Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - English

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Our PGDipEd (QTS) English course is designed to enable you to become a reflective, confident practitioner having acquired a range of skills and expertise, as well as a strong conceptual framework about education, children, English and classroom teaching. The programme has an excellent and proven track record. It is rigorous and challenging, forming an excellent preparation for a successful career in teaching English. A bursary of £15,000 is also currently available for those with a 1st/PhD, ar 2:1 or 2.2 degree.

At the University of Birmingham we believe we should provide student teachers with the highest level of teacher education as possible, and this is why we offer a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDipEd also known as a PGDE) rather than a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). Both qualifications lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) but the PGDipEd also offers the equivalent of 120 credits towards a masters (out of 180 credits), which makes it a highly rewarding course by combining both theory and practice.

Following satisfactory completion of this course, plus a successful induction year in school and references, you can return to complete an MA in Teaching Studies (data collection and a 15,000 word dissertation). Additionally, the School also offers a number of specialised Professional Development programmes which will enable you to further develop your career.

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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 teaching 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 (ITE) course

The PGDipEd course lasts 36 weeks, of which 24 are spent in our partnership schools.

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 teaching.

Our teaching sessions will be interactive, encouraging your reflection and analysis. You will learn how to frame appropriate learning objectives which meet National Curriculum requirements for Key Stages 3 and 4 and how to plan lessons which engage and motivate pupils.

All key areas of teaching English will be covered, including speaking and listening, reading, writing, grammar, media and drama. Teaching at post 16 level is also taught. Whole school issues such as equal opportunities, catering for Special Educational Needs and Assessment of learning in English fed through the main method course. During your serial practice and two school placements you will apply what you have learned and continue your learning through observing experienced teachers, team teaching with peers and teachers, and supported solo teaching with your own classes.

The School of Education collaborates with the University of Birmingham School to offer a number of activities designed to enhance pupil experiences of learning English and your experience of learning to teach English.  Examples of these activities include field trips, master classes and small group teaching.

As the course progresses, you will develop increasing confidence and expertise in selecting from a repertoire of learning activities that are supported by appropriate use of resources and technology. This will maximise the learning outcomes for pupils.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ask our students a question

Rebecca is an experienced postgraduate who have previously studied at the University of Birmingham, and she will offer help and advice from a student perspective.

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:

Details of our other PGDipEd subject areas may be found on  the main Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education course page.

Related staff

Fees and funding

Fees for 2019-2020 are: £9,250 (UK/EU full-time), £16,995 (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.

More information about the tuition fee and maintenance loans is available here: https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/funding-and-salary/overview/postgraduate-loans.

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 visit the Funding, Graduation & Awards Office via online enquiries. 

Entry requirements

All applicants to the Secondary PGDipEd (QTS) English course must hold a degree from a UK Higher Education Institution (or have an equivalent qualification). This will normally be a minimum 2:2 classification and this will be a condition of any offer where the degree has not already been awarded. At least half your degree should be in English. Graduates with degrees in Classics are also invited to apply. Normally, a good pass in A Level English Literature will be required for those with an English Language degree. Experience in a maintained school setting is recommended but not always essential.

All candidates also have to:

  • have a GCSE in Maths and English (grade 4 or above) or an equivalent qualification which must be attained before making your application.
  • have passed Professional Skills Tests in numeracy and literacy by the date stated in any offer; 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. The University of Birmingham has produced a resource list  which you may find helpful.
  • complete an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
  • 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.

Additional information:

New GCSE grades

How to apply

Apply online through the UCAS Teacher Training portal. Competition for places is high and there is one intake per year. Early application is recommended as the places are normally allocated by the end of January. 

UCAS code: Q3X1

The Interview process 

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

  • meet course tutors
  • find out more about the course
  • complete a written task
  • 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.  

Course Structure

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 course includes the following areas of study: 

  • Subject-based teaching methods 
  • School-based work 
  • Whole-school issues

Subject-based teaching methods

You follow your specialist programme, working with your tutor and with peers in your subject, during University days which make up 12 weeks in total across the year. Assessment is based on coursework undertaken during the year.  

School-based work  

School-based work is an important part of the programme, with students normally spending a total of 24 weeks in schools. During the programme you benefit from both carefully supported introductory work in different schools and the experience of spending a significant length of time in two schools.

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.

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, sixth-form colleges and our own University Training School (www.uobschool.org.uk). Many of the schools offer opportunities to work with pupils from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds.   

Whole-school issues

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 Safeguarding, Mental Health, Relationships and Sex education, PSHE, Pastoral Care and Inclusion.  

Tutoring and support

You will personally be allocated an English university tutor who will guide and support you throughout your PGDipEd (QTS), along with a dedicated school mentor when on placements.

Progression

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.

Assessment methods

All students have to complete six modules, five of which require a written assignment at Masters level. There are a number of Module Tasks that accompany the assignments that must be passed. There are also additional tasks for students who are completing the course in the expected tine-frame and at the expected level. In addition all students complete two teaching placements and have to meet the Teachers' Standards for the Award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

The University of Birmingham English PGDipEd (QTS) course is highly regarded across Birmingham and the West Midlands. We have an excellent record of students gaining jobs at the end of the course. Many of our ex-students have gone on to become Heads of Departments, Senior Managers, advisers and University tutors.