PGCE Education (Secondary)

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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 School of Education is an Ofsted 'Outstanding Provider' and offers a one-year programme for graduates leading to the award of the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). Each year, we cater for approximately 200 students who are training to teach in secondary schools. We partner with about 60 local schools and colleges; student teachers spend two-thirds of their PGCE year on placement in at least two schools. The School of Education also works with four local school alliances supporting 'School Direct non-salaried (with PGCE)'.

We welcome applications from graduates with a wide range of experience and backgrounds. Usually, two-thirds of our students are graduates of universities other than Bristol. The programme is approved by the National College for Teaching and Leadership and leads to recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

In its February 2011 report, Ofsted stated that Bristol recruited high-quality trainees with 'suitable attributes to develop into very effective teachers, who are easily employed both locally and further afield'.

Ninety-nine per cent of our students rated their training as good or very good in 2016-17 and our external examiners commented last year:

'Exemplary support is provided for students by the University tutors, including detailed formative feedback on both written assignments and teaching performance, plus 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)

'The level of support provided by the teaching staff continues to be very high. All the trainees interviewed commented on the high levels of support they have received throughout the course, both from the university and in their placement schools. They all felt that the course was a very effective preparation for a career in teaching.' (Geography External)

‘The Partnership with schools is very strong, with University staff highly respected by their school colleagues.’ (Chief External)

Successful completion of the PGCE will give students 60 credit points at master's level.

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 NCTL 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:

  • curriculum studies (main subject specialism)
  • educational and professional studies
  • school experience

The main subjects offered are listed below. 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).

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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