Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) – Modern Languages (French/Spanish/German)

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

The Modern Languages teacher training course is held in very high esteem by all those who work with us: partnership schools, languages teachers, and our students who year after year say that they find the challenge exciting and our support outstanding. We aim to help student teachers develop into well informed, critical and adaptable teachers so that their own teaching personality can blossom. We welcome applications from excellent and committed linguists who wish to train to teach French, German or Spanish and make a positive difference to language learning and children’s lives. 

Like a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) the Postgraduate Diploma in 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. Graded as outstanding by consecutive Ofsted inspections, the Secondary PGDipEd is a unique programme which offers high quality training and support as well as excellent employment prospects.

The course attracts a scholarship of £28,000 and bursaries of £26,000 (for 2018 applicants).  

If you are serious about a career in Modern Languages teaching then the University of Birmingham is the place to train.   

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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 Initial Teacher Education 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are interested in our other secondary subject courses please view the general Secondary PGDipEd course page

Two-year Master FLE

The Université Paris Nanterre offers a two-year Master FLE route where the second year is spent undertaking a PGCE or PGDipEd in Britain. The credits acquired as part of the PGDipEd are taken into consideration when awarding the Master FLE (rather than count toward the MA in Teaching Studies). The Master FLE is a popular route and every year we welcome a number of Nanterre students on the PGDipEd course. 

Living and Studying in Birmingham

Vibrant and diverse, Birmingham is a European centre for retail, commerce and culture. Appropriately, its civic motto is ‘Forward’, and it is its driving ambition and attitude which makes Birmingham a great place to study, work and live.

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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:

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Fees and funding

This course attracts Government bursaries  of £26,000 (depending on qualifications) in line with the government’s priorities to increase the number of Modern Language teachers. It is also attracts a scholarship of £28,000 (2018).

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

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

Entry requirements

Ideally we expect candidates to: 

  • hold a degree in the language they wish to teach (French/German/Spanish). We prefer at least 50% of the candidate’s degree to be in that language, unless they are a native speaker in which case we accept alternative degree subjects. 
  • be able to offer a second foreign language (at a lower level than their main language is acceptable) as being able to offer two mainstream languages greatly increases employability. 
  • have spent a substantial period of time in a country where their main foreign language (French/German/ Spanish) is spoken and be familiar with the English educational system.

Note: We will consider applications on their own merits. If your profile is not quite in line with the above requirements this should not put you off applying, however your application should demonstrate how you will make a good candidate.

All candidates also have to:

  • have a GCSE in Maths and English (grade 4 or above) or an equivalent qualification; alternatively you might be advised to take an Equivalency Test. The DfE require us to check the original certificates; you therefore cannot start a PGDipEd(QTS) course unless you already hold these qualifications. 
  • pass Professional Skills Tests in numeracy and literacy; please see the 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

Additional information:

New GCSE grades

How to apply

Apply online through the UCAS Teacher Training portal. The course is often full by spring so we recommend you apply as early as possible.

The UCAS Teacher Training website includes information on filling in your UCAS application form and has a number of useful videos to assist you with your application such as this one on writing a personal statement

UCAS codes

French (alone or with Spanish or German): R1X1
German (alone or with French or Spanish): R2X1
Spanish with French: RX41

The course aims to lay the foundations necessary for students to develop their expertise not only as a teacher, but also as a Modern Languages specialist, and as a postgraduate student.

Success is dependent upon the combination of practical performance in terms of the Teachers’ Standards and academic performance in terms of knowledge, understanding, reflection and evaluation.

A variety of topic areas are explored, from lesson planning and classroom management to differentiation and developing pupils’ independence. Themes also include teaching in the target language, grammar teaching, integrating literature and cultural awareness in Modern Languages lessons for example. Current developments in teaching and learning are discussed as well as the National Curriculum and exam specifications.

The knowledge, understanding and practice of student teachers are developed through extensive teaching practice, research assignments team work and discussions, seminars and workshops.

Tutoring and support

Each student teacher will personally be allocated a Modern Languages university tutor as well as a school mentor whilst on placement, who will guide and support them throughout their training.


Spending at least a few days in an English secondary school before the start of the PGDipEd course is advisable and candidates can either organise their own placement for this or contact the Department for Education about its school experience programmes. We also encourage candidates to develop a second foreign language in order to increase their employability. We will also provide you with a list of optional activities to undertake during the summer.

The Elaine Hurman Prize

Established by John Hurman in memory of his wife, a former student and teacher of Modern Languages, a prize of £200 is awarded annually to a student teacher in Modern Languages for demonstrating particular expertise in eliciting oral responses in the target language in class. Eligible students are nominated by mentors and the successful candidate will be recommended for the prize as a result of their classroom proficiency in the above areas.

Assessment methods

All students have to complete six modules, five of which require a written assignment, and pass the Professional Skills in Numeracy and Literacy. In addition all students complete two teaching placements and have to meet the Teachers' Standards for the Award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Our PGDipEd in Modern Languages is highly regarded locally and nationally. We have an excellent record of student teachers gaining jobs at the end of the course and many of them chose to stay in the region.

Our employment rate is very high, and a number of our student teachers go on to become heads of department, lead practitioners or mentors working in partnership with us.

Once students have completed the PGDipEd and their induction year they may return to study with us on a part-time basis to complete a 60 credit dissertation and obtain an MA in Teaching Studies

Alumni profile

Farhat Mustaq, Teacher Training in Secondary Modern Languages

Farhat Mustaq was born in Pakistan and lived for 10 years in France before moving to the UK where she completed her degree studies. She successfully completed her teacher training in Modern Languages with us and was awarded the The Elaine Hurman Prize for her excellent work on developing her pupils’ use of the target language in class. Two years into her teaching career she has been promoted to head of department in her school and has just completed her an MA in Teaching Studies 

What students say about the course

‘The PGDipEd in MFL was a challenging and rewarding course which laid the foundations for excellent teaching practice. I was given continual support both at university and at my school placements. The Masters level assignments allowed us to gain an academic understanding of teaching and I am keen to return to gain a Masters in Education in a few years.’ Stephanie Seal

"I chose to study at the University of Birmingham for my PGDipEd, because of the quality of the course. I felt it would offer me the training and support I would need to grow into a good teacher. It did meet my expectations, and beyond them." Kevin Perrault

‘Being French, I thought it could have been very challenging to pass this course but it is absolutely possible for a non-English speaking person. The MFL sessions were very useful and helped me in my teaching development.This was a tough year, but I am very glad I did it at the University of Birmingham.’ Marine Masson