Like a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) the Post-Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education (PGDipEd) is a teacher training programme leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) however it has the advantage of offering the equivalent of 120 credits which may be used towards our MA in Teaching Studies. Rated outstanding by Ofsted in 2013, this is a unique course which offers high quality training and support as well as excellent employment prospects.
Once you have completed your PGDipEd, you may return to study with us on a part-time basis to complete your Masters in Teaching Studies. Additionally, the School also offers a number of specialised Professional Development programmes which will enable you to further develop your career.
The Secondary PGDipEd is available in the following subjects:
Additionally, we offer a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course in mathematics for those who do not meet subject entrance requirements.
The School of Education, also offers secondary programmes through the School Direct route. To help you decide which route to take, we have put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions
Download our brochure for information on all our teacher education programmes.
The 2013 Ofsted report
“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 ”
The School of Education at the University of Birmingham has a long tradition of delivering teacher training courses. Its teaching has been 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 Initial Teacher Education course
This 36-week programme is based in schools and on the University main campus, and includes the following areas of study:
The award of the PGDipEd (QTS) is subject to completion of all areas of study, and to satisfactory assessment of professional studies via six modules, subject-based work and school practice. The course is designated 11–19 so you will work with pupils from Key Stages 3 and 4 of the National Curriculum and with those in the 16-plus age group; from the very able to those with learning difficulties, and in a variety of settings.
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:
Fees for 2017-2018 are: £9,250 (UK/EU full-time), £15,570 (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.
All candidates have to:
have degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject. Please view specific subjects for precise details
have a GCSE in Maths and English at grade 4 or above or an equivalent qualification (on application). Alternatively, candidates for all courses might be advised to take an Equivalency Test
(please check with the subject tutor if you are unsure whether this applies to you).
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
New GCSE grades
A variety of teaching styles and approaches to learning are used in the presentation of the themes. These include University-based lectures, small group seminars and workshops, school-based work with pupils and teachers, and work undertaken individually or with other groups of students.
The PGDipEd is divided into five phases:
- Preparation (university-based with some activities in school)
- School Placement 1 (seven week placement in school with tutor visit and one day at the university)
- Development (university-based with some activities in school)
- School Placement 2 (twelve week block placement with tutor visits and two university days);
- 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 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.
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.
As a student teacher you will want to learn about and practise the teaching of your own subject. This programme offers you plenty of opportunity for this and also addresses other important issues such as classroom management, equal opportunities, special educational needs and pastoral care. We will help you acquire the knowledge and skills needed to meet the other varied demands that are part of life in school. You will also receive guidance on how to gain a teaching post - our student teachers employment rates are consistently excellent and well above the national average.