Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Mathematics

Our Mathematics one-year PGDipEd (QTS) course received the top grade in all areas in the last Ofsted subject inspection. The course tries to develop a deep understanding of issues and complexities which surround the teaching and learning of mathematics. We wish to develop you as a thinking teacher who can be aware of choices in how to teach mathematics and make informed decisions about how you work with students.

At the University of Birmingham we believe we should provide student teachers with the highest level of teacher training possible, and this is why we offer a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDipEd) rather than a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). Both qualifications lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) but the PGDipEd also offers the equivalent of 120 credits at Master’s level (out of 180), which makes it a highly rewarding course by combining both theory and practice. 

This course attracts bursaries of up to £25,000 (depending on qualifications) in line with the government’s priority to attract more well qualified mathematics teachers.

Following satisfactory completion of this course, plus a successful induction year in school and references, students can return to complete an MA in Teaching Studies (data collection and a 15,000 word dissertation). 

Please note that it is important to make an early application as demand is very high and places fill quickly.

Download a summary of the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Mathematics programme (PDF)

Come along to one of our open evenings to find out more about teacher training opportunities at Birmingham.

The School of Education at the University of Birmingham has a long tradition of delivering teacher training courses. Its teaching has been recently graded as 'outstanding' for the third consecutive time by Ofsted inspectors which reaffirms the University’s status as one of the UK’s leading institutions for excellence in teacher training. The Ofsted report states that “such is the confidence of schools that trainees from the University of Birmingham are of high quality, employment rates for both primary and secondary phases exceed national averages by some margin. Trainees display excellent professional qualities: they are clear that good teaching leads to pupils who are interested in their work, enjoy learning and behave well.”

Former student Dave Lehman talks about his experiences of the PGDipEd(QTS) Secondary Mathematics course

This Initial Teacher Education (ITE) course is 36 weeks long of which 24 weeks are spent on placement in partnership schools. There are five phases: Preparation (university and some school-based activities); School Placement 1 (seven week placement in school); Development (university and one week in your second school); School Placement 2 (12 week block placement and some university days); Completion (two further weeks in second school and two weeks in university).

The course will not pretend that teaching mathematics is straightforward, because it is not! Our sessions will rarely be of the form of a lecture, instead we use activities and discussion as the main way of working.

We will help you become aware of issues relating to planning lessons, assessment, the difference between telling students information and teaching students, standard misconceptions students have about mathematics topics, how different approaches to teaching a topic can change the learning experience for students and how choice of resources and technology can change the sort of mathematics with which students engage. Along the way we will, of course, also introduce you to the National Curriculum and we will also do a lot of mathematics ourselves!

Download a summary of the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Mathematics programme (PDF, 74KB)

Subject Knowledge Enhancement course

If you don’t have a degree with at least 50% maths content then you might like to consider our Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Mathematics Subject Knowledge Enhancement route for non-specialists course instead. 

Equal Opportunities

The School of Education is committed to equal opportunities in the access to and provision of education. For more information please see the following documents:

School Mission Statement (PDF 23KB, opens new window)

Disability and Disability Equality Scheme
Race Equality

If you have an Engineering or Physics degree you may be interested in our Physics with Mathematics PGDipEd(QTS)course.

We also offer the Postgraduate Diploma Primary Education (SSPIP) Mathematicscourse if you are interested in teaching young children.

Information on all our other PGDipEd secondary subjects may be found on the  Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) course page.  

Related staff

Fees and funding

Fees for 2016-2017 are: £9,000 (UK/EU full-time), £14,140 (overseas full-time).

This course attracts bursaries of up to £25,000 (depending on qualifications) in line with the government’s priority to attract more well qualified mathematics teachers.

Scholarships and studentships
Home/EU students will be eligible to apply for statutory support from their relevant funding agency.

The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) in collaboration with the London Mathematical Society (LMS), the Mathematical Association (MA), Maths in Education and Industry (MEI) and the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) offers a £25,000 scholarship for home students. There will be six application rounds throughout the year. Training bursaries are also offered of up to £25,000

For further information contact the School directly or the Student Funding Office via online enquiries.

Entry requirements

All applicants to the Secondary PGDipEd(QTS) Mathematics course must hold a degree or equivalent qualification. We will expect your degree to not only have a high mathematics content but it will have a range and level of mathematics equivalent to 50% of a mathematics degree. If your degree has less mathematics content than this then please see our Mathematics subject knowledge enhancement route for non-specialists.

All candidates also have to:

  • have a GCSE in Maths and English (grade C or above) or an equivalent qualification; alternatively they might be advised to take an Equivalency Test. The DfE require us to check the original certificates; you therefore cannot start a PGDipEd(QTS) course unless you already hold these qualifications. 
  • pass Professional Skills Tests in numeracy and literacy; please see the Professional Skills Tests section of the Department for Education web site for more information on the core skills required by trainee teachers
  • provide a satisfactory medical form 
  • complete an enhanced DBS/police check
  • complete a Declaration of Suitability to Teach
  • adhere to a Code of Professional Conduct and Fitness to Practise 

How to apply

Apply online through the UCAS Teacher Training portal. We recommend you apply as early as possible as the course becomes full well before summer. 

UCAS code: G1X1

The UCAS website has a number of useful videos to assist you with your application such as this one on writing a personal statement 

Find out more about the role of a mentor in school


Course Structure

The PGDipEd is divided into five phases: 

  1. Preparation (university-based with some activities in school) 
  2. School Placement 1 (seven week placement in school with tutor visit and one day at the university) 
  3. Development (university-based with some activities in school) 
  4. School Placement 2 (twelve week block placement with tutor visits and two university days);
  5. Completion (two further weeks in your second school and two weeks at the university).

The course includes the following areas of study: 

  • Subject-based teaching methods 
  • School-based work 
  • Whole-school issues

Subject-based teaching methods

You follow one main method programme, each of which occupies at least three half-days a week for five weeks in each of the autumn and spring terms and two weeks in the summer term. In some subjects a field course, involving work with children, may replace a number of single days in the year. Assessment is based on coursework undertaken during the year.  

School-based work  

School-based work is an important part of the programme, with students normally spending 24 weeks in schools. The combination of block practice and other periods of work in schools enables you to benefit from both carefully supported introductory work in different schools and the experience of spending a significant length of time in one school.

The final assessment of teaching is based on the spring/summer term school placement. Assessment is shared between University tutors, staff responsible for students in schools, and external examiners. All aspects of your contribution to the life of the school are taken into account, in particular the teaching of your main subject.

Prior to the start of the autumn term you are expected to undertake a preliminary period of observation in a primary/middle school near your home or lodgings. During the course supervised experience and practice are arranged in schools of various kinds across the 11–18 age range. We are fortunate in being able to work with a wide range of partnership schools, including mixed comprehensives, single-sex schools and sixth-form colleges. Many of the schools offer opportunities to work with pupils from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds.  

Whole-school issues

This area of study is concerned with aspects of education that are of importance to all intending teachers, irrespective of their particular teaching subjects. It is designed to provide you with a breadth of awareness, depth of insight and development of skills through a range of themes studied by all students. Themes currently include Managing Inclusion, Monitoring and Assessment, and Pastoral Care and Citizenship.  

Tutoring and support

You will personally be allocated a university tutor who will guide and support you throughout your PGDipEd (QTS), along with a dedicated school mentor when on placement.


Once you have completed your PGDipEd (QTS) and successfully passed your induction year you may return to study with us on a part-time basis to complete a 60 credit dissertation and obtain an MA in Teaching Studies

Assessment methods

All students have to complete six modules, five of which require a written assignment. In addition all students complete two teaching placements and have to meet the Teachers' Standards for the Award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Many local schools have a high regard for Birmingham mathematics PGDipEd (QTS) students and we have an excellent record of students gaining jobs at the end of the course. Many of our ex-students are now Heads of Departments in our partnership schools.

Read the Alumni Profile of Jemma Sherwood who completed her teacher training in 2005. She has recently won a Pearson Teaching Award.