Secondary English - PGCE
Do you want to help pupils express themselves, to become critical thinkers and develop the vital skills they need to succeed, not just in English, but also in other areas of their education and beyond? Our PGCE in English will develop you into a teacher able to deliver the wide-ranging curriculum covered under English, including Language, Literature and supporting studies in Drama and Media ...
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. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year 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.
Do you want to help pupils express themselves, to become critical thinkers and develop the vital skills they need to succeed, not just in English, but also in other areas of their education and beyond? Our PGCE in English will develop you into a teacher able to deliver the wide-ranging curriculum covered under English, including Language, Literature and supporting studies in Drama and Media education.
What's covered in this course?
You’ll learn the teaching methods and strategies that will help your classes develop their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills so they become effective communicators.
Assignments and school-centred activities are structured around the development of your School Experience Progress Journal (SEPJ) which demonstrates your progress against the nationally agreed competences (the Teachers’ Standards), which all teachers must meet throughout their career. A system of continuous review and assessment of progress in the SEPJ will support your growing ability to take responsibility for your own development.
Why Choose Us?
We will help you to become a committed, confident, autonomous, creative and reflective teacher
At least 120 days across a minimum of two placements, in line with the DfE requirements, supported by a subject mentor in your school and a personal development tutor at the University
We’re proud of our high employability rates, with 99% of PGCE Secondary Education students in employment or further study six months after completing their course (DLHE survey results 2016/17)
Gain Master's level credits gained as part of this course that you can then use towards a full Master's degree
- 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.
You will need to have a good degree (minimum 2:2) in a relevant subject from a UK higher education institution or equivalent.
Applicants without a degree in English may be required to take an Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course prior to starting the PGCE course.
You must have a GCSE grade C or above (or equivalent) in both English language and mathematics prior to enrolment and if you are offered an interview you will take a written test to assess your standard of English.
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.
It should be noted that applicants taking the equivalency tests need to have passed prior to enrolment.
The selection interview will assess your subject knowledge and personal qualities such as the potential to relate well to secondary age students, enthusiasm, sensitivity, communication skills and robustness and resilience for teaching.
You will also take a written test to assess your standard of English.
Applicants must meet Department for Education 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
- UK students
- International students
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 1 year
- £9,250 per year
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 1 year
- £13,200 per year
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.
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.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
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.
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.
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.
You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.
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 is changing. The Department for Education (DfE) has developed a GOV.UK application service for postgraduate teacher training called ‘Apply for teacher training’.
This means there are two ways to apply to our ITT courses.
1. The Department for Education
Use the red 'Apply' link above to access the Department for Education website. For more information on how to apply for a teacher training course please visit Apply for Teacher Training.
2. UCAS Teacher Training
You can also choose to apply 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.
Course code: 338J
Use Apply for teacher training if:
- all the providers on your shortlist are signed up to Apply for teacher training
- you want to try a new process with extra guidance on tricky areas such as personal statements
Use UCAS if:
- you are already doing an application through UCAS
- some of your choice(s) of training provider are not signed up to Apply for teacher training and you’d rather not apply through two different systems
We also offer the full-time programme through School Direct with the following schools:
- Bishop Challoner (salaried and non-salaried)
- Finham Park - The Lion Alliance (non-salaried)
- Higham Lane School Partnership (non-salaried)
- Holly Lodge High School (non-salaried)
- Holte School (non-salaried)
- RSA Academies Teaching School Alliance (salaried and non-salaried)
- Shireland Collegiate Academy (non-salaried)
Visit the UCAS Teacher Training website for details on how to apply.
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.
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.
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
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 60 credits):
This module, Professional Studies, provides opportunities for you as a trainee teacher to explore and understand in practical terms the meaning of professionalism in the context of education and being a teacher. It is well known that education is an ever-changing environment and the desire for improvement is strong from all stakeholders. This module helps you to understand that the best teachers are those who continue to learn themselves and that your continual development can positively impact the learning experience of your students.
This module, Subject Pedagogy, provides opportunities for you as a trainee teacher to explore the nature of your specialist subject in the context of learning and teaching in the secondary school. The module provides substantial support for your professional practice in school, assessed through the School Experience modules. This module provides a strong philosophical underpinning to your awareness of the importance of your specialist subject in the secondary school curriculum. By undertaking this module you will be shaping your own rationale for your approach to the teaching of your specialist subject, and to meeting the needs of the learners as they move through the secondary school phase.
This module, Professional Enquiry, forms an introduction to active examination of professional practice in the workplace and a reflective approach to personal development. It provides a foundation for future study modules and enables you to develop practice-based enquiry skills. Increasing importance is placed on evidence-based enquiry to inform professional development in education, most recently in The Carter Review of Initial Teacher Training (ITT).
This module, School Experience 1, provides opportunities for you as a trainee teacher to meet the professional standards and expectations of teaching through practical, school-based experience. You will have the opportunity to work alongside experienced teachers and other education professionals to develop your knowledge, understanding and skill in the classroom and the wider school environment. You will be able to implement theory and evidence-based understanding on an on-going and development basis into your teaching into the classroom. You will be assessed against the current statements of professional competence.
This module, School Experience 2, follows School Experience 1 and provides opportunities for you as a trainee teacher to enhance your achievement of the professional standards and expectations of teaching through practical, school-based experience. You will have the opportunity to work independently supported by experienced teachers and other education professionals to further develop your knowledge, understanding and skill in the classroom and the wider school environment. You will be able to implement theory and evidence-based understanding on an on-going and development basis into your teaching into the classroom. You will be assessed against the current statements of professional competence.
* School Experience 2 is dependent upon the successful completion of School Experience 1.
Your PGCE Secondary English aims to explore, test and develop the links between English in education theory and its practice. The University workshops and seminars facilitate a space for learners to conduct this, which is then supported by school placements.
This relationship, between theory and practice, alongside a variety of contrasting school experiences, ensures that you are offered a well-rounded teacher education. We believe that we are training English teachers to work in any school setting. Your course will feature a range of modules and the opportunity to get plenty of hands-on practice in local schools with support from colleagues in the school partnership and experienced University tutors.
A third of your time spend on the course will be spent attending University-based sessions and two-thirds will be spent out in a school on a school experience placement.
Two-thirds of your course takes place in school and we ensure that you are offered a number of placements in a wide range of educational establishments.
You will do work placements in at least two different schools and also visit others – including a primary school and or a post-16 setting where appropriate. This all helps you to see how teachers are working in practice and gives you a wealth of experience.
You will have subject and professional mentors in school who will guide and support your studies and provide you with feedback.
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.
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
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 will join the rest of the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences at our City South Campus in Edgbaston during 2018.
This is the third phase of the University's project to move all teaching and learning to two campuses, City Centre and City South. By moving our Education provision, we are creating a hub for the provision of public service contracts and professional development at City South Campus and improving the student experience with a stronger sense of community and more consistent support services and facilities.
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
- Religious Education
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.
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.
Mrs Fiona Darby
Senior Teaching Fellow
Fiona spent 15 years working as an English teacher in secondary schools in Warwickshire and Oxfordshire. She was a Head of Department for 4 years, and an Assistant Head Teacher for 5 years.
She has had various areas of responsibility in schools including leading whole school teaching and learning, Designated Safeguarding Lead, UCAS advisor, Professional Tutor, NQT Induction Tutor, and ITT Mentor.
She joined BCU in September 2016 as a Senior Teaching Fellow working with Secondary English School Direct trainees. She also worked as an Associate Teaching Fellow at the University of Warwick on the Secondary PGCE course. From September 2017 she will be Subject Route Leader for the BCU Secondary English PGCE course.More about Fiona
Academic Lead for Partnerships / Senior Lecturer - English
Amanda has worked as an English teacher, a project manager and a senior leader across schools and settings across the West Midlands since the early 1990s. This means that she has a significant knowledge of both the current and historical educational landscape within our region, which she uses to guide her trainees.More about Amanda
Secondary English Lecturer
Nicola has spent 13 years working as an English teacher abroad, in Secondary Schools, in FE and Adult Education. In November 2019 she began the role as a full time lecturer for the BCU Secondary English PGCE course.More about Nicola