Primary (Special Educational Needs) with Sunningdale School Accredited provider: University of Northumbria at Newcastle

Course offered
PGCE with QTS full time
Financial support
Student finance if you’re eligible

A postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) with qualified teacher status (QTS) allows you to teach in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It’s also recognised internationally.

Many PGCE courses include credits that count toward a Master’s degree.

Course length
1 year
Date you can apply from
9 October 2018
Date course starts
September 2019

About the course

This course is delivered by Sunningdale Teaching School Alliance which is a partnership of high performing schools providing specialist educational support to children with additional learning needs.

The course is designed for postgraduates who would like to develop expertise in teaching children with special educational needs. These may be exhibited as behavioural, emotional and social difficulties; speech, language and communications needs; hearing, visual or multi-sensory impairment; physical disabilities and autistic spectrum disorders.

Northumbria University is Sunningdale Teaching School’s, accredited teacher training provider and qualification awarding body. It contributes to the academic training programme and ensures that trainees are performing to a standard appropriate to achieving the qualification standards.

Trainees are provided with two full time placements over the course of the academic year. The majority of the time is spent in one of our Alliance’s special needs schools with one placement in a mainstream primary school.

The placements will provide trainee teachers with experience of working with children at key stages one and two. There will be a specific number of assessed weeks within each placement and throughout the training students will receive mentoring support to help them develop the attributes required to demonstrate Teaching Standards.

All trainees will attend their school placements on Monday to Thursday throughout the school year and will attend training sessions provided by Northumbria University and Sunningdale Teaching School on Fridays.

The training delivered by Sunningdale will provide students with insights into many strategies and therapies to support the learning of children with special needs that may be unfamiliar within mainstream schools.

With the support of school mentor, trainees will be responsible for collating a portfolio of evidence which demonstrates their capacities to teach against the Teachers’ Standards for QTS. This portfolio development is monitored by Sunningdale Teaching School and the designated Northumbria University tutor.

The partner school, the Teaching School and Northumbria University will formally assess the standards portfolio at the end of the programme and make recommendations to the Examination Board at Northumbria University as part of the PGCE award, noting that the trainee has successfully achieved the Teachers’ Standards for QTS.

Upon successful completion of the programme, students will be awarded either a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (level 7) or a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (level 6) subject to the University Examination Board. Both of these qualifications confer QTS.

Interview process

Sunningdale School Teaching School coordinates the recruitment process. On interview day the shortlisted applicants will be invited to the school for a tour followed by the completion of a teaching observation and additional tasks related to the role. This will be followed by an assessment task and an interview. Northumbria University is involved in the interview process.

If the placement is based at one of our partner schools a member of staff from the host school will also be involved. Candidate are only required to attend one interview.

How school placements work

All candidates are required to undertake teaching in at least two schools with consecutive Key Stage 1 and 2 phases which will take place over the full academic year.

Student performance will subject to ongoing assessment. The main placement will take place in the host school to which the candidate has applied to undertake their training.

Sunningdale Teaching School arranges the second six-week long school placement in a mainstream school setting with its Alliance partners. This placement will be appropriate for sustained assessment in Key Stages One and Two, and will ensure that students can be observed working across the range of teaching experience required to enable them to reach the Teachers’ Standards for QTS.

During placements, students’ mentors will complete 2 observations per week and set targets for trainees during the assessed period which will cover a minimum of 15 weeks.


The course fees for 2019/2020 are as follows:
Student type Fees to pay
UK students £9,250
EU students £9,250

Financial support

You may be eligible for a loan while you study.

Financial support if you’re from outside the UK.



Candidates will be required to be graduates with an Honours Degree at 2:1 or 2:2 level. They will also need GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English, Maths and Science, and to have passed numeracy and literacy skills tests.

Personal qualities

Candidates should have made a considered decision to work with children who have special educational needs and have some experience of working with them in either an educational or care environment.

Candidates should have a genuine passion for teaching, be empathetic and highly motivated, and be excited by the opportunities to be creative in meeting the very diverse needs of children with special needs.

Other requirements

Candidate will require an enhanced background check by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

About the training provider

Sunningdale Teaching School Alliance is a partnership of high performing schools (including other teaching schools), academic institutions and organisations that support children with special educational needs. Our alliance is based in the North East and North Yorkshire and we work together to make the most of our collective experience for the benefit of our children.

We create opportunities for postgraduates to train as primary teachers within our schools as either salaried or fee-paying trainees depending on the availability of places. Our programmes are specifically designed for postgraduates who would like to develop expertise in teaching children with special educational needs.

Our vision is 'to equip all teachers working with special needs pupils with high quality expertise and to ensure that all children receive the education they deserve'.

Roughly one in six children have recognised special educational needs. These include emotional and social difficulties, multi-sensory impairment and physical disabilities. Working with an extensive range of professionals, and through programmes of research and development, we have devised a range of workshops which demonstrate how strategies and therapies which will be unfamiliar to many mainstream schools are used to support the learning of children with special needs.

The skills you will develop with us will consequently be valuable in a wide variety of educational contexts. Previous students completing our training have left us with the knowledge and expertise to confidently enter the profession – all have qualified and immediately secured teaching positions.

About the accredited provider

Northumbria University is an outstanding training provider with experience of the School Direct route to qualified teacher status.

The university is based in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne, which is regularly voted the best place in the UK for students. Northumbria is in the top ten UK universities for the number of graduates entering professional employment and nine out of ten of its graduates are working or studying six months after graduation. It is ranked 21st out of 111 universities in the 2014 Times Higher Education Student Satisfaction Survey.

Training with disabilities and other needs

Sunningdale Teaching School is mindful that there will always be a broad range of applicants to our teacher training programme which may include applicants who have a disability or additional needs.

The Equality Act 2010 underpins practice at Sunningdale and is intrinsically linked to a set of policies that provide the guidance for daily support. Our school has developed systems and procedures for supporting disabled students and making sure they progress in their studies.

As a provider working closely with Northumbria University we are able to signpost students requiring support for dyslexia/mental health issues and those requiring physical adjustments. We also have access to a mini-bus with a lift for those requiring transportation.

It would be important in the first instance to understand the additional support a prospective student may require, and as part of that process we would work closely with each student to gain information about any disability, health condition, or learning support needs they may have. This would include undertaking a joint risk assessment. By having as much detailed information as possible the right kind of support can be put in place.

It would be unlawful for Sunningdale to refuse an applicant a place on their teacher training programme or treat them less favourably because of a disability (Disability Discrimination Act since 2001, Equality Act 2010).

We welcome all applicants whatever their ‘need’.

Contact details

Shaftoe Road
Tyne & Wear


Apply on the UCAS website. You’ll need to register with UCAS before you can apply.

Visit Get into Teaching for guidance on applying for teacher training.

When you apply you’ll need these codes for the Choices section of your application form:

  • Training provider code: 23M
  • Training programme code: 3BTN

Choose a training location

You’ll also need to choose a training location and give the relevant training location code.

Code Name Address
W Hopewood Academy Crawlaw Road, Easington Colliery, Peterlee, County Durham SR8 3LP

Advice and support

For questions about this course you should contact the training provider using the contact details above.

For advice about teaching

For advice about teaching or teacher training you can call Get into Teaching on Freephone 0800 389 2500 or chat to an adviser using their online chat service between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday.

Website support

If you have feedback or have had a problem using Find postgraduate teacher training you can contact us by email.

Is there something wrong with this page?

If there is something wrong with this course listing, contact us by email.