Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year

Course level




Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

Routes into Teaching at the University of Derby. Find out more about becoming a teacher and the wide range of courses we have to offer.

Our PGCE Primary leads to the recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and prepares you for a fulfilling career where you can make a real difference to children’s lives. You will be fully equipped for the practical demands of the role, including teaching all the National Curriculum subjects. 

An outstanding learning experience

With a rich heritage in teacher training dating back over 165 years, we have a strong reputation for nurturing successful, confident and forward-thinking primary teachers. In our 2015 Ofsted inspection, we received an ‘outstanding’ rating for the quality of our work. Our primary leadership team was praised for putting students at the heart of all they do and for ensuring they have excellent career outcomes.

Practical classroom skills

Hands-on teaching experience in schools is a key part of our PGCE Primary. For a total of 24 weeks, you will undertake two main teaching placements – and a number of shorter enhanced placements – in different settings, supported throughout by our trained school mentors and link tutors.

As one of the major Initial Teacher Education providers in the East Midlands, we have longstanding partnerships with more than 400 schools across the region – a relationship which Ofsted described as ‘excellent’. All placements are organised for you by our Partnership Office. 

Choose a curriculum enhancement and age phase

You can tailor your studies to match your own interests and career plans. Depending on your preference and any prior experience, you can choose to specialise in teaching Early Years (3–7 year olds), Primary (5–11 year olds), or Later Years (7–11 year olds).

Our Professional and Curriculum Enhancement module also enables you to select from a range of subjects, such as Maths, English, Science, Wider Curriculum, PE, Inclusion or Primary Modern Foreign Languages to advance your skills in specific areas.    

Relevant, up to date and challenging

At a time when rapid policy shifts are transforming the educational landscape, we will help you to meet the challenge of change in the modern classroom. Ours is an intellectually stimulating course which will keep you up to date with all the latest developments, including the Primary National Strategy.

You will learn principles and practice associated with the National Curriculum but will also undertake a focused curriculum enhancement module which will be named on your degree certificate.

Our highly competent and qualified team of tutors includes published authors and influential researchers whose work is helping to shape the future of the profession. They are an excellent source of ideas for you to take back to the classroom. 

An environment to inspire you

Our impressive Kirtley Building offers specialist facilities to prepare you for the demands of 21st-century teaching and learning. 

It includes specially designed collaborative learning spaces to replicate school classrooms and dedicated rooms for primary Science, English and Maths. The extensive Kirtley Hall is used for activities such as PE, dance and music and features a mezzanine level for observing teaching and learning in action. 

Children playing in a forest area

Outdoor Learning Space

Learn how to apply education in an outdoor setting, using nature to improve the personal, social and technical skills of children.

Take a lookTake a look

What you will study

This course is designed to help you become a creative classroom practitioner across all primary curriculum subjects, with the skills and confidence to respond positively to children’s wide-ranging learning needs. At the same time you will gain a deep understanding of child development and theories of learning.

As part of the course, you can choose to specialise by studying:

  • PGCE 3-7 (Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1)
  • PGCE 5-11 (Key Stages 1 and 2)
  • PGCE 7-11 (Key Stage 2)

You will study modules such as:

  • Professional Practice: Becoming a Teacher
  • Professional Practice: Aiming for Excellence
  • Professional Studies: Understanding Aspiration and Achievement
  • Curriculum Studies: Principles of the Primary Curriculum
  • Professional and Curriculum Enhancement - for this module, you will choose a subject such as Maths, English, Science, Wider Curriculum, PE, Inclusion or Primary Modern Foreign Languages

With the support of your mentor and link tutor, you will undertake two assessed school experiences as well as shorter placements, adding up to 24 weeks in total.

For 'Professional Practice: Becoming a Teacher' you will observe experienced practitioners in the classroom, teach alongside your mentor and begin to take responsibility for the class as a whole. You will put into practice the skills of planning, delivery and assessment that you cover in your University-based training. You will also gain the wider professional skills demanded of a teacher such as dealing with parents, contributing to after-school activities and planning school trips.

For 'Professional Practice: Aiming for Excellence' you will be placed at a different school or setting, with the opportunity to work with children from another age group. At first, you will be given time to observe other teachers and get to know your class. You can then expect to progress more quickly to taking fuller responsibility for the class. 

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

Side-on black and white portrait of a young student looking to the sky for inspiration with bokeh lights

Postgraduate Live Online Events

While we’re not able to welcome you in person to our campuses at the moment, we’re not going to let that stop us showing you all the great things about studying at Derby.

We’re currently planning our autumn Open Events to bring you the best possible online and on-campus experience.

Book your Live Online EventBook your Live Online Event

How you will learn

You will have lots of opportunities to practise your teaching skills – with the support of fellow trainees – through presentations and other activities. Sessions at the University are highly interactive, intellectually stimulating and supportive, with regular seminars, tutorials and workshops as well as more traditional lectures. You are expected to prepare thoroughly for all sessions so that you can engage fully and maximise the benefits.

In addition, you will enjoy a range of experiences in a variety of school settings. Your two assessed teaching placements will provide you with vital practical experience. Throughout you will be supported by our ‘outstanding’ trained school mentors and link tutors.

How you're assessed

To achieve Qualified Teacher Status, you will need to pass all modules of the PGCE course and the Department for Education's Skills Tests in literacy and numeracy. We run special preparation days to build your confidence and skills in advance of these compulsory national tests – many participants say these sessions provide excellent support.

Assessments are spread across the course and focus on practical, professional and academic competences. Your professional progress towards the Teachers’ Standards will be assessed in school by your trained mentors. At the University, your academic work will be assessed using a variety of strategies including essays, subject knowledge audits, presentations and posters.

Who will teach you

Sally Greasley
Programme leader

Sally is a Senior Lecturer in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) at the University of Derby.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

You must have a good UK Honours degree (preferably 2:1) or equivalent, plus grade C or above in GCSE Mathematics, English Language and a Science. You need to have already gained the required GCSE grades when you apply. There are currently a range of equivalences which can be accepted - please contact our Admissions team if you need clarification.

Demand for places on the course is very high, so you must also:

You will specialise in Early Years: age 3-7 (Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1), Primary: age 5-11 (Key Stage 1 and 2), or Later Years: age 7-11 (Key Stage 2). You must demonstrate engagement with the relevant Key Stages prior to application.

We value applications from students with a range of talents, experiences and backgrounds, but only UK residents are entitled to funding.

If you apply when you are in the final year of your degree, you may not have a degree certificate before you start the course. Statements of Achievement, Diploma Supplements or a letter from the awarding University are acceptable provided it contains full details of the degree that has been awarded and the date of award. Ensure you obtain a copy of the certificate as soon as it is available.

International student applications are welcomed and applicants must hold the above qualifications or equivalent with an IELTS score of 7.0 or above, with 6.5 in each skills area. However, applicants will also need to demonstrate their ability to communicate clearly and accurately in Standard English. If you are travelling to the UK to take your Skills Tests, please contact us to arrange your interview by emailing

Additional Information

A Prohibition List check will automaticially be carried our after we have received a Firm acceptance of an offer. Find out more about the Prohibition List check

An Occupational Health Assessment and Clearance by the University is required for this course. We will contact you with information on how to complete this when required. More information

Interview information

How to apply

You must apply for this course through UCAS Teacher Training (formerly GTTR).

If you wish to register your interest in our Partners for Progress pathway, please complete our short form.


There are few professions as important and satisfying as teaching. This course offers the ideal route to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), enabling you to embark directly upon your career in a school and to develop your role as a teacher in today's society.

We pride ourselves on producing highly employable graduates. Ofsted said: “Many trainees gain teaching posts before they finish their training and almost all have obtained a teaching post within a very short time of leaving the University.”

In a profession with lots of opportunities for career progression, we also give you a stepping stone towards a masters degree. When you complete this course, you will gain 60 credits at masters level so that you can fast track to stage two of a masters degree and accelerate your professional development. Our MA Education is an excellent option, especially if you have your sights set on more senior roles such as head teacher or deputy head teacher.

As a newly qualified teacher, you can also benefit from the University’s continuing support as you take your career forward. We offer a range of resources, subject updates, events, conferences and development opportunities to ease your transition into professional practice.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

The information below is correct for entry in the academic year September 2020 - August 2021 only. Entry for future academic years may be subject to change.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.