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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School

PGCE History (1 year)

The History Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course prepares you to teach the subject to all ages and abilities in the secondary school system (KS3 and KS4). The central aim of the course is to produce confident, competent and professional teachers of History with a good grasp of effective approaches to teaching, and the enthusiasm and skill to help pupils understand, enjoy and apply this subject.

Introducing your course

Are you a Historian with a passion for the past? Are you excited by the prospect of equipping pupils to explore the rich heritage of Britain and the wider world? The History PGCE course will equip you to teach History to pupils aged 11-16 and will develop your understanding of key historical concepts and processes, as well as developing and enhancing your subject knowledge. Through high quality collaborative taught sessions, bespoke developmental activities and supportive in-school placements, you will develop skills in planning, delivering and assessing learning activities; equipping you to make a significant contribution to History departments during your training year and beyond.

Our PGCE Secondary course will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to teach history across the secondary age range, including some opportunities to know more about 16-19 teaching. Candidates should note that the majority of schools in the Southampton partnership serve 11-6 cohorts and access to post 16 experience is developed through observations, taught sessions in a post 16 provision and some micro teaching as visitors to a sixth form college or school. Our PGCE trainees have successfully secured posts teaching across the 11-19 age range.

There is a strong working relationship between the university and partner schools to develop your ability to teach history effectively. This involves not just understanding how to teach but why; the emphasis on the latter explores both why the subject matters as well as exploring the benefits of a range of teaching approaches. The course is very practical but underpinned by an emphasis on developing your own theoretical and philosophical position towards history teaching. It is a challenging course but highly effective. The course enjoys a very strong local and national reputation and has high completion and employment rates.


The course is designed to create history teachers that have a clear and well-founded philosophy towards the subject and how to teach history. We aim for reflective and dynamic practitioners willing to use a variety of teaching strategies to inspire all the youngsters in their classes. They will have a clear understanding of the problems pupils encounter in history, be prepared to find ways to overcome these difficulties and help pupils make progress.

This will be achieved by:

  • discussion to develop your own philosophy towards the importance of the subject, what should be taught and how it should be taught
  • discussion of different approaches to teaching topics or ideas that you reflect upon critically
  • planning of lessons and sequence of lessons that engage pupils, challenge them to progress in their knowledge and understanding of history
  • planning of lessons and sequences of lessons that are evaluated critically using feedback from experienced teachers and your own views, underpinned by reading
  • justifying the selection of teaching strategies appropriate to pupils' needs
  • using assessment data to inform your own planning and target setting for pupils using a variety of techniques that match pupils' needs
  • knowledge of current developments within education and how they can be utilised for history
  • input from a variety of sources that you reflect upon critically, including a wide range of literature to inform your thinking
  • assignments that make you link theory and practice in history teaching
  • working creatively and professionally with curriculum/professional tutors and curriculum/professional mentors to enhance your understanding of teaching and in particular the demands of history teaching. 

To Apply

Applications are made centrally online through UCAS Teacher Training (UTT), rather than direct to the University. You can also monitor the progress of your application from this site.

Before applying, you should read the National Curriculum for History and the Standards for the award of Qualified Teacher Status. You should also ensure that you will meet the criteria set out under Entry Requirements.


On successful completion, you will have gained not only your PGCE, but have attained Qualified Teacher Status. This is the accreditation that enables you to teach in state-maintained and special schools in England and Wales


For further information on this programme, email the ITE office or telephone: 023 8059 2413. You can find general information on teaching as a career, including the criteria for QTS, on the Department for Education website.

Programme tutor: Rachele Morse

Key Facts

The Southampton Education School works in partnership with a total of over 100 local schools and colleges across the region.

The Southampton PGCE provides you with a very firm foundation for your teaching career. We have high employment rates from the course and many trainees are actually employed in our partnership schools.

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Typical entry requirements

Typical GCSE entry requirements for PGCE History
GCSECurrently, you must have GCSE passes at grade C/4 or above in English Language and Mathematics. This is a government requirement, and 'equivalent qualifications' are as designated by the PGCE admissions team (IELTS qualifications are not considered equivalent). If your qualifications are not considered to be appropriate, we can offer GCSE equivalent tests in English and Maths. There will be a charge of £50 for each of these and they are not deemed to be transferable. If you are currently studying for a qualification in a required subject, any place offered would be conditional on a successful outcome, or the successful outcome of a Southampton University Equivalency test. If you have Access or other qualifications, please provide full details of subjects and level.
Degree and background

Prospective candidates will have good knowledge of the subject, usually gained from first degree award. The normal expectation is that students will have at least 50% of their first degree in history, though related subjects such as archaeology, politics, sociology and so forth are seriously considered.

Selection process

You will be selected for interview based on the following

  1. Your application shows good prior knowledge from study and/or
  2. You show a good understanding of the work of teachers in a school context and/or
  3. It is well written and persuasive.

You may find it beneficial if, prior to interview, you have already observed some teaching and learning in a History classroom in a secondary school, and had a discussion with classroom teachers. This will enable you to reflect on specific aspect of teaching at interview.

At interview candidates are asked to:

  • present a lesson outline on a Key Stage 3 National Curriculum topic (maximum 5 minutes)
  • complete a written task
  • complete an individual interview with a panel of programme staff.

At interview, we will be looking for your:

  • sound subject knowledge and/or ability to learn further
  • good knowledge of educational issues and a strong sense of the professional demands
  • strong interpersonal skills and an ability to communicate effectively (oral and written).

A good academic reference must also be provided from your most recent university or college or in some cases an employer (where you have been away from studying for some time). All places offered will be conditional on enhanced DBS (formerly CRB) and health checks.

Please note, applicants cannot be registered on any other course from September of the year of entry (this includes PhDs and Masters degrees).

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Typical course content

The full-time, one year, course starts in early September and continues through to the end of June, with breaks over Christmas and Easter. The course itself is designed to cover all aspects of teaching History, from issues of classroom management to effective ways of getting pupils to understand historical skills like cause and effect.

There are two school placements during the year. During the placements, trainees receive weekly taught input at the university. The emphasis is on understanding how to teach the key concepts and processes that underpin history, as well as more generic issues about planning, classroom management, use of ICT, development of literacy and numeracy within the subject. As the year passes you will consolidate and apply your learning and deepen your understanding of history teaching by exploring issues such as teaching diversity, controversial topics, the 14-19 curriculum, and inclusion.

During the course you will work in two different schools, closely with a designated mentor in the History department. You will be assessed during the course in a number of ways. This will be based on your teaching, ICT skills, presentations and written assignments. You will receive thorough preparation for all these, and they are all designed to develop your knowledge and understanding of the why and how of effective History teaching.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees

Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Trainees are assessed formatively and summatively across the course. This ensures that progress is reviewed regularly and you are aware of the progress being made against the Standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). There are informal activities that need to be completed, and are important in developing a deeper insight into effective teaching.

Besides completion of all subject based tasks there are three elements common to all trainees in order to complete the course successfully.

  • All trainees have to demonstrate that their teaching is suitable to meet the Standards for QTS. This is assessed in collaboration with schools through your own accumulation of evidence based on your time spent in school and university learning. You are reviewed, assessed and ultimately graded on your performance as a teacher.
  • Finally everyone must pass three major assignments, Assignment 1 and Assignment 2 linked to their curriculum area, and Assignment 3. Assignments 1 and 2 are based on aspects of subject teaching, whereas the Assignment 3 is based around a study of a whole school issue.

These assignments are marked at Masters level and if successful in all three, trainees will be awarded the Post-graduate Certificate in Education, as well as 30 ETCS towards a Master’s degree. This course also leads to QTS, qualifying you to teach in school.

Study locations

EEE Building

Highfield Campus, Southampton Education School (B32, B34)

The Southampton Education School is based on the Highfield Campus, in ...Find out more

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