We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

School of Education

PGCE Primary Partnership (with QTS)

Please note the number of places available is based on a national quota, thus once a programme reaches its quota nationally recruitment for that course is closed immediately. We strongly advise to get your application in as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

2017/18 APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN. Please go to the UCAS Teacher Training website for details regarding 2017/2018 applications.

The aim of the PGCE Primary Partnership is to provide trainees with the professional and academic training required to become a primary school teacher. The responsibility for your training will be shared between schools and the University, in order to offer you a supportive, professional environment in which to hone your skills and gain valuable experience. The schools that we place our trainees in have all entered into a partnership with the University that defines the roles and responsibilities of each party.

In addition, the PGCE Primary Partnership is the first year of the School of Education's MA Education. Successful completion of the PGCE will enable you to progress on to the Postgraduate Diploma and then the part-time final stage of the higher degree, should you wish to do so.

There are two routes you can take:

1. Durham University hosted PGCE; or,

2. School Direct hosted PGCE in partnership with Durham University

It is expected that trainees on our programme will be capable of teaching across the full National Curriculum. Therefore, all trainees are required to take courses in:

  • Art and Design
  • Computer Science
  • Design and Technology
  • English
  • Geography
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Modern Foreign Languages
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Religious Education
  • Science

You will also be expected to undertake a Core Issues and Skills programme, which draws on all elements of the PGCE. You will be introduced to topics such as the aims and context of primary education, various approaches to the teaching and learning process, different patterns of school and classroom organisation and matters to do with assessment and differentiation.

The programme runs for three terms, from September to July, 25 weeks of which are allocated to school-based activities and experience. These weeks provide a focal point for the programme and drive the work undertaken in subject studies. The programme is built upon a strong partnership with a large number of schools in the region, meaning that we are able to provide a range of school experiences.

There are three elements to the school-based experience we can offer you as part of your PGCE:

  • The Home Area School Experience (HASE), which takes place within a Primary School and KS3 settings.
  • Serial Visits and Preliminary Placements, which usually involves two days per week for five weeks and then a three week Preliminary Placement A. This is followed by serial visits to the same school then a further three week Preliminary Placement B.
  • Serial Visits and Main Teaching Practice, which usually involves two days per week for four weeks, followed by a preparation week and then ten weeks of practice during Terms 2 and 3.

Home Area School Experience

You will be required to make arrangements to obtain experience in a UK mainstream primary school and KS3 setting within your local area between the June and September of the year of entry. These days are an integral element of the programme and will provide you with the opportunity to observe a variety of teaching styles and to engage in some initial group and class teaching.

The placements aims to equip you with an understanding of the concepts and skills taught at Key Stage 1 and 2 of the National Curriculum and the idea of progression and continuity as a child moves from primary to secondary education. It will also give you a comprehensive understanding of pupils during this early phase of their development, in terms of their needs, levels of motivation, attainment and behaviour. Above all, it provides an introduction to the world of education and teaching, and a background for the study of the curriculum and cross-curricular issues you will study during the PGCE.

Serial Visits and Preliminary Teaching Practices.

For four weeks during Term 1, you will spend two days a week (Thursday and Friday) in a partnership school department and Alternative Focus study. Through a programme of observation, research and teaching activities, you will become familiar with the organisation of the school and department (pupil groups, staffing, curriculum, resources, facilities, methods of teaching, lesson planning, timetabling, National Curriculum requirements, assessment, examinations and the pastoral system, etc.). You will be under the direction and supervision of your School Training Centre Coordinator (STCC) and Class Teacher.

These serial visits are undertaken in conjunction with University-based study to furnish you with an integrated start to the evolution of your subject expertise and your ability to share that expertise effectively with children. You will also develop an awareness of and the ability to respond professionally to the full range of cross-curricular demands made in schools today, particularly the ability to manage pupil behaviour and to secure effective learning.

The serial visits lead to the Preliminary Placements which span Terms 1 and 2. These practices give you the opportunity to enhance your teaching expertise, build relationships with children in a familiar environment and to experience a range of work in both the partnership school and the School of Education.

Serial Visits and Main Teaching Practice

Later in Term 2 you will be allocated to a different partnership school. Once again, the Main Teaching Practice is preceded by serial visits (Thursday and Friday), and is intended to serve as preparation for the Main Placement.

The weekly visits and Alternative Focus visits lead to the Main Teaching Practice, which is comprised of eleven weeks and straddles the Easter vacation. The two-part, long practice is the longest and most important period of school experience on the PGCE programme. During this time you will be able to draw on the skills and experiences obtained in Term 1 and apply these in a new context.

To successfully complete the programme and be eligible for QTS you must be assessed against and achieve all of the standards for the award of Qualified Teacher Status, as listed in the Teaching Standards (2012). In summary, your classroom practice will be assessed under the following headings:

  • Professional values and practice
  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Teaching

X6K114 Education (Primary) PGCE Postgraduate Taught  2017



UCAS code X100
Degree PGCE
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 1 year
Start Date September 2017
Location Durham City
Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 8406
Download Download as a PDF

Course Summary

Course Summary


The PGCE Primary provides a course in Initial Teacher Training which is accredited by the Department for Education. It will equip you to become a primary school teacher (ages 5-11) and will provide training for Key Stages One and Two. Successful completion of the course will provide you with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), awarded by DfE and a PGCE (awarded by Durham University). Credits achieved during the PGCE year can also equate to the first year of Durham's MA in Education

In addressing the government's standards for QTS, the School of Education seeks to promote the notion of primary school teachers as reflective practitioners who are confident in their ability to teach all subjects in the primary curriculum, and able to articulate their beliefs about what constitutes effective pedagogy. PGCE should be viewed as the first phase of a career-long process of personal and professional development.

The course aims to provide you with professional and academic training in preparation of your role as a primary teacher. Underpinning the course is a belief that successful teachers need to understand how children learn and that this is best achieved through a combination of theory, practice and reflection.

The Durham PGCE Primary course has been developed in partnership with schools, and offers a strong practical element, with student teachers spending a substantial part of the year (around 20 weeks) in school. Students on the course have opportunities to develop an understanding of the values and issues which underpin education and are encouraged to develop and articulate their own beliefs. The responsibility for training is shared between schools and the University, which together provide a supportive professional environment in which you can develop your knowledge, skills, understanding and expertise. 

Course Detail

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University in 2016 please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Learning and Teaching

Course Learning and Teaching

The Primary PGCE is designed to take around 1500 hours of student work, comprising:

  • Readings and preparation for teaching in school
  • Teaching in schools
  • Teaching time in lectures and workshops
  • Professional studies days
  • Teaching and learning conference
  • Follow-up readings after the taught element
  • Independent study
  • Assignment work.

There are approximately 350 hours of university-based contact teaching time in all.

In addition the supervised Directed Study module offers group and one-to-one contact time - you will be assigned an individual supervisor from within the School of Education staff who assist with devising a suitable topic for study.

Academic support for you is available via all of the following forms of contact:

  • Formal workshops as part of the taught element of the course
  • Additional, optional workshops to help students address aspects of subject knowledge such as English grammar and mathematics
  • Email and telephone: students are encouraged to contact tutors with specific queries
  • Group emails: these are sent via Duo (the virtual learning environment) to keep students informed of developments and to answer common queries
  • Personal contact: staff are available for individual consultation when not teaching or attending meetings.

In addition, all students will be assigned a School Training Centre Coordinator who will provide workshops, support with teaching and guidance on teaching practice. University partnership tutors will also provide support for students before, during and after school placements.

Requirements and Admissions

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

At UCAS you can apply for this course using the following code: X100

  • The equivalent of a UK upper second class honours degree. If your degree is from an overseas institution you must apply for a Statement of Comparability from NARIC
  • A demonstrable interest and involvement in the lives and development of young people
  • GCSE English, Mathematics and Science at Grade C or above (or equivalent) which must be achieved at the time of application. If your equivalent qualifications are from an overseas institution, you must apply for a Statement of Comparability from NARIC.
  • Pass in the QTS Skills Testsby 1st August prior to the beginning of the programme.
  • Must have undertaken , or intend to undertake, at least ten days of work experience in a UK mainstream school environment within the last three years. This must be completed before 1st August in the year of entry.
  • Must have completed the Home Area School Experiencein a UK Primary School (or a Primary School which follows the English National Curriculum) prior to commencing the University course in mid September. Offer holders will arrange this for themselves in their own local area.

Your professional and interpersonal qualities and your commitment to teaching will be considered when making an admissions decision. Candidates who meet the criteria, will be invited to a selection day. Selection days will involve individual interviews with a pre-prepared presentation element and tests to assess written English and other skills.

Successful candidates will receive an offer conditional upon successful medical and criminal record checks. The latter is carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service and full instructions on how to apply for a DBS Disclosure are issued with offer letters.

 If you have a criminal record of any kind, you may contact the School of Education DBS Manager, Steph Tunstall, for further advice and information. All enquiries will be treated in confidence.

We strongly encourage you to register for the DBS Update Service, which lets you take your certificate from one employer to another without having to apply for a new check. Please note, all DBS Enhanced Disclosures for our Students must be applied for through Durham University unless you have applied to the Update Service.

Details of how to apply.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Fees and Funding

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £9,250.00 per year
Home Student £9,250.00 per year
Island Student £9,250.00 per year
International non-EU Student £16,500.00 per year

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding

Open Days and Visits

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits


Find out how you can continue your study by studying an MA Education.

We'd love to hear from you and help you with any enquiries you may have.

For any questions regarding applications please contact the Initial Teacher Education team.


Telephone: 0191 334 8406

For any questions regarding School Placements please contact Mrs Jo O'Neill-Jones Partnership Coordinator


Telephone: 0191 3348335