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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School

PGCE Physical Education (1 year)

This course is open to trainee teachers who wish to qualify to teach Physical Education at Key Stages 3 and 4. The course is run both in the University and in conjunction with local partnership schools

Introducing your course

This is the course page for PGCE Physical Education at the University of Southampton. Find out everything about Physical Education and what studying here involves.

In this course page we explain a range of key information about the course. This includes typical entry requirements, modules you can take and how assessment works. We also suggest career opportunities open to you as a University of Southampton graduate of PGCE Physical Education.

If you still have questions, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer any enquiries. See our contact us page for our telephone, email and address information.

This is a full-time, one year course that starts in early September and continues through to the end of June, with breaks over Christmas and in the Spring. The course incorporates periods of university-based and school-based work. The balance between school and university enables you to develop your subject knowledge whilst developing the skills required to play an effective role in the work of a school or college department.

This is achieved by a range of approaches that include practical workshops, seminars, lectures and demonstrations, fieldwork and micro-teaching activities, independent and group research and through reading and writing activities. Recent trends in teaching and learning approaches are emphasised including the application of information technology, and you will participate in the design of fieldwork, project work and assessment. We believe that this is best done by working from your own subject knowledge and skills while also having the ability to teach material from the sciences which lie beyond your specialism.

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 Physical Education 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: Susie Fawcett

Programme Structure

The course has two parts: School Based Experience and University Based Experience. During the course, you will spend time in two placement schools from our partnership group. Whilst on placement, you will work closely with your subject mentor and experience lesson observation, team teaching, working with small groups and whole classes of pupils.

University based work is subject focussed but also contains 'Professional Themes' which are common to all subjects and taught in mixed subject groups. Time spent in the University enables us to prepare you for your placements, evaluate your school-based work and plan ahead; and it allows you to share your experiences with other trainee teachers.

The university subject sessions are essentially workshop in nature. The tutors' aim is to model for you the good practice that they expect of you when you are on placement.

At the same time the course aims to produce 'reflective practitioners'; and so personal, critical reflection and evaluation forms a key part of the course.

Key Facts

The course at Southampton 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.

Not only do we offer the chance of gaining 60 credits at the start of your career, but we have developed a number of routes for teachers to continue their study, allowing them to obtain a full Masters degree.

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Working with exciting, inquisitive young people will provide you with new, challenging and enjoyable experiences every day of your working life. Beyond your work in the classroom the gym and the sports field, you’ll find that teaching offers you many opportunities for training to develop and build a stimulating and successful career.

Education has specifically developed additional postgraduate courses for teachers in their NQT year or early stages of teaching that will allow you to turn your PGCE assignment credits into a full masters award, thus allowing you a head start on PGCE graduates from other institutions. 

With your M-level credits, you can undertake study at an advanced level and deepen your knowledge in specific subject areas without the full workload of a master’s degree.

Typical entry requirements

Typical GCSE entry requirements for PGCE Physical Education
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.
Undergraduate degree:

Applicants should possess a relevant degree, 2:2 or above, which has covered theoretical and practical aspects of sport, health and physical education.

Classroom experience

Please note that it is desirable that you spend a minimum 1-2 days in a secondary school prior to interview. The letter sent to applicants inviting them to interview states this. Please bear this in mind when applying.

Please also note that applicants who have a limited amount of school experience may find that any offer they receive as a result of an interview is conditional on their spending more time in school prior to the commencement of the course. Therefore potential applicants are urged to apply as early in the academic year as possible.

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 Physical Education classroom in a secondary school, and had a discussion with classroom teachers.

At interview candidates are asked to:

  • do a group presentation on teaching pupils in a school environment or an aspect of physical education teaching (provided on the day)
  • be involved in a seminar in response to a familiar aspect of the physical education curriculum.

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 (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 Physical Education Programme is built around ten key foci, which are addressed at the University initially through generic theoretical lectures, discussion seminars and then subsequently through the National Curriculum areas of activity for PE in a more practical context.

FOCUS 1: The role of the teacher as a professional.
FOCUS 2: The position and role of physical education in schools and ways in which this is changing.
FOCUS 3: Development of subject knowledge. Knowledge of resources which can be used with pupils in the classroom and to improve own subject knowledge.
FOCUS 4: Planning for the effective teaching of physical education.
FOCUS 5: How the physical education teacher can be most efficient and effective in class management.
FOCUS 6: The use of different teaching and learning, styles and strategies which can be used in the teaching of physical education.
FOCUS 7: How physical education teachers take account of pupil differences.
FOCUS 8: Methods of assessment within physical education.
FOCUS 9: The wider role of the physical education teacher in school.
FOCUS 10: Professional development within and beyond the ITE course.

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 feesExplore 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

Following our recent successful OfSTED inspection, the course continues to offer a very effective training programme.

Particular attention is given to:

Sport Education;
Developing effective teaching and learning approaches;
Planning for teaching;
Organising and managing the classroom;
Monitoring and assessing pupils;
Promoting the use of ICT in PE;
Teaching for equity and inclusion.

The curriculum focuses both on the professional practice and inherent subject knowledge. Principles underpinning professional practice are delivered through each of the prescribed areas of content:
a. outwitting opponents, as in games activities
b. accurate replication of actions, phrases and sequences, as in gymnastic activities
c. performing at maximum levels in relation to speed, height, distance, strength or accuracy, as in athletic activities
d. identifying and solving problems to overcome challenges of an adventurous nature, as in life saving and personal survival in swimming and outdoor activities
e. exercising safely and effectively to improve health and wellbeing, as in fitness and health activities.

Appropriate attention is also given to ensuring you can a high level of knowledge in the following key processes:

Developing skills in physical activity
Making and applying decisions
Developing physical and mental capacity
Evaluating and improving
Making informed choices about healthy, active lifestyles

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.

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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