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Our modern foreign language (MFL) PGCE course offers you the opportunity to train to teach French, Spanish and German.

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Why study Secondary Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)?

Most often, you will offer one main language for teaching, but many also offer a second language, perhaps at Key Stage 3 level.

Trainees are assessed on their ability to teach pupils in the 11-16 age range, but opportunities for A Level teaching are also included in the programme as appropriate.

Why St Mary's?

The course covers all aspects of modern language teaching and learning, with an emphasis on practical activities for use in school. There is a strong emphasis on using the target language in the classroom, as well as planning for the whole ability range to ensure that all pupils are able to make progress.

The experienced modern language tutors work in close partnership with trainees and the placement schools.

If you wish to study for the Catholic Certificate of Religious Studies you will be able to complete several of the modules during your PGCE year. This certificate is often a requirement for teaching in a Catholic school.

Key facts

  • 100% of PGCE Secondary students are employed or in further study (or both) within six months of graduating (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education, 2016/17)
  • Opportunity to enhance subject knowledge through Language Courses on offer on campus and in MFL sessions
  • Excellent partnerships with schools for specific training activities e.g. Masterclasses with Key Stage 3 pupils, focus on global dimension, development of effective use of IT for MFL teaching and learning, transition from primary to secondary MFL
  • Experienced tutors who have written numerous publications for teaching and learning languages
  • Engaged tutors who are actively involved in the Association for Language Learning nationally, including President for 2015-2018
  • We offer termly MFL professional development meetings for trainees and teachers to share good practice, as well as regular one-day training courses such as making effective use of the iPad in the MFL classroom
  • Taught on our historic Strawberry Hill campus in West London
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

MFL PGCE applicants are expected to have a good degree (2:2 or above) in a related subject. 

Additional requirements

  • Your degree should have a significant proportion of the subject you wish to teach. Subject knowledge enhancement courses may be set as a condition in some cases, particularly when the degree is not clearly ‘in line’ with the subject you are applying to.
  • GCSEs in English Language and Mathematics at level 4 (grade C if taken before 2017) or above or equivalent. GCSE equivalents are offered by St Mary's University.
  • Two appropriate references (from an academic tutor or line manager) supporting your suitability for teaching.
  • Satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
  • Physical and mental fitness to teach.
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.

Your training is most likely to take place in mixed, state comprehensive school environments. If you are choosing to complete some school observation as part of making an informed decision about teaching then we would encourage you to do so in a similar school setting.

Skills tests

The Department for Education has announced that applicants for initial teacher training (ITT) courses from April 2020 will no longer need to take Skills Tests in numeracy and English. The responsibility for assuring trainee teachers have met an appropriate level of skill in these important areas has been passed to the ITT provider. 

At St  Mary's University we therefore require, that by the end of your teacher training programme, you can demonstrate you are competent in English and mathematics.  For St Mary's to be assured of this, and as part of the recommendation for QTS, you will be able to seek guidance in developing these fundamental skills as 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

  • Effective Teaching and Learning 
  • General Professional Studies 
  • Investigating Teaching and Learning 
  • Modern Languages 
  • Reflective Overview 
  • School Experience One (Foundation) 
  • School Experience Three (Consolidation) 
  • School Experience Two (Development) 
  • Supporting Learners 

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.

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Career opportunities

The quality of the provision at St Mary’s is valued by our trainees and schools, resulting in high levels (over 70%) of NQT employment in our partnership schools. Employment rates following the PGCE course are consistently over 90% in teaching roles.

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.

At the end of the PGCE course, you will have the opportunity to complete a three-week placement in a special education setting. This is highly valued by trainee teachers to broaden their understanding of specific learning needs for some learners.

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 course tutors use a variety of teaching and learning approaches, including lectures, workshop sessions, collaborative and small-group work, paired work, practical activities, with positive use of technology, individual and group student presentations and some self-supported study.

A number of external cross-curricular visits - such as field trips and visits to museums - also take place.

This range of strategies both caters for a range of preferred learning styles and provides good teaching role models for trainees.

Assessment methods

Trainees are recommended for Qualified Teacher Status by successfully meeting the Teachers’ Standards (DfE). Continuous assessment throughout the programme will determine success.

Master's level assignments complement the work in schools and assist in meeting the Teachers’ Standards. These assignments aim to encourage you to be thoughtful and reflective, but also reinforce the evidence-based nature of the course assessment.

Self-assessment is also recognised as a valuable perspective in the evaluation of both school and university-based work.

Other assessments are used to ensure students understand and can apply the knowledge.  This is done through a range of methods:

  • Self-assessment
  • Presentations
  • Micro-teaching
  • Essays
  • Practical sessions
  • Lesson observations

Assessment is on-going and against the Teachers’ Standards. High standards of attendance, punctuality and participation are requirements of all course elements.

School placements

You are prepared for teaching in partnership with schools that are formally linked to St Mary's, providing an excellent framework to develop teaching skills.

During your studies you'll be allocated two school placements during the 36-week course. In total, 24 weeks is spent in school to ensure close links between theory and practice throughout.

Our partnership schools offer a rich and diverse training programme for our trainees. We work with partner schools throughout the London area. During your placements, you will be guided from working with small groups of pupils alongside a subject teacher towards taking responsibility for whole classes.

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.

Additional costs

Your tuition fees 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 further information about additional costs please contact clive.woolger@stmarys.ac.uk.

Facilities

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Further information