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Primary and Early Years Education with QTS - PGCE

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry.

Do you have a passion for educating children, supporting their academic and personal growth at a key stage in their development? Is your aim to become a reflective, critical and enquiring primary school teacher? Then our PGCE Primary and Early Years course is for you.

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


Do you have a passion for educating children, supporting their academic and personal growth at a key stage in their development? Is your aim to become a reflective, critical and enquiring primary school teacher? Then our PGCE Primary and Early Years course is for you.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

Our aim is to help you become a committed, confident and creative teacher so we’ll train you in the essential tools you need to kick-start your career in education. You’ll increase your ability to handle the ever-evolving teaching environment, and by the time your course is complete, you’ll be in a position to continue developing your understanding, knowledge and skills throughout your professional life.

Our ITE Curriculum aligns with the DfE (2019) ITT Core Content Framework. Our ambitious curriculum is designed within a spiral curriculum model, which deepens your knowledge and understanding through an iterative revisiting of identified topics, subjects, and themes throughout all our Primary QTS courses.

Why Choose Us?

  • We support you with the job application process as part of your course

  • Gain Master's level credits gained as part of this course that you can then use towards a full Master's degree

  • We have strong relationships with hundreds of primary schools in the region. Schools are committed to the quality of experience they offer our trainees.

  • Our team of experienced teachers, who have held senior positions in schools, are there to support and guide your progress

  • We meet the Department for Education's (DfE) Criteria for Initial Teacher Training and successful candidates on our Initial Teacher Training courses will be recommended to the DfE for Qualified Teacher Status.

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.


Join us for an on-campus Open Evening where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. Booking for the next event isn’t open yet. Register your interest below and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

Next Event: Wednesday 26 April

Register Your Interest

Entry Requirements

UK students

We normally require a Bachelor's Honours degree at 2:2 level or above from a UK higher education institution, or a recognised equivalent.

GCSE at grade 4 (formerly grade C) or above (or its equivalent) in English, mathematics and a science subject is also necessary at the point of enrolment.

 Download the GCSE equivalencies for this course  

Applicants must meet Department for Education requirements for Initial Teacher Training, which means being medically fit (physically and mentally) and successfully completing an enhanced disclosure via the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

If you do not already have GCSEs in English language and mathematics, or their equivalent, and are not registered to take them, you should visit Equivalency Testing. We also offer our own in-house equivalency tests. If you are successful at interview and need to pass an equivalency test to meet the entry requirements, our Admissions team will refer you to the details of our test. 

International qualifications

A minimum IELTS score of 7.0 is required with no individual component less than 6.5. Candidates who have undertaken IELTS will also need to successfully pass our GCSE English equivalency test.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: PGCE

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £9,250 in 2023/24
  • Apply
  • Part Time
  • 2 years
  • TBC
  • Apply

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: PGCE

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £13,980 in 2023/24
  • Apply

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.

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.

The way you apply for teacher training has changed. The Department for Education (DfE) has developed a GOV.UK application service for postgraduate teacher training called ‘Apply for teacher training’ which you will need to use to make an application.

Course codes:


  • 3-7 age phase: X110 
  • 5-11 age phase: 338B 


  • 3 - 7 and 5-11 age phase: 3FN2

We also offer the full-time programme through School Direct with the following schools:

Bishop Challoner (5-11) 

Boldmere (5-11) 

Broadmeadow (5-11) 

Charford (5-11) 

Finham Park (5-11) 

Greenholm Primary (5-11) 

Lozells Junior and Infant (3-7 and 5-11) 

Teach Central (5-11) 

We would like all applicants to make a fully informed decision about joining the teaching profession. As part of that decision making process, spending sometime in a school and considering the role of the teacher will prove to be invaluable.

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.

Course in Depth

Year One

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following modules (totalling 60 credits):

Download course specification

Download now

This course seamlessly blends research-informed academic study with hands on school experience from day one. It offers a blend of critical thinking and practice-based learning to ensure you develop as a confident, committed and reflective practitioner.

It offers you an integrated and creative approach to initial teacher training that values diversity and respect for all backgrounds and the opportunity to gain experience working with children from a wide range of social, economic and cultural backgrounds.

The course will enable you to explore different models of teaching, the many ways children learn and a range of approaches to managing behaviour in the classroom. You will develop an understanding of how to engage, motivate and assess learners through a creatively planned curriculum that will take into account the needs of different learners and positively impact on learners’ outcomes.

Course structure

This postgraduate course can be taken over one year full-time or two years part-time.

The structure of the course includes both school-based and university-based learning and is designed to meet the needs of each trainee teacher and to support and develop the skills, knowledge and professional attributes you need to become an outstanding teacher.

The course leads to the award of 60 credits at Level 7 and you will spend at least 120 days in schools developing the professional understanding and knowledge you need to meet the Teachers’ Standards for the award of QTS.

You'll choose from:

  • PGCE Primary and Early Years 3 to 7 (full-time) – the curriculum includes the Early Years Foundation Stage and the National Curriculum in Key Stage 1 and school based training will be in EYFS and KS1.
  • PGCE Primary and Early Years 5 to 11 (full time) - the curriculum includes the National Curriculum in Key Stage 1 and 2 and school based training will be in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
  • PGCE Primary and Early Years (part time), which is available in both 5 to 11 and 3 to 7 age ranges (you can let us know your preference as part of your application or at interview) 

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 take a Professional Studies module where you can choose to focus on a National Curriculum subject area, depending upon demand. If you're looking to teach children aged 3 - 7, you will focus on Early Years for this module. 

Part-time PGCE Primary Education 

We offer a part-time route for our general Primary PGCE (3 - 7 and 5 - 11 years). The part-time route might be ideal for you if you're looking to change career, to earn while you learn or if for personal circumstances you're unable to pursue a teacher training programme on a full-time basis.

The part time route will be offered as Primary General 3 to 7 and 5 to 11 and will run from September 2022 to July 2024. The part of the PGCE programme taught here at the University will run on two days per week across the first and second years. 

You will need to complete a minimum 120 days in school with a fairly equal split across the two years. While the majority of your time on placement will be on part-time basis, each year of the course you will need to complete a block placement where you are in school on a full-time basis in line with ITT criteria.

Assessment methods

You will be assessed through a range of methods to include audits of subject knowledge, written assignments and presentations. Academic work will need to be of the high standard required of postgraduate (Level 7) study.

Assessment of school based training is ongoing and will take a range of evidence into consideration, to include planning sequences of learning, teaching observations, evidence of effective marking and feedback. You will be assessed against the Teachers’ Standards (DfE 2012). You will need to meet the requirements of Part 1 and Part 2 of the Teachers’ Standards to be recommended for the award of QTS, so high standards of professionalism are essential.


Employment opportunities

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.

More about our placement opportunities


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 & Staff

Our facilities

Our School of Education and Social Work is based at our City South campus in leafy Edgbaston.

We’ve spent £41million expanding the education facilities at City South. These facilities offer hands-on practical experience, replicating the spaces you will come across in professional practice. Alongside classrooms and lecture theatres, we also have a range of specialist teaching and learning spaces for specific subjects including science, design and technology, drama and physical education.

As well as subject-specific rooms, our facilities include the Primary Innovation Lab, which houses £24,000 worth of LEGO. This room is a special resource for our education students, offering an innovative and creative way to approach subjects across the curriculum – from computing to English, mathematics to art. The lab responds to research that children and young people learn best from practical experience.

Our Social Work students have access to a home environment room and mock hospital wards which offer an opportunity to gain experience of working with service users in different situations.

Computer facilities

The Seacole building has two open-access IT Suites which offer PCs, printers, photocopiers and scanners. There is also an IT Helpdesk for quick and easy help with your computing or internet issues.

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.

In addition to desktop PCs, we also offer a laptop loan facility, allowing students to borrow a laptop for up to six hours while on campus.

Our staff

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...

More about Paul

Grant Huddleston

Course Leader BA/BSc Hons. Secondary Education (QTS) courses, and Senior Lecturer in Physical Education

Grant is the course leader for the BA/BSc Hons. Secondary Education (QTS) courses and a senior lecturer in Physical Education. When starting at Birmingham City University in 2017, Grant was the subject leader for Physical Education, working across primary and secondary education on the BA (QTS) Primary Education, PGCE Primary Education (QTS), and...

More about Grant

Gary Pykitt BA (Hons) QTS, PGCE, PGDip

Senior Lecturer in Primary Education (History and Professional Studies)

Gary was appointed as a full-time Senior Lecturer in Primary Education with a heavy involvement in the Primary and Early Years Partnership team and began this leg of his career on 1 April 2008. Gary enjoys his role very much and relishes in the challenges that each day brings.

More about Gary

Damienne Clarke

Senior Lecturer in Primary Education (History and Professional Studies)

Damienne gained her undergraduate degree from the University of Liverpool and then completed a PGCE in Primary Education at the University of Durham. Prior to joining Birmingham City University in September 2013, Damienne’s background was in Primary Education and she worked in six primary schools over a twenty three year period.

More about Damienne