Primary and Early Years Education - PGCE

Course Code:
3-7 age phase: X110 (FT) 5-11 age phase: 338B (FT)
Full Time
September 2017

This course will give a great, all-round start to your teaching career. It will enable you to become a reflective, critical and enquiring primary teacher. We’ll give you the essential tools you need to kick-start your career. These will increase your flexibility, ensuring that you’re well-equipped to handle changing circumstances. You’ll also be in an ideal position to continue developing your understanding, knowledge and skills throughout your professional life.

What's covered in the course?

This course has very high employability rates and many of our trainees gain employment in local primary schools. Trainees are supported with the application process as part of their course.

During the PGCE Primary and Early Years course, students are made aware of future study opportunities in order to utilise the Master's level credits gained as part of the course towards a full Master's Degree.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership bursaries are available for trainees on eligible postgraduate courses in England who are not employed as a teacher. Bursary amounts will vary depending on degree class.

We work hard to ensure that we have strong relationships with more than 900 primary schools in the region. Schools are committed to the quality of experience they offer our trainees.

Why Choose Us?

  • Our aim is to help you to become a committed, confident, autonomous creative and reflective primary teacher.
  • Our graduates are highly employable and many take up jobs in local primary schools, so the outlook is bright for you.
  • In the latest Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) survey 94 per cent of Birmingham City University-trained primary teachers said that the preparation they received regarding teachers' statutory responsibility for the safeguarding of pupils was 'good' or 'very good'.
  • Our team of experienced teachers who have held senior positions in school are there to support and guide your progress.
  • You may be eligible for a National College for Teaching and Leadership bursary – although this will depend on the classification of your degree.
  • If you accept our offer of a place on the course as your first choice and you have passed both of the Professional Skills Tests by 4 May 2017 you may eligible for a £1,000 bursary to support your studies*.
  • If you accept our offer of a place on the course as your first choice and you have passed one of the Professional Skills Tests by 4 May 2017 you may eligible for a £600 bursary to support your studies*.

*Conditions apply. Bursaries are paid in the second semester of study and are not applicable to School Direct applicants.

Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be on Wednesday 26 April 2017, between 3 and 8pm. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Book your place now

This course is open to International students

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • St Martins Church of England
  • Summerville School

And in jobs such as:

  • Reception Teacher
  • Teacher

Entry Requirements

UK students

We normally require a Bachelor's Honours degree at 2:1 level or above from a UK higher education institution or a recognised equivalent in a subject that provides the necessary foundation for work as a primary teacher although we will consider applications from those with a 2:2 degree.

Trainees expecting to take a specialist module in a core subject, Special Educational Needs or Early Years must have an appropriate degree or be able to demonstrate equivalent understanding and experience.

GCSE at grade C or above (or its equivalent) in English, mathematics and a science subject is also necessary at the point of enrolment.

For entry onto a teaching course you'll also be required to pass Skills Tests in Literacy and Numeracy. Please visit the DfE website for more information. Applicants who have accepted a place will be offered support with the tests if required.

It is essential for applicants to have spent time in British state primary schools and have some familiarity with the current National Curriculum before submitting an application.

You will provide a 'Seen Teaching Form' signed by a senior member of a primary school or other appropriate state setting as part of the selection process.

Applicants must meet The National College for Teaching and Leadership requirements for Initial Teacher Training, which means being medically fit and successfully completing an enhanced disclosure via the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

International Students

Entry requirements here

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
PGCE Sep 2017 FT 1 year £9,250 Apply online now

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
PGCE Sep 2017 FT 1 year £12,000 Apply online now

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Course codes:

3-7 age phase: X110 (FT)

5-11 age phase: 338B (FT)

All applications for 2015 entry need to be made via the UCAS Teacher Training website. For more information on how to apply for a teacher training course please visit the UCAS how-it-all-works information page. The UCAS Teacher Training helpline number is 0871 468 0 469.

We also offer this programme through School Direct with the following schools:

Visit the UCAS Teacher Training website for details on how to apply.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements


*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Additional costs

We offer a wide range of professionally accredited and vocational courses that require the purchase of, among other things, uniforms, equipment, subscriptions, professional body memberships and DBS checks, and may require you to pay to attend conferences or participate in placements.

The link below provides our estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs to you could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course. We set out where we can, based on experience, where these indicative costs are for activities that are optional or compulsory.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Financial support

You may be able to obtain financial support to help you during your studies. For more information visit the Department for Education's Get Into Teaching website.

This course is not available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

Although this is a postgraduate course, current PGCE students are eligible for the finance support package available to full-time undergraduates. You may also receive a Teacher Training Bursary of up to £30,000 per year, subject specific.

Find out more


Core Curriculum
20 credits

This module looks at teaching the core subjects of maths, English and science, planning lessons and carrying out assessments. You’ll look in depth at pedagogy and apply this to the subjects you consider on the course.

Foundation Curriculum
20 credits

This module concentrates on foundation subjects, such as history and geography. It is intended to develop your confidence in teaching foundation subjects, and you’ll have some choice areas you wish to develop further.

Professional Studies and Leadership
20 credits

Will equip you with the essential knowledge that every teacher needs to know, including the safeguarding of young people, and how to work successfully with parents, agencies and governors.

Course structure

This is a one-year postgraduate course, based at the University’s School of Education at Perry Barr, three miles north of Birmingham city centre.

It offers you an academic qualification, the Primary and Early Years Education PGCE, but you will spend two-thirds of your time – 120 days – working in schools and gaining valuable real-life experience.  

You’ll also learn by attending workshops and group discussions, but this course is mainly practical and very hands-on.

You can choose to focus on:

  • Learning to teach young people between the ages of three and seven,
  • Learning to teach young people between the ages of five and 11.

All trainees learn to teach across the range of subjects in the Primary National Curriculum, but there is a strong focus on English and mathematics.

Whichever route you choose,, you’ll also be able to take a specialist module in either a National Curriculum Core area, foreign languages, computing or special needs, depending upon demand.

Students looking to teach children aged three to seven years old can also opt to take a specialist module in Early Years. This combined pathway of study leads to the PGCE Early Years qualification.

Assessment methods

There are assessments on course work, teaching practice and the achievement of The Department for Education for the award of QTS. You will also undertake written assessments and some presentations derived from both faculty-based modules and school experiences. Academic work will need to be of the high standard required of postgraduate level 7 study.

Standards for the award of QTS are assessed in a number of ways, including course work, school experience assessments and evidence portfolios.

Student stories

Megan Evans

Birmingham City University was my first choice for the PGCE Primary course because, of all of the local institutions, this was the best. The course was more focused on practical teaching skills and offered more flexibility when it came to modules than other universities.

Julie Nash

Having visited the University and explored its facilities, I could clearly see how well-resourced it is, from classrooms that are reminiscent of school with bright displays and a wealth of educational resources, to the library that provides a broad range of literature.

Further study

While studying for your PGCE, you’ll be made fully aware of opportunities to study with us in the future.

If you are ambitious to gain a Masters Degree, successful completion of the PGCE will give you 60 credits towards this. Specific courses include the Masters in Teaching and Learning (MTL) and the Masters in Educational Leadership (MEL).

Student stories Kate McInernery

Postgraduate Student of the Year

She was praised for the wide range of involvement she has had with University activities and the support she has given to her fellow students, all while achieving excellent results on her course.

Despite the demands of her course, Kate volunteered to represent the University at the televised Educate and Celebrate Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) History month event at the new Library of Birmingham.

Kate has also worked with local children on a new body of work on promoting equality through children's literature. In addition to this, Katie has provided a presentation for the National Association for the Teaching of English, an international conference for some of the world's leading academics.

Trips and Visits

You may go on a variety of different visits depending upon your module choices, which will give you ideas and inspiration for projects you can use in the classroom.

Examples include tours of Warwick Castle or a visit to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which will give you an opportunity to find out about ways in which you can bring subjects, such as history and art, to life for your pupils.

You’ll also consider how you might plan a trip including appropriate safety and risk assessment.

Employment opportunities

Our commitment to developing graduates with the skills and experience employers need means that within six months of graduating, 90 per cent of undergraduates are in employment or further study. (DLHE Survey 2012/13).

Whatever subjects you choose, we focus on giving up-to-date knowledge. The real-life experience you gain on placements can also give you a real head start in the career stakes.


We work hard to maintain strong relationships with more than 900 primary schools in the region. All have signed a Partnership Agreement pledging their commitment to offering our trainees a high-quality experience.

Find out what it's really like on school placement by reading the blog of PGCE Primary and Early Years trainee Dan MacKintosh. Dan's blog provides a week by week account of his first placement at a primary school in Birmingham.

More about our placement opportunities...


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate Jobs

Our graduates are highly successful in finding teaching posts and many take jobs in the area.

Your course, with its high level of practical content, plus the fact that in your second placement you’ll be teaching 80 per cent of the time, means you are well-placed to go after job opportunities as they arise.

The amount of time spent gaining real classroom experience means you could end up working in one of the schools that you visit.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

A fly through of the £41 million expansion of our City South Campus. It will provide specialist laboratories and teaching spaces for the new life sciences courses and a new home for the School of Education.

Science education facilities

Our laboratory and Science Education Learning Room have been newly built for the start of the 2015/16 academic year. The Science Education Lab will enable trainees to encounter and explore the latest Science Education pedagogies, and together with the Science Learning Room will facilitate trainees’ transition from “subject expert” to “expert subject teacher”. Trainees will work in a fully hands-on way with the core science education materials to develop excellent subject and pedagogic knowledge - the twin attributes of the outstanding teacher.


City North is a big, bustling campus, three miles north of Birmingham city centre. It's easy to get to and offers on-site parking. Located 5 minutes from Perry Barr train station, City North Campus is also ideally positioned along major bus routes.

The School of Education will be moving to City South Campus in Edgbaston during the 2017/18 academic year.

City south 1

New developments

Our new development at City South Campus will ensure students have access to the best facilities, including our specially developed replica classrooms with interactive whiteboards, enabling you to experience the classroom environment.


All our departmental facilities replicate the school learning environment.

  • Art and Design
  • Design and Technology
  • History
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Religious Education
  • Music
  • Drama

IT Support

Each student has a personal computer user name and server space Specific software for use by teachers and for use in classrooms.

Other items available include:

  • Training and training notes
  • Students can borrow cameras, LCD projector
  • Specialist technician support
  • Dedicated research base for postgraduate research students

Art and Design Department

There are fully equipped art studios suitable for 3D construction, printmaking, drawing and mixed-media. For textile and ceramics specialists, there are sewing machines and facilities for batik work and a large kiln for firing ceramics. The department has an ICT Suite for digital media that includes both Mac and PC computers. There is also access to a bank of Apple iPads for on and off-site digital working including the use of social media.

Design and Technology Department

The department has access to specialist facilities, including a dedicated teaching suite for food and textiles. The textiles area has 10 sewing machines, an overlocker, CAD/CAM embroidery machines, dye sublimation equipment, a felting machine and an electronic microscope that links to the interactive whiteboard. It is also well resourced with surface decoration and construction equipment.

The food area has five electric cookers, combination microwave/ovens, an extensive range of industrial and domestic equipment, eg industrial ice cream makers and electric pasta makers, bench top printer and a CAD/CAM icing printer. The specialist tutor is a Speed Step and basic food hygiene trainer.

There is a specialist room for design and technology teaching and independent work, as well as a well-stocked reference library that contains a wide range of resources that are relevant for undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Other features include a recycling materials area, specialist work benches and a bank of computers linked directly to CAD/CAM equipment.

History Department

There are plenty of replica artefacts in the department and other superb facilities, including a huge library of dedicated subject books and an interactive whiteboard. We also inspire our trainee teachers to bring history to life by offering them opportunities to travel to historic sites.

English Department

The School of Education has two dedicated English teaching rooms that contain a substantial children's collection of works including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, picture books and multicultural text. There is also a selection of phonics teaching materials, puppets and story bags that are used in teaching sessions.

You can explore the links between ICT and literacy through the department's Digital Blue cameras and electronic photo albums.

Mathematics Department

There are two dedicated teaching rooms for mathematics. The rooms make use of Promethean and Smart interactive white boards. Both rooms contain a library of recent and relevant publications as well as a wide range of resources for use while on teaching practice.

Trainees are supplied with the use of a laptop for the duration of the course. The laptops come with Autograph and Geometers Sketchpad software. There are a class set of iPads available for the teaching sessions.

Religious Education Department

This teaching room attempts to bring sacredness in its vicinities and a visitor will find precious collections of artefacts and devotional utilities, audio-visual resources, books, sacred texts and children's books from a range of religious traditions to support learning and teaching.

Early Years Department

As well as enjoying very strong links with local schools and specialist nurseries, we have a specialist teaching room that has a range of story sacks and puppets, an extensive selection of planning resources, copies of key texts, and toys and equipment that are relevant for foundation stage.

Music Department

The music department has two dedicated classrooms and seven practice rooms, five of which contain dedicated computer-based recording/sequencing equipment. There is also a fully equipped sound recording studio and Apple Mac computers for sound manipulation.

Drama Department

There is a fully equipped drama studio with stage lighting.

Paul Purser

PGCE Primary and Early Years Education Course Director

Having completed a Science degree, Paul undertook a PGCE and qualified in 1990. He has always led Science within school in addition to his teaching and leadership commitments. Alongside this he developed his skills in whole school leadership, leading year groups and phases within school.

This range of experience enabled Paul to become deputy head of a large three form entry primary school and children's centre. He gained the NPQH while deputy head teacher.

Paul's last post was as a head teacher in Walsall, before joining the the Science team at Birmingham City University in September 2012.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295