Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)
The University of Sheffield has provided courses in initial teacher education for over 50 years. The PGDE course prepares students to teach across the 11-18 age range in English, Geography, History, Mathematics, Modern Languages and the Sciences. The School of Education has a strong national and international research profile.
The Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) regularly carries out inspections of the department's secondary ITE course and the grades awarded confirm the consistent high quality of all aspects of the ITE courses, across all subjects.
Recruitment and selection
The PGDE course attracts a large number of applicants. Interview procedures and selection criteria have been negotiated within the partnership, with schools involved in most interviews. The majority of students have good qualifications in their subject specialisms with 71% having degrees of 2.1 or above. A very high proportion of students gain QTS with 120 masters credits and enter the teaching profession.
Structure of the secondary PGDE
In the University based part of the course, students spend roughly 75% of their time in subject groups and 25% in small mixed-subject Educational and Professional Studies (EPS) groups. The first period of secondary school experience is in November and December, with students returning to the university on Fridays to share and reflect on experience. A second, longer period of school experience takes place from the end of January to the end of May. Students complete a range of assignments at Masters level, designed to encourage exploration of educational issues and school experience through research investigations, reading and critical reflection. In the summer term, students undertake an Enrichment Experience in a different educational context.
Since 1993, the School of Education has negotiated three-year partnership agreements with local schools, providing continuity and stability. We currently have over 40 schools in our partnership enabling us to offer an excellent range of school experiences. With the introduction of the School Direct initiative, we are now also working in partnership with three local School Direct school clusters (see School Direct PGDE). Our Core and School Direct students follow the same school experience opportunities. Students are usually placed in subject pairs for school experience, with most partner schools taking pairs of students in two or more subjects. Each school has an Associate University Tutor (AUT) responsible for all students and Associate University Mentors (AUM) responsible for the students in their subject areas. AUTs and AUMs are responsible for weekly sessions for students during school experience.
Attendance at the twice-yearly planning and development meetings held at the university for AUTs and AUMs is very high. The partner schools have the major responsibility for assessing school experience and are supported by university subject tutors who visit schools on at least three occasions to observe and debrief student teachers. The university has responsibility for assessing all assignments including the Enrichment Experience report.