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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School

PGCE Primary

Our Primary PGCE programme will enable you to become an excellent primary teacher, well-informed and confident about your ability to enable all children in your class to enjoy learning and make good progress. Additionally, our Masters level accreditation means that most of our trainees qualify with M level credits, which can represent a valuable first step towards a Masters degree.

Our expectations of our trainees are extremely high, from application through to final qualification, which means our NQTs are very well positioned in the jobs market. We have a record of very positive Ofsted inspections, and all involved speak highly of the support offered to trainees.

Introducing your course

Do you enjoy working with children in primary schools? Do you want to inspire the next generation and ensure all children get the best possible education at this critical time of their lives? Then become a primary school teacher and enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding career.

With much of your time being based in school on two longer placements, interspersed with time to reflect and receive further input, the Primary PGCE at Southampton will prepare you to make a significant contribution in primary education.

Our PGCE programme prepares you thoroughly to teach children across the primary age range, through a careful integration of University and school-based learning which draws on the expertise of our partner schools as well as University tutors. In the c36 week course you will spend approximately two-thirds of your time in school and the remainder in University, other settings and self-study. Most trainee teachers will focus on ages 5-11, with some School Direct alliances offering places to train to teach ages 3-7.

We aim to develop your understanding of how children learn and the factors that are involved; develop your subject knowledge in relation to the National Curriculum; support your growing proficiency in planning, teaching, assessing and managing a classroom; familiarise you with current policy and initiatives; and help you to become an informed, reflective, and enquiring professional who will be an asset to any school.

In line with our status as a leading research-led University, our PGCE programme provides opportunities for you to engage with research in a variety of ways, including conducting a self-chosen, small-scale classroom investigation. This contributes towards your achievement at Masters Level. The academic work can be challenging, but helps you develop significantly as a critically enquiring practitioner, well positioned to improve outcomes for your pupils. 


Schools are increasingly looking for teachers who can lead and support staff in a range of areas. All trainees are encouraged to take advantage of the range of opportunities we provide to personalise their PGCE so that it reflects their professional experience, personal interests and developing areas of specialism.  Current options include French, Science, Storytelling, PE, Green issues, Maths leadership, computer science, children's literature and drama. 

We have a strong commitment to developing positive attitudes towards the health and well-being of children and teachers in schools. This runs as a thread across the course and all trainees participate in a project to explore and develop their practice in this area, for example investigating emotional health and well-being, healthy eating, or the use of the outdoors. In the modern global world, we are aware of the importance of developing international links; since 2012, trainees have been offered the opportunity to work in Kenya for two weeks of the course, with many of them describing this as ‘life-changing’.

For suitably-qualified applicants (i.e. a degree, good A level grade or equivalent or appropriate experience), we offer Primary Mathematics as a specialism, alongside training as a general Primary teacher. Focused university sessions, carefully selected school placements and a programme of additional experiences help you develop the specific skills needed to be a Mathematics specialist in school.

Equality and Diversity

The University of Southampton believes that Equality and Diversity are core to the University and integral to everything we do for all our members; students and staff. It is about more than just policies and procedures, and highlights the significance of our relationships with each other, and our desire to be a diverse and successful organisation.

The Southampton Education School promotes equality and diversity at all times. Teaching, Learning and Assessment promote equality, support diversity and tackle discrimination, victimisation, harassment, stereotyping and bullying. We aim to motivate and engage all learners, whatever age or ability, and to promote spiritual, moral, social, linguistic and cultural diversity in all aspects of our courses.

Detailed information can be found at:


The University of Southampton adopts the principle that the rights and safety of children are paramount at all times. If you are working with children, or vulnerable adults, then you need to be familiar with the University's Safeguarding Policy and know what you need to do if any problems arise. For more information visit the Safeguarding Policy

View the programme specification for this course for 2018/19 entrants
View the programme specification for this course for 2019/20 entrants

Open Evenings

Apply here

To Apply

Applications are made centrally online through UCAS Teacher Training at , rather than direct to the University. You can also monitor the progress of your application from this site. Our courses are very popular and we encourage you to apply as soon as applications open to have the best chance of being interviewed and accepted. Please click here for further details of our open evenings or email  if you would like to talk with a member of staff about your application.

Your application will not be processed until both your referees have submitted a reference for you. We would strongly advise you to make your referees aware of this to avoid delaying your application.

In 2018-19, training bursaries of £6,000 are only available to candidates to those on the Mathematics specialism route with a grade B or better at A level. Details can be found at:

The UCAS code for the generalist Primary PGCE is X100 and for the Mathematics specialism is 2DXB. If you are interested in the Mathematics specialism but would be happy to follow the generalist course if this is full, you should apply for 2DXB as your first choice and X100 as your second.

Before applying, you should read the National Curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2 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 be awarded the Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) (bearing Masters level credits). This award leads to Qualified Teacher Status, enabling you to teach in state-maintained and special schools in England and Wales.


For further information on this programme, email the admissions office at or telephone: 023 8059 3473. You can find general information on teaching as a career, including the criteria for QTS, on the Department for Education website.

Programme Tutor: Ian Campton

Key Facts

The Southampton Education School works in partnership with over 200 primary schools 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 employed in our partnership schools.

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I have been put in great schools for my placement and this has really set me up for my future career as a primary teacher. I was also lucky enough to travel to Kenya and teach over there. This was an incredible experience that I will remember for the rest of my life!
Amelia JosephPGCE Primary

Typical entry requirements

Typical GCSE entry requirements for PGCE Primary
GCSEGCSEs and A levels: Currently, you must have GCSE passes (or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University), at grade C or above in English Language, Mathematics and Science (preferably double science). 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, Maths and Science. 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 this is a GCSE qualification. If you have Access or other qualifications, please provide full details of subjects and level. Other GCSE and A level qualifications (or equivalent) should support your application by demonstrating academic ability and a broad knowledge base to support teaching across the primary curriculum.

Students accepted onto the course must hold at least a 2:2 degree or above. This must be at Honours level and awarded by a British university (or equivalent as confirmed by NARIC).

We accept a wide range of degree subjects, but expect you to demonstrate the relevance of your degree to primary teaching.

Mathematics specialism:

You additionally must demonstrate competence in Mathematics. You will need to have GCSE Mathematics at grade A or A* (or equivalent) and an A or AS level (or equivalent) in Mathematics would be desirable. We will also take into consideration mathematical elements of your degree or significant work experience involving Mathematics. Please note, in order to apply for a training bursary candidates must have a Grade B or above in Mathematics at A level (or equivalent).


Prior classroom experience is not a requirement of your application nor will it be a condition of your offer should you not have any and you are successful at interview. Historically, strong applicants, who demonstrate an understanding of the role of a classroom teacher, are frequently informed by time spent in a primary school classroom, so we recommend you to consider arranging some time in the classroom. Other areas of relevant experience may also support your application (e.g. coaching, playgroups, voluntary work overseas).

Qualifications from outside the English education system

If applying from outside the English education system, please specify your qualifications after the age of 16 in English, Mathematics, Science, and other subjects as applicable. Equivalent passes in Scottish, Welsh and Irish qualifications are welcome (we do not accept Irish Leaving Certificate 'Social and Scientific' as a Science subject). International students may be asked to provide confirmation of equivalence as set out by NARIC.

Other information

You are expected to demonstrate on your application form and at interview the ability to communicate clearly and effectively in both written and spoken English; a basic level of skill in numeracy; and experience in using basic ICT skills.

Shortlisting: You will be selected for interview on the basis that your application demonstrates:

  • Good qualifications in appropriate subjects, including strong A levels, GCSEs (or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University) in the core and other subjects that support the primary curriculum, and indicate academic ability which will support Masters level study.
  • A depth and breadth of educational background which will support teaching across the curriculum, good experience in schools and other contexts of working with children and your ability to write accurately, analytically and persuasively.
Selection process

Typical entry requirements


At interview, you will give a short presentation on a current issue related to primary education to a small group and participate in a discussion; undertake some written tasks; and be formally interviewed. We are looking for:

  • a sound subject knowledge and/or disposition to develop your knowledge as necessary
  • a good knowledge of educational issues
  • a strong sense of the professional demands made on teachers
  • the ability to reflect critically and analytically
  • strong interpersonal skills
  • the ability to communicate effectively (orally and in writing).

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).

Skills test

Trainees starting an initial teacher training (ITT) course will be required to pass the Professional skills tests in literacy and numeracy before starting their course. The registration and booking system can booked online.

For further information visit the Department for Education site.

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

Typical course content

In University

University-based teaching focuses on the professional skills and knowledge you need to become a well-informed and effective primary teacher. Central to the programme is Teaching and Learning, which provides a generic grounding in issues relating to practice and policy, and develops your understanding of how children learn and how teachers teach. In parallel, we provide a thorough introduction to the primary curriculum, with a strong focus on the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science, along with ICT. You will also be introduced to the wider curriculum (Physical Education; Religious Education; Personal, Social and Health Education; Art; Music; Design and Technology; History; Geography).

Those following the Mathematics specialism route will have additional sessions in school and University exploring the Mathematics curriculum in greater depth. The school placements will include a particular focus on the teaching of Mathematics, alongside the other subjects in the Primary curriculum. Where there are elements of choice, for example in the three assignments, it is expected that they will select options reflecting their specialism.

You will be well supported by tutors in all aspects of your learning, including developing the skills and knowledge required to complete successful assignments at Masters level.

In schools

Your school placements will enable you to apply and develop your understanding as you plan, teach and assess across the primary curriculum, with the guidance of experienced practitioners. School-based training offers a structured progression in supportive classroom contexts. You will undertake two main placements, one in Key Stage 1 and one in Key Stage 2, in different schools, placing you in a strong position to apply for posts across the primary age range.

Our thriving partnership school partnership extends across Southampton, Hampshire, Portsmouth, Dorset, Bournemouth, Poole, Wiltshire and the Isle of Wight. Placements cover a range of schools, small and large, rural and urban. Whilst we endeavour to place trainees reasonably close to home, you should be prepared to travel for up to an hour on at least one placement, and are required to fund your own travel.

Learning and teaching

University teaching takes varied approaches, including lectures, workshops, seminars, fieldwork, and discussion alongside reading and writing activities. Collaborative ways of working with other trainees are emphasised. You will have opportunities to learn from practising researchers, including the PGCE tutors. You will begin to use research findings to inform your professional development and will carry out a small-scale investigation of your own. In schools, you will have structured opportunities to observe experienced teachers at work and to discuss professional issues with colleagues, in addition to gaining extensive practical experience in planning, teaching and assessing so that you can inspire and manage a class.

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

List of tuition fees for this course and it's variations
Course TitleAwardYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternational
Primary Education (including School Direct Training Trainees)PGCE2019Full-time£9,250£18,104
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.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, (e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc).
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
FieldworkField equipment and materials (only applicable to Science and Geography modules): A number of essential items will be provided to you e.g. field notebook(s), compass-clinometer, geological hammer, steel tape measure, map case, pocket lens (x 10), safety helmet, safety goggles, bottle of dilute hydrochloric acid, as appropriate. However, you will need provide yourselves with a ruler, a pair of compasses, set squares, protractor, pencils (including coloured), eraser, calculator, penknife. These can be purchased from any source.
EquipmentLaboratory equipment and materials (only applicable to Science modules): All materials will be provided to you at no additional cost. However, you will need provide yourselves with such items as a ruler, a pair of compasses, set squares, protractor, pencils (including coloured), eraser, calculator, penknife. These can be purchased from any source.
EquipmentComputer discs (only applicable to Computer Science modules): Generally equipment required will be supplied by the University. Students are expected to have access to a personal computer/device and usual devices such as memory sticks etc.
ClothingLab coats (only applicable for Science modules): The University/School placements will provide.
ClothingFieldcourse clothing (Only applicable for Science and Geography modules): You will need to wear suitable clothing when attending fieldcourses, e.g. waterproofs, walking boots. You can purchase these from any source.
ClothingUniforms: Smart, formal clothing is expected to be worn on school placements.
Printing and copyingAssignments are to be submitted on line. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit on line and students will be asked to provide a printed copy, such as copies of pupil work. Photocopying and printing costs incurred in school placements are paid by the school. There are limits on the amount of copying and printing that can be done by any individual in most schools. Students need to take this into account when deciding what to print.
PlacementsTravel costs: Trainees are expected to pay for the cost of getting to and from each school placement.
PlacementsDisclosure and Barring Certificates or Clearance: Trainees are expected to pay for a DBS check, unless they have a portable DBS, or a current DBS issued by the University of Southampton, already in place.
OtherOptional visits: If any visit is offered as an optional visit, then trainees are expected to bear the full cost.
OtherParking costs: Trainees are expected to bear any parking costs themselves.

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

University teaching takes varied approaches, including lectures, workshops, seminars, fieldwork, and discussion alongside reading and writing activities. Collaborative ways of working with other trainees are emphasised. You will have opportunities to learn from practising researchers, including the PGCE tutors.  You will begin to use research findings to inform your professional development and will carry out a small-scale investigation of your own. In schools, you will have structured opportunities to observe experienced teachers at work and to discuss professional issues with colleagues, in addition to gaining extensive practical experience in planning, teaching and assessing so that you can inspire and  manage a class.


Your learning will be assessed formatively on a regular basis, by yourself, tutors and teacher mentors, to ensure that you are aware of your progress towards meeting the standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Summative assessment encompasses:

  • Assessment of your professionalism, knowledge and understanding, and practical teaching in schools against the Teachers' Standards which must be achieved by the end of the programme
  • Successful submission of all University assignments and coursework

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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