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Post-Compulsory Education and Training - PGCE

Are you looking to gain a nationally-recognised teaching qualification in post-compulsory education and training (PCET)? If so, our PGCE PCET is for you. You'll benefit from our strong partnerships with organisations and colleges outside of the University as well as workshops and the superb support offered by tutors and mentors.

Studying with us in 2021/22

It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  Information about the arrangements the University has put in place for the 2021/22 academic year in response to Covid-19 and the emerging variants can be found here.

Should the impact of Covid-19 continue in subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City South
  • School School of Education and Social Work
  • Faculty Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences

Course is Full for 2021/22 Entry

This course is now full. You will be able to apply to start in September 2022 from Autumn 2021.


Are you looking to gain a nationally-recognised teaching qualification in post-compulsory education and training (PCET)? If so, our PGCE PCET is for you. You'll benefit from our strong partnerships with organisations and colleges outside of the University as well as workshops and the superb support offered by tutors and mentors.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

We match your degree subject (in any subject area) to one of the PCET specialisms that we offer:

  • Arts, Media and Performance
  • English, Literacy and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Mathematics and Numeracy
  • Science and Technology

This means you could have a degree in subject to apply for this course and we will place you in one of the umbrella categories above. For example, if you have a degree in Health and Social Care you'll fit into Science and Technology, or with a degree in Construction you might fit into Science or Mathematics. If you're unsure how your degree fits into one of the categories, please contact the course director, Stuart Mitchell, who will be able to help guide you. 

You’ll study a wide range of modules alongside completing at least 150 hours of teaching in your main subject area. Your coursework, assignments and teaching practice will continually be assessed as you progress through the programme.


Applicants must meet requirements of being medically fit and successfully completing an enhanced disclosure via the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Learn more.

Why Choose Us?

  • 97.9% of the School's full-time postgraduate students were in employment or further study six months after their course according to the 2016/17 DLHE survey report
  • The chance to get a nationally-recognised qualification, making you eligible for Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills status (QTLS)
  • We have a reputation for the quality of our teaching and preparing trainees to meet the demands of today's adult education sector
  • We have partnership arrangements with most colleges in the West Midlands, as well as prison education units, training agencies and private businesses
  • Former trainees come back to share their subject specialism with current trainees
  • A strong focus on developing your subject specialism
  • The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) Professional Standards for the sector are embedded in all aspects of this course

Entry Requirements

UK students

Applicants will have (or expect to achieve before enrolment) a Bachelor's Honours degree, at lower Second Class level or above from a UK higher education institution or a recognised equivalent.

The content of your previous experience and education should provide the necessary foundation for work as a teacher.

At the point of enrolment to the course, it is also necessary to have a GCSE at grade C or above (or its equivalent) in English language and mathematics.

Download the GCSE equivalencies for this course  

Please note we do not accept Level 2 in numeracy or literacy as an equivalent.

If you do not already have GCSEs in English language and mathematics, or the equivalent, and are not registered to take them, you should visit the Equivalency Testing website.


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).

Fees & How to Apply

  • International students

Award: PGCE

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £9,250 per year
  • Applications Closed

Award: PGCE

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £13,200 per year
  • Applications Closed

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.


You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key Software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

DBS check

You will require a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for this course. Your first DBS check is included in your fees.

Project materials (mandatory)

This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected.

Placement expenses (mandatory)

Placements are a compulsory element of teacher training courses. You'll need to budget for any travel costs you may incur whilst undertaking your placement.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Subscriptions (optional)

You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.

Memberships (optional)

You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

This course is now full. You will be able to apply to start in September 2022 from Autumn 2021.

Personal statement

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.

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.

Course in Depth

Year One

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

The PGCE PCET programme provides high quality initial teacher training for those wishing to teach in the Post- Compulsory Education and Training sector and wider.

This module aligns with the Professional Standards for the PCET sector and follows your learning and teaching journey, leading and developing you towards becoming a professional teacher in the PCET sector. The ability to teach and support learning is at the heart of this course and as such this module has been designed to support and enhance your development towards this goal, whilst encouraging you to construct your own teaching and learning philosophy. Through the creation of a Professional Development Profile (PDP) you will provide evidence from your professional practice of the skills, attitudes, values and activities that demonstrate you can function effectively as a teacher. These are then used as evidence for your achievement of the Professional Standards.

This module is integral to the role of a professionalism in teaching and the development of effective skills needed for your classroom practice. The module introduces you to dominant policies that inform and impact upon the PCET sector. You will explore theories, principles and practices of effective teaching, learning and assessment in your specialist subject, which then enable you to link theory to practice. It is situated alongside the Professional Practice module, as it facilitates the gathering of evidence for your e-portfolio. You will also develop your knowledge of the need to be able to effectively carry out both formal and informal assessments, feedback the results to learners and use the data and information to guide planning and teaching. This then will help you to understand how well-thought out learning can maximise learning opportunities and ensure all learners achieve their full potential. Setting high expectations and removing barriers to learning is explored alongside key concepts relating to equality and diversity and inclusivity. You will be have introduced to concepts surrounding Safeguarding and the Prevent agenda in a previous module, this modules will expand such concepts. You will be encouraged to fully engage with all topics and bring your own ideas to the discussions.

Through planning and enacting a research project, students will question current thinking and practices within their subject specialism and further develop their abilities to take responsibility for researching, determining and achieving individual professional development.

This module supports your achievement of the Professional Standards, in particular: 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12 and 19.

This module is consistent with the programme philosophy and aims since it prepares students to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding for teaching their subject specialism, within their specialist professional setting. Students will reflect on professional practice, drawing on evidence from the workplace, and engage in the improvement of learning through professional enquiry, reflection and wider academic reading.

This module supports you in developing your knowledge and skills relating to the key theories, principles and models of inclusive curriculum design and implementation. This assignment will be undertaken during your teaching placement and you will select to include in your submission two resources designed to support inclusive learning in your area of the curriculum which you have designed yourself. These resources will be presented on an academic poster (A2 size) on which you will critically evaluate the inclusivity and diversity of the resources selected analysing inclusive curriculum design as well as utilising comments from a Critical Friend observation. Recent developments in digital learning resources will be considered in relation to inclusivity and you will analyse a range of factors that affect inclusion in your subject specialism.

This teacher training course is particularly successful at integrating academic studies with the professional competences. In particular, this programme is structured so that you will enjoy working in curriculum groups with other trainee teachers from a similar or related subject area.

This allows you to exchange ideas and share good practice, supporting you with explicit links to the wider education sector. The course will support you to become an outstanding practitioner.

We have partnership arrangements with large further education colleges in the West Midlands, as well as prison education units, a number of training agencies and private providers.

  • You will spend three days each week, between November and May, on placement and you will be supported by your tutor/mentor.
  • Your placement might be within a local school teaching 14-plus students, a local sixth-form teaching post-16 learners or teaching adults in an offender learning department within a prison.

Teaching breakdown

The course embraces technology both for teaching and learning activities, via Moodle and other virtual learning environments (VLEs) and the assessment purposes. Digital literacy skills are enhanced through the production of videos, podcasts, blogs and E posters, which will extend and enhance your technological skills, which are vital for interacting with learners in a range of modes. Flipped learning and social media activities, such as Twitter and Facebook, also form part of teaching and learning strategies, in which you will engage.

Assessment methods

Assessments are made on the basis of coursework assignments, the practice of teaching and related tasks the completion of the Professional and Minimum Core Standards. There is no final examination, however, all parts of the course must be satisfactorily completed before the award of Postgraduate Certificate in Education in Post-Compulsory Education and Training can be made.

These awards do not confer a license to practice but do form a route to Qualified Teacher/Tutor/Trainer Learning and Skills (QTLS). The PGCE PCET does not lead to Qualified Teacher Status which is required for school teaching.

Assessment breakdown

The module assessment methods have been specifically chosen in order to prepare you for effective classroom practice and to develop those skills needed for practice. The assessment methods of this course will enhance and develop your skills in being a creative thinker, using technology, planning for effective teaching and learning and researching your practice; as in practice-based enquiry, which will require you to research your practice or placement. 

We will equip you with the skills to research your practice to further embed the notion of the reflective practitioner who continually seeks to improve and develop their practice.  Personal, critical reflection is a vital component in both the taught sessions and assessments in order to bring about effective changes to your practice.

University's accreditation

As a provider of Initial Teacher Education (ITE), we are regularly inspected by the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted). Ofsted reports directly to Parliament and is independent and impartial.

It inspects and regulates services which care for children and young people, and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages.

Ofsted inspections of ITE providers provide an expert and independent assessment of how well we are performing and the quality of teacher training offered. Information in the inspection report can help prospective trainees decide which providers suit their training needs.

In the latest Ofsted Inspection (March 2014) Birmingham City University was awarded a grade 2 rating 'good' for its primary and early years, secondary and post-compulsory education and training provision.


Enhancing your employability skills

This course boosts your chance of finding a job after graduating because the focus and subject specialism is designed to enhance your employment opportunities.


We have partnership arrangements with large further education colleges in the West Midlands, as well as prison education units, a number of training agencies and private providers.

You will spend three days each week, between November and May, on placement and you will be supported by your tutor/mentor.

Your placement might be within a local school teaching 14-plus students, a local sixth-form teaching post-16 learners or teaching adults in an offender learning department within a prison.

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.


Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills status (QTLS)

Professional Formation

To gain recognition of your professional status following completion of your PGCE Post-Compulsory Education and Training or Diploma in Education and Training Programme you may wish to gain Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills status (QTLS). This is conferred by the Society for Education and Training Foundation (SET) and is awarded through the successful completion of a process of Professional Formation. Professional Formation is a process that enables you to demonstrate the effective use of your skills and knowledge in your professional practice that is required to achieve QTLS.

To apply for QTLS, you will need to be a member of the Society for Education and Training Foundation, for which there is an annual subscription fee.

What are the benefits of gaining QTLS status?

More than 15,000 teachers in the sector have achieved QTLS status since its introduction in 2008:

  • QTLS status is recognised in law as equal to QTS for teaching in schools at post 14+
  • Career progression: QTLS status demonstrates your commitment, skills and knowledge to employers
  • Recognition of your status as a professional teacher or trainer
  • Valuable continuing professional development (CPD) that builds confidence and enhances your skills
  • Members with can use these initials as a designation.

To apply for QTLS, you need an initial teacher training qualification at at least Level 5; such as the DET PGCE or PGCE PCET.  You are also required to demonstrate numeracy and literacy qualifications at (or above) Level 2.

Costs and commitments

The professional formation process requires you to complete an online workbook in REFLECT+. The time taken to complete this process and achieve QTLS status will be determined by your individual circumstances. For example, level of experience or work commitments. Therefore, the Education and Training Foundation has taken a flexible approach to professional formation with a number of application windows open each year.

However you do need to demonstrate continuing professional development in employment. Therefore you could start the process using your final observation of teaching practice and then build upon that in your practice as a teacher in the post 14 sector.

Further details on QTLS

International Students

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:

Facilities and Staff

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 million on new learning facilities.

As part of these plans, the University's Education provision joined the rest of the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences at our City South Campus in Edgbaston in 2018.


In addition to classrooms, a lecture theatre, social learning spaces, an open access IT suite and cafe facilities, the new £41 million extension to our City South Campus offers a range of specialist teaching and learning facilities for specific subjects including science, design and technology, drama and physical education.  


All our departmental facilities replicate the school learning environment.

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

Not only are we investing £41 million in a new building to house the laboratories and teaching spaces needed, but we also plan to open up these facilities to benefit all students and the wider community. This will complement our existing sports facilities, which already provide a base for students to compete in activities ranging from rugby to.

Mary Seacole Library

The Seacole library, based at City South Campus, is one of the UK's largest specialist health education libraries. The facility offers an extensive range of range of information and reference materials set out in a relaxing environment, conducive to studying. There are comfortable seating areas, group study areas, a silent study area and private study rooms.

Computer Facilities

The Seacole building houses a large open access IT Suite which comprises of 96 PCs, printers, photocopiers and scanners. Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:

  • Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
  • Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Research and statistical software
  • Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home

Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.

The IT Suite offers extended opening hours and is supported by a specialist Open Access Assistant during term time. In addition to the open access PCs within the IT Suite, there are 12 networked student PCs available within Seacole library.

Our staff

Karen McGrath

Programme Director, PGCE Post-Compulsory Education and Training

Karen has extensive experience of teaching and managing GCSE and A Level programmes in FE. She has been instrumental in setting up tutorial systems in FE, applying the concepts of Personal Development Planning (PDP) to these systems. She has assisted Professor Alex Kendall in co-writing I don’t think I’ve ever had discussions about reading, a case study of FE literacy teachers’ conceptualisations of literacy.

More about Karen