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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School

PGCE Modern Languages (1 year)

The Modern Languages Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course  prepares you to teach one or more modern foreign languages to all ages and abilities in the secondary school system (KS3 and KS4).

Introducing your course

Do you have a passion for languages? Does the prospect of widening the horizons of young people excite you? Do you want to equip the next generation of global citizens with a second language? Share your love of the foreign culture and language by learning to teach French, German or Spanish.

Through high-quality teaching sessions, micro-teaching in a school prior to teaching practice, collaborative workshops and supportive school placements, the PGCE MFL course will equip you to become an inspirational and effective language teacher of young people aged 11-16. Make a real difference to the communication skills of the next generation! Train to teach MFL!

Our PGCE Secondary course will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to teach modern languages (ML) across the secondary age range, including some opportunities to know more about 16-19 teaching, through independent inquiries and observations. The course seeks to provide you with the skills to teach French, German or Spanish language, as a means of communication, to pupils of a range of ages and abilities, within the framework of the National Curriculum.

The approach is practical and participatory. After an initial exploration of essential principles, techniques and classroom activities, you are encouraged to organise lessons which make use of both published materials and individual creativity. Opportunities exist to teach a second language.

Your university tutors and school mentors will help you develop your teaching skills in ML through a range of approaches: workshops, seminars, lectures and demonstrations, simulations and micro-teaching activities, independent and group research. These will focus principally on the four essential skills of language learning – Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. The central focus of the course is on teaching ML in a challenging yet accessible way and understanding how children learn. The university-based sessions often consist of practical workshops, where you can develop Languages skills as well as learn the pedagogical knowledge needed to teach.

Opportunities will be provided to develop ICT skills and ideas for using them to enhance MFL learning. In school, you will be supported by your curriculum mentor who will organise your school experience and support you through observation and discussion at weekly meetings and at other times.


  • To help you become aware of the place of Modern Languages in Britain’s schools.
  • To prepare for planning, teaching and assessing pupils’ learning within the National Curriculum, the New Secondary Curriculum and the new GCSE specifications.
  • To encourage you to think critically about the nature and processes of language teaching and learning.
  • To enable you to explore a range of teaching styles and methods, to assess their relative strengths and weaknesses in order to develop your own methodology and set of teaching skills.
  • To support you in your personal and professional development, to work with pupils and colleagues in our partner schools and beyond.

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 Modern Foreign Languages 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: Melanie Smith

Key Facts

The Southampton Education School works in partnership with 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 Modern Languages
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.

You should normally hold a good honours degree, with at least 50% of its content being in your first foreign language. You should be able to offer 2 foreign languages. If this is German or Spanish you should also be able to offer French beyond basic active competence. This will be explored at interview. Early applicants may be able to gain a place on one of the NCTL funded second language enrichment/booster courses.

Selection process

You will be selected for interview based on the following criteria:

  • your application shows that you have appropriate subject knowledge
  • the application shows that experience has been gained in a school/college or working with young people
  • the application is well written and persuasive.

You will enhance your interview rating if, prior to interview, you have already observed some teaching and learning in a Modern Languages classroom in a secondary school, and had a discussion with classroom teachers.

At interview candidates are asked to:

  • do a presentation on an aspect of Modern Languages teaching (provided in advance) in your first teaching language 
  • produce a piece of writing on an aspect of Modern Languages teaching.

The following selection criteria will be applied at interview

  • good subject knowledge and/or ability to learn further
  • good knowledge of educational issues and a strong sense of the professional demands
  • good interpersonal skills and an ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.

A good academic reference must also be provided from your most recent university or college or from an employer (where you have been away from studying for some time).

All places offered will be conditional on enhanced DBS 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 Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) Modern Languages is an intensive one year course. Two-thirds of your time will be spent in schools (minimum of 120 days) with the remainder spent at the University with a full programme of lectures, seminars and tutorials. You will spend time in real classrooms during your school experience. You will gradually be introduced into whole class teaching; initially it is likely that you will observe lessons and work with small groups of pupils. The expectation though is that you will quickly develop the skills and confidence to work with whole classes, with the support of your school-based mentor.

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 measured in concert 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.
  • Secondly, as part of the Standards everyone must pass QTS skills tests in literacy, numeracy and ICT.
  • 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 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 60 credits towards a Master’s degree. This course also leads to QTS, qualifying you to teach in school.

In summary, there are 2 exit points:

PGCE with 30 ETCS M credits + QTS

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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