Postgraduate Certificate in Education: Primary Education PGCE


Course facts

  • Name: Postgraduate Certificate in Education: Primary Education
  • Qualification: PGCE
  • Duration: 1 year full-time

UCAS Codes: 
PGCE Primary (3-11) 2L5N
TAR Cynradd (3-11) 2L5P

I ddarllen manylion y cwrs yn Gymraeg ewch i: Tystysgrif Addysg i Raddedigion (Cynradd)

North and Mid Wales Centre of Teacher Training

Aberystwyth and Bangor Universities have joined forces to provide Initial Teacher Education for North and Mid-Wales. The North and Mid-Wales Centre of Teacher Education, one of three national centres, trains primary and secondary teachers.

The centre is managed jointly by both institutions and works with primary and secondary schools across the regions. This collaboration is set in the context of a wider strategic partnership between Aberystwyth and Bangor Universities regarding research and enterprise.

PGCE Course Overview

The PGCE Primary Education programme has been designed to provide trainees with a variety of challenging experiences with a continuum of university and school work, in order to prepare trainees to become primary teachers and to enable them to meet the standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Trainees will experience both key stages but opt to specialise in either the Foundation Phase or Key Stage 2.

Course content is for guidance purposes only and may be subject to change.

Course Content

The university based sessions include either experience in the Areas of Learning outlined in the Foundation Phase or the subjects outlined in the National Curriculum orders.  The English medium trainees learn about Everyday Welsh as part of the programme to enable them to develop their understanding of how it is applied in primary schools in Wales.

The School based component of the programme comprises block school experiences in partnership schools. The trainees are assessed on their school experience according to a set of criteria. Successful completion enables trainees to receive the qualification of QTS, awarded by the Education Workforce Council (EWC).

PGCE Primary Programme Specification.


Trainees will be assessed both on practical teaching and university coursework. An element of the coursework is assessed at Master’s level and affords trainees 40 credits at Master’s level. A pass is required for both school and university based aspects of the course. Progress is monitored by continuous assessment of trainees’ competence. There is no formal end of programme examination. Successful completion of the programme will lead to the Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) and recommendation to the Education Workforce Council for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Entry Requirements

All applicants should meet the following essential criteria:

  • A grade B or equivalent in GCSE English Language and GCSE Mathematics and a grade C or higher in GCSE Science will be required. Trainees studying through the medium of Welsh will also need a GCSE grade C or above in Welsh (first language).
  • Good honours degree in an area related to primary education.
  • The personal statement should demonstrate recent and relevant experience in a mainstream school across the primary age range (a minimum of ten days).  Evidence of this must be included on the application.  The statement should also demonstrate an understanding of current educational practice, and reference to personal experiences that could contribute to enriching children’s learning. A high standard of literacy is expected.
  • The principal referee must be able to comment on the applicant’s undergraduate degree attainment. For those applicants who graduated more than 8 years ago, it may be more appropriate to obtain a reference from a more recent educational professional such as a primary head teacher. It is important that this referee can make objective and informed judgements based on significant knowledge of the applicant in an educational context.

Applicants who meet the essential criteria for programmes which lead to QTS will be invited to attend an interview. This will involve completion of time-constrained tests in literacy and numeracy. Tests will be completed and supervised under ’exam’ conditions and will form part of the interview day.  Appropriate arrangements will be made for applicants who have noted special needs or support required on their application.

Entry is also subject to a satisfactory criminal records check.

Please note you must apply for this programme through UCAS. 

Interview Day

Information about the Interview Day can be found here.


Literacy Test (English)

  • The 30 minute test comprises spelling, punctuation, grammar and comprehension elements. It will be completed on the day of interview (a sample paper is available here).
  • To prepare for the literacy test, applicants should work through the sample paper provided. In addition, the current literacy skills test in England will also serve as a useful reference tool as the tests are similar in content.

Support material include: Johnson, J. (2012) Passing the Literacy Skills Test (Achieving QTS) 3rd edn. Exeter: Learning Matters, ISBN 9780857258793.
Patmore, M. (2013) Passing the Literacy Skills Test (Achieving QTS) 5th edn Exeter: Learning Matters, ISBN 9781446275160

Numeracy Test

There will be one numeracy test which focuses on the functional mathematics which teachers need in their professional role.

  • The 30 minute test will be completed on the day of interview but a printable, sample copy of the paper is available in English here or Welsh here.
  • Calculators will not be allowed but candidates will be provided with paper for jottings and notes.
  • English and Welsh versions of the question paper will be provided. Applicants can choose to answer in either language.
  • To prepare for the numeracy test, applicants should work through the sample paper provided. In addition, the current numeracy skills test in England will also serve as a useful reference tool, including Numeracy Practice Paper 2 and Numeracy Practice Paper 3.
  • Another useful resource is, Tyreman, C. (2011) How to Pass the QTS Numeracy and Literacy Skills Tests: Essential Practice for the Qualified Teacher Status Skills Tests. London: Kogan Page

Welsh-medium applicants

Students who wish to train through the medium of Welsh should apply to the Welsh medium programme code in UCAS.  

Literacy Tests

  • All applicants will complete the literacy test in English (see above for further details)
  • Welsh medium applicants will also complete a literacy skills test in Welsh (30 minutes). In preparation for this test we recommend that you look at the sample paper provided here and refer to the following useful text: Breese, N., Clement, B. (2011) Seren Iaith. Ceredigion: Atebol Cyfyngedig. ISBN 978-1-907004-85-8 (£5.99) The following sections will be most useful: Chwilio’r gwallau 1 pp.6-105 and pp.166-197


How to Apply 

Applications for this course should be made via UCAS.

Selection Procedure

Application form, literacy and numeracy tests and interview.

International Students

For information and further detailed guidance on entry requirements for International Students, including the minimum English Language entry requirement, please visit the Entry Requirements by Country pages on the International Education Centre section of our website.

Ask the IEC for assistance...

If you want advice or a general chat about what’s available contact the International Education Centre on +44 (0) 1248 382028 or email

Further information

Next steps