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St Mary's has been recognised as one of the highest quality providers of training for primary teachers in the country. Our courses are excellent preparation for a career in teaching.

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Why study Primary?

We aim to teach and learn alongside creative, reflective and dynamic practitioners who are committed to teaching children. The programme encourages you to increase your understanding of teaching and learning processes in order to develop and maintain the high levels of enthusiasm, ability and passion necessary within the teaching profession.

At St Mary's, we look for those who wish to learn from challenges and seek a higher capacity to know more. In line with the University Mission Statement, the programme seeks to prepare teachers for schools at home and abroad with special provision for those intending to teach in Roman Catholic and other Christian schools.

Why St Mary's?

The Primary PGCE programme provides an intense training experience that combines academic rigour with personal and professional learning experiences. The training is designed to meet the needs of each trainee to support and develop the skills, knowledge and attributes needed to start a teaching career.

In preparation for your teaching role, you will be trained across the 5-11 age range, developing knowledge and practice to support your development of:

  • Critical understanding of educational theory
  • Reflective practice linked to professional standards
  • Practitioner research and a wide range of educational issues to understand the unique characteristics of children and their learning needs
  • Subject-specific knowledge and creative ways to enthuse and educate children.

Our Primary and Secondary Initial Education courses have been judged by Ofsted, the government department that regulates teacher training, to be ‘outstanding’ - the highest grade attainable in an Ofsted inspection. The courses were deemed to be outstanding for both ‘overall effectiveness’ and the ‘capacity for further improvement and/or sustaining overall quality.’

Primary PGCE UCAS codes:

Key facts

  • 96% of PGCE Primary students are employed or in further study (or both) within six months of graduating (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education, 2016/17)
  • Rated 'Outstanding' by Ofsted
  • Excellent school partnerships
  • Excellent Teaching and Learning
  • Taught on our historic Strawberry Hill campus in West London
Please note: Primary is subject to revalidation.
Ofsted Outstanding

We are Outstanding!

Following our inspection in 2019, we are delighted to announce that Ofsted have graded St Mary’s University as ‘outstanding’ in all areas of teacher training. Read more...

Entry requirements

2:2 Previous degree

Applicants should have (or be working towards) a Bachelors degree, preferably with a 2:2 or above.

Additional requirements

GCSEs (and equivalents)

A minimum of level 4 (grade C if taken before 2017) in GCSE English, Mathematics and Science. GCSE equivalents are offered by St Mary's University.

The Irish equivalent to GCSE is the Irish Leaving Certificate. In order to qualify to apply for the PGCE Primary programme you must already have a C grade or above (at Ordinary level) or a D grade or above (at Higher level) in all three subjects. The Science subject studied must be Biology, Chemistry or Physics. Home Economics and Agricultural Science at Leaving Certificate level are not accepted.

International students must have a ‘pass’ in their high school or senior school examination in these subjects and evidence of this needs to be submitted to the University for approval.

School observation

At St Mary's, we would like all applicants to have made a fully informed decision about considering joining the teaching profession. As part of that decision making process, spending some time in school(s) observing what teachers do and beginning to give some consideration to how they manage learning can be really insightful and informative.

DBS check

Successful completion of a physical and mental fitness to teach and a Satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check are also required.

Irish applicants

Candidates applying from Northern Ireland and Ireland should check for upcoming events and interview dates that we will be hosting in Ireland.

International requirements

International students should check our country-specific pages for equivalents. If English is not your first language you will need to achieve an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with no less than 6.0 in any section (or equivalent).

We have put together a step-by-step guide to applying for a PGCE as an international student. The gov.uk website also includes a 'Get into teaching' guide for overseas students.

Further information

For more information about entry requirements please email apply@stmarys.ac.uk.

Course content

Modules

  • Building a Broad Curriculum 
  • English 
  • From Values to Vocation  
  • Mathematics 
  • Physical Education 
  • Professional Studies 
  • Religious Education 
  • School Experience One and Enhancement Placement 
  • School Experience Two 
  • Science 
  • The Emergent Teacher as Reflective Practitioner  

Please note: it is possible that a module listed on the website will not be able to run due to reasons beyond our control. For more information please refer to our course information disclaimer.

Career opportunities

A career in teaching offers the same rewards that you would expect from a graduate position with good salaries and opportunities for career progression. The opportunities, however, to inspire, educate and teach future generations of children are unlike any other graduate job!

Graduates from the PGCE are in great demand in teaching posts throughout the UK. Of the 2016/17 Primary PGCE graduates, over 98% of trainees were in employment within six months (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education, HESA).

The Careers Service has more information on graduate careers and part-time work available during your course.

How the degree is taught

Teaching methods

The University-based aspect of the programme comprises curriculum subjects and the wider professional role of the teacher. We aim to develop the pedagogical and practical skills necessary to be an outstanding teacher, as well enhancing subject knowledge.

You will leave St Mary’s achieving a standard of good or outstanding. If this is not achieved, further support and time in school will be required. On the programme you will study two Master's' modules leading to 60 credits at postgraduate level. You will have the opportunity to further your postgraduate studies in your career as these credits are transferable.

View teaching timetable

Assessment methods

Assessments are used to ensure you understand and can apply the knowledge gained while on the course - both in schools and on campus. This is done through a range of methods:

  • Self-assessment
  • Audit of subject knowledge for maths, English and science
  • Presentations
  • Micro-teaching
  • Posters
  • Essays
  • Practical sessions

Assessment is ongoing and tracked against the Teachers Standards. High standards of attendance, punctuality and participation are requirements of all course elements. Assessment is ongoing while on school placements.

School placements

You will spend 120 days in school and this is organised and co-ordinated by our Placements Office Team, in partnership with our schools. You're supported through this element of the course by the school and link tutors.

We are partners with over 700 schools that support our training programme. During your placements, you will be guided from working with small groups of pupils alongside a class teacher towards taking responsibility for whole class teaching.  

Fees and funding

2020/21 fees

  • Home/EU: £9,250
  • International: £12,730
Please note: These fees are annual and may increase in line with inflation each year subject to the Governments review of Higher Education Funding.

The UK Government has confirmed that EU applicants starting in 2019 or 2020 remain eligible for 'home fee status' and can access financial support.

Funding

If you are a UK or EU student joining the PGCE programme you may be eligible for a Government training bursary. The bursary amount is based on the highest previous qualification that you have attained to date.

Information about financing your studies can be found within the Fees & Funding section.

Alumni discount

A 10% tuition fee discount is available for our undergraduate and postgraduate alumni planning to study a PGCE.

Additional costs

Your tuition fee will cover the cost of all mandatory elements of your programme.

Additional costs could be incurred depending on optional modules chosen and other projects undertaken, for example, the Catholic Certificate of Religious Studies (CCRS). For further information about additional costs please contact pgceprimary@stmarys.ac.uk.

Facilities

View all facilities

Further information