Key Facts

Course Title: PGCE (Academic Award)
Course type: Post Graduate Certificate in Education Professional Graduate Certificate in Education
Mode of Study:Part Time
Contact Details:Angela Shelley
Website: Go to School homepage
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Subject Area: Education


In 2014, Keele University underlined its commitment to the region’s schools by launching this exciting new model for secondary initial teacher education. Professor Nick Foskett, Keele University Vice-Chancellor at the time, said: ‘Keele is delighted to be taking a lead among universities in pioneering new approaches to initial teacher training’. 

The Keele PGCE is part of a new approach to initial teacher education. It is unique nationally, offering the scholarship aspect of the PGCE as a free-standing award. It is an academic postgraduate qualification offering up to 60 credits at Master’s level, giving opportunity to progress to a full MA in Education. It complements and adds value to the QTS professional qualification in England and Wales, or to the CDI in France.

The programme is aimed at enabling course participants to achieve the academic award at the University at the same time as they follow a school-based programme, e.g. for Qualified TeacherStatus (QTS).  The programme is delivered either at Keele or in a training provider’s setting by a team of tutors with a track record as expert practitioners in schools and with established names in education scholarship.  It is normally run between October and May in each academic year.

Whether following the PGCE at Keele or in a school setting, students benefit from all the University’s facilities, such as on-line individual tutorials, off-site internet library access, and discounts on local shopping!

Aims of the Course

The PGCE has been designed to deepen pedagogical skills and understanding gained from practical work in teaching experience. It complements and builds on the subject knowledge and practical elements of school placements, supporting students to become effective teachers of their specialist subject. It does this by helping them develop:

  • knowledge and understanding of the theory and practice of teaching and learning  (pedagogy)
  • the capacity to apply that knowledge and understanding to classroom practice
  • the ability to think, talk and write fluently about the processes underlying pedagogy
  • Master’s-level  thinking, reading and writing skills
  • critical insight into the educational system in order to thrive in the culture of schools
  • a robust professional identity which will equip them to be critical, collaborative, creative and caring teachers with a developing career profile.

Our PGCE provides a strong community of like-minded students and tutors who provide mutual support for current and future professional development. 

Entry Requirements

Entry to the Keele PGCE is conditional on acceptance onto a school-based Initial Teacher Training programme with which Keele is already operating in partnership. It is also open to individuals who have the consent of their school-based training institution.

Course Content

Module1: Learners, Learning and Assessment (30 credits) 

In this module, you ask questions about your own practice as an educator and the practices of your placement schools such as:

  • what is the relationship between learning theories and classroom practice?
  • what do we know about how pupils learn?
  • how do these ideas affect our practice as educators?
  • what factors affect pupil learning?  How might we take those factors into account when deciding what we want pupils to know, understand and be able to do?
  • why do we assess pupils?  Who decides what to assess? How fit for purpose are the assessment instruments that we use?

Seeking answers to these questions helps you to develop understanding of your role as a professional in school and in the wider community.


Module 2:  Subject Identity and Pedagogy (15 credits)  

This module explores

  • the nature of subject knowledge
  • how it is conceptualised within schools and by different stake holders

It supports you to develop insight into the following questions:

  • what knowledge, skills, attributes and understanding are learners expected to acquire in your subject specialism?
  • who determines the intended learning outcomes in that subject?
  • how are these intentions conveyed through National Curriculum, other appropriate exam specifications, and associated assessment tools?
  • what alternative views are there of effectiveness in relation to subject knowledge?

Module 3:  Effective and Outstanding Practice (15 credits)

This module explores what different educators mean by ‘outstanding practice’ in asking:

  • what different views of ‘outstanding’ can be found in literature and amongst my colleagues?
  • what criteria are used to underpin such definitions?
  • what elements of outstanding practice can I identify in my placement school?
  • what are the practical implications of these in relation to my own developing practice?
  • what do I judge to be an outstanding lesson?
  • what are the roles of reflection, creativity and happiness in the pursuit of outstanding practice? 


The modules are delivered in such a way that programme participants relate theory to practice, including:

• developing the skills of the reflective and creative practitioner
• supporting you in meeting the requirements for Qualified Teacher Status
• complementing the subject knowledge and pedagogy elements of your school placement to become effective teachers of your specialist subject
• developing a research-based approach to professional practice and development
• developing an understanding of issues relating to teaching and learning and building a framework within which you can analyse and interpret your experience.

Teaching and Assessment

The PGCE Programme makes use of lectures, seminars, group activities, individual and group tutorials and practical workshops.

Each module is formally assessed through written assignments where you have the opportunity to examine aspects of your own practice in the light of theory and vice versa.   

Additional Costs

  • Additional costs for textbooks, inter-library loans, photocopying, printing, and potential overdue library fines.

No other additional costs for this postgraduate programmes are anticipated.

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