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PGCE Primary with QTS

The Primary PGCE course provides a popular route for high-quality graduates wishing to achieve Qualified Teacher Status. This is an intense, stimulating and challenging course, designed to develop and extend professional skills and understanding.

Delivered in a creative mix of university and school-based modules, students gain a deep and broad knowledge of learning and teaching across the primary age range.


PGCE Primary with QTS
UCAS code: 3CPM
Apply via UCAS

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Contact Email: TeacherEd@uwtsd.ac.uk
Tuition Fees 2021/22:
Home: £9,000

6 Reasons to start your Teacher Education with UWTSD: Yr Athrofa

  • Yr Athrofa has been ranked 1st in Wales for Education (Guardian League Table 2022)

  • Yr Athrofa employs the latest technology to support high-quality teaching and learning in a digital age.

  • Study on our new state-of-the-art £300m Swansea Waterfront campus (SA1)

  • English, Welsh and Bilingual pathways are available.

  • Partnership schools across South Wales Excellent 99% employment rate for PGCE Graduates (2016/17 DLHE).


What you will learn

Course Overview

The Primary PGCE pathway is designed to prepare students for a career in teaching.

The PGCE is a full-time, intensive vocational programme, suitable for those wishing to train to teach, inspire and enthuse primary aged children, helping them to make excellent progress in learning. The course offers rich opportunities for personal development, as student-teachers embark upon the first stages of a professional journey which is challenging, fulfilling and rewarding.

The sessions both in school and at the university are intended to involve student-teachers in a range of experiences, which are carefully planned to increase understanding of learning and teaching across the Primary curriculum. There is a focus on developing personal reflective skills, and in engaging with current educational research in order to develop students as knowledgeable, effective and evidence-based practitioners.

The university element adopts a modular structure and teaching takes a blended learning approach including lead lectures, group seminars, tutorials, independent study and directed activities using the virtual learning environment (Moodle).

Professional Teaching Experiences take place in a variety of educational contexts. Student-teachers build confidence and expertise, culminating in taking responsibility for planning, teaching and assessing a class of children in their chosen phase for a sustained period of time.

In our most recent inspection, Estyn (the Welsh educational inspectorate) praised the good progress made by trainees towards achieving the standards for Qualified Teacher Status and the wide variety of challenging and stimulating learning experiences provided in both university and school settings.

Our PGCE Primary programmes are extremely popular and do attract a large number of applications, for this reason, we advise you to apply as early as possible to ensure that we are able to consider your application (ideally before Christmas). Due to the demand for this programme and the limited number of places we have to offer, we usually have to close the application process in the Spring of each year, sometimes as early as January.

Module Topics

Pathway structure

The PGCE programme is delivered over 36 weeks by the staff of the Athrofa Professional Learning Partnership. Delivering the programme in this way brings together the practical hands-on expertise from the school sector with the research and specialist expertise of higher education.

Broadly, the programme comprises a 12-week university-based provision and at least 24 weeks based in school.

The programme consists of a core curriculum delivered across the suite of our ITE programmes. This includes:

  • Compulsory modules
  • Research skill development
  • Professional pathway for Qualified Teacher Status
  • Welsh Language Development Pathway
  • Bridging – activities which bring together theory and practice
  • Electives – a school-based experience following a chosen area of interest
  • Alternative setting – an opportunity to experience non-school education settings

Programme Structure - university provision

Post-graduate university provision takes place on our new state-of-the-art campus located in the marina quarter in Swansea. Equipped with the latest teaching technology and spacious areas for student study, you will be engaged in creative and innovative sessions that will prepare you for the new curriculum.

Your time in university focuses on learning high-quality pedagogy that makes a positive impact in the classroom. Working with teacher educators who are experts in their field of education, you will become skilled in understanding how children and young people learn and how they can become ambitious and capable learners.  

Our teaching philosophy is one of engaging our student teachers in lively debate and active learning that develops your critical thinking and engagement. This will prepare you to be a research-informed and research-active teacher, ready to make a difference to young people’s lives

Programme Structure - School-based experience

Your Professional Teaching Experience (PTE) will take place over 24 weeks in school, with two substantive teaching placements. These will be in an APLP network consisting of a Lead school and a number of partnership schools where experienced mentors and university tutors will support you in achieving QTS.

Each teaching experience is in different settings to give you a range of experiences and the opportunity to engage with a variety of approaches to teaching and learning.

During your school-based experience, you will be supported to integrate theory and practice so that you can develop the reflective skills needed to become a highly successful teacher.

You will have a graduated introduction to teaching to give you time to develop your confidence, knowledge of the curriculum and skills of classroom organisation. This will include working with small groups of learners before moving to be responsible for the whole class.

Seminars hosted in school and delivered by mentors and university staff will give you the opportunity to meet with other students in your network and engage in collaborative discussion. Such shared reflection is a powerful tool in moving your practice forward.

Our partnership of networks offers urban and rural placements as well as placements available in either English or Welsh-medium schools.


Modules are carefully designed to integrate theoretical and practical knowledge and are mostly delivered during the university-based period.

Our programme content has been co-authored by the university and school partners, and has been grouped under four module headings:

  • The Learner – who am I teaching?
  • Learners, schools and communities – where am I teaching?
  • Researching the learning – what, why and how am I teaching? (focus on research)
  • Leading the Learning – what, why and how am I teaching? (focus on subject discipline in practice)

Organising the modules in this way means that you will be able to focus on the pupil and also take full account of the wider context that impacts on education.

You will also be able to ensure that your classroom-based practice draws on a sound research base.

This means that our programme will challenge you both practically and intellectually at the same time.

Each module is assessed in a variety of ways, including written assignments, posters and presentations. The assignments are designed to enable you to reflect on your own practice and relate your experiences to the theory that you have learned.

All  students register for the PGCE on the Master's pathway, which incorporates teaching and learning in a critical and reflective framework.


Interesting Links

Teacher Education PGCE Video Playlist

Key Information

Entry Criteria

Undergraduate Degree

Applicants are required to hold a good honours degree (2:2 minimum).

GCSE qualifications

Grade B or above in GCSE English Language OR English Literature OR Welsh Language OR Welsh Literature plus Grade C or above in GCSE English Language. 

Grade B or above in GCSE Mathematics OR GCSE Numeracy. 

Grade C or above in GCSE Science (or equivalent). 

Equivalence workshops and tests are available for those with Grade C GSCE in English Language, Mathematics, and Welsh (first language).

Equivalency Test Information

A-Levels/Level 3 Vocational Qualifications

If applicants do not hold an undergraduate degree in a curriculum subject, successful study at appropriate higher levels must be evidenced.

Work Experience

You should be aware of the realities of being a teacher and life in a classroom and so we ask for recent and relevant experience in a primary educational setting. This may be through employment or volunteering in a school and should be for a minimum period of two weeks.

Gaining experience in a school classroom will help to strengthen your application and better critically inform your personal statement. It will also prepare you for our selection process and give you some experience from which you can draw in your interview.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

If accepted into our programme, you will be required as soon as possible to obtain a clearance check via the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Please note there is a fee associated with the service and you should ensure also that you opt for the 'update' service to maintain the validity of your clearance check.

For further information please contact dbs@uwtsd.ac.uk

What we are looking for?

  • A positive view of education as a means to transform lives
  • Motivation towards becoming an excellent teacher
  • An empathetic desire to make a difference to young people's lives
  • Positive attitudes to social justice, inclusion and equity
  • Ability to work individually and as part of a team
  • Energy, enthusiasm and flexibility
  • Resilience and reliability
  • Professional attitudes and behaviour
  • Willingness to be a lifelong learner

How we select our student teachers?

  • Quality of personal statement
  • Evidence of subject expertise
  • Recent and relevant experience in an educational setting
  • Quality of individual interview
  • Performance in selection tests – e.g. literacy, numeracy and dispositions

As part of its commitment to widening access, UWTSD pays particular attention to recruiting student-teachers from under-represented groups and has a proactive marketing strategy for engagement with Community First areas, groups with disabilities, ethnic minority communities and Welsh medium learners.

Many schools and college departments, both locally and nationally, have former student-teachers as a part of their staff with many going on to forge successful teaching careers at strategic, professional and management levels at home and abroad.

Our PGCE graduates usually remain in close touch with us as they make their careers in the teaching profession and they often become Subject/Class Mentors on the programme.  This creates a very strong, sustainable professional network of teachers which is a rich source of continuing professional development.

Career Opportunities

The university provides opportunities to prepare for a career in teaching including a recruitment fair and related sessions. Students regularly gain employment in the local area, England and abroad.

Yr Athrofa at UWTSD has excellent graduate employment rates with 97% of graduates going into employment or further study (DLHE 15/16).

Many schools and college departments, both locally and nationally, are staffed with several of our teachers and many of our trainees have gone on to forge successful teaching careers at strategic, professional and management levels at home and abroad.

Our PGCE graduates usually remain in close touch with us as they make their careers in the teaching profession and they often become Subject Mentors on the programme. This creates a very strong, sustainable professional network of teachers which is a rich source of continuing professional development.

Additional Costs

Additional Costs 

Our students have access to a diverse range of equipment and resources, which in most cases are sufficient to complete their programme of study. However, students will likely incur some unavoidable additional costs over and above the cost of their university tuition. These are as follows:

Mandatory Costs

  • Travel to placement schools and University
  • Travel to off-site specialist provision (including schools and other training providers)
  • Travel to schools for 'Bridging Days' and other whole-cohort initiatives as per calendar
  • Use of a laptop (MS Office is free to students)

Necessarily Incurred

  • Travel to participate in enhancement activities 
  • Purchasing teaching resources
  • Travel to 'Electives' placements 


  • Printing costs
  • Optional study trips
Related Courses
Student Quotes

"Working with other trainee teachers has allowed me to recognise, share and develop excellent practice specifically targeted to enhance teaching and learning in the Foundation Phase."

"Ideas, outdoor learning opportunities, theory and planning of activity sessions have given me the chance to share and gain ideas which can be used in my own classroom come September."

"I loved being able to share ideas with other students and finally seeing how well they work with real children. I think the more we share ideas and good practice, the better we will be!"

Bursary / Scholarship Information

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study.  To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit our Scholarships and Bursaries section.

Further Information

Our PGCE Primary programmes are extremely popular and do attract a large number of applications. this reason, we advise you to apply as early as possible, to ensure that we are able to consider your application (ideally before Christmas). Due to the demand for this programme and the limited number of places we have to offer, we usually have to stop accepting applications in the Spring of each year, sometimes as early as January.  

Primary English UCAS Code: 3CPM
Primary Welsh UCAS Code: 3CPN

Each year the Welsh Government offers Teacher Training incentives. The bursary amounts that are available and the subjects to which they are linked are determined annually in response to the needs of the education sector.


Scholarships and Bursaries

For those with a 1st and/or PhD/Masters, a £3,000 incentive grant can be awarded. There is an additional supplement of £3,000 for students undertaking primary PGCE studies with a degree subject specialism of English, Welsh, Mathematics or core science.