York St John University (York) - PGCE Primary (University-centred)

York St John University (York)

PGCE Primary (University-centred)

We work closely with partnership school colleagues to support you in developing your professional practice, providing you with excellent opportunities to engage in wider professional issues relating to pedagogy and the curriculum. 

You will choose to specialise in either a lower primary or an upper primary route. The lower primary route covers the 3-7 age range and you will have assessed placements in both Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. The upper primary route covers the 7-11 age range and you will have assessed placements in both lower Key Stage 2 (year 3 or 4) and upper Key Stage 2 (year 5 or 6). Whichever route you choose to specialise in you will be qualified for the whole 3-11 age range on successful completion of the course.

You will be expected to critically engage with educational issues and develop as reflective practitioners, able to evaluate and adapt your practice to meet the needs of learners from diverse cultural backgrounds. The University provides a strong centre-based opportunity to develop and share good practice.

Your professional development will be underpinned throughout the course by essential theoretical knowledge. You will assess current research and developments at local, national and international levels, critically engaging with the educational issues which will shape your teaching practice.

You will gain a thorough understanding of the current primary and early years curriculum, including core and foundation subjects. We emphasise the importance of meeting the individual needs of children from diverse backgrounds. This includes learning about the impact of ethnicity, the challenges raised by teaching those with English as an Additional Language (EAL) and the needs of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEN/D).

The PGCE Primary programme is structured in phases (introductory, developmental and consolidation). Each phase builds upon the last to enable you to reflect upon your learning and make effective links with curriculum and pedagogy through relating theory to practice.

Unlike the school-centred route, you can also study for your University centred PGCE on a part time basis. This makes the course more accessible if you have care responsibilities or want to work while you study. It also allows more time for reflection and the development of key skills. The part time course runs over two academic years. You will work alongside the students on the full time PGCE course. You will access the same taught sessions and opportunities.

Entry Requirements


Entry requirements for programmes leading to QTS are stipulated by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) ITT criteria 2012. These are:

  • An Honours degree from a United Kingdom higher education institution or equivalent (non-honours degrees cannot be accepted)
  • GCSE in English (or York St John University approved equivalent) at Grade C/Level 4 or above
  • GCSE in Mathematics (or the GCSE award from EquivalencyTesting.com) at Grade C/Level 4 or above
  • GCSE in Science (or York St John University approved equivalent including GCSE Human Physiology, GCSE Human Biology, Intermediate GNVQ Science or the GCSE award from EquivalencyTesting.com) at Grade C/Level 4 or above

In addition, applicants must also:

  • Satisfy the institution that you have the intellectual capability for the demands of teaching
  • Take part in an interview designed to assess their suitability to teach
  • Obtain a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) enhanced disclosure check and/or any other appropriate background check
  • Obtain a satisfactory medical report
  • Pass additional safeguarding checks including a prohibition check and other checks in line with the Government Keeping Children Safe in Education policy
  • Obtain an Overseas Police Check (where applicable)

If your first language is not English then you must either complete an English language GCSE, IGCSE or take the equivalency test from equivalencytesting.com. You will need to achieve level 4 or higher to meet requirements. We do not accept IELTS or other equivalency tests.


Entry onto this PGCE will require you to attend an interview.

The interview is designed to assess your suitability to teach.

School experience

Whilst school experience is no longer an essential criteria for entry onto the PGCE programme, it has proven highly effective in supporting candidates with the application and interview process, as candidates are able to reflect on their experiences and demonstrate their emerging/developing knowledge and understanding of teaching and learning in a secondary school. Furthermore, having some school experience has proven to support preparation for the programme as students already have a foundation they can build on.

In order to gain maximum benefit from your time spent in school you should try to:

  • Work out a timetable, with the teacher who is supporting your placement, to ensure that everything you observe/do in the school has been agreed to.
  • Ensure you adhere to school policies and procedures, like signing in/out at the reception each day.
  • Look at a range of schemes of work, lesson plans and resources in the subject you will be doing your PGCE in.
  • Talk to a range of staff in the school about their roles, for example, classroom teachers, subject leaders, pastoral leaders, teaching assistants, SENCO, data/assessment leader. However, please remember that they are busy people and ask them for a time it might be more appropriate to meet/talk.
  • Talk with pupils about their work and the progress they are making. Look at how their work is marked/assessed and how pupils are encouraged to respond to this.
  • If appropriate, become involved with wider aspects of the school, for example, accompany staff on break duties, support with after school clubs and extra-curricular activities.
  • Try to look at a range of school policies, for example, on rewards and sanctions, teaching and learning.
  • Keep notes, especially of resources, activities and strategies which work well.
  • Reflect on each day and consider what you have learnt/observed (both positive and negative aspects) and consider how this might affect you as a classroom teacher, in the future

Course Details

Learning & Teaching in the Primary Curriculum
The Developing Professional
School Experience modules

*The information’s are correct at the time of publishing, however it may change if university makes any changes after we have published the information. While we try our best to provide correct information, It is advisable to call us or visit university website for up to date information.

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