PGCE Education (Secondary)

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Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law
Awards available PGCE
Programme length One year full-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available No, full-time only
Start date September 2018

Programme overview

The prestigious School of Education at Bristol has a long and proud history of delivering teacher training, helping students to become confident and effective teachers that make a real difference to children’s lives. We are rated by Ofsted as an 'Outstanding' provider. Our one-year programme is available in a range of subjects and will lead to both a postgraduate qualification (PGCE) and qualified teacher status, enabling you to teach across the 11-18 age range. You will also gain up to 60 credits at master’s level that you can put towards an MSc in Education.

We partner with more than 60 local schools and colleges to offer two routes into teaching: university-led and School Direct, meaning you can choose the route that best suits your personal circumstances. Our programmes are current, challenging and innovative and are informed by both our own extensive research in the field of education as well as current practice.

You will spend two-thirds of your time on placement in at least two contrasting schools, learning from experienced teachers and becoming a valued member of the teaching team. Notably, the Bristol programme starts with a short placement in a primary school to provide you with crucial context before starting the PGCE. There is also the opportunity to gain experience in schools for students with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

The remaining time is spent at our School of Education in the heart of the city, where you will join our vibrant and diverse student community made up of undergraduate education students, postgraduate students and researchers in education.

We are very mindful that training to teach can, at times, be challenging and demanding. At Bristol you will be given a personal tutor in your specialist subject, ensuring you receive the very highest levels of both pastoral and professional support. Our strong community feel and thorough approach to student support sets us apart from other providers and is frequently commented on by both students and external inspectors.

“Exemplary support is provided for students by the University a high level of personal support and encouragement. Tutors’ knowledge of the students is impressive and everything possible is done to further student development and raise achievement” (MFL external examiner, 2016)

Fees for 2018/19

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2018/19 are as follows:

UK/EU: full-time
£9,250 (tbc)
Overseas: full-time
Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time
£9,250 (tbc)

Please note that the total cost of this programme is the same as the cost of an undergraduate degree programme, which is currently set at £9,250 per year for UK/EU students, subject to government approval. Should the undergraduate fee change in future, the PGCE fee will also change.

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2018/19

The Department for Education offers bursaries for UK/EU students. The University offers a bursary for UK and EU students; this may be liable to change in line with the NCTL bursary. Please see the fees and funding website for further information.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Programme structure

There are three major components of the programme, which are strongly interrelated and are designed to equip you with the knowledge, understanding and practical skills you will need to pursue a successful teaching career and become a reflective practitioner:

  • Curriculum Studies - looks at all aspects of how to teach your subject, including planning, teaching, assessment and classroom management.
  • Educational and Professional Studies - focuses on working in classrooms and schools and on the broader context of teaching today.
  • School Experience - placements provide opportunities for observation, practice and research in a wide variety of partnership schools.

The main subjects offered are:

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for our PGCE Education (Secondary).

Entry requirements

Prior to admission to the programme, all students are required by the Department for Education to have:

  • at least GCSE or 'O' level at grade C or 4 (if taken after summer 2017) or an equivalent overseas qualification in English and Mathematics;
  • a degree (with a 2:2 or above) or an equivalent qualification, in a subject relevant to the proposed main teaching subject.

Applicants to the PGCE at Bristol are advised to book their skills tests as soon as they have made their UCAS Teacher Training application and confirm the date of the tests to us. Candidates will be at an advantage if they have passed the tests by the time they are interviewed.

NB: Equivalence tests for GCSEs will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Such applications will be assessed and reviewed by the subject tutor, programme director and PGCE administration manager.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile E
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement


The programme is approved by the National College for Teaching and Leadership and leads to recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

In 2016, 91 per cent of our student teachers were employed in education after completing the PGCE programme, with many finding employment in the south-west. As a teacher from the University of Bristol PGCE, you will be highly valued by schools both locally and nationally; they appreciate your thorough preparation in teaching and high level of subject knowledge.

Application deadline:

The application cycle will open in October/November each year. Early application is advised as places may fill quickly.

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

  • 44% of research is world-leading (4 star)
  • 36% of research is internationally excellent (3 star)
  • 19% of research is recognised internationally (2 star)
  • 1% of research is recognised nationally (1 star)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Get in touch

Student Services Office Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 4492 Email:

School of Education
35 Berkeley Square
Bristol BS8 1JA


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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