PGCE for Independent Schools - Postgraduate Certificate in Education

Study level: Postgraduate
A teacher in a chemistry lab holding a test tube up in front of students wearing safety glasses.

Our PGCE for Independent Schools is a teacher training course for trainee teachers.

Start date



In schools

Course code

See how to apply

Study mode

Work-based learning with online study


1 year full-time
2 years part-time


£4,500 full-time
£2,250 per year part-time

Age phases


Course overview

This course enables trainee teachers working in schools to study for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education while in employment or on placement in independent schools in England. This course does not include QTS (Qualified Teacher Status).

The course is offered at primary level (for trainees teaching pupils aged 5-11) and in a range of subjects at secondary level (for trainees teaching pupils aged 11-16 or 11-18). The course is also offered for the 14-19 age range in subjects which are usually only taught in Key Stages 4 and 5.

  • Trainees train to teach ‘on the job’, learning with the support of expert practitioners in schools.
  • Academic learning takes place online with the support of experienced university lead mentors.
  • Flexible delivery approaches ensure the course is accessible to trainee teachers anywhere in the world.
  • Choice of 20 subject specialisms at secondary level (11-19 age range).

Course details

The course maintains there is no one way to teach and encourages you to engage with a variety of teaching methods to develop your own best practice. It promotes the principle that continued professional development is fundamental to outstanding teaching and aims for its graduates to carry forward this belief throughout their careers.

There are four modules of study, comprising Behaviour and Classroom Management, Curriculum Delivery and Assessment, Development of Teaching, and Practical Teaching Practice.

If you wish you may also undertake a second school placement to gain experience of teaching in more than one school2.

The Practical Teaching Practice module runs throughout the course, and formative assessment informs your progress and helps you to develop your teaching. At the end of the course, a summative assessment of your teaching competency is made.

For part-time trainees, these modules are spread across Year 1 and Year 2.


  • This module develops your understanding of educational psychology, neuroscience and contemporary educational theory on behaviour. You will explore how children learn, what influences behaviour and what strategies and interventions are effective for promoting good teaching and learning.


  • This module develops your knowledge of subject pedagogy, effective lesson planning and application of statutory codes for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), as well as principles of assessment and feedback practices.


  • This module develops a reflective and self-critical approach to teaching. You will be required to demonstrate effective practice via critical evaluation and systematic analysis of your own teaching practice in line with The National Teachers’ Standards in England (Department for Education 2012).


  • The Practical Teaching Practice module is practice-based and runs throughout the course. You will be encouraged to set, review and show you can meet targets related to your professional practice and demonstrate your teaching competency.


We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.

Entry requirements

Applicants must:

  • Hold an undergraduate degree, or equivalent as assessed by UK ENIC.
  • Be employed in a school for the duration of their studies.

Satisfactory safeguarding and health checks, enhanced DBS checks, and criminal records disclosure are required5.

For more information about this course, entry requirements or your educational setting suitability, speak to our team.

Contact us

International applicants

International applicants are eligible to apply for the International PGCE.

Fees and funding

Student Full-time Part-time
UK £4,500   £2,250 per year
EU Not available Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page and see the University’s Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.

Tuition fees3 cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

How to apply

  • Applications for this course should be made through our CU Apply portal. Below are the course codes, please note down the code that is related to the course you wish to apply for.

    Apply now

    Course codes



Frequently asked questions

  • School-based
    You will be based in schools for the entirety of the course (5 days a week for full-time trainees and 2.5 days a week for part-time trainees). Teacher training is most effective ‘on the job’ in schools so the knowledge you gain can be instantly applied in real lessons.

    The course is delivered to you online through webinars, podcasts, videos, research, and tutorials. Our platforms are interactive and engaging, enabling both independent and peer learning. All course content and materials are available online, enabling you to study and revisit them as required.

    Described by Ofsted as “excellent”, Coventry University’s online tutorial approach provides you with teaching and support, both 1-1 with your university tutor and in a tutor group. Tutorials deepen your understanding of topics, prompting you to think about what works best for you in your teaching. You will also be guided on a day-to-day basis by your in-school mentor, who will be an experienced teacher in your school.

    Multiple start dates
    You can choose to start the course in September, January, or April, according to your preferences.

    You will gain an internationally recognised academic teaching qualification which could enhance your employability.

    Multiple routes
    You can choose to train in primary, or one of the following secondary subjects: Art and Design, Biology, Computing, Chemistry, Dance, Design and Technology, Drama, English, Geography, History, Mathematics, Music, Modern Foreign Languages, Physical Education, Physics and Religious Studies.

    For the 14-19 age range, Business Studies, Classics and Psychology are also available.

  • The course is designed to be highly practical to help trainee teachers develop their craft in schools under the supervision of skilled school-based mentors and experienced university tutors.

    Underpinned by the best available evidence of ‘what works’ to improve teaching and learning, and designed to complement your teaching or placement role in school, our online course consists of webinars, podcasts, videos, research and tutorials. Our platforms are interactive and engaging and promote independent and peer learning. All the course content and materials are available online, enabling you to study and revisit them as required.

    The course comprises four modules and is typically studied over one year (three school terms) or two years (six school terms) if studying part-time. You’ll receive guidance from a school-based mentor trained by the University, weekly contact with your university tutor and you will be visited in school by a university assessor.

    The modular structure of the course is blended in approach. It combines online distance learning with practical in-school support.

    A 15-credit module consists of 150 hours of learning, which comprises a mix of teaching and independent study.

    The course will be delivered via online technologies and methods and utilise an online portfolio to evidence your professional development.

    The course has three different start points throughout the year – September, January, and April.

    During your studies, you’ll have the opportunity to access an experienced team, including university tutors, progression coaches and student experience officers, who will support your studies through feedback and dedicated live seminars.

  • This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module.

    Assessment methods include:

    • Essays
    • Presentations
    • Vivas

    The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.

  • Our PGCE for Independent Schools course is a formal Initial Teacher Training qualification for trainee teachers in independent schools which do not require teachers to hold a QTS qualification. Holders of the award go on to teach in independent schools both in England and in a wide range of schools internationally that do not require the award of QTS.

    The course also provides 60 Level 7 credits that may be transferred as prior learning credits for future study at master’s degree level.

    On successful completion of the course, you should be able to:

    • Teach effectively and skilfully to enable pupils in your lessons to progress in their learning.
    • Critically reflect on what impacts pupil learning, using relevant educational research and evidence from your own teaching to inform and improve your practice.
    • Reflect on and analyse your own teaching and research, into both teaching theory and practice, to identify improvements and increase your confidence and self-efficacy.
    • Synthesise, apply and critically evaluate pedagogical theory and literature to adopt relevant high-quality strategies and teaching methods within your individual context, wherever you are in the world.
  • The PGCE for Independent Schools provides successful trainees with excellent preparation for master’s level study.

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough, National Institute of Teaching and Education (NITE) and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the “University”) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University.


    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.


    Facilities are subject to availability. Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


    Satisfactory health clearance and enhanced criminal record disclosure may be required. As part of the health clearance checks you will be required to provide information about your immunity and vaccination status. You will also be required to provide information about your COVID-19 vaccination status. We therefore recommend that you are fully vaccinated including the COVID-19 vaccine. The information you provide will be used to determine your eligibility to go on placement(s). Placements are provided at the placement provider’s discretion. The University is therefore unable to guarantee the provision of placements or the location and type of placement offered.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the 2023/24 contract can be found here. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.