Postgraduate Diploma Primary Education (PGCE Advanced) General Primary or Early Years

Quick links: Fees and Funding | Entry Requirements | How to apply

The Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Education will enable you to teach in state-maintained and special schools in England and Wales. It is designed to enable you to become a reflective, confident practitioner having acquired a range of skills and expertise. Rated outstanding by Ofsted in 2013, this is a unique course which offers high quality training and support as well as excellent employment prospects.

Like a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) the Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Education is a teacher training programme leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) but it also offers the equivalent of 120 credits and these may be used towards our MA in Teaching Studies.  Additionally, the School also offers a number of specialised Professional Development programmes which will enable you to further develop your career.

Teacher Training Open Days

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 ITE primary 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. 

As well as offering outstanding teacher training courses, we are one of the few universities that awards 120 credits for successful completion of our courses, which we award at Masters level. For those who successfully complete their induction year there is an opportunity to transfer credits to the MA Teaching Studies course, which is awarded on completion of a 60 credit dissertation. 

The primary programmes meet all aspects of government requirements for Initial Teacher Training. We are able to offer applicants a choice of two routes, so that you can prepare as a teacher across the full 5–11 age range or specialise instead in early years teaching (3–7 age range). Both programmes last for 38 weeks; the equivalent of 19 of which will be spent in schools.

Programme content 

  • General Primary programme
    Students on the General Primary (5–11 years) programme follow a range of courses that address the statutory curricula for the core and foundation subjects alongside Professional Studies, which considers whole school issues.
  • Early Years programme
    This programme allows you to focus your training on work with children aged from three to seven years of age. You spend time in nursery classes, as well as teaching children of school age in both Reception and Key Stage 1 classes. You follow the same range of courses as those on the General Primary programme, in addition to an advanced study of early years education.

Both of these programmes will qualify you to teach children aged 3 - 11 years.

School-based experiences are a central part of these programmes, with an opportunity for you to experience a range of ages within different schools. Both programmes also feature a range of professional courses to help you plan, teach, and develop your classroom skills. The programmes are designed, in conjunction with partnership schools, to meet the Teachers' Standards for the Award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). The high quality personalised support, ensures that the majority of our students exceed the teachers's standards at an outstanding level (Ofsted report 2013).

Related teaching programmes

We also offer the alternative School Direct route into primary teaching. If you are interested in teaching young children, but would prefer to train as a mathematics specialist, information may be found on our Primary Education (SSPIP) in Mathematics course page and if you would prefer to teach older pupils, information on our Secondary courses may be found on the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education course page.

Ask our current students and alumni a question

These are experienced postgraduates who have previously studied, or are currently studying, at the University of Birmingham, and they will offer help and advice from a student perspective.

Ask Francesca a question 
(General Primary) 
Ask Luke a question 
(Early Years)
Ask Sarah-Louise a question 
(General Primary) 

Ask Sarah a question
(General Primary)


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:

Related staff

Fees and funding

Fees for 2018-2019 are: £9,250 (UK/EU full-time), £16,290 (overseas full-time).

Learn more about fees and funding

For further information contact the School directly visit the Funding, Graduation & Awards Office via online enquiries. 

Entry requirements

A good Honours degree (preferably 2:1 or above) – National Curriculum subject content within the degree is desirable but not essential as we recruit from a range of degree subjects. A minimum of five days’ teaching experience in a mainstream primary school is also required (this must not be an independent or overseas school.

Candidates have to also:

  • have a GCSE in Maths, English and science (grade 4 or above) or an equivalent qualification. If you are offering a qualification other than a GCSE please check with us before making an application; alternatively you might be advised to take an Equivalency Test 
  • 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 

Please note that for the Primary and Early Years initial teacher education courses at the University of Birmingham we prefer applicants to have passed the Skills tests prior to attending an interview.

Additional information:

New GCSE grades

How to apply

Apply online through the UCAS Teacher Training portal 

UCAS codes

Early Years: X121
Primary: X100

The primary course is designed in conjunction with our school based partnership, we have a full time team of specialist tutors and centre-based training takes place in spacious rooms that provide a learning environment tailored to promoting high quality primary practice.

Read what student Mikala Moore-Haines says about the PGDipEd (PGCE Advanced) in Early Years course. Why she decided to become a teacher, what she enjoys about the training and some of the challenges.  

Assessment methods

Written aspects of the programmes are taught and assessed at Masters level. Overall assessment consists of assignments, school based tasks and school practice.

The Primary and Early Years course works closely with the University careers service and local councils in order to provide you with support for the job application process. Our success rate for student completion of our courses and subsequent employment in schools has remained consistently high. 91% of students from the Early Years course and 98% from the General Primary course obtained employment within the teaching profession in 2014/15. The the vast majority of our students gain employment in the local region, many of them choosing to remain in partnership schools.