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What makes PGCE: School Direct Secondary at Worcester special?

This course provides an immersive and inspiring, school-centred training route into teaching. The innovative design and delivery of the course places the trainee at the heart of a thriving school community from day one.

At Worcester you will benefit from our excellent partnerships with schools throughout the West Midlands region and beyond. We also provide state-of-the-art facilities to support your research, subject knowledge and communication skills - enabling you to deliver teaching with impact.

Graduates enjoy excellent employability prospects as the majority of our partner schools offer early career teaching posts to our PGCE trainees.



Key features

  • Full immersion in the daily life of a school and all the existing challenges that it brings
  • Course elements exploring wider issues of education and society enhance your prospects as a future leader in the profession 
  • Our choice of additional specialisms help enhance your expertise and career prospects, from citizenship, English as an additional language, special educational needs and disability, technology enhanced learning
  • Unparalleled personal and academic support throughout the programme that continues beyond your study and in to the early stages of your career
  • With 60 credits at postgraduate level and a strong international reputation, a PGCE can take you anywhere, from Masters study to a job on the other side of the world
  • Breadth and depth of experience across a range of schools

I really enjoyed my PGCE year at Worcester; it gave me a very supportive start to my teaching career.

Victoria Honeybourne, PGCE in Secondary Modern Foreign Languages graduate, now a published author on Special Educational Needs (SEN) teaching and teacher.

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry requirements

  • An Honours degree normally (2:2) or higher from a United Kingdom higher education institution or equivalent qualification, in a relevant subject area. Applicants with a 3rd class degree will be considered on an individual basis.
  • Grade C/level 4 at GCSE in English Language and Mathematics (or equivalent) (for 2021 entry, applicants must have these qualifications by the start of the course). Alternatively, we offer equivalency tests if you don’t have the required GCSE grade to apply for our courses. Trainees who begin courses before providing evidence of the required GCSE standard (or equivalent) will not be eligible for financial incentives, such as bursaries or grants, until they achieve the required standard.
  • School experience is desirable, but not essential prior to an interview. At interview we will discuss relevant prior school experience or opportunities applicants have had to work with school aged children. It is at this point that we would discuss with a candidate whether additional school experience would support an individual in their decision that teaching is right for them. NB Interviews will continue throughout 2020 and be conducted online. Applicants will be contacted directly with more details. 

If your qualifications are not listed, please contact the Admissions Office for advice by email:

Other information

If you have lived overseas for three months or more in the last five years a Certificate of Good Conduct from the country of residence will be required. Further information and guidance associated with additional costs are available from the Home Office.

You will also be subject to the usual prohibition list and criminal record checks. In addition, the NCTL requires all trainees to satisfactorily complete a medical questionnaire to demonstrate their fitness to teach.

The DfE requires all trainee teachers to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check, which the applicant will need to pay for.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed.

If you want to teach maths, English, physics, biology, chemistry, geography, computing, design and technology, or a Language don't be put off because of subject knowledge. You may still be able to train to teach these subjects (and be eligible for the bursaries they attract) by building up or refreshing your existing knowledge with a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) programme.

Contact the tutor of the relevant subject for further details: Design and Technology (food); English; ICT/Computer Science; Maths; Geography; Modern Languages; Science: ChemistryScience: Biology and Science: Physics.

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Course content

What will you study?

You will undertake some modules in your specialist area and others related to professional studies where the focus is related to pedagogy and practice. Modules relating to professional studies are the backbone of the course and feed into subject sessions, your work in school and related teaching.

Visit the relevant subject pages for full details.

You will be supported by a range of experience professionals including a school subject mentor, a school professional mentor who will oversee your training in school and your university subject tutor.

Enhancement Activities

You may select one Enhancement Activity (EA). There are currently seven EAs available: SEND, Teenage Mental Health, Education in Climate Emergency (ECE), Citizenship & PSHE, EAL, Technology Enhanced Learning and Second Subject.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

This EA gives you the opportunity to think further about the principles and practice of successful teaching of students with ‘special educational needs’. This EA will include a 2-day placement in a Special School setting arranged by the University.

Teenage Mental Health

This EA will help you to identify and understand poor mental health in your students and the factors which impact on both good and poor mental health.  You will learn reliable strategies to help yourself and the students in your classroom to cultivate well-being. 

Education in Climate Emergency

This EA will give you the opportunity to explore the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes required to support teachers, learners and school communities in our time of climate crisis.

Citizenship and PSHE

This EA provides a real opportunity to explore some of the principles which underpin effective citizenship and PSHE education and put some of these principles into practice.

English as an Additional Language (EAL)

This EA will introduce you to EAL learners and give you some insight into the way languages are learnt. It will also give you practical advice on supporting EAL learners in mainstream classrooms, and provide a closer look at the language in the curriculum and the demands this places on EAL learners.

Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL)

This EA provides the opportunity to use and assess these electronic resources in a subject-specific context to enhance the learning process for the pupils.

Second Subject

We are currently offering this EA to PE trainees who would like to begin developing a second subject in mathematics or science.

 The Aspiring Leaders is an additional EA that will be run towards the end of the course. You will be invited to apply during the PGCE course.

This EA will give you the opportunity to understand how schools are run and your role within the school. Trainees who choose this EA have an opportunity to gain a greater insight into the difference between the academic and pastoral roles within schools by speaking to experienced staff about the differences.

Course Structure

As this is a school-led programme, the majority of training takes place in schools. There are three extended placements teaching in at least two different schools and two key stages. There are also many opportunities to gain additional experience in partner schools and settings.

Schools also offer open days & more information can be found on the schools individual websites.

The school professional studies programme runs in parallel to the university taught sessions in both subjects and exploring wider issues of education and society.

"Our high quality programmes and innovative teaching methods prepare and train the very best professionals. Worcester graduates have made a huge difference in the field of education."

Catriona Robinson, Head of School of Education

Dr Joe Hodgskiss

Dr Joe Hodgkiss

In my previous career, I was working in finance, advising companies how to invest their money and manage risks. I had been into South Bromsgrove a few times to do some finance education sessions and really liked the feel of the place. I think this, along with having children of my own, caused me to reconsider my career choice.


The Schools Direct program was excellent. It felt like we got a good balance of theory from the University sessions, and then how to directly and practically apply the theory through the professional mentor sessions in school.

I am now teaching in the maths department and get good support from my subject mentor and the school. I have also been on an “aspiring leader” program, which has been great for meeting and discussing approaches with people from other subject areas.


Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

You will benefit from a comprehensive induction as well as personalised school mentoring and University Tutor support throughout the programme. As well as the time in school there are taught days at the University with subject specialist University Tutors which will link theory and classroom practice and support research into written assignments.

You will be assessed on the basis of coursework including 2 written assignments, as well as on your teaching practice. To gain qualified teacher status (QTS) you must demonstrate that you can meet the Teachers' Standards. The standards set a clear baseline of expectations for the professional practice and conduct of teachers, from the point of qualification.

Trainees are required to monitor and direct their own progress, with the support of mentors and tutors. The teaching experience assessment is based on a portfolio which allows you to monitor your own developing competence and from this reflection set targets to improve teaching and learning in your classroom.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.

Charlotte Bridges Hereteach

Charlotte Bridges - Hereteach

In my previous career, I worked as an IT Engineer, building and supporting systems. Part of my role included running training courses for the customers, which I thoroughly enjoyed. When I started considering a career change, teaching seemed like an obvious path for me to take based on my past experiences.

The support from the Schools Direct program was fantastic right from the moment I submitted my application. I felt that being part of the INSET days in September and being in school on the first days that pupils arrived gave me a huge advantage as it gave me an opportunity to see the school, get started again after the summer and it allowed me to find my feet as both staff and students were settling back in. The professional studies sessions provided were well organised and gave insight into theory being put into practice as well as visiting other schools and seeing how they are run differently.

I am now teaching in the Computer Science department, I feel I have had so much support throughout the year. Staff across the whole school have been supportive and approachable in particular, my NQT Mentor and line manager have always been available to help if needed.


Eve McGlynn

After finishing my undergraduate degree at Birmingham University, I took a year to assess my options before applying for the School Direct teacher training programme at Worcester. In this time, I worked for an estate agents and as a secretary in a doctor’s surgery. I always say that it was this year that prompted me to start my teacher training; I knew after sitting at a computer for a year that I needed a career that involved working more actively and with people.

Before applying for a training programme, I did some research on the style of training that might best suit me. I opted for the School Direct programme with Worcester University and Stour Vale Academy Trust as it would enable me to get straight into the classroom and spend more time learning ‘on the job’ than in university. This approach really appealed to me; after spending so much time in further education and office-based jobs, I just wanted to be in a school setting! My training year was everything I hoped it would be: quality subject sessions in university, quality professional studies (provided by both the university and trust) and quality mentoring in my placement schools.

Three years on from my training year, I am working at my first placement school, Redhill in Stourbridge, which is part of Stour Vale Academy Trust. I was supported through my NQT year by a mentor within my department and kept in contact with both Worcester University and the mentors at Stour Vale who all took interest in my developing career.

I am now the Coordinator for KS4 English at Redhill, as well as having mentored trainees for two consecutive years. In September, I will be mentoring one of our NQTs and supporting the mentors of our School Direct trainees. I have also kept in contact with the subject mentor for English at Worcester University and have delivered sessions on developments in the subject to the new cohorts for three years running. My experiences with both establishments have been extremely positive and I owe a huge degree of my success to their expert mentorship and training programmes.

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Where could it take you?

There are excellent prospects in teaching, Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) have one of the highest employment rates of all graduates and are very much in demand, especially those who have trained in a shortage subject.

Graduates from the Secondary Direct PGCE at the University of Worcester are some of the most employable in the country.

Two students are walkng next to each other and smiling

Careers and Employability

Our Graduates pursue exciting and diverse careers in a wide variety of employment sectors.

Find out how we can support you to achieve your potential.

How much will it cost?

Full-time tuition fees

UK students

The standard tuition fee for full-time UK students registering in the academic year 2021/22 will be £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international students registering in the academic year 2021/22 will be £14,100 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Teacher training funding

You can get help with the costs of teacher training. A student finance package will include a Tuition Fee Loan and a Maintenance Loan. You may also be eligible for extra help if you have children or have a disability.

Some courses are also eligible for a tax-free bursary or scholarship depending on your subject, degree classification or highest academic qualification.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for essential books, trips, stationery, printing and photocopying.

Travel costs for placements vary depending on the location of schools and your mode of transport, sometimes these may be reclaimed depending on your individual circumstances.

The DfE requires all trainee teachers to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check, which you will need to pay for.

If you have lived overseas for three months or more in the last five years a Certificate of Good Conduct from the country of residence will be required. More information and guidance on costs are available from the Home Office. You will also be subject to the usual prohibition list and criminal record checks.


Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £108 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £184 per week (2021/22 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How do you apply?

Apply now

Applications for PGCE courses should be made online through the government's Find Postgraduate Teacher Training website.

Visit the Get Into Teaching website for detailed information on how to apply for a PGCE.

Read our How to apply pages for more information on applying and to find out what happens to your application.

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.

School Direct Administrator

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