secure your place on your chosen PGCE Post Compulsory course. 

Your teaching interview will be remote (online). 

You’ll receive an interview date invite. That contains interview advice/guidance and documentation for your interview. Please confirm your interview date as soon as possible.

Then you'll receive a Zoom interview invite for 10.00 - 14.00 on your interview day. Please also accept this invite.

Enjoy your interview and ask questions, it’s your chance to find out about us.


English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences


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

International students requiring a Student visa can study this course at our other partners.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

Postgraduate Certificate in Education - full-time course

Graduates should apply through:

DfE Apply
Application link:

Full Time application

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time

International full time

Home (UK) full time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2022 / 23
Home (UK) full time

International full time

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 483088

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year your fees will increase each year.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

On this course you’ll be going on placements in schools. This means you’ll need a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check. This costs about £50. You may also need to pay an extra fee of about £15 to keep your DBS up-to-date. 

You'll also need your Fitness for Practice certificate, this costs about £55.

Funding your studies

Financial support and scholarships

Featured funding opportunities available for this course.

Department of Education bursaries are now available for the PGCE Post Compulsory.

They're available if you wish to teach in STEM (Computing, Science, Engineering and Maths), SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) and English.

Bursaries are available on a first come first serve basis and are subject to meeting conditions for eligibility.

If you are eligible, we'll discuss all details with you at your interview.

All financial support and scholarships

View all funding opportunities for this course

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements

Learning and assessment

On the course, you’ll combine your deep knowledge of your subject or trade with professional teaching skills. You’ll learn about the pedagogies that underpin adult education teaching approaches. And you’ll know how and when to use different techniques. You’ll be able to meaningfully support a diverse range of learners - all with different needs. 

As you study, you’ll work with your tutors to develop practitioner skills. You’ll be closely supported all the way through. You’ll gain confidence in an academic setting. And you’ll be able to implement key teaching competencies, like:

  • assessing learners’ needs
  • planning teaching programmes for groups and individuals
  • developing and using teaching techniques
  • using technology to teach, face-to-face and online
  • supporting individual learners
  • assessing learner outcomes and achievement.
Female student looking through documents

Study modules

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

Introduction to Teaching (15 credits)

This is a basic introduction to teaching, which prepares you for your teaching placement. You’ll learn about the roles and responsibilities of teachers, how to plan lessons, how to teach them and assess students’ learning. Following on from this introduction, you’ll examine these topics in more depth, looking closely at:

  • different aspects of planning learning
  • initial and diagnostic assessment of learners
  • using resources effectively
  • successful delivery of inclusive learning and teaching.

The complete module gives you an introduction to the knowledge, skills and qualities required of teachers and allows you to begin to develop some basic teaching skills.


Educational Theories in Learning and Teaching (15 credits)

You’ll examine the principles and theories of learning that underpin recommended good practice in the sector. You’ll engage with theories and principles of learning and communication, and use them to support your planning, management and evaluation of learning. Through your teaching experiences, you’ll have a context in which to critically examine the theories and principles you’re studying.

Digital Literacies (15 credits)

This module explores the role of digital skills in teaching and learning and the importance of developing digital literacies in the post compulsory sector. The module considers policy, theory, frameworks and research to explore the effective use of technology for learning. 

Hands on activities will build your practical digital skills to become an effective teacher in the post compulsory sector. The development of digital resources for independent learning will help you embed these skills in your professional practice.


Developing Practice Through Research (20 credits)

You’ll have the opportunity to investigate key issues related to your own practice in the Post Compulsory sector. You’ll identify an issue and explore its wider context through the study of the relevant academic literature and policy. 

  • You’ll gain a deep understanding of the theory and pedagogy of your area of concern.
  • You will develop a rationale for a proposed intervention that may address the issues identified. 
  • You’ll reflect on the potential impact of the intervention and identify specific areas for your own professional development.

Curriculum Design for Diversity (20 credits)

This module is an opportunity to explore a range of contexts within the Post Compulsory sector. You’ll use theory, principles and models of curriculum design, to examine the requirements of an inclusive curriculum. 

You will:

  • analyse the significance of equality and diversity for curriculum design
  • identify ways to promote equality within practice. 

The emphasis will be on innovative curriculum design that considers the evolving nature of the sector. You will re/design a scheme of work within your subject specialism using your experience and the content of the module to inform this process.  


Contextualising Policy within a Subject Specialism (20 credits)

You’ll learn about the history and wider context of your subject specialism within  the post-compulsory sector. You’ll look at the sector within local, national and international contexts, and you’ll explore concepts of professionalism and accountability. You may also look at other topics, such as:

  • organisational culture and structure 
  • funding mechanisms and resource allocation
  • education markets, choice and competition within the post-compulsory sector.

Developing Professional Practice (15 credits)

You will critically engage with:

  • the content of the programme
  • your experiences on placement
  • the Post Compulsory sector
  • the Professional Standards.

You’ll provide evidence of your continuing development as a practitioner. Focussing on the planning and assessment processes while you’re in practice, documenting the dialogue between yourself, your tutor and placement mentor. While developing your professional practice throughout the programme, meeting the required Professional Standards.


School based training

Compulsory modules

School-based training

For your teaching practice you'll be placed with a suitable provider who will coordinate your teaching experience and provide you with a mentor. You will begin by observing experienced teachers and working alongside them. You'll build working relationships and gain a deep understanding of the professional requirements to become an effective teacher.

You'll gradually move towards teaching up to nine hours a week by the end of your first term.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

Full-time students

You will take an introductory module for the first three weeks of your course. This covers working in the classroom or other learning environments. You will be based at Harcourt Hill Campus.

After the introductory module, you will be placed with a suitable provider. They will coordinate your teaching experience and provide you with a mentor. You will:

  • begin by observing experienced teachers
  • work alongside experienced teachers
  • gradually move towards teaching up to nine hours a week by the end of the first term.

You will attend the university on Thursdays and Fridays.

Your teaching placements will be on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Assessment on this part of the course is by regular written assignments and observations by your placement mentor and a member of Oxford Brookes teaching staff.


Assessment methods used on this course

The most important aspect of your assessment will be the development of your teaching skills with individuals and groups. 

Your teaching will be observed by:

  • your mentor
  • a placement coordinator
  • a university tutor.

In order to pass the course you must demonstrate:

  • your competence as a teacher
  • your development as a reflective practitioner.

In addition you will be required to undertake assignments relating to the course modules.

There are no examinations.

Please note there is no guarantee of employment with your placement college when you have completed the course.


The School of Education is a thriving centre for educational research and teacher professional development. So students on master's level programmes join a large research community comprising researchers at all levels of higher education study. During your time with us (either full or part time) you'll have opportunities to present your own research and network professionally.

We hold two major research conferences each year - the School of Education Research Conference and the EdD Colloquium. All students are invited to attend our annual Research Seminar Series (which attracts both internal and external speakers). We also organise a number of conferences, lectures, seminars and debates, some of which have an international reach.

The School’s six research groups exist to encourage engagement in research, publication, conference presentations, seminars and workshops:

  • Inclusion and Wellbeing
  • Policy, Partnership and Leadership
  • STEAM pedagogy and learning
  • Humanistic Perspectives on Education
  • Early Years
  • Applied Linguistics

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After you graduate

Career prospects

A PGCE in Post Compulsory education will give you the edge in the competitive further and adult education jobs market. And you’ll graduate ready to teach in colleges and other further education settings, like:

  • higher education
  • the health service
  • adult and community education
  • the prison service
  • the armed forces
  • private training.

You’ll also gain Masters’ level credits that can be applied to a Masters’ level course, if you choose to further develop your qualifications later in your career.

And we have strong links with local partner colleges, supporting your employment prospects.


Programme Changes:

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.