Ups and Downs of a PGCE

It always feels pretty privileged to get to the step of reaching a degree after completing another degree. You sorta feel proud and smart? (right?)

I thought I would share a few things about doing a PGCE, especially for those who might be thinking about applying to a PGCE course.

Let’s start with the hard stuff:

Now, a PGCE is harder than your undergraduate degree. Oops sorry, I hate to say it! However, a PGCE is a huge achievement and it’s a postgraduate qualification so it is a higher level of learning. Don’t let that deter you, you can do this.

I started my Primary Early Years PGCE in September and I was dreading it… when people tell you this course is tough, they’re right! It is! However, there is support available on placements and assignments. The lecturers know the course can be intense and the work is all building towards you eventually becoming a teacher.

Learning Teaching Techniques

There’s a high workload.

The work load is quite high, you have to plan your time carefully. It’s important to prepare yourself each night ready for the lectures the next day. When its time for your placement you want to be as ready as possible. I used to find it very helpful to re-read the information about your placement school the night before going there, especially where it is! Don’t do that mistake – you’ll embarrass yourself turning up at the wrong school (HAHA!)

As the course is intense you might need to cut back on nights out. I would say when you’re doing any degree that is a Masters or a PGCE or a post-grad, you’ll always find yourself needing more time to do uni work. I’m not saying don’t go out, don’t meet friends. However, being productive is important. My very first week, I didn’t give myself ANY time to do uni work and I regretted it instantly. So don’t make those mistakes!


  • Get a bunch of files, a bunch of notepads and treat yourself to some news pens. You need files for sure doing a Primary PGCE as you will get so many print-outs and all sorts to put in them
  • Ask uni all the important things you need to know. I.E. Get your DBS sorted before you start university. For your first placement you’ll need this and if you don’t get it sorted for then, it’ll hold you back big time.

Why is a PGCE a good idea?

It is a LOT OF FUN! I met some amazing friends on my PGCE when I started, and I wouldn’t of changed them at all. You get put in a brilliant group of individuals who are all there for the same reason: to become a teacher! So share a great experience with them!

We have spent time looking for bugs and doing activities around campus that will interest our future students. There is a lot of information about play and I’ve had some really fun experiences.

You can do a PGCE that fits your future teaching plans. These include Primary PGCEs for children aged 3-7 or later years pathway 5-11 or secondary PGCEs.

Secondary PGCEs are subject specific and include:

Age phase: 11-16 with post sixteen enhancement

English, Geography, History, ICT/Computer Science, Maths, Modern Languages, Physical Education

Religious Education, Science: Biology, Science: Chemistry, Science: Physics, Design and Technology.

Age phase: 14-19

Business with Economics, Psychology

So pick the course that fits how you see your future!

What do we get up to on the PGCE course..

PGCE isn’t just about the hard work, you can have fun on it too!

You’ll make some good friends, you’ll have a great placement where you will learn heaps about school life, what the current curriculum is like and ways you can gain skills as a teacher.

I hope your PGCE life is as great as it can be!

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