Physical Education with University of Exeter

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

Our Secondary Physical Education PGCE course is an 11-16 QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) course with post-16 enhancement. This means that whilst you must meet the standards for QTS within the 11-16 age range, you will also have additional experience of post-16.

Term 1 begins with two weeks of observation (preliminary school experience). This leads into the university-based course which focuses on professional development, specialist subject knowledge, pedagogy and teaching skills. You will spend two weeks in November in your first placement school to begin your classroom practice.

Term 2 is spent in your first placement school with three seminar days held at the University.

Term 3 is spent in your second placement school with two seminar days held at the University.

The programme has three fully integrated components:

  • Education and Professional Studies - The Education and Professional Studies component introduces you to key educational ideas and principles and provides you with opportunities to consider these in relation to your subject specialism and the wider school context. This component includes one summative assignment worth 30 Masters level credits.
  • School Experience - Central to the course is the developing your ability to meet the DfE’s Teachers’ Standards which trainees must demonstrate in order to be recommended for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). School-based tutors and mentors are responsible for your learning & development and receive well-designed training. You initially work with groups of children, before taking on more responsibility for planning and independently teaching whole classes. You will have two main placements offering contrasting environments.
  • Specialist Subject Knowledge and Pedagogy (PE): The PGCE PE course places considerable importance on trainees collaboratively planning, teaching and reflecting critically. It includes lectures, practical/workshop-based sessions, directed study tasks, assignments and school experience to prepare trainees to inform, inspire and engage the diverse needs of young people in the 21st century. You will develop a secure knowledge and understanding of: * Content: a wide variety of physical activities comprising the National Curriculum for PE including fitness, health, BTEC and GCSE and A level theory and practice * Pedagogy: how to transform this knowledge of activities and topics in ways that makes them comprehensible to learners * Learners: different types of learners (e.g. gifted & talented, SEN/D, obese, reluctant/disengaged, EAL) * Learning: theories of how learners learn * Curriculum: the National Curriculum for PE in England.

Interview process

The PGCE interview day comprises various elements, all designed so that you can showcase (and so we can assess) your skills, attributes and subject knowledge.

We notify all interviewees ahead of time what will be expected of them on interview day, so you have plenty of time to prepare. Primary and secondary interviewees attend on the same day and activities in the morning are conducted in mixed subject groups. The day is divided up as follows:

  • A welcome talk so you can find out about the structure of the programme, including school placements and the taught course
  • A short written task in which you can demonstrate your subject knowledge and understanding of current issues in education
  • A document check so you can bring with you your certificates (you will be told what to bring)
  • A short presentation in which you present a teaching idea using an artefact of your choice
  • A short discussion about a filmed lesson which encourages you to explore your own, and others’, ideas about good teaching
  • A one-to-one interview with an Admissions Tutor. This is where Subject Tutors will discuss your application, your suitability for teaching and your subject knowledge. This is also an opportunity to learn about the particular course you are applying for.

The interview day is designed to give you a flavour of the PGCE programme. There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions on the day. You should allow a full day for the interview.

How school placements work

You will be working within at least two schools during the course and all of our partner schools have specially trained mentors who will assist you in learning to teach. These colleagues are essential to your development as a teacher and will help you to develop both classroom skills and reflective and evaluative strategies. Together with schools, we will provide you with opportunities, training and support.

The University of Exeter currently has partnership agreements with over 250 schools across most parts of the South West (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset).

Every effort is made to take into consideration your personal circumstances and preferences when allocating your placements. Trainees generally live in and around Exeter for the Autumn term, and then move to the area their placements will be in. Once on placement, there are 5 seminar days on campus throughout the year, offering the opportunity to share experiences and good practice. You can claim a contribution towards expenses for these days if you are living away from Exeter.

Our accommodation office can offer advice regarding finding accommodation for the Autumn term. Many trainees will be placed further afield than Exeter for the whole of their school-based work, and will need to find accommodation in that area. Once registered, we provide an accommodation database, which lists many accommodation options previously used by our trainees. Many trainees live together during their time on placement and some live with school staff.


The course fees for 2019/2020 are as follows:
Student type Fees to pay
UK students £9,250
EU students £9,250
International students £17,600

Financial support

You may be eligible for a loan while you study.

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.

The University of Exeter offers a £520 bursary to all UK students studying for a PGCE with us in 2019/20, whose household income is £25,000 or less. There is no separate application procedure for this bursary. Instead, we make an assessment using the household income information you provide to Student Finance England (you must make sure you give consent for details of your SfE application to be shared with the University of Exeter). This consent to share is requested during the application for financial support, but can be given at any time throughout the year by contacting SfE.

For more information, please see our Fees and finance webpages



Applicants are normally expected to have

  • a C/4 grade or above (or equivalent) in PE at GCSE and/or A level
  • a 2:1 Honours degree (or higher) in a sport-related undergraduate degree
  • a valid and current one-day first aid certificate (i.e. Emergency First Aid at Work Certificate)
  • a valid and current pool lifeguard qualification (i.e. National Pool Lifeguard Qualification).
  • At least one coaching course successfully completed in a game which you are weak/deficient in

Passes at GCSE in English and Mathematics at Grade C/4 are required.

Personal qualities

Successful applicants will have a strong academic track record and will be able to demonstrate a passion for teaching PE. You will possess strong organisational skills, enthusiasm and resilience alongside a commitment to becoming a reflective practitioner. In addition, you will be able to build strong and effective relationships with students and professional colleagues and will have good interpersonal skills.

Other requirements

Most successful applicants have a 2:1 or above. If however, you have a 2:2 or different academic background, equivalent to degree level, you are welcome to make an application through UCAS for consideration or contact our PGCE Admissions team for more information.

In addition to the academic requirements listed, selection is based on performance at interview, passes in both professional skills tests and a satisfactory fitness to teach assessment and DBS enhanced disclosure.

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

Contact details

0300 555 6060
Admissions, University of Exeter
Innovation Centre
Rennes Drive
Exeter, Devon


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: E84
  • Training programme code: X9C6

Choose a training location

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

Code Name Address
University of Exeter (Exeter Campuses) PGCE Admissions Office, Northcote House, The Queen's Drive, Exeter, DEVON EX4 4QJ

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.

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