View full details in the curriculum handbook
This course has been completely reviewed and redesigned for September 2024 with increased opportunities for specialism and networking.
Why choose the Independent PGCE?
The Independent Postgraduate Certificate in Education for Independent Schools and Academies was developed in close consultation with the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC). Since 2002 it has been offering teachers, who have not undergone a period of formal teacher training, the opportunity to participate in a structured programme of professional development. This course is for those teaching in Independent Primary, Preparatory and Senior Schools, as well as all Academies.
This course does not include Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), but because of this it means that this course does not need to follow the specifics set out by the DfE and enables us to provide a varied, rigorous and creative course developing teachers in all settings.
This course will not need to follow the compliance requirements that might make the QTS routes problematic, for example timetable issues and hours required for Mentor training. There is no need for a second school placement with the Independent PGCE.
Becoming a teacher
Teaching is still regarded as one of the most rewarding careers you can embark on. This is a career where you can have an incredible impact on the next generation of learners.
When asked, 98% of students felt that the course had made them a better teacher. You will learn about all aspects of working as a teacher including teaching strategies, child development, policies and processes and ways to ensure that effective learning takes place. We will work with you to strengthen your subject knowledge.
For Prep and Secondary IPGCE trainees, different school subjects demand different teaching methods and resources, so part of the course will be taught by a subject specialist. We can teach many school subjects including Art, Music, Design Technology, Food Technology, Business Studies & Economics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Computing, English, Drama, Classics, Modern Languages, Arabic, Geography, History, Politics, Citizenship and PSHE, Religious Studies, Psychology and PE.
For Primary and Prep teachers we will also cover an important overview of subjects that are part of the Core and Foundation curriculums.
On our PGCE programme, all teachers are encouraged to be inclusive practitioners for example to know about SEND and ways of promoting and maintaining good behaviour with an awareness of the importance of emotional regulation. We want to help you develop your confidence and resilience in order to be able to assuredly teach different Key Stages and across different age ranges.
This is an employment-based route where you can work as a teacher and train to be a qualified teacher at the same time. In order to apply you must have a post secured in a UK School setting. The course lasts for 37 weeks and covers a full and demanding curriculum. Our curriculum covers all aspects of the Core Content Framework (CCF). On our course, you learn whilst working in the classroom, fully supported by a Mentor in your own setting along with participating in blended learning programme provided by a team of experienced practitioners working with the University. You will be assigned a Tutor employed by the University who will visit you in your setting and work with you throughout the year. This course will support you as you develop your identity as a teacher and help you to find and refine your own teaching style.
Training is delivered through a weekly programme based in school alongside a core programme delivered by the University. This begins with induction in August online, followed by twilight lectures that are recorded and available throughout the course, along with three residentials. The residentials are a significant strength of this course as you are able to network with colleagues from across the country as well as participate in a rigorous and challenging programme of lectures, seminars and workshops. For September 2024 onwards this will include two IPGCE only specialism and networking days.
We also want to include coaching for students in order to support schools with career development.
“Trainees find the programme both demanding and rewarding. They praise the pastoral support offered and describe leaders as open, responsive, and flexible. Trainees like the predominantly school-based design of the training and take pride in the academic rigour underpinning it. Trainees show commitment to course reading, reflecting carefully about the impact of research on their teaching. The dovetailing of theory and practice deepens their understanding of why certain strategies in teaching work, rather than just learning a random repertoire of techniques which teachers use.” Ofsted, 2022
We will monitor your professional delivery through the weekly programme, its accompanying lesson observations and course documentation to ensure that your teaching practice develops through the course and meets expected standards.
2024/2025 Residentials draft dates
PE or Primary
Residential 1: Monday 21 October, Tuesday 22 October, Wednesday 23 October 2024 (IPGCE only day)
Residential 2: Monday 17 February 2025, Tuesday 18 February, Wednesday 19 February 2025 (IPGCE only day)
Residential 3: Tuesday 27 May, Wednesday 28 2025
Prep or Secondary
Residential 1: Wednesday 23 October 2024 (IPGCE only day), Thursday 24 and Friday 25 October 2024
Residential 2: Wednesday 19 February 2025 (IPGCE only day), Thursday 20 February 2025 and Friday 21 February 2025
Residential 3: Wednesday 29 May and Thursday 30 May 2025
You need to be available to attend these residential courses.
What is involved in taking the PGCE?
By taking the Post Graduate Certificate in Education you will undertake a Level 7 (Masters) qualification that, if you complete successfully, will award you 60 credits. The PGCE is an academic qualification that allows you to reflect on your personal and professional development and respond positively to feedback. The qualification is assessed by three assignments that collectively enable students to:
- Research their own practice and reflect on effective strategies for effective teaching and learning
- Critically analyse, engage in and reflect on educational issues, philosophies and initiatives
- Take responsibility for their own learning and study independently
- Function as independently-minded professionals capable of contributing to wider educational debate
The PGCE module consists of 3 modules.
Module 1: Educational Principles –The Fundamentals of Teaching and Learning (20 credits)
Trainees will be required to demonstrate awareness of how children learn, basic philosophical principles underlying educational theory and teaching practice. All students will study a core of educational topics that are central to the work of a critically reflective practitioner. These topics will be delivered across the course and assessed through a written assignment at the end of the course.
Module 2: Development of Effective Practice (20 credits)
Trainees will be required to demonstrate understanding of the complexities and diversity required in teaching and assessment for learning. There will be a choice of topics offered. On the IPGCE you will be able to specialize from a wider range of topics including, but not only (depending on uptake).
- Behaviour Management and Wellbeing
- Boarding Education
- International Education
- Online Learning
- Primary Mathematics
The assessment will be through a written assignment.
Module 3: Consolidating and Reflection (20 credits)
Trainees will be required to reflect on their learning as well as professional development and show how educational theory is linked to teaching practice. To build upon work completed in Module 2 there will be the opportunity to complete to specialize in a number of different areas which may include:
- Coaching and Mentoring
- Philosophy and Purpose of Education
- Primary Literacy
- Reflective Practice
- Social Impact and Leadership
What if I need QTS later?
If QTS is still required post-IPGCE there are routes to achieve this either via QTS conversion courses or an Assessment Only Route as long as all compliance aspects required by the DfE are met.
A particular strength of our course is the support that we are able to offer through what can be a challenging year. As students of the University of Buckingham you are able to access all the student support services that we offer, with specialists who are used to working with Distance Learners. As well as this support, you are also led by the Head of Cohort who will work with you, meet with you at residentials and monitor your progress through the course. You will also be assigned your own Tutor who will work with you throughout the course.
“The vast range of support in place ensures you grow throughout the course.” Philip Pitcher, PGCE
For teachers undertaking their first year of teaching we highly recommend your participation in our Ab Initio course as an addition to the PGCE. This will provide you with some basic knowledge and skills to start teaching.