What to expect

Teaching and learning

Participation in the PGCE course is an active process. Although there are lectures and presentations, much of the course centres on workshops, seminars and school and classroom activities.

Activities emphasise team work and require trainees to share the responsibility for their learning.

Throughout the course, trainees are given guidance and support by mentors in school as well as their university tutors.


‌The practical teaching requirements and formal written assignments are designed not just to provide evidence that trainees have reached the required Teachers' Standards but also as useful learning activities in themselves. Assessment is continuous, across all aspects of the course.

Trainees complete 3 Masters level assignments (60 Masters level credits).

Our secondary PGCE programmes prepare trainees to teach across the 11-16 age range. As part of the Post-16 Enhancement we offer trainees a range of experiences to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills for teaching at Post 16.

School experience

School experience forms the backbone of the PGCE course.

The pattern of school experience allows trainees to gain deepening insights into teaching and learning, and systematically supports the development of professional knowledge and teaching skills.

University tutors and school teachers work together to manage school experiences, to link these to university‑based activities and to direct trainees to appropriate reading.

The main phases of school experience for University of York PGCE includes:

  • An initial primary school placement 
  • A two days per week Autumn term placement, plus two four week teaching placement blocks in the first school
  • A nine week block teaching placement in a second school placement
  • A period of Professional Enrichment during the Summer term

If you're training with one of our School Direct partners, the structure of your course may differ from the core University of York PGCE.

Course structures and term dates 2019-20

PGCE Core Calendar 2019-20 (MS Word , 48kb)

PGCE Pathfinder Calendar 2019-20 (MS Word , 123kb)

PGCE YTSA Calendar 2019-20 (MS Word , 51kb)

PGCE All Saints Calendar 2019-20 (MS Word , 48kb) 

Please contact educ21@york.ac.uk with any queries regarding term dates.

Whole School Issues

This part of the course focuses on teaching and learning, and on wider school issues.

It aims to help trainees recognise the concerns which are common to all teachers, to introduce current thinking on these issues and to encourage reflection on them in the light of both reading and school experience.

You'll learn through talks, seminars, watching videos, and taking part in discussions, workshops and school-based activities.

Two weeks of professional enrichment during the summer term offer further opportunities for you to develop your expertise.

The Department of Education welcomes a diverse range of graduate trainees onto the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course. Working in partnership with a number of local schools, we have developed a strong PGCE course in which school teachers and university tutors share the responsibility for teacher training.

Trainees spend two thirds of the course in schools and have experience in at least three schools.

Contact us
01904 323576