PGCE Secondary

PGCE Secondary is a full-time, one-year course that will prepare you to teach in the 11-to-19 year age range.


Why study here?

Curriculum intent

The University of Manchester Initial Teacher Education (ITE) partnership strives for excellence through its high expectations from recruitment, through training, and into employment.

Our vision is to empower future generations.

Our PGCE courses echo the vision, values, and principles as outlined by UCET (2020), and the purpose, vision, and values of The University of Manchester's vision and strategic plan. As a well-established provider of ITE, we recognise that teaching is:

  • a challenging, complex, intellectual, and ethical endeavour;
  • crucial in improving student learning and in enabling the positive, transformational contribution that education can make to communities, and to the development of more socially just and sustainable societies.

Our courses build on the substantial evidence base about teaching and teacher education and draw on a body of knowledge embedded in ethical practice, including robust evidence from research. 

They encourage a lifelong commitment to the education profession and pay careful attention to the factors that promote a healthy learning environment for teachers and learners. Our PGCE curriculums are co-created with our wider school partnership and it is our intent to produce teachers who are:

  • competent and confident professionals who learn from research, direct experience, their peers, and other sources of knowledge;
  • epistemic agents, acting as independent thinkers, who learn to search for theories and research that can underpin, challenge or illuminate their practice. Our trainees learn to analyse and interrogate evidence and arguments, drawing critically and self-critically from a wide range of evidence to make informed decisions in the course of their practice;
  • able to engage in inquiry-rich practice and are encouraged to be intellectually curious about their work with the capacity to be innovative, creative, and receptive to new ideas;
  • responsible professionals who embody high standards of professional ethics, who act with integrity and recognise the social responsibilities of education, working towards a socially just and sustainable world.

It is our intent to provide all of our trainee teachers with an inclusive, rich, broad, balanced and challenging curriculum, which is sufficiently flexible and adaptable to meet trainee personal and professional needs whilst also addressing both local and national priorities and needs.  The curriculum provides trainees with the opportunity to develop knowledge of:

  • primary curriculum and assessment requirements (according to the phase of training);
  • secondary and post-16 curriculums and assessment requirements (according to the phase of training);
  • progression in subjects;
  • progression across age phases;
  • subject knowledge;
  • knowledge of how children learn;
  • pedagogical knowledge;
  • behaviours for learning;
  • theories of teaching and learning;
  • inclusion and diversity;
  • statutory frameworks;
  • health and wellbeing.

 Our curriculum also provides trainees with the opportunity to develop the skills to:

  • meet the Professional Teachers’ Standards (2012);
  • be reflective practitioners;
  • undertake scholarly activity;
  • teach creatively and innovatively;
  • be resilient teachers, whilst managing a workload and work-life balance;
  • be an effective communicator;
  • work collaboratively.

What to expect

On successful completion of the course you will receive:

  • a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE);
  • recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS);
  • up to 60 master's-level credits towards further study, achieved through successfully meeting the academic requirements of three 20-credit units.

Unit 1: Learning, Teaching, and Assessment in the Curriculum

  • Developing and reflecting on subject and pedagogical knowledge in the relevant subjects/phase.
  • Planning for teaching and learning.
  • Assessing pupil progress.
  • Evaluating teaching and learning.

Unit 2: Inclusive Educational Practice

The unit content is informed by a range of local, national, and local priority areas, for example:

  • LGBTQ +, BLM and PREVENT agendas;
  • safeguarding;
  • behaviour management;
  • SEN/D;
  • disadvantage and poverty.

Unit 3: Developing Practitioner Enquiry 

  • Developing critical reading skills in educational research and as a practitioner.
  • Issues in conducting research in an educational setting (practical, ethical, consent, validity).
  • Identifying and refining research question.
  • Selecting appropriate data collection methods.
  • Analysing data, and discussion of findings alongside literature in the field, drawing meaningful conclusions and implications for practice.
  • Presenting small-scale enquiry.


You'll spend two-thirds of your course in schools or colleges. You'll spend the remaining time in University-based study.

We maintain close contact with our partnership establishments throughout. These include:

  • 11-18 and 11-16 comprehensive and independent schools;
  • city academies;
  • further education colleges;
  • sixth-form colleges;
  • specialist schools (e.g technology colleges, arts colleges).

Ofsted 'outstanding'

PGCE Secondary has been judged by Ofsted to be 'Outstanding'. The course 'results in high outcomes for trainees, high levels of employment, often within the partnership, and high levels of satisfaction of newly-qualified teachers and employing headteachers'. Key strengths of the course included in the Ofsted report include:

  • a very good feature of the partnership is the way that it gives opportunities for exceptional mentors to be seconded to the University (Mathematics);
  • the teaching practices are of an appropriate length, well-timed and provide a broad balanced experience for trainees (Science);
  • the training meets individual needs well, for example, all trainees get to teach both languages offered (Modern Foreign Languages);
  • the University tutors respond quickly if there are areas for concern with trainees (Business Studies and Economics);
  • there is an excellent liaison between the subject leader and the mentors in school (Design and Technology);
  • this is an extremely coherent course in which clear documentation, a shared tutoring system and excellent links between university and subject mentors all play their part (English).