PGCE Primary with QTS, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

University of Wales Trinity Saint David the United Kingdom

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About PGCE Primary with QTS at University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Course Overview

Thank you for your interest in this programme. We are proud of our long tradition of training students to become high quality practitioners, and we seek to recruit high quality, committed students who are keen to make a positive difference to the educational experiences of primary school children.The South West Wales Centre of Teacher Education (SWWCTE) is part of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

The Primary PGCE programmes (General Primary (Lower) and General Primary (Upper)) are designed to prepare students for a career in teaching.

The PGCE is a full-time, intensive vocational programme, suitable for those wishing to train to teach, inspire and enthuse primary aged children, helping them to make excellent progress in learning. The course offers rich opportunities for personal development, as students embark upon the first stages of a career which is challenging, fulfilling and rewarding.

The sessions both in school and at the University are intended to involve students in a range of experiences, which are carefully planned to increase understanding of learning and teaching across the Primary curriculum. There is a focus on developing personal reflective skills, and in engaging with current educational research in order to develop students as knowledgeable and effective practitioners.

The university element adopts a modular structure and teaching takes a blended learning approach including lead lectures, group seminars, tutorials, independent study and directed activities using the virtual learning environment (moodle).

Professional Teaching Experiences take place in a variety of educational contexts. Students build confidence and expertise, culminating in taking responsibility for planning, teaching and assessing a class of children in their chosen phase for a sustained period of time.

In our most recent inspection, Estyn (the Welsh educational inspectorate) praised the Centre's innovative use of teaching approaches such as Problem-based learning, which forms a core element of the professional studies module.

Our PGCE Primary programmes are extremely popular and do attract a large number of applications, for this reason we advise you to apply as early as possible, to ensure that we are able to consider your application (ideally before Christmas). Due to the demand for this programme and the limited number of places we have to offer, we usually have to stop accepting applications in the Spring of each year, sometimes as early as January.

Key Features

The primary PGCE programme at Swansea sets high expectations of its students and is run jointly between the University and partnership schools across the South Wales region. Programme tutors are knowledgeable and skilful qualified teachers. They possess a wide range of experience and expertise in key curriculum areas and other fields such as literacy, numeracy, ICT, inclusion, Welsh medium studies, humanities, early years, performing arts, bilingualism, PE, RE, thinking skills and more!

Tutors provide excellent pastoral and academic support to ensure that students receive the individual guidance and challenge required to make excellent progress.

During the Programme students study a breadth of subjects, areas of learning and professional matters.

Special features of this course

The opportunity to study Welsh as a second language is an integral part of the Primary PGCE programme.

Please note: The full PGCE programme is also available through the medium of Welsh. See main menu of courses for details.

There are a number of enhancement activities available throughout the course. Examples include trips to educational venues such as the National Botanic Gardens of Wales, and opportunities to attend workshops run by guest speakers from organisations such as Forest schools and the Montessori Centre of wales.

Students have the opportunity to develop a focus on a personal area of interest through aspects of the course - such as ICT, Additional Learning Needs or in a particular curriculum subject such as Science.

There are also opportunities to undertake short study visits outside Wales - in the past students have visited London, USA and Lesotho.

What is taught on this course

The University is committed to delivering high quality teaching and expects all students to show a high level of commitment to their studies.

As a PGCE Primary student you can expect:

  • well prepared and challenging teaching sessions
  • a well-structured teaching programme
  • individual tutorial support
  • detailed information about assignment requirements and grade criteria
  • formative as well as summative feedback on assignments
  • access to a wide range of resources to support your learning
  • access to additional appropriate support and reasonable adjustment for those students requiring this
  • to be taught and to be able to study in an environment conducive to learning

Career opportunities

The University provides opportunities to prepare for a career in teaching including a recruitment fair and related sessions. Students regularly gain employment in the local area, England and abroad.

Study facilities and support

The University has specialist facilities including observation classrooms in partnership schools. There are excellent library and IT facilities on all sites. Our most recent Estyn report praised the 'very effective virtual learning environment that houses a wide range of resources, facilitates effective communication between trainees, tutors and mentors, and encourages effectively the sharing of good practice.'

PGCE accommodation is available on campus for students wishing to be based in Swansea for access to local partnership schools.

All students have a personal tutor, and there is additional support available for those requiring it from a dedicated student services team.


Course structure

The programme for both Upper and Lower primary students has two main components:

  • Professional Teaching Experience (equivalent to 24 weeks)
  • University-based experience (equivalent to 12 weeks)

The University-based part of the programme is modular and delivered through lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops to support students' development as a teacher. There will be elements of problem-based learning, action research and curriculum content within modules. Some modules are offered with a level 7 masters level credit pathway.

The modules you will undertake in the University are carefully designed to offer maximum input in the intensive university based study time that is available on a PGCE programme. Our most recent Estyn report praised the 'the wide variety of challenging and stimulating learning experiences provided' as a good feature of our provision.

Professional Teaching Experience

Initial placement experiences in the Autumn term allow students to develop firm foundations of good practice. Innovative experiences such as micro-teaching and peer observation allow students to gain confidence planning, teaching and assessing in a range of settings. Teaching experience during the Spring and Summer terms are spent in schools which are working in partnership with the South West Wales Centre of Teacher Education (SWWCTE). Students receive support from a school based mentor as well as a tutor from the Centre. Through these experiences, students build their knowledge and skills as they work towards achieving Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

All students gain experience teaching across the 3 - 11 age phase. The final Professional Teaching Experience takes place in the Summer term, in either Upper or Lower primary phases, depending on the pathway chosen by students.

Professional Accreditations

Students who pass this course will gain Qualified Teaching Status (QTS)

All students register for the PGCE on the Masters pathway, which incorporates teaching and learning in a critical and reflective framework. The majority of students choose to follow this higher level pathway and make this decision, with support from tutors during the academic year.

Course Tutor(s)

  • Helen Lewis (Programme Director)
  • Elaine Sharpling
  • Rachel Wallis
  • Mathew Jones
  • Catharine Bleasdale
  • Sharon L James
  • Diane Thomas
  • Sue Pellew-Jones
  • Gail Parker
  • Kate Jones

Additional contributions from other Centre staff and visiting speakers where appropriate.


In order to complete the programme successfully and meet national standards, students must pass both the practical teaching and written elements of the programme. Practical teaching competence will be assessed by teachers in schools, in conjunction with the university tutor.

University assessments currently include essays, portfolio tasks, presentations and research reports. The programme currently offers 40 level 7 credits at Masters level.

We seek to recruit students who are committed to developing their personal skills and knowledge throughout their studies. Students' personal literacy and numeracy skills will be regularly audited and monitored throughout the programme. It is a requirement of Welsh Government that literacy skills are measured on exit and judged to be proficient for professional practice. Students complete an exit audit and submit a portfolio of evidence to meet this requirement. A pass grade is mandatory.

This programme is subject to change in response to Government policy.

Career Opportunities

The South West Wales Centre of Teacher Education has excellent graduate employment rates with 99% of graduates going into employment or further study (DLHE 14/15).

Many school and college departments, both locally and nationally, are staffed with several of our teachers and many of our trainees have gone on to forge successful teaching careers at strategic, professional and management levels at home and abroad.

Our PGCE graduates usually remain in close touch with us as they make their careers in the teaching profession and they often become Subject Mentors on the programme. This creates a very strong, sustainable professional network of teachers which is a rich source of continuing professional development.

Recently our PGCE Design and Technology graduates have gone on to work as Secondary teachers in many independent and state schools in Wales, England and abroad including (but not limited) to:

Bynea County Primary School (Llanelli), Neath Port Talbot County Council, Ysgol y Felin (Llanelli), St. Dogmaels School (Pembrokeshire), Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Caerffili, Abersychan Brynteg Nursery School (Pontypool), St. Micahael's Church of England Primary School (Highgate), Pembrokeshire County Council, Cardiff Council, Saint Josephs Junior School (Port Talbot), Shropshire Council, Easton Church of England Academy (Bristol), Wilnecote High School (Tamworth), Maes Yr Haul Primary School (Cardiff), Llwyswen School (Brecon), Dunvant Primary School (Swansea).

Further Information

Our PGCE Primary programmes are extremely popular and do attract a large number of applications, for this reason we advise you to apply as early as possible, to ensure that we are able to consider your application (ideally before Christmas). Due to the demand for this programme and the limited number of places we have to offer, we usually have to stop accepting applications in the Spring of each year, sometimes as early as January.

PGCE Programme Options:

  • Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) Primary
  • Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) Primary
  • Post-Graduate Certificate in Education Welsh Medium (TAR) Primary
  • Professional Graduate Certificate in Education Welsh Medium (TAR) Primary

UCAS Course Codes:

  • 2X63 Lower primary
  • 2X64 Lower primary (Welsh)
  • 2X6K Upper primary
  • 2X6L Upper primary (Welsh)

UCAS Provider Code: T80

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Entry requirements

Entry Criteria

*Applicants should hold or be predicted a good honours degree (2:2 minimum) and be graduates of a university, polytechnic or college of higher education approved by the University of Wales.

A Levels
Applicants will be required to satisfy the University of the relevance of their A Levels to a career in primary education. Applicants are expected to have either an A level at grade C (B for English),or equivalent or a degree in a National Curriculum subject or other curriculum area suitable for primary teaching:

  • English - A level Grade B or above (Language or Literature) or equivalent or Degree
  • Mathematics - A level Grade C or Degree or major component of Degree
  • Science - A level Grade C or above or equivalent or Degree
  • Welsh as a second language (in English medium schools) A level Grade C or above or equivalent or Degree
  • Information technology - A level Grade C or above or equivalent in information technology related subject or high level of qualification in computer skills (e.g. RSA, GNVQ) or vocational experience in a field involving the frequent use of ICT
  • History - A level Grade C or above or equivalent or Degree
  • Geography - A level Grade C or above or equivalent or Degree
  • Modern Foreign Languages - First language or A level Grade C or above in French, Spanish, Italian or German or equivalent or Degree
  • Physical Education - A level Grade C or above or equivalent or Degree
  • Music/Performing Arts - A-level grade C or above in Music or Performing Arts or equivalent e.g. Grade 6 theory and practical in music or degree in Performing Arts.

GCSE subjects

  • Grade A-B (or equivalent) in English Language
  • Grade A-B (or equivalent) in Mathematics
  • Grade A-C (or equivalent) in Science (dual award science or single award in biology, chemistry, or physics)

Students wishing to follow the Welsh medium course must also have Grade A-B in Welsh First Language.

A good range of GCSEs at grade C or above for all other subjects is also required.

If you hold a C grade in GCSE English Language or Mathematics and are successful in other aspects of the selection process you will be given the opportunity to sit the equivalency test. If you are successful and you accept your place to study with us then you can start your programme as planned. Attendance at the workshops prior to the test is a compulsory part of the equivalency testing programme.

For further information please contact PGCE primary admin: 01792 482111,

Good communication skills

It is essential to be able to speak clearly and with authority. You should be able to phrase concepts and ideas in ways which enable pupils to understand, be enthused and motivated. You should also be able to communicate well with parents/guardians and other professionals.

Commitment to teaching

You should be aware of the realities of a primary classroom and should have had a period of experience of working or volunteering in a primary school setting (other educational settings may be considered). This should be of a minimum of two weeks, preferably more, gained during the last 12 months prior to the application. Advanced Early Years or SEN experience is also relevant. In addition, you should be familiar with the requirements of the National Curriculum for the Foundation Phase and Key Stage 2 in Wales.

Further information, including a statement of inherent requirements and details of how to apply for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS, previously CRB) Enhanced Disclosure will be required from applicants.

The Centre pays appropriate attention to recruiting trainees from under-represented groups and has a proactive marketing strategy for engagement with Community First areas, groups with disabilities, ethnic minority communities and Welsh medium learners.

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