We’re looking forward to welcoming you on your PGCE Primary Education with QTS programme. It’s designed to develop high quality, reflective teachers who are self-aware and committed to life-long development. Before your programme begins, there are a few activities we’d like you to complete.
- Please complete all tasks set out on this page. All the tasks are compulsory and will help you prepare for your programme. They’re not submitted or marked but will be referred to in taught sessions during the first few weeks on your course. And they’re designed to build your confidence and put you in the strongest position to begin your PGCE year.
- Please engage with any reading highlighted in the curriculum tasks. You don’t need to purchase the books unless it indicates that you need to, as there may be opportunities to purchase books when you arrive or borrow them from the library. All compulsory pre-course reading is freely available on the internet. You do not need to purchase the identified ‘key texts’ unless you would like to. These are available for you in the library.
The survey helps the Partnership Development Team (PDT) find an appropriate professional practice placement (PPP) for you. This is done by taking as many relevant details of your personal situation into account as possible.
If you’ve got strong links to a school where you’d like to undertake a PPP please let us know. You can do this by completing our Professional Practice Allocation Form (PPAF). We’re always happy to consider these schools and have a set process in place to do so.
Your induction day information
During Induction day, we’ll focus on your training, on the PGCE programme, and on your development as a primary trainee teacher. You’ll meet members of the wider departmental and faculty team. You’ll also learn about your timetable for the year, and about the opportunities which will be available to you throughout the programme.
Your induction timetable can be found in the Induction Timetable section of your applicant webpages.
Important: Placement guidance
Edge Hill is an English Teacher Training institution which trains teachers for the English system. In order to widen our students’ experience, and to enhance their employability, we’re sometimes able to provide Professional Practice placements outside England, in Wales, the Isle of Man, and Northern Ireland. It should be noted that such distance placements are not guaranteed, and the government requirement is that all students complete the majority of their training in England. While we are delighted to welcome students from all over the world onto this programme, it should be noted that we are training primarily for the English school system. Where distance placements are possible, they’re normally offered for the first placement, beginning in November.
Trainees are not expected to arrange their own placements; however, if there is a school where you’re already known, and which you think might agree, in principle, to offer you a placement, then you could forward a Placement Allocation Form (PAF), which will be sent out later this summer from the Think Edge Hill Team. Schools are guided to return these forms to our Partnership team. Where PAF placements are sought, we strongly encourage trainees to prioritise KS1 (ages 5-7) placements as these are in greater demand. All students will require one KS1 and one KS2 placement. Both placements must be in different schools.
If you intend to submit a PAF form to a school in Northern Ireland, please be sure to clarify the age range of the class you have sourced, as terminology to describe age phase differs between Northern Ireland and England, for example KS1 equates to Primary 2 and Primary 3 (P2 and P3) in Northern Ireland.
Task – Writing an opening statement
Using no more than one page of A4, note:
- What you are excited about
- What you feel are your strengths
- What you think you need to learn more about
- What kind of primary teacher you would like to be.
You’ll be able to keep this statement, and include it in a professional portfolio which we’ll introduce during induction.
You may have received targets as part of your feedback from your interview with us.
Your targets might have included subject knowledge targets, improving grammar and punctuation in your writing, or improving your spoken English. We’d encourage all students to gain recent experience of Primary School, so you’re confident that this is the right career choice for you.
We’d like you to complete a small portfolio of evidence demonstrating what you’ve done to address these targets.
You need to be ready to discuss your targets with your Personal Tutor when you meet them during the first few weeks of your programme.
National curriculum activities and reading – English
Teaching children to explore, master and develop a passion for reading will be a fundamental part of your PGCE year. Aidan Chambers tells us that there is nothing more important in education than ‘helping learners of all ages to develop as readers and writers’ (Chambers, 2020: xiii)
Reading empowers children to engage with rich and wonderful texts which allow them to escape into other worlds and, as importantly, reflect their identities experience and lives in the real world. It is also essential in negotiating and questioning factual and information texts across the curriculum whilst at the same time equipping them with the ability to function in the world outside the classroom.
It is crucial that your knowledge of a range of books and authors to suit all primary age groups is developed in depth before and during your PGCE year. You will be role models and the inspiration for the readers you will meet during the year as student teachers and then as Early Career teachers.
There is no time like the present to begin this process.
Task one – If possible, please read and enjoy the following children’s book – The Boy at the back of the class by Onjali Q Rauf (2018). It’s a great introduction to life in a primary classroom from a child’s perspective and includes a number of important themes that are relevant to all teachers in primary education.
Task two – Please also read at least 8 children’s books: novels, picture books, poetry collections or non-fiction texts, written for primary aged children, before you join the course in September. Aim to include texts and authors that are new to you and include contemporary texts that were published in the last 5 years
Task three – Begin a reading journal and organise this in as creative a way as you wish. Keep a record of all the texts you have read and think about how you might really explore these with children. Record your reactions to what you are reading and consider sharing it with pupils when you begin your placements.
Task four – Read the following report – Reflecting Realities: Ethnic Representation in UK Children’s Literature and consider the choices you make when reading and sourcing books for the children in your future classrooms.
Visit the following websites to give an indication for how to source interesting titles:
Please read and familiarise yourself with this document which will be a central part of your planning and work in schools.
We’d strongly recommend the following selection of articles as an introduction to your Primary English studies. UKLA Viewpoints on Early Reading, Reading Comprehension, Talk and Writing. They’re free and are available on the Literacy Association website.
National curriculum activities and reading – Mathematics
Familiarise yourself with the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM). This is a free website resource with excellent support materials to support you in developing your subject knowledge for mathematics.
Take a look at the Mastery Assessment materials for year 6 pupils and consider whether you would be able to answer the questions yourself.
Highlight 3 target areas to work on and bring evidence of working on these to your first session.
- Mathematics Explained for Primary Teachers, by D. Haylock. 2014 5th ed. London, Sage Publications
National curriculum activities and reading – Science
The science qualifications that you have achieved in order to be accepted on the programme will include aspects of biology, physics and chemistry. It would be helpful if you could review your understanding in these areas, paying particular attention to the targets you have been set from your interview.
Begin to consider the importance of primary science education by reading this news article from the Guardian.
- Achieving QTS Primary Science Knowledge and Understanding, by G. Peacock, J. Sharp, R. Johnsey and D. Wright. 2017 8th ed. London, Learning Matters.
- Achieving QTS Primary Science Teaching Theory and Practice, by J. Sharp, G.A. Peacock,R. Johnsey, S. Simon, A. Cross and D. Wright. 2017 8th ed. London, Learning Matters.
National curriculum activities and reading – Foundation subjects
The Foundation Subjects include: Art, Computing, Design Technology, Geography, History, Languages, Music, PSHE, PE and RE.
Choose a subject you are comfortable with – you may have studied this for your degree – and a subject you are anxious about teaching – you may have stopped studying this in Year 8 or 9. Look at the National Curriculum for both of those subjects.
- How does this curriculum content and curriculum subject contribute to a broad and balanced curriculum required by Ofsted?
- Is it enough to know the subject content, or are there other things which you need to know and understand too, in order to teach these subjects effectively?
- For all the foundation subjects, why do you think they have been included in the curriculum? What benefits do you think the subjects bring to children’s learning?
- How might your own areas of perceived strength and weakness influence how you approach the foundation subjects? What might this mean for your future practice as a teacher?
Level 7 study
Your training will be guided by the Core Content Framework for Initial Teacher Education. Take some time to look at the ITT Core Content Framework document so that you’re aware of the key areas of learning on the PGCE Primary Programme. We’ll look at a range of issues affecting Primary teachers and consider how we might manage these.
Your Primary PGCE programme provides you with the opportunity to study at level 7 (Master’s level) for two 30 credit modules. The assessment for these two modules includes submission of long pieces of writing: a 3,500 word literature review focusing on your chosen specialism and a 4,500 word critical reflection of a contemporary issue.
You will be provided with a complete set of ‘performance indicators’ to support you in moving from your successful undergraduate study at level 6 to level 7. The statements below are taken from our level 7 ‘pass’ grade descriptors. Have a look at these and consider how they differ from the assessment criteria you have worked with during your undergraduate study:
- Knowledge and understanding – You have explicitly demonstrated thorough knowledge and understanding of the key aspects of focus throughout your work. The levels of knowledge and understanding that you have demonstrated would support you in beginning to develop original approaches to your own teaching on professional practice.
- Analysis and Reflection – You are able to critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data and can present fully substantiated and defendable judgements; you have demonstrated some confidence in evaluating these from your own personal perspective. You acknowledge the uncertainty and potential ambiguity of any data and are appropriately cautious in your analysis and in the conclusions you present. Your ability to critically evaluate and analyse would support you in developing a substantial personal approach to teaching on professional practice.
For the national benchmark descriptors for Level 7/master’s qualifications visit the QAA website.
Becoming a professional
One of the key priorities of schools is to keep children safe in education, as set out in this Department for Education document. Read part one beginning on page 6, and make sure you’re informed about your safeguarding responsibilities, as a primary teacher. We’ll discuss these during the programme in greater detail.
Teachers are required to uphold professional standards in their working life and beyond. Search for primary school ‘Codes of conduct’ and read about the professional expectations of teachers. We’ll discuss your findings in university sessions.
Over the summer you can also prepare for your programme by keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in the Education Sector. We have listed some useful websites, but you should also try and find additional sites of your own:
- The Times Educational Supplement
- Ofsted website
- Department for Education
- BBC Education and Family News