TADSS ITT Partnership
Primary with Special Educational Needs / Disability (SEND) (3XXH)

PGCE with QTS full time

Accredited body
University of Exeter
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
8 October 2019
Date course starts
September 2020

About the course

The TADSS programme has 3 strands:

  • In-school experience with an experienced class teacher and mentor, working towards meeting the Teachers standards. Trainees are in school for a minimum of three days each week.
  • Academic study with the University of Exeter - while trainees are based in schools, they are registered with the University of Exeter. The 2 Masters modules; Subject and Curriculum Studies and Education and Professional Studies, are delivered by distance learning, through two online 30-credit modules, plus other online tools.
  • 15 day taught programme which includes special education needs and additional modules covering some aspects of SEND in more depth.

Trainees following the PGCE with SEND programme focus also complete their assignments relating - this is held in Dorset and provides an opportunity for the trainees to come together. The programme is taught by leading classroom practitioners from across our partnership.

For the taught programme, the trainees come together in one of our partner schools which may involve some travel for the trainees. Previous trainees have told us that the taught course is a particular highlight of the programme.

To gain Qualified Teacher Status, our trainees gather the evidence that shows they met the teacher standards in both Key Stage 1 and 2. This is assessed by the University Visiting Tutor.

To be awarded a Post-Graduate Certificate of Education with SEND, our trainees must reach the required level in their assignments.

Interview process

Applicants are invited to attend one of our assessment days. They are notified by email and letter, with details of the assessment process. Usually, the assessment sessions are held in one of our partner schools.

There are 3 elements to the assessment day:

  • Plan and deliver a short activity with a group of children (usually 6 - 8 pupils of mixed ability)
  • A reflective written activity on an aspect of teaching and learning
  • An interview with a representative from TADSS and the head teacher of the hosting school

The offer of a place is made to the applicant through UCAS by the University of Exeter. Places are often conditional as some applicants may be completing degrees or relevant qualifications. Also, all applicants must:

  • Complete a confidential medical questionnaire to ensure they are fit to teach
  • A satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Services Disclosure.

How school placements work

Trainees on our programme complete 2 contrasting school placements. The main placement is for the Autumn and most of the Summer terms, with a placement in one of the special schools during the Spring term. All our placements are with primary phase pupils.

As we have a broad partnership of nearly 40 schools we try to place our trainees within 30 minutes of their home address. We take the trainees experience into account when placing them to ensure they gain different experiences in their placements, including different key stages and contexts.

During the placement, the trainee works closely with their classroom teacher (PST) to develop their skills and experience. This is a very personalised experience. Each week a focus is agreed with the class teacher. Trainees meet with their mentors once a month to review their evidence and experience.


The course fees for 2020/2021 are as follows:
Student type Fees to pay
UK students £9,250
EU students £9,250
International students £18,500

Financial support

You may be eligible for a loan while you study.

Find out about financial support if you’re from outside the UK.

Financial support from the training provider

For information on Government loans and training bursaries, please visit the Student Finance England and Get into Teaching websites.

For more information, please see our Fees and finance webpages.



Entry to the PGCE programme is conditional on:

  • Graduate or equivalent status
  • Passes at GCSE in English, Mathematics and Science at grade C or above or equivalent (or for GCSEs taken from Summer 2017 onwards, grade 4 or above)

Personal qualities

We are looking for applicants with an interest in special educational needs / disability and primary education, who have the drive to become critically reflective teachers and agents of change.

Other requirements

In addition to the academic requirements listed, selection is based on performance during the assessment, a satisfactory fitness to teach assessment and a satisfactory DBS enhanced disclosure.

Although not essential, it would be an advantage to be able to reflect on any school-based experience or experience working with young people in another context at interview.

The DfE entry requirement to pass professional skills tests in literacy and numeracy has been removed for 2020/21 entry onwards. Instead PGCE trainees will be benchmarked during their training against a Government-defined set of fundamental mathematics and English skills.

About the training provider

TADSS ITT Partnership is a group of over forty first, primary and special schools across Dorset. We have a 100% completion success rate and all 2018/19 trainees are employed in Dorset schools.

Our teacher training programme combines:

  • school based practice and reflection
  • academic on-line learning
  • face to face training events.

Our wide partnership gives opportunities to gain experience in coastal, rural or urban school settings, with trainees predominately placed within thirty minutes of home. Trainees can express a preference for placements in both mainstream and special schools.

We offer places for Primary phase teacher training in Dorset through the School Direct route into teaching. This means our trainees are mainly school based during their training year. The intensive and immersive classroom experience helps to build teaching skills, supported by an experienced classroom teacher and in-school mentor.

Alongside the practical experience, our trainees regularly come together for our taught programme:

  • An intensive 15 day programme, covering all aspects of the curriculum and teaching
  • A strong emphasis on understanding special educational needs and positive behaviour management
  • Designed and led by outstanding school practitioners, giving trainee teachers practical training and advice based on classroom experience

In addition, our trainees are students of the University of Exeter who award Qualified Teacher Status and the Post Graduate Certificate of Education to trainees on successful completion of the training year. Trainees are allocated a day each week for their academic studies with the university, studying at home or in school.

Training with disabilities and other needs

We work with our trainees as individuals in order to ensure they can access the programme and are effectively supported in school, whatever their needs. The trainees progress in school at their own pace.

The University of Exeter provides comprehensive student services that include AccessAbility and Wellbeing teams, Student Learning Skills Service, Student Advice Unit, Counselling Service, Students’ Union Advisors, Student Health Centre, Family Centre and the Chaplaincy. For further details on the wealth of support available to you please go to Student Support Services

PGCE trainees can access the support of a Wellbeing Services Welfare Caseworker to discuss concerns, talk through options for support or understand more about how the University Wellbeing Services may be able to help.

Alongside the support described above, every PGCE trainee is assessed by an Occupational Health provider as part of the admissions process to ensure they are fit to teach in a school setting. If the Occupational Health provider recommends any adjustments, the University’s Partnership Office will ensure you are placed in schools where these adjustments can be made, providing they are logistically possible and reasonable

Contact details

01305 833518
Westfield Arts College
Littlemoor Road


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: 26E
  • Training programme code: 3XXH

Choose a training location

You’ll also need to choose a training location – select the relevant location name on the application form.

Location Vacancies Code
Dorchester, Dorset
Yes D
Yes N
Weymouth, Dorset
Yes B
Wimborne, Dorset
Yes W

Support and advice

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

Get support and advice about teaching

Register with Get into Teaching, the Department for Education’s free support and advice service, for personalised guidance from teaching experts. They can help you to prepare your application, book school experience, and access exclusive teaching events. You can also call them free on 0800 389 2500, or speak to an adviser using their online chat service, from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday.

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