Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)

I know that without the support of my university tutors, my geography department, my amazing classes and my ever reliable course friends, I wouldn’t have even thought about entering the Rex Walford award. They have guided me, inspired me, pushed me and made me the teacher I am today. I have a lot to thank them for and I hope the award is a reflection on their guidance.

Rhianne Quiqley, winner Rex Walford Award 2017

The University of Sheffield has a long history of involvement in initial teacher education dating back over fifty years. Our highly qualified team includes external assessors and subject experts for Ofqual*. Our PGDE course prepares students to teach across the secondary age group (11-19 age range) in English, Geography, History, Mathematics, Modern Languages and the Sciences, including Physics with Maths. Students will develop the skills to become transformative teachers who make a positive impact on the outcomes of pupils and have the capacity to become future leaders in the profession. To this end, our course focuses on training student teachers to use their powerful subject knowledge to create interesting, relevant and progressive teaching.

Our course not only leads to qualified teacher status (QTS), but also awards the PGDE, which is professionally and academically recognised. We aim to develop the ability of student teachers to think and act reflectively to a high level and ensure that student teachers have both a theoretical and practical knowledge of how to teach, in order to meet the needs and interests of young people.

The Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) regularly carries out inspections of the School of Education's secondary ITE course and the grades awarded confirm the consistent high quality of all aspects of our 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 around 70% having degrees of 2.1 or above. A very high proportion of students gain QTS with 120 masters credits and enter the teaching profession.

Photograph of students in a lecture

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 cross-curricular Educational and Professional Studies (EPS) groups. Secondary school experience commences during October, with students returning to the university on Fridays to share and reflect on experience. A longer period of school experience takes place from the end of January to the end of May. Students complete four assignments at Masters level, exploring issues and school experience through research investigations and critical reflection. In the summer term, students undertake an Enrichment or Enhancement Experience in a different educational context.

Partnership arrangements

Since 1993, the School of Education has negotiated 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. We also work in partnership with four local School Direct school clusters (see School Direct PGDE) to offer a range of routes to meet individual needs. Our provider led and School Direct students all have the same school experience opportunities. Students are often 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 training 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 and to assure the quality of the student experience. The university has responsibility for assessing all assignments including the Enrichment or Enhancement Experience report.

* The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation which regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England.