University of Chester

Programme Specification
PGCE (Primary/ Early Years, Primary and Secondary Education) (School Direct Primary/ Early Years, Primary and Secondary Education) PGCE
2014 - 2015

Postgraduate Certificate in Education

PGCE (Primary/ Early Years, Primary and Secondary Education) (School Direct Primary/ Early Years, Primary and Secondary Education)

PGCE (Primary/ Early Years, Primary and Secondary Education) (School Direct Primary/ Early Years, Primary and Secondary Education)

University of Chester

Faculty of Education and Children's Services

Warrington, Chester: Riverside and Partner Schools

Postgraduate (Taught)


Classroom / Laboratory,

1 Year

3 Years

Annual - September

W1X1, W4



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Education & Children's Services Initial Teacher Education

QAA Descriptors for HE qualifications at levels 7.Subject benchmarking examples, selected for 'closeness' in subject matter to teacher education are used as points of reference.

University of Chester

ITE Module Assessment Board

Wednesday 1st May 2013

The aims of the programme are:  Academic aims:

  • To encourage the exploration of education through inter-disciplinary encounters which foster thinking and practice about learning and teaching.
  • To develop critical professional reflection through engagement with education practices in order to position professional knowledge and experience within a school context.
  • To provide an opportunity to expand educational thinking and practice through enquiry and scholarship.
Professional aims
  • To produce high quality teachers of either the Primary/ Early Years OR Primary OR Secondary age phases, with subject specialisms in the phases/age ranges they elect to train to teach.
  • To develop teachers who can both meet the Teachers' Standards required by the Teaching Agency (now the National College for Teaching and Leadership), and are proven reflective practitioners, highly committed to the development of their own learning and that of their pupils.
The above aims are underpinned by the Faculty of Education and Children's Services principles of learning and teaching, which include:
  • To promote open-minded systematic enquiry and reflective practice;
  • To encourage Associate Teachers to take responsibility for their own learning and teachers to take responsibility for facilitating that learning;
  • To enable the expansion of opportunity and the removal of unnecessary barriers to learning;
  • To facilitate the development of learning that will equip Associate Teachers as life-long learners:
  • To ensure that all learning and teaching will be underpinned by a rationale for equity, diversity and inclusion.
  • To take account of relevant and current legislation concerning the development and well-being of children and young people ;
  • To encourage Associate Teachers to look at ways in which experienced colleagues take control of the curriculum.
  • Teaching and learning will reflect that required to meet and exceed the Teachers' Standards.
  • To adopt creative and innovative elements reflecting and responding to national initiatives and changing agendas. The programme will offer distinctive features that will enable the University of Chester to compete successfully against other providers;
  • To run the programme in partnership with educational partners involved in curricular development, training and assessment. All approved by Board of Studies.

Knowledge and Understanding

  • Critically engaged with theoretical frameworks and literature;
  • Harnessed insights into subject knowledge;
  • Critically reflected on the ways in which research methodology supports professional enquiry;
  • Applied critical considerations when undertaking research;
  • Made effective use of professional learning to assess impact on practice.
  • Demonstrated a high level of relevant subject knowledge, enabling them to teach their chosen age phases.
  • Demonstrated and employed good pedagogical knowledge and understanding of the varying needs of their pupils;
  • Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of:
o the principles of either or a Primary /Early years OR Secondary education, learning and development, including those relating to anti-discriminatory practice and equality of opportunity;o the regulatory and legislative framework governing the organisation and delivery of secondary education;o curricular documentation, both statutory and advisory; in the management, organisation and delivery of secondary education;o the professional duties and responsibilities of a professional, including issues such as confidentiality o health and safety and child protection;
  • how to identify and draw upon academic sources to inform and enhance professional practice.

Thinking or Cognitive Skills
  • Made critical use of research evidence;
  • Formulated valid conclusions that link theory to practice;
  • Thought independently about essential issues, concepts and ideas;
  • Identified their own learning needs as part of their on-going professional development;
  • Reflected critically on their own professional experience and development in the light of relevant educational literature;
  • Engaged critically with relevant educational issues within education and children’s services, including Government policies and structures;
  • Analysed and responded to relevant issues in their age phase and subject specialist areas;
  • Identified and responded to the pastoral and learning needs of their pupils;
  • Taught creatively and for creativity within the school, promoting high standards of learning and teaching;
  • Communicated ideas, principles and theories, arguments and analysis effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences, using written, visual, verbal and ICT media, with a sense of audience;
  • Demonstrated appropriate critical thinking skills e.g. identified and summarised main points in an argument, developed an argument drawing upon evidence and literature, analysed and synthesised research, theories and ideas, examining issues from a range of professional perspectives and produced evaluative responses;
  • Used a range of established techniques to initiate and undertake critical analysis of information relating to their emerging roles as teachers, and to propose solutions to problems arising in work settings;
  • Worked independently and collaboratively - managing time, workload and the demands and responsibilities of being a professional.

Practical Skills
  • Critically reflected upon aspects of professional practice in the light of key theoreticalperspectives;
  • Made effectual use of professional learning to assess impact on practice; fulfil the Teachers' Standards defined by the Teaching Agency (now National College for Teaching and Leadership for the award of Qualified Teacher Status;
  • Demonstrated the experience, knowledge and skills that underpin effective pedagogical practice, both evidence based and reflective;
  • Carried out effectively the work roles expected of a professional in a school or educational setting;
  • Communicated effectively with children, parents and other professionals;
  • Designed, implemented, monitored and assessed specific activities which support the individual development and learning of children and which meet statutory requirements;
  • Demonstrated a thorough understanding of difference and diversity, recognising individual needs as well as developing tolerance and understanding of others;
  • Demonstrated qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment, requiring the exercise of personal responsibilities e.g. to manage and organise time, resources, records and information to support decision making.

Key Skills
  • Written, performed or exhibited academic standards required at M level;
  • Engaged in meaningful debate and critical discussion;
  • Read critically;
  • Synthesised written and oral information;
  • Met the requirements for the TA QTS tests in Literacy
Application of Number
  • Selected and used appropriate research methodology, methods and applications for data handling.
  • Met the requirements for the TA QTS tests in Numeracy ;
Information Literacy and Technology
  • Used the University’s VLE to access information;
  • Used electronic research skills;
  • Accessed databases for research and information;
  • Used the University’s e portfolio to maintain a professional learning journal, where appropriate.
  • Communicated ideas effectively in speech, writing and the use of ICT
Improving own learning and performance
  • Critically reflected on professional practice;
  • Developed new pedagogical and leadership skills;
  • Used initiative and managed own learning;
  • Made independent use of supervision.
  • Improved their own performance through critical self-reflection, the implementation of evidence-based practice, and ongoing professional development activities;
Working with others
  • Engaged in group presentations and disseminations;
  • Worked with professional colleagues to share ideas, research and good practice.
  • Worked with team of peers and professional colleagues in school and educational workplace settings to contribute to their own and others' learning;
Problem solving
  • Generated and applied new knowledge;
  • Analysed complex concepts;
  • Solved problems that have occurred whilst carrying out the role of a teacher- drawing upon their own knowledge and expertise and taking account of the views of fellow professionals, inspection evidence and the results of research based enquiry.

Transferable Professional Skills
Demonstrated the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment, including:
  • The exercise of initiative and personal responsibility;
  • Decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations;
  • The independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.
  • The skills of reflective practice;
  • Successfully working with a range of other professionals within the school setting;
  • Successfully working to tight deadlines under pressure;
  • Being a high quality role model for their pupils.

The duration of the course is normally a minimum of 180 days. 15 of these days are university based work focusing on the three academic modules of this programme. These modules are seen as an inter-related and interlocking focus of study. These modules are compulsory for all Associate Teachers on the programme of which the outcome will be the accreditation of 60 Masters Credits. A further 45 days are dedicated to the development of professional learning and of subject knowledge specific to the particular age phases or specialism studied by the Associate Teacher. This aspect of the training can be either university based or delivered in partnership settings. Associate Teachers must enrol on all non-accredited Professional Development Learning modules that are relevant to the age range they are training to teach.  The content of these modules will be delivered by either the university, and/ or the school/ schools within an alliance. The professional and subject knowledge they have gained through these modules, is evidenced in the assessment of the School based learning module ‘Meeting the Standards’.

120 days are dedicated school-based learning in an educational setting appropriate to the age ranges the Associate Teacher is training to teach and follows a gradualist approach. All Associate Teachers must enrol on the School based Learning module ‘Meeting the Standards’. This is a Pass/Fail module and will verify that the Associate Teacher has met all the ‘Teachers Standards’ and can be recommended to the National College of  Teaching and Leadership for the  professional qualification of ‘  

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) Two main placements are undertaken during the programme ensuring substantial time is spent in a minimum of two schools enabling focused learning and professional development in specific age phases.  Usually around 45 days are spent in the first school with a minimum of 30 days spent in the second school though in many instances this is also nearer 45. The total will add to 90 days. Additionally Associate Teachers are required to spend 5 days in the age phase before and after the age range they are training to teach (a further 10 days).  Additional days (10 in Secondary/5 in Primary) are used for enrichment opportunities that will impact on the Associate Teacher’s progress towards the Teachers’ Standards and should be bespoke and tailored to their individual needs and/or professional interests.  During the first block period of placement, (Placement A), the first three weeks in school form an induction period, during which ATs are involved in observations and team teaching and supporting individual learners. Their whole class teaching time will gradually increase to 40% by the end of the school-based learning block  Other directed time of up to 35% is focused on observational tasks both within and outside the age phase and their subject specialism, working with school  staff in pastoral support and gaining a knowledge of wider school issues and the PSHE curriculum. Attending extra-curricular activities is also an important activity that that the Associate Teacher should actively engage in. Associate Teachers should also experience up to 25% non-contact protected time to adequately plan, prepare, assess pupils, evaluate their teaching and reflect on their professional learning and complete focused directed study tasks to develop their understanding of pedagogy.Placement B is a second, and normally contrasting, period of School-Based Learning which normally lasts for a minimum of 30 days. This enables Associate Teachers to consolidate their teaching and learning skills and begin to focus more deeply on planning for differentiation, inclusion and assessment, under the close supervision of their mentors. By the later part of Placement B Associate Teachers should be normally planning to solo teach the timetable equivalent of 75% of a teacher’s timetable. This will be structured so that the Associate Teacher becomes confident and competent in the curriculum across the age range they are training to teach and have a good understanding of both prior and subsequent curriculum learning.  Having completed the required 30 days in Placement B, Associate Teachers may return to their host school (Placement A) to complete the rest of their School-Based Learning.Within both placements, there is protected study time to allow for investigations and data collection for university assignments.

The programme is structured so as to create a synergy between theoretical study and professional placement. In the majority of cases this should lead to the award of PGCE with the recommendation to the National College for Teaching and Leadership for the conferment of QTS. As the attainment of the Teachers’ Standards is achieved through the professional learning modules and the placements and it is possible for the Associate Teacher to fail the academic aspects of this programme but still gain recommendation for QTS.  Should an Associate Teacher fail to demonstrate the Teachers’ Standards required for QTS but achieve 60 credits at M level they may be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) without the recommendation of QTS.

All Associate Teachers will study the three academic module PR7101 (The Nature and Purpose of Learning and Teaching); PR7102 (Understanding the Curriculum and it Develpment) and PR7103 (The Nature and Purpose of Assessment).

All Associate Teachers will be enrolled on PR0011 ( School-based Learning - Meeting the Teacher's Standards)

Associate Teachers following the Secondary Education route will be enrolled on PR0012 Professional Development Learning ( Secondary); PR0013 Subject Specialism and PR0014 Enrichment (Secondary)

Associate Teachers following the Early Years/Primary and Primary Education route will be enrolled on PR0015 (Professional Development Learning) (Early Years/Primary, Primary); PR0016 (Core Curriculum); PR0017 (Foundation Subjects) and PR0018 (Enrichment)(Primary)

Associate teachers who successfully gain 60 credits at level M will be awarded a PGCE or PGCert * if QTS has not been achieved.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
PR7101 7 The Nature and Purpose of Learning and Teaching 20 Comp
PR7102 7 Understanding the Curriculum and its Development 20 Comp
PR7103 7 The Nature and Purpose of Assessment 20 Comp

The programme is structured so as to create a synergy between theoretical study and professional placement. In the majority of cases this should lead to the award of PGCE with the recommendation to the National College for Teaching and Leadership for the conferment of QTS. As the attainment of the Teachers’ Standards is achieved through the professional learning modules and the placements and it is possible for the Associate Teacher to fail the academic aspects of this programme but still gain recommendation for QTS. Should an Associate Teacher fail to demonstrate the Teachers’ Standards required for QTS but achieve 60 credits at M level they may be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) without the recommendation of QTS. Associate teachers who successfully gain 60 credits at level M will be awarded a PGCE or PGCert * if QTS has not been achieved.

Applicants will normally be required to hold, or be expected to gain, a degree of at least 2:1, in a subject related to the discipline of the named qualification. Each subject will set specific requirement in terms of the range of acceptable degree backgrounds. Those not holding a degree in an appropriate subject area will be required to attend a National College for Teaching and Leadership ‘booster’ course, or to provide evidence of other relevant supplementary study or additional experience. Applicants will also need to be able to provide evidence of relevant experience in schools. All applicants are required by the National College for Teaching and Leadership to hold GCSE Grade C or above, in English and Mathematics (or acceptable equivalents). All applications will be carefully screened, and those deemed suitable will be invited for interview. Interviews will normally involve the University subject tutor and a mentor from a partnership school. Applicants are required to undergo a DRB check. All Associate Teachers must have successfully passed the National College of Teaching and Leadership Skills Tests Prior to enrolment.

The published QAA descriptors for level 7 are used in designing the modules however as there are no benchmark statements which are directly applicable to professional Teacher Education courses other subject areas are considered by way of ensuring consistency of standards.  There are three other key external documents which inform all aspects of provision. The ‘Teachers' Standards' outline in detail the teachers' standards that must be met and the Personal and Professional Conduct which must be adhered to. A second Teaching Agency (now entitled National College for Teaching and Leadership) document entitled ‘Initial Teacher Training (ITT) criteria' specifies ‘Entry Criteria', ‘Training Criteria' and ‘Management and Quality Assurance Criteria'. Thirdly, provision is subject to regular inspections as outlined in the Ofsted Initial Teacher Education Inspection Framework.

Learning and Teaching will take place through a variety of methods. One third of the course will be specifically identified as ‘training days’ where learning will take place through lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. The learning during the 120 days of school-based learning will take place through mentor-delivered professional and subject sessions, and through the Associate Teachers’ observation of and practice in practical teaching. Throughout the Programme, Associate Teachers reflect on their professional development as teachers, and these reflections form an important tool for their own learning.


A distinctive feature of the course is the enrichment activity which takes place at key points. This is designed to enhance Associate Teachers' knowledge and to broaden their cultural and pedagogical awareness. This will be a stimulus for curriculum development and reflection during the second half of the programme.


The course is designed to meet individual needs, and will thus endeavour to build on prior experience in developing training plans for Associate Teachers.

 Learner Support

Every Associate Teacher will be assigned to a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) who contributes to the programme and has oversight of an individual Associate Teacher's progress. In addition to monitoring each Associate Teacher's progress in relation to the Professional Standards (see above), regular meetings with the PAT will provide guidance for successful completion of the modules and focus on effective strategies for the enhancement of each Associate Teacher’s academic profile. This academic/pastoral relationship lasts for the duration of the programme. Associate Teachers who are assessed at the outset as requiring additional support for specific needs will be referred to the Academic Support Tutors, or at subsequent time during the course, if the learner and tutor feel this is appropriate. Regular auditing of subject knowledge takes place throughout the programme, enabling Associate Teachers to identify areas of the curriculum in need of further development and enhancement.

 Support during professional placements/periods of School-Based TrainingWhilst working in school, Associate Teachers are supported by a Class teacher Mentor (Primary/Early Years) or Subject Mentor (Secondary), who provides weekly age phase and/or subject specific training, lesson observations and day-to day advice. There is also a professional mentor, who takes oversight of Associate Teachers within the school, and provides weekly sessions on general professional issues.

The three academic modules will normally be assessed through written assignments or their equivalent. Assessment is undertaken in accordance with the University of Chester's regulations and requirements. In general terms Associate Teachers are assessed, at M level, on their ability to:
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding, in breadth and in depth, of the subject-matter studied;
  • discuss, interpret, and critically analyse a range of literature;
  • utilise effectively the transferable communication and rhetorical skills of speaking, listening, reading, writing, and arguing;
  • conduct independent and collaborative research, using relevant skills and methods (including ICT).
 Associate Teachers will be informed about the assessment requirements of each element of their programme. The formal assessment requirements are described in each module descriptor and will be communicated through module handbooks. Associate Teachers will be provided with assignment specific criteria that relate to the learning outcomes for that module in the module handbook as well as generic level assessment descriptors appropriate for M level.

Associate Teachers enter the programme as postgraduates, and by the end of the course, they would be expected to exhibit:

  1. Confidence and competence in relating to the demands of the primary/early years, primary and secondary school context;
  2. Strong subject knowledge, enabling them to teach across the full age and ability range of the secondary school;
  3. Flexibility, resilience  and adaptability in relating to professional demands;
  4. The knowledge and understanding required to initiate, research, and sustain projects centred on the effectiveness of their own and others’ practice, based on individual initiative and/or research;
  5. A proactive approach to their own continuing professional development.
They are required to meet the Teachers' Standards which came into effect from September 2012.

The University of Chester is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

To this end, the programme will:

  • ensure that all Associate Teachers, staff (including those in partnership schools) are treated with respect;·
  • no Associate Teachers or professional colleague will be knowingly discriminated against;·
  • all participants in and contributors to the programme will be encouraged to become involved in the development, management, delivery and evaluation of the effectiveness of the programme;

The Programme is designed to cover a minimum of two consecutive age ranges from the following list: 3-5 years, 5-7  years, 7-9 years, 9-11 years and  11-16 years, with  enhancements. Age-phases must be agreed with the ATs.  For example Secondary Associate Teachers will normally gain enhancement experience of post-16 provision. Where appropriate, the post 16 provision may include vocational as well as academic routes. All ATs will engage with the curriculum and assessment arrangements for the age phases before and after the phase they are particularly training to teach.  NB The ITT Criteria (Section 2.2) must be considered when stating the age phases that the AT is equipped to teach.


The course works in partnership with schools. There are approximately 300 schools in the partnership. These schools are mainly located in the northwest including Cheshire, Wirral, Halton, Warrington, Shropshire, Manchester and Staffordshire. Normally PGCE placements in school are of two equal periods of 60 days each. However in the School Direct programme the School Alliance in which the Associate Teachers are training may create a more bespoke arrangement of placements. The National College for Teaching and Leadership requires a minimum of 120 days in where possible at least two contrasting schools.

 Where and when it is appropriate for the Associate Teacher’s development, they may have the opportunity to spend some of their school based time in a relevant alternative educational setting.

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