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University of Reading

Primary PGCE

Institute of Education

The programme allows you to select an Early Years (3-7), Primary (5-11) or Primary with French (5-11) route. Although the programme prepares you to teach specific ages, once qualified you are able to teach any age. For those on the Primary pathway we offer specialisms in English, Maths and Science and Special Educational Needs. All students will receive training on SEN and for those on the Primary and Early Years pathways they can apply to complete a SEN school placement. Trainees are able to apply for these specialisms once they are on the programme. The Primary Programme is intense but enjoyable and rewarding, with our graduates much sought after.


We are fortunate to have a number of internationally and nationally recognised figures teaching on the course who are at the cutting edge of their research. For example Helen Bilton, Early Years expert, particularly in the area of the Outdoor Teaching and Learning Environment. She has written a number of books, including Outdoor Learning in the Early Years. Professor Rhona Stainthorp has been researching the development of reading and writing for longer than she is prepared to admit. Her work included studying children with exceptionally precocious skills as well as those children with typical development and those with difficulties. Her work had contributed to national developments in the teaching of reading and writing since the start of the National Literacy Strategy. Special Educational Needs is a strength at Reading, and Dr Cathy Tissot a national figure in this area contributes to the programme. Our Partnership schools are innovative and vibrant and their teachers come in to work with trainees.

Programme structure

The PGCE Primary programme runs from September to the beginning of July. The programme is well organised, with a mixture of school and university based training, and supports trainees on their learning journey.

Schools-theory into practice

During the year there is the opportunity to work in two different age ranges, in 3 school placements, to ensure the broadest possible experience. School-based work includes observing children and teachers and focused tutorials. Trainees work alongside experienced teachers and gradually assume more responsibility for teaching until they take the whole class. During this time, support is provided by experienced mentors and University tutors.

Teaching -innovative and exciting

The taught component of the programme comprises curriculum subjects and professional studies. The programme is an exciting mix of taught sessions, practical workshops, interactive seminars and presentations. We use a range of techniques to enable trainees to learn including working with the same resources children will be using whether it be the whiteboard, story sacks, maths snakes, or bats and balls.

Teaching-all you need to know

We are particularly proud of our innovative developments in the field of e-learning. We use the virtual learning environment called Blackboard for trainees to keep in touch, share their reflections and to learn from each other. We make sure trainees are trained to know about all the subjects - English, Maths, Science, ICT, Humanities, RE, PE, Art, Technology, Music and Drama - and they will learn both how to teach these subjects and develop their own knowledge. Running alongside is the Professional Studies module which looks at issues such as child development, managing behaviour, inclusion, assessment and planning..

The exciting bits

Innovative aspects of the programme include SEN, the integrated curriculum, the involvement of Reading International Solidarity Centre, the creation of materials to use in schools, the teaching of all subjects, the partnership with schools, students being trained to being specialists and therefore very employable.

And finally……….

You will leave the Programme with Qualified Teacher Status, an academic qualification-the PGCE and 60 Masters credit. Plus you will be wiser and more grounded!

Early Years (3-7 years) specialism X121

The Early Years pathway gives trainees the experience, the opportunity and the knowledge to work in both Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) settings and Infant/Primary school settings. We are particular proud of the number of Early Years trained tutors who are at the cutting edge of knowledge. The EYFS is a unique and special phase of education which involves learning through play and first hand experiences both inside and out. This phase leads into Key Stage 1 when children really start to grapple with learning to read, applying their mathematical knowledge and making sense of how the world works. Choose this pathway if you are interested in the younger child and to be involved with shaping the child from the beginning. Do not choose this pathway if you think it is the easiest of the three! Helping to shape a learner and access the whole curriculum is far harder the younger the child. By choosing this pathway you will be fortunate to experience both the EYFS and KS1 phases and therefore be highly skilled in two curricula. We are keen to encourage more people onto the 3-7 years pathway and have found that a large number of students who opted for the Primary pathway wished they had indeed opted for the Early Years pathway. If you are interested in becoming an Early Years expert teacher do choose this pathway.

Primary (5-11 years) with French specialism XR11

We are one of few institutions to offer a Primary Languages specialism and it rightly has a very high reputation. This pathway gives trainees the experience, opportunity and knowledge to work in KS1 and KS2. Choose this pathway if you are interested in becoming the Subject Leader or Primary French Languages Co-ordinator in your future school. This programme prepares you for teaching in primary, infant & junior schools. It enables you to teach French to young learners and become effective Primary Language co-ordinators. The structure and much of the content follows the Primary programme. You will need a minimum of A level French or another language. Please do still apply if you have a different language to French.

Primary (5-11 years) X100

The Primary pathway gives you the experience, opportunity and knowledge to work in KS1 and KS2 in infant, junior and primary schools. Trainees are fortunate to work with tutors who are highly knowledgeable about their subjects and able to support you in teaching them. Choose this pathway if you are interested in shaping the child as they start on their compulsory schooling. You will work alongside and help children as they learn to read, to understand and apply mathematics and to appreciate how the world works. Through this pathway we are offering four specialism-English, Mathematics and Science and Special Educational Needs.

Primary PGCE Entry Requirements

Candidates must have obtained:

  • A good honours degree of a UK higher education institution or equivalent qualification
  • GCSE grade C or equivalent in English, Mathematics and Science and, for PGCE Primary, a modern language, preferably French In addition

Applicants must:

  • be able to communicate effectively in both spoken and written English
  • If offered a place, obtain an enhanced CRB disclosure, arranged through the University. All non-UK candidates need to provide a certificate of no criminal convictions - provided by their own police force before entering the UK
  • If offered a place, meet the requirements for 'physical and mental fitness to teach', assessed by a declaration of health questionnaire and, in some cases, a medical examination
  • Pass computer-based Skills Tests in Numeracy and Literacy, prior to starting the programme (September 2013 entry onwards)
  • Undertake a placement, minimum two weeks, in a state-maintained, mainstream primary school prior to the start of the programme.

Skills Tests

Applicants for ITT courses which begin in 2016/17 will be required to have passed the skills test before the start of the course. In order to help applicants with their planning the DfE has enhanced the process to allow applicants to register and book skills test appointments before they apply. In order to achieve this they are opening the pre-entry online registration system on Monday 17 September, with available appointments from Monday 1 October. This coincides with the GTTR application opening date.

Applicants must submit an application before taking the tests and will need to provide evidence of this when they attend the test centre. They will be prevented from taking the test if they are unable to do so. Further details about acceptable evidence will be provided on the DfE website.

Applicants who have passed their Key Skills tests will be viewed favourably for interview.



  • The PGCE Primary programme is designated as 'outstanding' in the most recent Ofsted inspection. Our knowledge of and support of each individual is a particular strength, as is our inspirational teaching. We are graded third in the country for preparing trainees to teach phonics. External examiners and students year on year report that this is a fantastic training programme.

  • Type: Post-Grad
  • Duration: Year 1
  • Subject Area: Post-Grad
  • Fees: £9,000

  • Location: Reading