About the course
The course is built upon principles of inclusion and equality of opportunity in teaching and learning for all students whatever their potential and achievements. Trainees are encouraged to foster their own and their students' creativity through an enthusiastic commitment to adventurousness, exploration and systematic hard work within and beyond the classroom. Trainees are also encouraged to develop an attitude of critical enquiry and see themselves as teachers who research their classrooms so that they make informed choices in all that they do. The course therefore provides a stimulating introduction to current theory and practice in the teaching of English.
The Faculty-based work is closely linked to a programme of classroom experience in local comprehensive schools, both state maintained schools and academies. In their school-based work, trainees are mentored by experienced subject teachers. Both in the Faculty and in schools, trainees are encouraged to explore a wide range of creative and systematic approaches to teaching and learning. The course covers all aspects of the National Curriculum for English including speaking and listening, reading and writing; drama; language study; literature from different historical periods, cultures and traditions; non-literary texts; media and moving image texts; the use of information and communication technology. In addition, trainees learn about teaching English within 14-19 courses, including GCSE and A level English Language, English Literature and Creative Writing. The course also addresses areas of enrichment such as extra-curricular activities, museum and gallery education and learning in out-of-school contexts such as the nearby botanic garden and other sites of local historical interest.
Trainees learn a variety of teaching methods including whole class teaching, structured group work and individual or pair work. There is a strong emphasis on active learning through discussion, presentations, peer-tutoring, research, independent study and writing. Throughout the course, trainees study different methods of assessment and how they support classroom learning, lesson planning and teaching. In seminars and workshops, the integral relationship between educational theory and teaching methodology is explored. Trainees reflect critically on their experiences as learners and teachers in regular meetings with their subject mentors in schools and develop a rationale for their classroom practice.
There is an emphasis on encouraging trainees' own creativity in producing poetry, short stories, plays and videos. Twice a year, the group meets to share and perform creative pieces that trainees have either written or made themselves or produced with their students in school.
All interviews take place at the Faculty of Education and last approximately half a day. There are generally 4-6 candidates on each panel, with two interviewers, and the interview is a mixture of group activities/discussion and individual tasks. There are no tests but candidates will be expected to demonstrate their subject knowledge and language capabilities both verbally and in writing.
How school placements work
Trainees spend at least 120 days of the course in Partnership schools, undertaking four block placements (in a minimum of three different schools), across the entire 11-18 age range.
Trainees have the opportunity to work together with experienced mentors to develop their own practical teaching skills and competence. Trainees initially work together in the classroom with other trainees and their subject mentor, before gradually taking on more responsibility for planning and teaching as the year progresses, and to gain experience of many of the important tasks and responsibilities teachers take on outside the classroom, such as pastoral care and parents' evenings.
In the final placement there is also the opportunity for trainee involvement in a wider range of school activities: for instance, curriculum development and evaluation within their specialist subject(s); work experience and other activities related to careers education and economic and industrial understanding; fieldwork related to environmental education; and other similar activities which seek to extend the experience and education of pupils beyond the conventional classroom context.
The course fees for 2020/2021 are as follows:
You’ll get a bursary of £12,000 if you have a degree of 2:2 or above in any subject.
You don’t have to apply for a bursary - if you’re eligible, you’ll automatically start receiving it once you begin your course. Find out about eligibility and how you’ll be paid.
You may also be eligible for a loan while you study.
Find out about financial support if you’re from outside the UK.
A minimum of upper second class honours degree in English or a closely related subject.
GCSE English Language and Mathematics (minimum grade C)
We will consider applicants holding overseas qualifications that are equivalent to those described above. We may consider applicants with a 2.2 if they have an otherwise strong academic background but please contact the PGCE Admissions Office for advice before you apply.
The English course is for people who have a strong interest in learning to teach all aspects of the subject including literature, language, literacy, media and drama.
- A desire to teach and enthuse young people
- Commitment to state education
- Strong subject-based academic background
- Good communication skills
- Experience working with young people
- Flexibility and humour
- Energy, perseverance and stamina
- Ability to work collaboratively
- Ability to learn and act on advice
We do not require applicants to have prior experience in a school as long as they have experience with children of the relevant age phase in other capacities.
However, we do recommend that you spend some time in school if possible to help you decide if teaching is right for you. Those considering your application will be looking for evidence of commitment to, and enthusiasm for, working with children and young people. You should consider how you might demonstrate this in your personal statement and be prepared to discuss during an interview.
About the training provider
The Faculty of Education provides high quality courses in both the Primary and Secondary age-range. Our trainees are always in demand from headteachers and many of our ex-trainees go on to positions of school leadership very quickly.
We consistently receive outstanding feedback from our trainees on course evaluations. We are delighted to be ranked as the number one teacher training provider in England in the 2017 Good Teacher Training Guide.
School colleagues are involved in all aspects of the course from interviewing through to Faculty course teaching.
Our outstanding benefits are:
- Well-established and diverse school partnerships
- Exceptional employment rates
- The stimulation of being a part of a group of high-attaining future leaders in education
- Expert staff - experienced teachers and research active subject specialists in the Faculty
- An intellectual and social hub to live in, comprising College life in the dynamic city of Cambridge
The PGCE courses are assessed at Masters level and trainees who successfully complete all examined elements of the Cambridge PGCE course can apply to undertake the part-time Master of Education (MEd) in just one year.
Training with disabilities and other needs
The Faculty is committed to equal opportunities for all and to the provision of support for students with a disability and aims to ensure that no present or prospective student receives less favourable treatment than another on grounds of any condition or status not directly affecting study or work.
The University's Disability Resource Centre works with the Faculty to provide support to trainees throughout the PGCE course.
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:
Training programme code:
Choose a training location
You’ll also need to choose a training location – select the relevant location name on the application form.
Faculty of Education, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 8PQ
Support and advice
For questions about this course you should contact the training provider using the contact details above.
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