Postgraduate Diploma Primary Education (PGCE Advanced)

Start date
38 weeks
UCAS code
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

On the Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Education (QTS) there is the option to specialise in Early Years (3-7 years) or Primary (5-11 years). The programme also offers 120 credits towards our MA Teaching Studies.


Please rest assured that we will make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.

Information for future students and applicants

Please note, this programme will be closed to new applicants from Friday 17 July 2020

On the Postgraduate Diploma Primary Education (PGDipEd) programme you will benefit from our unique collaboration with a wide range of partner schools and the diverse communities we serve will enrich your experience. Once you have enrolled on the Primary PGDipEd course, you can opt to specialise either in General Primary (5-11 years) or in Early Years (3-7 years). If you opt to follow the General Primary training route, you will complete 3 school placements across Key Stages 1 and 2. If you opt for the Early Years route instead, your 3 placements will be in Key Stage 1, Nursery and Reception.

For applicants joining us on the Primary Education programme for 2020-2021 we will offer all students a travel bursary of £150 to help support costs incurred when travelling to placements during the training year.

On our programme you will be challenged to develop informed and justified decisions about how you approach your teaching, in order to enable you to continue to develop over your career. On successful completion of your PGDipEd and your NQT year, you may return to study with us on a part-time basis to complete your Masters in Teaching Studies.

We also offer the alternative School Direct route into primary teaching. If you are interested in primary teaching and you have a grade A or B in A level Mathematics (or equivalent), you may like to train as a mathematics specialist. Information may be found on our Primary Education (SSPIP) in Mathematics course page. If you would prefer to teach older pupils, information on our secondary courses may be found on the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education course page.

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' three times by Ofsted inspectors which affirms the University’s status as one of the UK’s leading institutions for excellence in teacher training. 

Equal Opportunities

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

I found that both lecturers and fellow students were very supportive throughout my time on the PGDip Ed course. Our lectures were really immersive, practical and fun and I use a lot of the techniques which I learnt then in my teaching practice today.

Francesca Buckland, Alumna

Read Francesca's full profile

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Fees for 2020-2021 are:

£9,250 (UK/EU full-time), £18,450 (overseas full-time).

When you apply for this course, it is important that you also take into account living costs and should ensure that you will have sufficient funds to finance the full duration of your studies. Our PGDipEd programmes include a significant amount of time spent on placements in a variety of schools at different locations, and so when budgeting to study you should also allow for travel to and from placements, as well as textbooks, printing, photocopying and stationery that you may need.

Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan

With or without a bursary, you can also access a  Tuition Fee Loan to cover your tuition fees and a Maintenance Loan for your living costs. The available loans are:

  • a Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,250 to cover your fees
  • a Maintenance Loan of up to £11,672 to support your living costs

Additional financial support

If you have children or a disability, extra funding is available. For instance, you could get:

Find out more information on the  extra financial support available

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

For students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to eligible financial support for the duration of their course. For more information visit the website.

You can also visit our EU Referendum information page for more information and updates.

How To Apply

Apply online through the UCAS Teacher Training portal 

UCAS code: Primary: X100

The Interview process 

Selection is rigorous and designed to identify candidates with the strongest aptitude. Candidates selected for interview will be invited to:

  • meet course tutors
  • find out more about the course
  • have a one to one interview
  • show GCSE and Degree certificates (where these are available).

We work closely with partner schools to select candidates and applicants will often have the opportunity to meet senior colleagues from partner schools when they join us for interview day.  

Our Standard Requirements

All applicants to the Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Education must hold a degree from a UK Higher Education Institution. Normally, this should be a 2:1 or above (and this will be a condition of any offer where the degree is not already awarded) although decisions are made on a case by case basis and a 2:2 may be accepted. 

You must have a GCSE in Mathematics and English  (Grade 4 or above*), or an equivalent qualification which must be attained prior to making an application. GCSE Science (Grade 4) must be attained as a condition of entry, where this has not already been obtained. If you are offering a qualification other than a GCSE please check with us before making an application.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact us on

You must also:

  • complete an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before taking up a place.
  • complete relevant checks to ensure you have the health and physical capacity to teach.
  • agree to abide by the University of Birmingham Code of Professional Conduct and Fitness to Practise.

*Equivalent GCSE grades

International Requirements

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. You will also have a personal academic tutor to guide and support you, as well as a dedicated mentor in placement schools.

Our whole-school issues course will provide you with breadth and depth of insight across a number of themes, including safeguarding, mental health, relationships and sex education, pastoral care and inclusion. An additional PSHE award is also available.

The modules will require written assignments. For the final module, University tutors and school-based mentors share the assessment of against the Teachers’ Standards for the award of QTS.

The Postgraduate Diploma Primary Education 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. The vast majority of our students gain employment in the local region, many of them choosing to remain in partnership schools.


Katrina Crowley

Katrina Crowley, PGCE 2010

'I choose to become a teacher when I was in Year 10 and I did work experience back at my primary school. I saw how influential and inspiring a teacher can be on one child’s life; I wanted to be a child’s inspiration.

I have just become Head of School for the St John Paul II Multi Academy and before that was Vice Principal for over 4 years.'


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