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Postgraduate Certificate in Education in Wales

To become a teacher, you need a PGCE with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Our PGCE will qualify you to work at either primary or secondary school level and focuses on the curriculum in Wales. You can study through the medium of English, Welsh or a combination. Teaching is online, including live online seminars, with face-to-face support provided in school. You’ll experience teaching in two different schools in Wales (at least 120 days over the two years). Students endorsed by a school participating in the scheme may be fully funded (salaried route); or, you can self-fund and could be eligible for a student loan and/or a maintenance grant (part-time route).

Cymraeg

Key features of the course

  • Qualify to teach at primary level or at secondary level in one of a choice of subjects.
  • Progress from classroom support all the way to planning and solo teaching a range of lessons.
  • Link theory to practice while developing your subject knowledge.
  • Choose from two routes, salaried or part-time, picking whichever best suits your personal circumstances.
  • Learn in English or Welsh – it’s up to you.

Certificate

Course code
K36
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
120
How long it takes
2 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details

Modules

This new PGCE is designed for the new Curriculum for Wales 2022 and fits into the reform agenda for professional development of teachers.

You can follow one of two routes: the salaried route or the part-time route. Both routes include a mix of online and face-to-face sessions with mentors and practice tutors.

Salaried route

If you already work in a state school as a teaching assistant or in a non-teaching role, you can apply for your school to endorse you. You’ll work in school full time and study around your existing duties. Your application must be endorsed by your school as they will pay your salary. Your course fees will be funded by the Welsh government. If you don’t currently work in a state school, you can still apply for the salaried route, but you’ll need a state school willing to endorse you, which we can help you find.

Part-time route

If the salaried route isn’t right for you, consider the part-time option. You can study towards your PGCE around your current job or other life commitments. You can apply for a student loan and part-time maintenance grants to help with the costs of this self-funded route. This route offers some flexibility as you can gain part-time practical teaching experience in a school alongside your existing commitments. Across the two years, you’ll have 120 days of school placements; 60 per year. In the second year, 30 days of your school placements must be completed in a continuous block.

Both routes comprise three modules. The first two modules are 30 credits each at level 6 (undergraduate) and the final module is 60 credits at Level 7 (postgraduate).

All modules are compulsory, and you study them in the order specified.

To gain this qualification, you need 120 credits as follows:

Salaried route modules Credits Next start
PGCE 1 (EE304)
30 No current presentation
PGCE 2 (EE305)
30 06 Mar 2021
PGCE 3 (EE806)
60 04 Sep 2021

Or

Part-time route modules Credits Next start
PGCE 1 (EEXP304)
30 No current presentation
PGCE 2 (EEXP305)
30 06 Mar 2021
PGCE 3 (EEXP806)
60 04 Sep 2021

Each module involves academic study through online seminars led by your curriculum tutor; a period of school experience; and the submission of a portfolio of evidence that includes responses to academic tasks and reports from your school experience. From the start of your studies, you will engage with the medium of Welsh in a school context, building on your level at the start of the PGCE.

You’ll move from introductory familiarisation in PGCE 1 to consolidation of your learning in PGCE 2 to autonomy of teaching practice in PGCE 3. As you move through the modules, your understanding of the theories and concepts will progress. Your practical experience and assessments will also prepare you for your next module.

Teaching across all of the modules will be through a series of practice-focused strands. You’ll develop skills from the following:

  • Curriculum
  • Understanding learners
  • Planning for learning
  • Pedagogy
  • Assessment
  • Professional practice

Academic theory will be combined with substantial, supported experience in schools. Salaried students will undertake practical experience at the same time as studying. Part-time students will undertake their practical experience after completing their academic study in each module. School placements will be available in Welsh medium and English medium schools.

You’ll work with your mentor, and school staff members to take on increasing teaching responsibility. You’ll move from classroom support, and planning and teaching of single lessons in PGCE 1 to planning and teaching of a sequence of lessons in PGCE 2 to responsibility for planning, resourcing and solo teaching a range of lessons in PGCE 3.

Whether you’re on the salaried or part-time route, you’ll undertake an individual classroom research project in PGCE 3. For students on the part-time route, you’ll need to complete 30 full days of teaching experience (five days a week over six consecutive school weeks).

Mentors will support you throughout your school experience. They’ll mediate and facilitate regular school-based tasks, which feed into your studies.


We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 17 March 2020.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.


On completion

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Postgraduate Certificate in Education. You’ll be entitled to use the letters PGCE after your name. We’ll also recommend you for QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) to the professional body, the Education Workforce Council.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

Recognition in your country

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Entry requirements

For the part-time route you must have a home address in Wales. For the salaried route, you must have a home address in Wales or England and be able to complete your teaching experience in two Welsh state schools.

You must have the following:

  • A UK degree (or equivalent). If you want to become a secondary school teacher, your degree must contain a significant proportion of the subject you want to teach.
  • GCSE Mathematics or Mathematics–numeracy at Grade B or above (or equivalent).
  • GCSE English Language or Welsh Language at Grade B or above (or equivalent). Or, GCSE English Literature or Welsh Literature at Grade B or above (or equivalent), plus GCSE English Language or Welsh Language at Grade C or above (or equivalent).
  • GCSE Science at Grade C or above (or equivalent) if you want to become a primary school teacher.
  • Due to current exceptional circumstances, for October 2020 entry only, Grade C (GCSE or equivalent) in Mathematics or English Language may be accepted. Students would be required to achieve the necessary Grade B (GCSE or equivalent) during the programme or will be required to withdraw from the course.
  • Experience working in a school environment/with young people if you want to study the salaried route. Be prepared to complete a voluntary week in school before starting the course if you want to study the part-time route.

In addition, you’ll need to demonstrate the following:

  • Aptitude, capability, and resilience to meet the required QTS outcomes by the end of your PGCE programme.
  • Personal and intellectual qualities to become an excellent practitioner.
  • You can read effectively and communicate clearly and accurately in spoken and written English and/or Welsh.
  • Personal functional skills in literacy, numeracy and digital competency applicable in a professional teaching and learning context. This will be evaluated through an assessment.

During the application process you’ll need to do the following:

  • Apply for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to show that you are not or have not previously been barred or excluded from teaching or working with learners, or have a criminal background that might prevent you from working with children or vulnerable people. Safeguarding is a legal requirement.
  • Confirm you understand that you will need to complete an extended period of time in a second school.

If you’re applying for the salaried route, you must have a named employer school. You must include a supporting statement endorsed by the head teacher in your application or, if you don’t have a named employer school, tell us the geographical location where you’re seeking a salaried placement. You’ll also need to register with the Education Workforce Council as a School Support Worker before starting the programme.

You’ll also need access to a computer with internet connection.

What is the application process?

Applications for primary (salaried and part time) for October 2020 start have now closed. Secondary applications for October 2020 (salaried and part-time) will close at 5pm on Friday 4 September 2020. If you’d like to apply for secondary with Science, Maths or Welsh starting in October 2020 across both routes, please download an application form and email it to Wales-PGCE@open.ac.uk.

Guidance is also available on how to complete the form; you can download the guidance notes here

For salaried students with a sponsor school, you must include your endorsement letter with your application. The endorsement letter template must also be used – you can download a copy of the template here. Failure to include your endorsement letter means that we cannot progress your application.

As part of the selection procedures, and in conjunction with partnering schools, you must do the following:

  • Complete an Open University application form. This will include a personal statement and references. Applicants for the salaried route must also include an employer’s endorsement (if applicable). An employer’s endorsement is written confirmation that a school is happy to participate in the programme and pay part (or all) of your salary, dependent on which phase or specialism. This can be from a state school you are already employed by, or one which you have approached. An employer endorsement strengthens your application, but if you do not have one, then we can potentially link you to state schools who are seeking a salaried student.
  • Take part in aptitude testing and group and individual interviews.
  • Undertake a written test or tests.
  • Achieve an International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) score of 7 (if English is not your first language and your home country is outside the UK).
  • Complete a health check. If, in exceptional circumstances, there are serious doubts about your fitness to practise on health grounds, you may be asked to undergo a medical examination.

Find out about PGCE fees and funding.

For more information about either route or how and when to apply, email Wales-PGCE@open.ac.uk.

How long it takes?

You’ll complete the qualification in two years. PGCE 1 starts in October each year and finishes the following March. PGCE 2 starts in March and finishes in September. PGCE 3 starts in September and finishes the following June. You’ll receive your results in July. Break weeks coincide with the Welsh school holidays.

Career relevance

On achieving your PGCE, we’ll recommend you for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), as either a primary or secondary school teacher, depending on which option you chose.

The programme is employability-focussed and will prepare you to enter the profession. As a vocational teaching qualification, it’s accredited by EWC (Education Workforce Council) and monitored by Estyn. The combination of academic and practice-based skills and experience is central to the programme, ensuring you’re familiar with ‘practice as theory and theory as practice’. Your eportfolio will assess your skills and experience against relevant learning outcomes and professional standards.

Find out more about teaching careers in Wales at the Discover Teaching website.

While based on teaching experience in Welsh schools and for the Welsh curriculum, the PGCE is also valid in England. If you wish to teach in Scotland or Northern Ireland, you must register with the appropriate country’s professional body. They’ll assess applications on a case-by-case basis.