University of Exeter

University of Exeter

Secondary Education (English)

The PGCE English course has a national reputation for excellence, and its trainees are popular recruits to schools all over the country. It is run by tutors who are enthusiastic about English teaching and who relish the opportunity to work with the next generation of English teachers.

The course is active and participatory, placing considerable emphasis on working collaboratively with others and learning together. We expect you to take a high level of responsibility for your own professional learning and the course includes both taught seminars and workshops and directed or independent study activities which allow your professional learning to be tailored to your needs and interests. In addition, you will have the opportunity to engage with the broader professional field related to English, such as working with the Royal Shakespeare Company, meeting children’s authors, and being involved with national or regional arts-based projects.

The course is informed by research in the Centre for Research in Writing, giving you first-hand access to the latest research on classroom practice in English.

Entry requirements

Most successful applicants have 2:1 degrees in English (Literature or Language), Linguistics, Drama, Cultural/Media Studies, Film or Journalism.

For Drama, Media Studies, Film and Journalism, we also require a good A level English grade (or equivalent). Combined-honours degrees are welcome: here we look at the balance of English to the other subject/s, and also look for a high A level English grade if the English element is less than 50%.

In exceptional circumstances, we will consider applicants with degrees in other Humanities or Social Sciences. In these cases, it is helpful if several modules in that degree are strongly relevant to English (e.g. literature or language focused). A high grade in A level English literature or language is required if the degree route is less conventional, and in any case, a secure and broad knowledge of English literature and language is important.

Successful applicants will have a strong academic track record and will be able to demonstrate a passion for teaching English. They will possess a high level of individuality, independence and initiative alongside a commitment to developing learners who are creative and critical students of English. In addition, they will be able to build strong and effective relationships with students and professional colleagues and will have good interpersonal skills.

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 English Subject Knowledge and Pedagogy Module
The principal aims of the module are to equip students with a comprehensive understanding of the background issues and practice of the current teaching of English and Drama in the secondary school, and to enable them to meet the Standards for the Award of Qualified Teacher Status (DfES 2002). In addition, the module seeks to nurture reflective and autonomous professional practitioners who are able to identify strengths and areas for development in their subject knowledge and pedagogy, through evaluating current professional practice in relationship to developments in research and curriculum 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, English students complete two written assignments, each one directly linking the university and school-based aspects of the course.

Scheme of Work and Critical Evaluation: 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 English.

Case Study research: inviting you to investigate and assess one aspect of learning in English, linking your academic reading directly to your own classroom practice and the impact that it has on student learning.

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

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 English handbook. The Exeter PGCE Individual Development Portfolio 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 English assignments are set at Masters level. The course is intellectually rigorous, and you are introduced to recent research in English teaching, including the research of the course tutors themselves. Many of our students go on to become Heads of English 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 skills, both practical and intellectual, which enable you to change and develop as you career progresses.

We set high standards and have high expectations of our students. Invariably these standards are met - with enthusiasm. Prospective students 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

Telephone number: 
0300 555 60 60