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Secondary Social Science 2014 entry

Faculty of Education, Crewe and Didsbury Campuses

 The Faculty of Education has a national reputation for high quality initial teacher training which was rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted in their last inspection.  We work with over 1,500 schools, colleges and educational organisations and offer a wide range of of secondary specialisms.

Our PGCE Social Science aimed at trainees wishing to teach one or more of the social sciences (sociology, psychology and politics) in secondary schools and/or post-16 colleges.  We also offer a PGCE Psychology (see separate course entry).

Trainees will be given the opportunity to study and teach areas of the Social Sciences (Psychology, Sociology, Politics, Law, Health and Social Care and PSHE) at key stages 3, 4 and 5.  Many of these subjects are exceptionally popular choices at GCSE and 16-19 levels.

This course will be based at our £139 million new academic building at Birley Fields, All Saints in Manchester.  Further details at


Year of entry 2014

Length 1 year full-time

Fees UK and EU students full-time £9,000 · Non-EU overseas students full-time £12,500 · More information about funding your PGCE · Information about fees and financial support

Location Birley Building, Manchester Campus

Department Faculty of Education, Crewe and Didsbury Campuses

Features & benefits of the course

  • Programme rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted
  • World class teaching and learning facilities at our new academic building
  • National reputation in secondary teacher education
  • Practice placements available in a diverse range of schools and colleges
  • Course include 60 Masters Level CAT points
  • Access to NQT Alumni Support  in your first year of teaching

Placement options

24 weeks of the 36 week programme are spent in schools and placements are central to the course. They will be in at least two different schools or colleges and will range from inner city to rural settings, mixed and single gender schools, City Academies, Comprehensives and Selective Schools, 11-16, 11-18, sixth form and further education colleges. The Enrichment phase also offers placements in settings other than schools.

About the course

You will examine the nature of academic and vocational provision within the social sciences in schools and colleges and become familar with teaching resources, including ICT and practice a variety of classroom skills at university and in schools and colleges.

The subject strand is at the core of these courses, representing approximately 90% of the total course time, both in school and in the university.  This strand deals with both methodology and with the educational theory relevant to teaching the social science subjects.

Also considered are the role of language in teaching, teaching pupils with special educational needs and pupils with English as an additional language (EAL) and teaching classes with a wide range of ability.

We aim to develop analytical, successful and enthusiastic beginning teachers who are fully aware of the excitement and challenges which lie ahead and who can work effectively in a variety of educational settings.

Trainees will engage with current educational issues and recent and relevant research in order to further develop their understanding and to generate challenging and lively debate.  There will be a focus on:

  • Promoting an inclusive learning and teaching environment
  • Working in multi-professional teams
  • Creating a climate for learning in the classroom
  • Learning and teaching strategies
  • Managing students' behaviour
  • Planning and evaluating students' learning
  • Developing knowledge and understanding of teachers' professional responsibilities

Module Information

  • Year 1

    Practice Credit 1 Induction Phase
    This unit runs during the first five weeks of the 36 week PGCE Programme. It is associated with 8 full day's placement in a school or college. Where opportunity allows you may also attend the placement in subject groups (or in pairs) and will have a programme of activities planned by University tutors in consultation with the Subject Mentors in the departments used for the placement. Most of the sessions in this unit will be scene setting around schools, the curriculum, KS3 strategy and current issues, with a focus on addressing current developments in subject teaching that can be explored in the induction placement.

    Practice Credit 2 Teaching Placement Block A Formation of Personal Practice
    This unit runs during the Autumn Term for approximately 8 weeks of the 36 week PGCE Programme. It is associated with 32 full days placement in a school or college. You will be allocated to subject departments in schools and colleges. They will follow a common pattern of placement based activities but their progress through the unit will be based on a) gradualism and b) professional experience, needs and competence.

    Practice Credit 3 Teaching Placement Block B Development of Personal Practice
    This unit runs during the Spring and Summer Terms for approximately 10 weeks of the 36 week PGCE Programme. It is associated with approximately 45 full days placement in a school or college. You will be allocated to subject departments in schools and colleges. You will then follow a common pattern of placement based activities but your progress through the unit will be based on a) gradualism and b) professional experience, needs and competence.

    Practice Credit 4 Enrichment Phase
    The Enrichment Unit requires you to demostrate evidence that you have met all QTS Standards. In this case, the unit will provide you with challenging and innovative collaborative opportunities, both within and beyond your subject area, and in a variety of alternative settings. Indicative Standards that you may focus on for innovative practice include: ·

    â– Reflecting on and improving your practice, and taking responsibility for identifying and meeting your developing professional needs.
    â– A developed creative and constructively critical approach towards innovation, being prepared to adapt your practice where benefits and improvements are identified.

    • Professional Practice

      This unit seeks to develop and support the ‘Reflective Professional’ with a focus on your development of critical and reflective thinking in a mixed subject group. It will allow you to identify professional concerns and consider issues outside your subject-based ‘comfort-zone’ of knowledge and experience. It aims to strengthen the pedagogic and philosophical links between Subject and Professional & ‘Programme’ elements. 

Assessment details

There are two elements of assessment:

  • Teaching, incorporating School Experience Files, that capture evidence of the range of your experiences. This element will be assessed by mentors and judged against the Standards for Qualified Teacher Status.
  • Written assignments; this element builds on the teaching experience and integrates theory with practice and observation.

In addition there are several course completion requirements:

  • The Record of Professional Development - a portfolio of evidence of your personal and professional development.
  • The Career Entry Profile - completed at the point of becoming a newly qualified teacher and taken with you into your first post.
  • Satisfactory attendance and professional engagement with the course requirements.

On succcessful completion you will achieve the standards for the University award of PGCE.

Assessments are an integral part of the learning process, helping you to enter your first appointment with confidence.

Career options after the course

In recent years there has been 100% employment in teaching achieved by trainees on this course. There are a significant number of teaching vacancies in the social science disciplines.

Graduates in the social sciences have highly developed relevant skills which are both flexible and broad. They are aware of the evolving nature of the societies we live in and are able to offer academic, practical and personal attributes which are particularly suited to teaching the secondary and college age range.  Trainees receive sustained support in their attempts to secure employment and many of our graduates how hold positions of responsibility in our partnership schools.

The Faculty of Education offers an extensive and flexible programme of continuing professional development opportunities to Masters level, including Educational Leadership and Management, Education and Inclusive Education and SEN.  Our Education and Social Research Institute, ranked in the UK top 10, offers an MRes Education and Society and Doctor of Education.

Typical entry requirements

Typical entry requirements


Social Science 2:1 or above is normally required, or equivalent in other social science disciplines such as: Sociology, Criminology, Health Politics, Youth and Social Work degrees and so on.  Evidence is required of relevant experience in a UK secondary school. 

English Language and Mathematics, Grades C or above, required at point of application.

Professional skills tests in Numeracy and Literacy

All PGCE applicants for 2014 entry will need to pass pre-entry Professional Skills Tests in Numeracy and Literacy. For further advice please see . We also recommend you check the Department of Education website at for the latest updates

Other requirements

  • Candidates will normally be expected to engage in at least two weeks of experience in relevant school setting(s) prior to application to the course to develop an appropriate understanding of the role of the teacher in the classroom and at school.
  • An ability to communicate effectively in spoken and written English.
  • Excellent inter-personal skills.An informed and realistic understanding of the complexities and challenge of teaching in a Secondary school.
  • An understanding of how learning develops within an engaging rich and broad context, with recognition of the contribution made by parents and carers.
  • Personal qualities and abilities appropriate to becoming an effective teacher, including a strong motivation to teach young students, an ability to express personal views with clarity and conviction, to listen and respond appropriately to the views of others, awareness of, and commitment to, issues relating to Equal Opportunities and providing all students with an inclusive learning environment.
  • Intellectual capacity to critically reflect upon experience and personal challenges.

A Disclosure and Barring Service Check and DfE Fitness to Teach test are also required.

Overseas candidates should have Cambridge Proficiency in English, IELTS Band 7, or Pitmans Advanced.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.