University of Sussex
Primary (5-11) (X174)

PGCE with QTS, full time or part 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
Up to 2 years
Date you can apply from
8 October 2019
Date course starts
September 2020

About the course

The Sussex Schools Partnership Primary PGCE course is offered as either a 1 year full-time programme or for 2 years part time.

Successful candidates will be awarded Qualified

Teacher Status (QTS) and a PGCE of 90 Masters Level Credits allowing progress onto our Part-time Masters in Education for newly qualified teachers.

The PGCE course enables you to develop your own philosophy of learning with an investigative, hands-on approach in which the children you teach are engaged through exploration and discovery. We encourage, challenge and support trainees helping to become effective, reflective teachers whose classroom practice puts children at the centre of a creative and engaging learning process.

The Sussex course integrates education theory and practice encouraging you to critically reflect on approaches to learning and teaching and develop a subject specialism. Over the year you will be placed in two different schools and required to pass both placements. Additional assessments are via a Masters level essay submitted in February and an innovative Viva style Masters level exit interview at the end of the course.

We have developed strong partnerships with primary schools who share our philosophy of a creative and reflective approach starting with the individual child and the environment. Teachers in these schools are key members of our training team and lead on many areas of this course.

The Sussex Primary course is unique in offering a very long first school placement of six months allowing you to really get to know your school and fully understand pupil progression. Your schools are carefully selected for you by the Primary Tutor team.

The shorter second placement builds on this by applying your skills and knowledge in another setting. You will also have opportunities to explore transition with time in key Stage 3 and Foundation Stage

You will attend an exciting full-time three week induction course on our campus during September in preparation for starting your school placement.

Full-time candidates then spend Monday to Thursday each week training school and attending the University Campus on Fridays for lectures, workshops and seminars with our team of experienced primary tutors.

Part-time candidates also attend the university on Fridays but train for two days a week in school in year 1 and three days in year 2 with days individually negotiated with your school.

Further course information

Interview process

Applicants who meet the entry requirements will be invited to a selection day in one of our partnership schools.

At a Sussex selection day candidates would usually expect to;

  • Listen to a talk giving further information about the course with an opportunity to ask questions
  • Have an individual interview with a Sussex tutor, an experienced teacher and some pupils
  • Undertake a short teaching task with a group of children and deliver a short pre-prepared presentation to the interview panel
  • Present your degree, GCSE Maths, English and Science certificates and Photo ID for checking
  • Complete some paperwork including our Suitability for Teaching Declaration

Showing an awareness the curriculum and school life is part of the selection process so candidates may wish to prepare themselves by spending some time in an appropriate school setting for the subject/phase they intend to teach beforehand.

How school placements work

Our Full-time Course

You will undertake two periods of Professional Practice in two contrasting schools over the academic year September to June.

Placement 1: End of September to Easter; Trainees benefit from a serial placement where the working week is divided between four days in school and a day of reflection and training at the University on Fridays. This ensures a weekly focus on theory and pedagogy as well as practice. In school, guided by an experienced teacher as a mentor, you will gradually build your teaching skills through support and feedback.

Placement 2: Easter to May halfterm in a contrasting school. There are fewer University days to give you experience of working a 5 day school week.

Our Part-time Course

Year One: 2 days* a week in school and Fridays at the University

Year Two 3 days* a week in a second contrasting school and occasional University days. Towards the end of your course you will also undertake a full-time 5 week teaching block.

  • Days of the week individually negociated to suit both school and trainee.

Our longstanding and historic partnership with around 300 schools and Early Years settings across East and West Sussex, Brighton and Hove, Surrey, Kent, Hampshire and South London Fringes helps us secure placements where our trainees will thrive and be well exceptionally supported. We invest a lot of time in carefully arranging the most appropriate school for each individual in our cohorts.

Your Sussex tutor will personally select your two school placements based on a combination of factors; the practicalities such as living location and transport needs but also on personality, subject knowledge level and previous experiences and using our in depth knowledge of the features of schools within our partnership.

We are also proud to offer an innovative optional training strand in Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) which includes enhanced training opportunities and a bespoke Placement 2 in a local partnership special school. This strand would suit any trainee interested in working in a SEND environment.


The course fees for 2020/2021 are as follows:
Student type Fees to pay
UK students £9,250
EU students £9,250
International students £15,250

Financial support

You may be eligible for a loan while you study.

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



  • Degree:

An undergraduate degree 2:2 in a subject related to the English National Curriculum or a related subject such as Psychology, Child Development etc. Applicants with a foundation degree will need to supplement their qualification with at least 60 credits at HE, level 3.

  • GCSE:

English, Maths and a Science subject GCSE at grade C or above (pre-2017), Grade 5 or above (post-2017), or equivalent qualifications.

Personal qualities

At Sussex we are looking for;

  • A passion for working with young children
  • A strong knowledge and understanding of Primary education, and a sound awareness of current issues in English Primary schools
  • Effective communication skills and good organisational ability
  • Experience with young people and commitment to developing individuals
  • Enthusiasm, energy and creativity
  • The ability to evaluate practice and to address your weaknesses
  • Initiative, flexibility and responsiveness to change
  • A sense of responsibility
  • The ability to work in a team.

Other requirements

We also require the following

  • Working with children: You must not be excluded from working with children, as a result of a criminal record or other reason. The Disclosure and Barring Service provides access to records held nationwide through its disclosure

service. All trainees must obtain successful DBS clearance before starting an initial teacher-training programme.

  • Health requirements: All trainees must be screened for mental and physical fitness to teach by the University's Occupational Health Department before admission to the programme.

About the training provider

The University of Sussex Schools Partnership offers high quality professional and academic teaching courses leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), a PGCE of 90 Masters Level Credits and a progression route onto a Masters in Education.

With a history of innovation we pioneered a model of school-based teacher training 50 years ago, now adopted nationally. Schools are involved at every stage of the selection, training and assessment of our beginner teachers. This long standing relationship results in excellent support from experienced teachers mentoring trainees on placement and dedicated University tutors offering models of successful pedagogy. As a small friendly department we offer our trainees a personal approach and aftercare support and training as Newly Qualified Teachers

We train 'thinking' teachers with a over riding desire to make a difference to the lives of young people.

A research intensive university, we believe teachers benefit from critical engagement in evidence-based practice, reflection on research and continuing professional development as well as excellent practical classroom skills.

Our University sits on a leafy campus at the edge of the South Downs National Park, accessible by road or rail from East and West Sussex, Brighton and Hove, Surrey, Kent, Hampshire and South London. The historic

seaside city of Brighton is minutes away, with its pebble beaches and vibrant social and cultural opportunities.

Course outcomes are consistently high; 100% achieving QTS on first attempt,

94% completing with Merit or Distinction,

98% securing a teaching post and

99% of ex-trainees rating the course 'good' or 'very good'.

Training with disabilities and other needs

The University of Sussex welcomes applications from all candidates who have the potential to make excellent teachers regardless of disability and additional needs.

We have previously successfully supported trainee teachers with dyslexia, dyspraxia, aspergers, mental wealth conditions and a range of physical, hearing and visual impairments.

All trainee teachers are first screened for mental and physical fitness to teach by the University's Occupational Health Department before admission to the programme. Following this, if you have a disability or health condition, you will register with the University Student Support service and an assessment is arranged to establish your needs. The team will identify the additional support and adjustments recommended to help you be as successful as possible on the course.

Contact details

01273 873238
Sussex School of Education
Essex House
Falmer, Brighton
Brighton and Hove


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: S90
  • Training programme code: X174

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
Main Site
Essex House 4, University of Sussex, Falmer, East Sussex BN1 9QQ
Yes -

Support and advice

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

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