University of Exeter

University of Exeter

Secondary Education (Physical Education)

Physical Education (PE) at Exeter is widely recognised as a leading PE course nationally. The PE cohort is an academically able group and employability rates are exceptionally high. Within the first 5 years of teaching, the majority of our trainees take on leadership roles, such as Head of Department or Head of Year and complete their Master’s Degree in Education.

The PE course is constantly evolving and changing to take account of: (a) the latest empirical research and government policy initiatives in teacher education both in PE and the wider educational landscape, (b) internal quality assurance measures such as trainee evaluations, school-based teachers' evaluations, peer reviews and, (c) external quality assurance health checks, such as recent Ofsted inspection findings, external examiner's reports to keep the course vital, stimulating and moving forward.

Supported by a team of highly-qualified and experienced university and school-based tutors, the PE course places considerable importance on trainees collaboratively planning, teaching and reflecting critically on their teaching both in university and in schools. The PE course includes university taught lectures, practical/workshop-based sessions, directed study tasks, assignments and school experience to prepare to inform, inspire and engage the diverse needs of young people in the 21st century and withstand the demands of the modern day PE teacher.

Entry requirements

As entry onto the course is highly competitive, we will be looking for applicants with the following strengths:

1. Personal qualities: Knowledgeable, experienced, intelligent, organised, honest, hardworking, reliable, resilient, dependable, committed, intuitive, enthusiastic, positive, passionate, reflective, genuine and shows initiative.

2. Academic qualifications: (a) C grade or above (or equivalent) in PE at GCSE and/or A level, (b) 2:1 Honours degree (or higher) in a sport-related undergraduate degree.

3. Health and Safety qualifications: (a) valid and current one-day first aid certificate (i.e. Emergency First Aid at Work Certificate) and, (b) valid and current pool lifeguard qualification (i.e. National Pool Lifeguard Qualification).

4. National Governing Body (NGB) coaching award qualifications: At least one coaching course successfully completed in a game which you are weak/deficient in (e.g. Basketball: UKCC Level 1 Basketball Award).

5. Recent and relevant teaching experience: a minimum of 10 days’ observation and/or collaborative teaching in a secondary school PE department.

(NB: You are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible after the UCAS Teacher Training system as places on the PE programme fill up very quickly!)

Course modules

The programme has three fully integrated components:

Secondary Education and Professional Studies Module
The Professional Studies component introduces you to key educational ideas and principles within a range of educational contexts. The module is followed throughout the year with both University and school-based elements and is concerned with classroom issues, whole school issues and the role of education in the wider society.

Secondary Professional Learning Module
Central to school-based work is the development of your ability to meet the standards of professional competence which trainees must demonstrate in order to meet national standards for the award of QTS.

Secondary Physical Education Subject Knowledge and Pedagogy Module
The principal aims of the module are to equip student teachers with a comprehensive understanding of the background issues and practice of the current teaching of Physical Education in the secondary school, and to enable them to meet the Professional Standards for the Award of Qualified Teacher Status (TDA, 2007). In addition, the module seeks to nurture reflective and autonomous professional practitioners who are able to identify strengths and areas for development in content, pedagogy, learning, learners and the curriculum through evaluating critically current professional practice in relationship to developments in research and educational theory.

Assessment methods

There are two principal strands to the assessment of the Exeter PGCE course. The first is the written component and the second, the practical component. During the year, PE trainees complete two Written Assignments, each one directly linking the university and school-based aspects of the PGCE course.

- Unit of Work and Critical Analysis: inviting you to plan a unit of work and justify and evaluate the planning decisions you have made, with reference to your academic reading about teaching and learning in PE.
- Case Study Research: inviting you to investigate and assess one aspect of learning in PE, linking your academic reading directly to your own classroom-based practice and the impact that it has on pupil learning.

The practical assessment of teaching is to ensure that all trainees meet the requirements set by the NCTL for all Initial Teacher Training courses in England.

A strong underlying principle of both the written and practical assessments is that students are always in control of their own learning. Clear guidance is given for all assignments and assessment criteria are detailed in the PGCE Physical Education ‘Study Guide’. The Exeter PGCE Individual Development Portfolio (IDP) allows you to monitor and track your own progress and to set achievable targets for improvement.

Academically, the University of Exeter PGCE is a postgraduate qualification, and the Physical Education assignments are set at Masters level. The course is intellectually rigorous, and you are introduced to recent research in Physical Education teaching, including the research of the course tutors themselves. Many of our trainees go on to become Heads of Physical Education Department and are creative, critical and reflective individuals who can make connections between theory and practice. We do not see the course as a one year course which ends in July, but as the beginning of your career as an able and highly competent professional - we aim to give you knowledge, skills, both practical and intellectual, which enable you to change and develop as you teaching career progresses.

We set high standards and have high expectations of our trainees. Invariably these standards are met - with enthusiasm and commitment. Prospective trainees can be assured of plenty of support: assessment should not be something to fear!


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
PGCE Full-time September 2019 £ 9,250 per Academic year (Home) 1 Years
PGCE Full-time September 2019 £ 9,250 per Academic year (EU) 1 Years
PGCE Full-time September 2019 £ 16,900 per Academic year (International) 1 Years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
St Luke's Campus Exeter EX1 2LU South West

Get in touch

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Key information

PGCE Admissions
Telephone number: 
0300 555 60 60