Primary Early Years PGCE

About the course


Develop a variety of teaching approaches to become an effective and confident teacher of children in Early Years and Key Stage 1.

Partnerships with local schools give you opportunities to put theory into practice on placements, supported by experienced Early Years and Primary teachers as you develop the knowledge and skills to meet the national requirements for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Intermediate qualifications available:

  • Professional Graduate Certificate in Education

Choose Primary Early Years PGCE at Bedfordshire and:

  • Study on a course designed to enable you to join a challenging and rewarding profession – becoming an inspiring teacher of young children, able to draw on secure understanding of theories about Early Years teaching and learning - with the knowledge and skills to lead learning and initiate change in educational settings
  • Explore your understanding of teaching and learning, supported by experienced Early Years and Primary teachers, as you apply your knowledge and expertise to planning teaching and developing curricula, and hone your skills of critical self-evaluation and improvement planning
  • Develop your creativity and team-working skills, preparing you to influence and lead in educational settings and enhancing your own sense of independence
  • Gain confidence in analysing the evidence of your own practical experience during placements in schools, informing your future actions as you evaluate the impact of applying theory to your teaching practice
  • Benefit from a qualification that gives you recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), enabling you to gain employment in an Early Years or Primary setting, with opportunities for continuous development through further study at MA/MSc, MPhil, PhD and EdD levels.

  • National College for Teaching and Leadership

Primary Early Years - (PgCert) in Education - Bedford Campus

  • Apply Via - UCAS Teacher Training
  • Course level - Postgraduate
  • UCAS Code - X121
  • Campus Location - Bedford Campus
  • Start dates - Sep
  • Duration - 1 Years
  • Attendance - Full time
  • Download Course Specifications

Why choose this course?

The course is framed by a commitment to help you to develop the characteristics of a University of Bedfordshire graduate teacher. You will be challenged to explore theories of teaching and learning and to examine the implications of such theories for your own development. In doing this you will refine, form and reform your own principles, perspectives and values in relation to professional teaching practice. On completion of the course you will have the appropriate attitude, knowledge, skills and understanding to meet the needs of the childrens and schools workforce agenda.

Distinctive features of this course, through which you will develop these characteristics, include:

  • Partnership provision
  • Enhancements which improve personalisation and employability
  • Reflective practice
  • Frequent formative feedback
  • Integration of performance and learning outcomes
  • Webfolio
  • Differentiated achievement outcomes

These features are outlined below:

Partnership provision

The course has been developed, and is taught, by a team consisting of practising teachers, senior teachers, school leaders and university tutors. As a result, the course design satisfies the expectations and requirements of your future employers and you will benefit from the current and recent experience which they bring. Authentic partnership with schools underpins the success of the course, as confirmed by Ofsted 2011. Innovative developments include working with clusters of schools to provide a common ITE experience and professional development programme across the cluster. Most clusters are managed by a senior teaching professional and funded jointly by the University and the local authority. This is an emergent model of partnership which enables the University and local authority to engage directly in shaping the teacher education course and to provide employment opportunities for newly qualified teachers.

Enhancements which improve personalisation and employability

The first aim of the Subject Specialism unit is to develop your Early Years subject knowledge and pedagogy with a specific focus on the Early Years curriculum. However, in order to support you in achieving your personal aspirations, and to enhance your record of knowledge and experience, the programme offers a range of `elective sessions such as: teaching Early Years; working with learners for whom English an Additional Language; etc. A minimum demand is required to allow these sessions to run.

Reflective practice

The course aims to develop you as an effective reflective practitioner. Reflective thinking is a multifaceted process that requires you to analyse classroom events and circumstances. By virtue of its complexity teaching requires constant and continual classroom observation, evaluation and subsequent action. However, to be an effective practitioner it is imperative to understand `Why?, `How? and

`What if.?  in addition to the analysis of the observed events. This understanding comes through the consistent practice of reflective thinking and writing which is supported by the webfolio, assignments and profile review process. In essence, the continuous development of your skills of reflective analysis provides you with key learning tools through which to evaluate your progress as a developing professional.

Reflective thinking is a learned process that requires time. The course encourages you to develop the skill of critical self-evaluation and to discover meaningful and creative problem-solving strategies to support your classroom practice. In doing so you are expected to synthesise the knowledge and understanding gained from your reading, learning experiences and teaching practice.

Frequent formative feedback

The course team members share a pedagogic belief that all aspects of the course should present you with models of best teaching practice from which you are able to form your own pedagogic principles. One key feature of that model of practice is the emphasis placed on the role of formative assessment. That is, a belief that assessment tasks should be used as one of the tools by which to promote learning, rather than simply to measure what learning has taken place. In all units, therefore, support is provided in the form of frequent feedback about your progress against the assessment criteria, in order to recognise, respond to, and enhance the learning that has taken place. Support includes scheduled tutorial meetings, to allow you to assess your progress and identify specific targets for continual improvement, with opportunities to improve your work prior to final submission.

Integration of performance and learning outcomes

All teacher education courses are required to provide support to achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) by meeting the requirements of the professional standards (currently the Teacher Standards 2012.) A defining principle of this course is the commitment to intellectual engagement with the standards, rather than superficial claims of performance against them. To support this, the qualitative descriptors are used to show how satisfactory, good and outstanding student teachers might present themselves. Your professional development record will be organised within the framework of Teacher Standards and the assessment strategy, described in detail later in this document, ensures that your critical analysis of experiences from the course forms the basis of your evidence against those standards. In this way, your intellectual and performance development are intrinsically linked.


The webfolio is the medium through which your reflective writing, other assessments and documentary evidence are managed. As such, it forms the central spine of the course, drawing the range of experiences and activities together in a coherent structure. The webfolio is a required element of the course and most of your assignments will be submitted by making the webfolio available to your tutor.

The webfolio is designed to help you allocate time and space to engage in critical self-reflection and self-evaluation of your practice, which could then be shared with others, helping you to identify areas of strength and areas for future development. The webfolio will also provide you with a flexible means by which you can gather and store information about your understanding, knowledge, values and beliefs. Its portability ensures that you will be able to continue to use it as a gateway for your professional development beyond the award of QTS.

You will share your webfolio with your mentor to aid professional dialogue and as part of the Profile Review process. It will also be used as an instrument to identify opportunities for deeper personalisation throughout the course.

Differentiated achievement outcomes

The course is designed to support all students in developing the knowledge and skills which satisfy the requirements of level 7 (Masters level) qualifications. It is acknowledged, however, that some students will choose, or need, to direct their attention and effort towards other aspects of their professional development. For this reason, level 6 and level 7 assessment criteria are organised as a continuum.

There are two units which each offer 30 credits at either level 6 or level 7.

If you pass both the assignments for these units at level 7 you will be awarded a Post Graduate Certificate in Education with recommendation for QTS

If you pass both the assignments for these units at level 6 or either one of these assignments at level 6 and one at level 7, you will be awarded a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education with recommendation for QTS

Unit Information – What Will I Learn?


  • Introducing The Primary School Teacher (Primary Early Years) (EDC192-3) Compulsory
  • The Primary School Teacher (Primary Early Years) (EDC195-3) Compulsory
  • The Reflective Primary Teacher (Level 7) (EDC139-6) Compulsory
  • The Research Informed Primary Teacher (Level 7) (EDC145-6) Compulsory

How will I be assessed?

Entry requirements

  • English GCSE Grade C or above (or equivalent)
  • Maths GCSE Grade C or above (or equivalent)
  • Science GCSE Grade C or above (or equivalent)
  • Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check
  • School-based experience

Candidates must possess a minimum 2:2 honours degree or equivalent.

  • All applicants must have GCSE grade C (or equivalent) in English, mathematics and science
  • Applicants whose first language is not English and who do not have GCSE grade C in English need to have IELTS with an average score of at least 6.0
  • All applicants should have recent and relevant experience of working with children in a mainstream UK school in the phases for which they are applying, a minimum require of 10 days is expected (e.g 5 days in KS1 and 5 days in KS2 OR 5 days in KS1 and 5 days in EY)
  • All students will undergo a Disclosure and Barring Services check
  • All entrants must have passed the professional skills tests prior to entry

How will this course enhance my career prospects?

Tutors will help you to structure your career profile in a number of ways:

  • Career Entry Development Profile (CEDP) - this document will help you to identify the areas for continuous professional development during the NQT (newly qualified teacher) year. You are required to take this profile with you to your new place of employment in order to engage readily in a dialogue about your career development needs.
  • Webfolio  helps you to monitor your progress, record your achievements and plan for future development more effectively. In addition this resource can be shared readily with all those involved in your professional development. This improved level of access allows for greater personalisation opportunities to better meet your development needs.
  • Profile Review Points (PRPs)  there are four review points in total spread throughout the academic year. You will be assessed at the point in time by your placement based mentor so as to establish the progress you have made, your strengths and areas for development. PRPs provide an opportunity for the student and mentor to set personalised targets to help you improve further.

Further support and resources are available from the Centre for Professional and Career Development (CPCD) and include:

  • One-to-one career coaching on job search, applications, interviews, postgraduate study and career planning/exploration both face-to-face and through E-guidance
  • The careers website or via the BREO Careers tab - gives access to a wide range of information sources on such topics as: finding work, careers events, subject discipline related information on employment, vacancy sources, our Jobshop for part time casual, placements
  • Full-time graduate vacancies and UoB Volunteering which enables current students to engage in a wide variety of community and employer based unpaid experience
  • Teaching Fair
  • Interview and application taught session

Self assessment tools are available on the Careers tab of BREO or at

Go Global

Whether you want to learn a new language, build networks, simply have the travel bug, or want to develop new skills and life experiences, our Go Global programme offers the opportunity to broaden your horizons, enhance your CV, and gain a truly international experience, all at the same time as studying towards your undergraduate degree. The Go Global programme is open to students from the UK and EU.

Travel to exciting destinations, including:

  • China
  • Vietnam
  • India
  • New York
  • Malaysia and Singapore

At the University of Bedfordshire we ensure that your experience here is cultural, as well as academic. That’s why a whole host of opportunities are opened up to you, providing you with that all important experience to make you stand out from the crowd when it comes to getting graduates jobs.

Go Europe

Our International students meanwhile, can make the most of trips to a series of exciting European destinations. From France and Belgium, to Holland and Germany, there are plenty of places to visit, network and broaden your knowledge of the global market place, by seeing and experiencing it for yourself, first-hand.

At the University of Bedfordshire we ensure that your experience here is cultural, as well as academic. That’s why a whole host of opportunities are opened up to you, providing you with that all important experience to make you stand out from the crowd when it comes to getting graduates jobs.

Fees and funding

  • Fees are £9,250
    You can apply for a loan from the Government to help pay for PGCE tuition fees.
    Bursaries are available for certain PGCE courses.

    The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees by no more than inflation.

  • Fees are £11,500 (International students are not eligible for any extra government funding for the PGCE.)

    The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees by no more than inflation.


See UK/EU Postgraduate students for full information on fees and funding.


A prompt payment discount is available if you pay the full fee before or at registration. There are also special scholarships available.

See Fees and Funding for International Students for full information.

Extra costs for this course

Travel costs

You need to budget for travel costs to your teaching placement. The cost can be from £30 up to £1000 depending on the location of your school placement.

*The information above is for guidance only. Exact costs may vary.


Physical Education and Sports Science Centre

Sports Hall

The sports hall is an integral space in the School of Sport Science and Physical Activity, complementing discipline leading Sport and Exercise Science and modern muscle cell and molecular biology laboratories, all co-located on the Bedford campus.

The sports hall is a major teaching facility for the University's Sport and Physical Education degree courses which have trained physical educators in the UK for over a century.

Together with its associated facilities it provides our trainee teachers and coaches with a superb environment in which to coach and teach pupils from local primary schools who are also benefiting from this new facility.

The sports hall is proud to host all Bedfordshire Bulls students' sports matches as well as national standard sporting events including British University College Sports championships – one of the few indoor sporting venues in the county to host prestigious tournaments all year round.

The facility also plays host to a number of University promoted Get into Sport activities which are open to all University students and staff.

Specialist labs

Our specialist labs give students a fantastic environment to develop their research skills and expertise, where a student can explore the genetics of an elite athlete who could be performing simultaneously within the sports hall.

Few Sport Science courses in the country offer students such unique discipline leading research experience and skills, alongside intimate access to world leading researchers within their field. Students are regularly offered the opportunity to be involved within discipline defining Sport, Health and Exercise Science research

Our state-of-the-art laboratories are purpose built for research and teaching in the fields of exercise and nutrition science. This includes specialised equipment and facilities for assessing human health risk and delivering exercise and diet interventions for health promotion.

This includes:

  • Dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) for assessing bone density and body fat content
  • BodPod and underwater weighing tank for body composition assessment
  • Environmental chamber that controls temperature, humidity, and oxygen levels in the air
  • Wet lab for assessing metabolic and hormone markers in blood

Our £8m Physical Education and Sport Science Centre was used to train athletes in the 2012 Olympics.

Theatre and dance studio facilities

  • 280 seat theatre
  • 80 studio theatre
  • Four fully-sprung dance studios
  • Dance studios equipped with ballet bars, mirrors, audio playback, internet and projection
  • Large dressing rooms with en suite showers
  • A scenery workshop reserved solely for student productions
  • Large 6m by 12m white Cyclorama screen for projection and lighting
  • State of the art HD projectors
  • Full backstage comms system with audio and video relay
  • Extensive lantern stock including Led fixtures, strobes and moving lights
  • State-of-the-art, industry-standard lighting and sound consoles
  • Built in media desk and roll-down screen

Gateway Building

Opened in January 2015 the Gateway is an impressive building featuring high-quality teaching spaces, informal learning spaces, and lecture theatres (including a Harvard style lecture theatre); as well as a new student services centre.

Campus Centre

Campus Centre featuring a 280-seat professional theatre, dance studios, a fairtrade café and social space for students.

Accommodation at Bedford

For on-campus student accommodation choose from luxury living at Liberty Park's modern en-suite study bedrooms or the Student Village which offers standard rooms with shared bathroom facilities, and en-suite rooms with a private shower. All have fully-equipped kitchens. Our rooms are on-campus and have easy access to the town centre and train station.

Subjects studied at Bedford campus

  • Primary Education
  • Secondary and Post-Compulsory Education
  • Education Studies
  • Physical Education and Sport Studies
  • Sport and Exercise Sciences
  • Tourism and Leisure
  • Accounting and Business Management
  • Performing Arts and Dance
  • Social Work

Bedford town location

The Bedford campus is a 20-minute walk from the town centre. The University offers a free bus service for staff and students that runs between Bedford town centre and the campus.

Directions to Bedford campus

Bedford offers excellent transport links to the rest of the UK as it sits between the M1 and the A1. The town connects by train to Luton (20 minutes) and London (40 minutes).

How to Apply

  • UK students applying for most postgraduate degrees at the University of Bedfordshire should apply direct using our admissions form

  • EU students applying for most postgraduate degrees at the University of Bedfordshire should apply direct using our admissions form or apply online

  • International students applying for a full-time postgraduate degree at the University of Bedfordshire should apply direct using our admissions form or via our representatives in your home country.

    You can also apply online

    Find out more about how to apply

Bedfordshire University

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