PGCE Secondary

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


Note: For most subjects, you may also apply through one of our Lead Programme Partners.

Why study here?

Curriculum intent

The University of Manchester Initial Teacher Education (ITE) partnership strives for excellence through high expectations of ourselves and our trainee teachers at every stage, 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;
  • critical 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, anti-racist 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:

  • secondary and post-16 curriculums and assessment requirements;
  • 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, which are as follows:

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.


The PGCE is a full-time programme over the ten months from September to June. 

You will spend two-thirds of your course in schools or colleges (120 days)

You will spend the remaining time in University-based study.

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

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

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 early career teachers and employing headteachers'. Key strengths of the course included in the Ofsted report include:

  • Leaders ensure that the programme provides the right balance between academic rigour and pastoral support, and between theory and practice. This contributes significantly to trainees’ high attainment. Completion and employment rates are also consistently high.
  • A coherent approach to high-quality training ensures that trainees have the knowledge, skills, and understanding to get off to a flying start in their teaching career.
  • The subject expertise of course tutors is exceptional. Their depth and breadth of subject pedagogy inspires trainees to develop their own subject knowledge to a high level.
  • Social justice and inclusion are at the heart of this partnership. The partnership makes a real difference to young people’s lives in the region. A high proportion of trainees become teachers and leaders in the North West, many in schools in challenging socio-economic circumstances.
  • The centre-based training programme equips trainees well to embrace the wider aspects of the role of the teacher. They understand the importance of promoting equality and diversity in their classrooms.
  • All trainees receive highly personalised support to help them succeed, particularly those who are vulnerable. A very effective bespoke support programme has improved the completion and attainment rates of vulnerable groups of trainees.
  • Leadership at all levels of the partnership is outstanding. Leaders routinely evaluate the impact of their actions. The programme leader empowers subject leads to innovate and shape pedagogical developments in their respective areas.
  • Remarkable collaboration exists throughout the partnership. Members of the partnership form strong and mutually respectful relationships. Trainees flourish in this collegiate and supportive environment.
  • A culture of reflective practice is tangible throughout the partnership. Leaders are extremely reflective. They model this quality to trainees, who in turn become highly reflective and resilient practitioners. Well-designed documentation for recording trainees’ progress supports this.
  • Trainees and schools within the partnership benefit from the research and development work of the Manchester Institute of Education. The link with current educational research significantly enhances the quality of the training programme.