Frequently Asked Questions for all our Teacher Training programmes

What’s the difference between a University PGDipEd/PGCE and School Direct?

The University core PGDipEd offer is managed by the University along with our family of partner schools. University of Birmingham students undertake two school placements arranged by the University (for about two thirds of the year) as well as a full programme of subject specialist learning on campus for about one third of the programme time.

Students on a School Direct route are selected by their school, in partnership with the University and your placements will be arranged by the school. You will be included in a wide range of professional learning opportunities within the school partnership and feel a strong sense of belonging from the start of the programme. All secondary School Direct students are also full members of their subject group and are included in the full taught programme of the University of Birmingham.

What’s the difference between a PGCE and a PGDipEd?

The PGDipEd is a Postgraduate Diploma, and so offers more master’s level credits than a PGCE, with 120 credits. You may complete the Masters in Teaching Studies with us once you have completed your induction year through carrying out your own educational research project (60-credit dissertation).  

The PGCE is a Post-graduate Certificate which offers 60 credits. 

Both the PGCE and the PGDipEd lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Is a PGDipEd more work than a PGCE?

The PGDipEd offers more master’s level credits than a PGCE. This means a slightly greater proportion of your time will be spent researching and writing about teaching and learning, as well as benefitting from spending a substantial amount of time in school on teaching practice. While there are more credits with the PGDipEd the academic challenge of both the PGDipEd and the PGCE is at the same level – both are postgraduate ‘Level 7’.

Can I get a bursary for the PGDipEd?

You may receive a government training bursary for the PGDipEd, as you would for a PGCE, depending on your degree, subject and classification.

How can I find out if my degree content is appropriate?

We advise you to read the information under Entry Requirements on our subject webpage carefully. You can get in touch with the subject tutor directly to check whether your degree content is acceptable if you are unsure about it.

I don’t have a GCSE in Maths / English Language / Science (grade C or above) – can I still apply?

For Secondary you need to have a GCSE in Maths and English (grade C or above) or an equivalent qualification; for Primary you need to have a GCSE in Maths, English and science (grade C or above) or an equivalent qualification.

If you are unsure whether your qualification in English / Maths / Science is equivalent to GCSE you need to contact Admissions before you apply and check as some courses (e.g. primary) will not consider applications without these.

Alternatively you might be advised to take an Equivalency Test if you do not meet the GCSE requirements.

How can I find out more about subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses?

There are subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses available in Chemistry, Maths, Languages, and Physics: see the Department for Education website for more detail. We offer a Subject Knowledge Enhancement course for Mathematics.  (Subject to DfE confirmation in December 2020) 

Do I need some school experience before I apply?

We recognise that for some applicants, it will not have been possible to gain school experience and this will not rule you out. However, having some school experience will:

  • help you at the beginning of the course as you will be able to start making links between your learning and practice in school to some extent
  • help you check that you are making the right decision to apply for teacher training

How do I apply? 

You need to apply online University of Birmingham programmes through the UCAS website (and for some other programmes via DfE Apply). Applications start in the autumn for a start the following September and there is one intake per year. You can apply throughout the year although courses can get full very quickly. We therefore recommend you apply as early as possible.

What is the time commitment needed?

All our ITE programmes are one-year full-time courses, with substantial time spent in placement schools. When on placement you can expect to be at school from before the school day starts until after it ends for meetings. You will also need to prepare lessons and carry out marking outside school hours. There are also a number of assignments and tasks to complete during the year.

What can I do in preparation for my studies and training?

You will be contacted before the start of the course and be provided with a list of suitable activities to carry out before the start of the course.

How much will it cost to train to become a teacher? Am I eligible for a government bursary?

I already have a DBS/police check, do I need to apply for a new one?

Unfortunately we cannot accept a DBS check provided for another purpose, so you will need to complete a criminal check via the University. 

What type of schools will my placements be at and where are they located?

Please view this map which provides information on the location of our UoB partnership schools and school direct lead schools.

Why should I choose to train to teach with the University of Birmingham?

The University of Birmingham has repeatedly secured ‘Outstanding’ grades with Ofsted (national school and initial teacher training inspectorate) in all of its provision.  Ofsted, our External Examiners, Headteachers who employ out students and students themselves all consistently emphasise the quality of our initial teacher training.  Our employability statistics are amongst the very best in the country and a significant proportion of those who train with us complete their Master’s degree (Teaching Studies) and move on to middle or senior leadership in schools across the Midlands and further afield.  The quality of our ITE Partnership is praised repeatedly by schools themselves, by our External Examiners and by Ofsted.