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' by consecutive time by Ofsted inspections 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.”
Market globalisation and higher levels of mobility within Europe and beyond mean that more than ever we need excellent linguists. With Modern Languages taking a more prominent place in the school curriculum we need inspiring and high-quality teachers to help language learners develop the skills needed for 21st century Britain.
The Initial Teacher Education course
The PGDipEd course lasts 36 weeks, of which 24 are spent on placement in partnership schools. There are five phases:
Preparation (university, some school-based activities including some primary teaching)
School Placement 1 (seven week placement in school with tutor visit and one day at the university)
Development (university, some activities such as teaching on an intensive post-16 day, one week in your second school)
School Placement 2 (twelve week block placement with tutor visits and some university days);
Completion (two further weeks in your second school and two weeks at the university).
Teaching practice will take several forms: school placements and also team teaching while at the university. You will also get involved in small scale research projects for your assignments so that you can evaluate the theory in practice and integrate this learning into your own practice.
The course is assessed through 6 modules in total (see details below).
If you are interested in our other secondary subject courses please view the general Secondary PGDipEd course page.
Why study this course
Alumni profiles and podcasts
Farhat Mustaq, Teacher Training in Secondary Modern Languages
Farhat Mustaq was born in Pakistan and lived for 10 years in France before moving to the UK where she completed her degree studies. She successfully completed her teacher training in Modern Languages with us and was awarded the The Elaine Hurman Prize for her excellent work on developing her pupils’ use of the target language in class. Two years into her teaching career she has been promoted to head of department in her school and is studying for an MEd in Teaching Studies (Listen to Farhat discussing her teacher training course in the video above)
Jean-Yves Rivière, Teacher Training in Secondary Modern Languages
Jean-Yves Rivière, came to the UK when he was 21 having been educated and done his national service in France. He says there were times when he felt 'it is like being on an emotional rollercoaster, but there is always great support from the course tutors.' read more
What students say about the course
‘The PGDipEd in MFL was a challenging and rewarding course which laid the foundations for excellent teaching practice. I was given continual support both at university and at my school placements. The Masters level assignments allowed us to gain an academic understanding of teaching and I am keen to return to gain a Masters in Education in a few years.’ Stephanie Seal
"I chose to study at the University of Birmingham for my PGDipEd, because of the quality of the course. I felt it would offer me the training and support I would need to grow into a good teacher. It did meet my expectations, and beyond them." Kevin Perrault
‘Being French, I thought it could have been very challenging to pass this course but it is absolutely possible for a non English speaking person. The MFL sessions were very useful and helped me in my teaching development.This was a tough year, but I am very glad I did it at the University of Birmingham.’ Marine Masson
The City of Birmingham
Vibrant and diverse, Birmingham is a European centre for retail, commerce and culture. Appropriately, its civic motto is ‘Forward’, and it is its driving ambition and attitude which makes Birmingham a great place to study, work and live.
Find out more about studying and living in the City of Birmingham
All students have to complete six modules, five of which require a written assignments. In addition students need to complete two teaching placements and have to meet the Teachers' Standards for the Award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)
School Studies 1:
(20 credits Level M)
Assessment for this module is through an assignment on teachers’ use of the target language in Modern Languages classes, pre-placement school-based lesson planning and evaluation, and the student teacher’s reflection on their own progress during the autumn term.
School Studies 2:
(20 credits Level M)
Assessment for this module is through practical research on grammar teaching in Modern Languages, the first school placement teaching file (e.g. lesson plans, observation notes), and the student teacher’s Learning Development Profile.
School Studies 3:
(20 credits Level M)
Assessment for this module focuses on developing learner autonomy in Modern Languages, and the student teacher’s reflection on their own progress during the spring term. There are also university and school-based seminars on whole school issues, e.g. equal opportunities, management of the teaching environment.
School Studies 4:
(20 credits Level M)
Assessment for this module is through an open-choice assignment (negotiated with the tutor and the mentor in school), the student teacher’s reflection on their own progress during the summer term, and their Career Entry Development Profile.
Teaching Experience 1:
(30 credits Level 3)
Student teachers observe lessons and teach on average half a normal teacher’s timetable, providing relevant documentation for every lesson taught. They have discussions with tutors, mentors and teachers focusing on pupils’ learning and the experience of teaching. This module is closely linked with the School Studies modules where the theoretical underpinning of the practice is discussed to enable the students to analyse the ideas in practice. Much of the module depends upon the student teacher’s individual work as a practitioner and reflection upon practice. The second placement file and Teaching Progress Report Form (for QTS) are key elements in the assessment of this module.
Teaching Experience 2:
(10 credits Level M)
This module is assessed through a two-part assignment on the student teacher’s developing practice in monitoring and assessment of pupil progress.
Fees and funding
Fees for 2014–15 are: £9,000 (UK/EU full-time), £13,665 (overseas full-time).
Learn more about fees and funding
Scholarships and studentships
Home/EU students will be eligible to apply for statutory support from their relevant funding agency. Government training bursaries may be available depending on your subject and degree classification.
For further information contact the School directly or the Student Funding Office via online enquiries.
Ideally we expect candidates to:
hold a degree (preferably 2:2 or above) in the language they wish to teach (French/German/Spanish). We prefer at least half of the candidate’s degree to be in that language, unless they are a native speaker in which case we accept alternative degree subjects.
be able to offer a second foreign language (at a lower level than their main language is acceptable) as being able to offer two mainstream languages greatly increases employability.
have spent a substantial period of time in a country where their main foreign language (French/German/ Spanish) is spoken and be familiar with the English educational system.
Note: We will consider applications on their own merits. If your profile is not quite in line with the above requirements this should not put you off applying, however your application should demonstrate how you will make a good candidate.
All candidates also have to:
have a GCSE in Maths and English (grade C or above) or an equivalent qualification; alternatively you 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 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. Applications can be made from 21st November 2013 for the following September start. The course is often full by spring so we recommend you apply as early as possible.
French (alone or with Spanish or German): R1X1
German (alone or with French or Spanish): R2X1
Spanish with French: RX41