Our one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) prepares you to teach the secondary school and post 16 curriculum for one or more of the social sciences; sociology, psychology, health and social care, Politics and Law.
You’ll explore ways to teach areas of the social sciences (this includes Citizenship and Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education) across Key Stages 3, 4 and 5 (ages 11 – 19 years).
You will also gain experience in teaching some of the humanities (religious education, history and geography) at Key Stage 3 and 4 (ages 11 – 16 years). You’ll typically explore ways to teach sociology and health and social care, and how to teach some aspects of psychology.
During the year, you’ll attend a series of lectures, with topics such as behaviour management techniques, assessment for learning, questioning techniques, assessing sociology, psychology and health and social care coursework and what school and college leaders look for in an ideal candidate.
When you’re at Manchester Met, you’ll consider how to plan lessons, reflect on your planning, learn how research can develop your teaching practice, and look at ways to develop your teacher persona. We also have guest speakers including exam board advisors and teachers from local schools and colleges.
You won’t simply learn theory with us on-campus though, you’ll teach classes in schools too. You’ll spend at least 120 days on placements in schools – gradually becoming the class teacher.
This course is available via University led and School Direct routes.
You will normally have a minimum of a 2:2 undergraduate honours degree awarded by a UK university, or an equivalent higher education qualification. Your degree needs to support the subject knowledge requirements of the National Curriculum for Social Science. For exceptional candidates, particularly those with substantial relevant work experience in schools or relevant occupations, we will consider applications from those who hold a 3rd class degree.
You will also need GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in English Language and Mathematics. However, applicants are able to apply with GCSEs pending for this course as we can offer MMU GCSE Equivalency tests.
We do not accept the following qualifications as equivalent to GCSE: Adult numeracy and literacy, Functional Skills or Key Skills
Experience in educational settings
Successful candidates will demonstrate a good understanding of teaching and learning within a secondary school setting.
Candidates may wish to evidence their understanding by drawing on related examples or experiences, such as time spent in schools or other learning settings.
Professional skills tests in Numeracy and Literacy|
All PGCE applicants will need to pass pre-entry Professional Skills Tests in Numeracy and Literacy. We recommend you check the Department of Education website at www.education.gov.uk/get-into-teaching for the latest updates
- 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 with no less than 6.0 in any element, or Pitmans Advanced.
On the University-led and School-Direct PGCE routes, you’ll have lectures and seminars at Manchester Met and spend at least 120 days on placements in schools across Greater Manchester.
At University, you’ll mainly study with the trainees in your social science group. You’ll learn how to plan and deliver lessons through interactive and hands-on workshops.
Although you’ll mostly learn with your group, you’ll attend critical skills lectures and workshops once a week in mixed groups with students from other subject areas.
These sessions help you to develop skills outside of your subject knowledge. Some of the topics you’ll explore include behaviour management, mental health and emotional wellbeing, teacher persona, and non-verbal communication (such as body language).
You’ll also develop your research skills during these lectures, analysing the latest educational research and theories. Understanding research means that if you have an issue in the classroom (such as challenging behaviour or inclusion) you can explore research and use it to guide your teaching.
During your first couple of weeks, we’ll help you to develop the organisational skills you’ll need as an social science teacher (such as carrying out assessments and dealing with paperwork).
We’ll also give you a full overview of the year and the lesson planning activities you’ll be doing, to help you to stay organised throughout the course.
When you go for interviews for your first teaching post, you’ll be expected to present a portfolio of your work alongside your interview. To make sure your portfolio is ready for interviews, you’ll work on it from December. This gives you time to make sure that you have all of the pieces of work that you’d like to showcase to schools.
You’ll go on your first block placement in late September, where you’ll put the skills you’ve learnt at University into practice and build your confidence in the classroom. You’ll be involved in all aspects of teaching, from marking work to delivering lessons to helping with parents’ evenings.
When you’re on placement, you’ll have a school mentor (often the class teacher) to help you with day-to-day matters, and receive regular visits from your personal tutor and visiting tutor.
In the spring term, you’ll complete a short placement in a primary school. This experience helps to broaden your knowledge of teaching methods and develop your teaching skills.
If you are on the university-led route, you can also apply to spend a short time overseas at the end of placement B, gaining teaching experience in an international school. In previous years, trainees across the PGCE courses have taught at British International Schools in Kazakhstan, Cyprus and Norway, and public schools in France.
When you graduate, you’ll gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Social Science, and Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) to work in the 11 - 16 age range with post 16 enhancement.
You’ll also be awarded 60 masters’ credits (a masters degree is 180 credits), which you could put towards further study and career development.
Units on this course may include:
- Subject Pedagogy
- Critical Studies
- Reflection on Professional Development
- Practice Credit Unit – Placement Block A
- Practice Credit Unit – Placement Block B
Read more about this year of study
Reflection on Professional Development
The Reflection on Professional Development unit will enable you to critically reflect on your learning experiences through the lens of key theoretical ideas and research, and to monitor and evaluate your ongoing professional development against programme outcomes and the Teachers’ Standards. The unit continues throughout the programme and culminates in the submission of a digital reflective portfolio that traces your professional development and connects theory and practice.
The unit, through research and reflection on practice, will explore critical and professional issues i.e. the nature of an inclusive school curriculum, Assessment for Learning, Equality and Diversity, Classroom Management and Behaviour for Learning. You will be encouraged to reflect on your wider individual and collective professional experience in school and, through research and group discussion, develop individual responses in relation to your own practice. The unit is linked to the Subject Pedagogy unit and will develop your understanding of the wider professional role of the teacher and the classroom context in which subject teaching takes place. The assessment of the unit will be based on the your work in the Placement B school during the Development and Assessment phase of the programme.
This practice credit unit is two of two practice credit units that enables you to demonstrate your progress toward meeting the Teachers' Standards for Qualified Teacher Status. It provides contexts in which you can put into practice your own learning, reflect on your actions, evaluate your role in relation to pupils’ learning and review your performance in supporting teaching and learning in a more autonomous fashion.
This practice credit unit is one of two practice credit units that enables you to demonstrate your progress toward meeting the Standards for Qualified Teacher Status. It provides contexts in which you can put into practice your own learning, reflect on their actions, evaluate your role in relation to pupils’ learning and review your performance in supporting teaching and learning.
The unit seeks to develop your ability to reconceptualise your knowledge and understanding of your subject and to apply this to planning, preparation and classroom teaching. The unit runs throughout the programme developing and building upon individual and shared experiences gained in both the university and school. The unit forms the basis for, and is a part of the research informed practice of school-based experiences.
Assessment weightings and contact hours
10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A Masters qualification typically comprises of 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits and an MFA 300 credits. The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:
- Full-time 16.5% lectures, seminars or similar; 67% placement; 16.5% independent study
- Full-time 50% coursework; 50% practical; 0% examination
Additional information about this course
Fitness to teach - You will be required to complete an Occupational Health Assessment to ensure that your health does not constitute a barrier to the achievement of the programme learning outcomes or eligibility to apply for registration with the professional body. This will require the completion of a health questionnaire before or during the first few weeks of your course, followed by an occupational health screening appointment if required. Travel costs to appointments (which will be within the Greater Manchester area) will not be covered by the University. Professional Suitability - Students on programmes leading to professional qualifications are required to adhere to professional standards and codes of practice during their studies. Failure to do so may lead to exclusion from the programme on the grounds of professional unsuitability. Students will be briefed about the requirements at the start of their studies. Course specific regulations - Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies require students to achieve results that demonstrate their ability to practise safely.
On this one-year course, you’ll spend a minimum of 120 days on placements in schools.
We know that teaching a class can be daunting, so we’ll help to prepare you before you start your placements. You’ll have a gradual introduction to teaching, observing, getting to know your, pupils, classes and the teachers, before having the opportunity to teach classes on your own.
You’ll go to at least two contrasting mainstream secondary schools (such as a school in a rural setting or an inner city comprehensive) or colleges and a primary school.
On your placements, you might experience inner city or rural settings, mixed and single gender schools, City Academies, Comprehensive and Selective Schools, 11-16, 11-18, sixth form, and further education colleges.
This variety helps you to experience different situations and further develop your practical skills as a teacher.