Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (Lifelong Learning)

Welcome to the Professional Graduate Certificate in Education

The part-time PGCE route is a two year, pre-service teacher training programme. The part-time PGCE initial teacher training programme provides a combination of theoretical and practice-based study and training covering all the essential aspects of a full teacher role for practitioners in the lifelong learning sector. This course does not address primary and secondary school teaching.

Our programmes are extremely well thought of nationally and regionally as evidenced by our exceptionally high employment rates on graduation and, for those that wish it, some quite swift progressions into managerial level positions.

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Course IntroductionModulesEntry RequirementsGraduate CareersAdditional

Your profile

You are passionate, patient and eager to inspire a generation. You never settle for simply meeting expectations, you exceed them, and you are ready to take the first step towards a lifelong career in education.

Your subject

In education, you can make a lasting impression on people’s lives. Every day you will get the chance to inspire students and colleagues, and use your unique skills to give something back. Careers in the sector vary, from teaching in a diverse range of settings, including schools, sixth forms, colleges, prisons and hospitals, to becoming part of the next generation of managers and leaders.

Your course

Whichever course you choose, you will develop the knowledge, understanding and expertise to ensure you have a successful career in the field of education. Your course will provide you with an understanding of the scope within the sector, while preparing you for a sustainable career. Modules reflect the multi-disciplinary nature of education and offer you valuable insight into the sector. Placements on some programmes will allow you invaluable practical experience and enable you to apply theory to real-life situations. You will learn from academics with extensive experience as practitioners and benefit from guest speakers across a range of educational organisations to broaden your understanding of current issues, along with teaching and management practices.

Your future

You will graduate as a confident and skilled advocate for education. As a newly qualified professional in the education sector, you could progress into a middle or senior management role in a school, college or university. You could also benefit from a career in administration, careers guidance, special needs, a role in an education authority or other associated organisations. Upon completion of an initial teacher training qualification, you will be eligible to follow a process of professional growth through the Society for Education and Training to gain Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status.

The course operates on a modular basis. All modules count for 30 academic credits, with each credit taken equating to a total study time of around 10 hours, which includes scheduled teaching, independent study, teaching placement hours and assessment activity.

Full-time students take modules worth 60 credits per semester totaling 120 credits in the academic year to complete the course.

Part-time students take modules worth 30 credits per semester, 60 credits per year for each of the two years of the course.

On both pathways a total of 120 credits are required to pass the course

Our teaching is informed by research, professional practice and industry engagement and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline.

Course Overview Course Modules

Entry Requirements

  • Applicants are required to hold an honours degree (2:2 and above)
  • Applicants are also required to hold level 2 qualifications in English (literacy) and Mathematics (numeracy).
  • Satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)* enhanced check. (*Please note there is a charge of £44 for a DBS check.)

There is also a requirement to complete at least 250 hours of teaching in a suitable post 16 environment whilst on the programme. This placement must take place over the academic year and be for a minimum of 4 or 5 hours a week, to allow for sickness, strikes, trips and other cancellations.  Applicants must have this placement in place prior to application, as you will be asked to provide details and to identify a suitable subject specific mentor in your placement location within the application.

Post-application, candidates are required to attend an interview day during which you will conduct a micro-teach session, baseline literacy and numeracy assessment, take part in a group discussion and have a one to one interview with a member of the core team.

*UCAS Tariff points where shown, are for entry on to higher education programmes starting from September 2024.

International applicants

If English is not your first language you will need an IELTS score of 6.0, with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.

Additional requirements for International Students:

  • You must provide evidence of having been in general education for at least 10 years and of having studied within the last five years
  • a face-to-face or video call interview is required before an offer is made

All of our graduates are practising teachers. Previous trainees have gone on to study further specialist teaching qualifications, for example the level 5 Certificate in Continuing Education Teaching Literacy and ESOL or the level 5 Certificate in Teaching Numeracy) or have progressed to Masters’ level study. There are other opportunities to work in teaching and/or management in any post-compulsory educational setting.

A compulsory section of Module 3 – Being a Subject Specialist Teacher is the attendance at a subject specialist conference held at the University of Huddersfield and there are associated costs such as hotel, subsistence and travel which are anticipated to be in the region of £150. Dates will be announced at the start of the academic year.

Timetables: Timetables are normally available one month before registration. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week.

Teaching and Learning: You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and practicals. Seminars enable smaller group discussions to develop understanding of topics covered in lectures.

When not attending lectures, seminars and practicals or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-directed study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, learning zone or technical learning resources, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations

Assessment: The course provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Each module normally contains at least one piece of practice or ‘formative’ assessment for which you receive feedback from your tutor. Practice assessments are developmental and any grades you receive for them do not count towards your module mark.

There is a formal or ‘summative’ assessment at the end of each module. Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance, presentations and your final year major project. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark.

 Feedback: You will receive feedback on all practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (Lifelong Learning) - Part-time
LevelLevel 6
Duration2 Years
Course CodeZE6HUPFP01
Academic Year2024-2025
Study ModePart-Time
Campus / Adult Skills CentreUniversity Centre Colchester
Start DateSeptember 2024
ApplicationsApplications for full-time and part-time programmes starting in September 2024 are open now
Fee(s)2024-25: £4,375 per year
Awarding/Validation BodyUniversity of Huddersfield
Course Overview

Our Initial Teacher Education programmes are part of the School of Education, which we can trace our origins back to 1949 as the St Osyth College of Teacher Training! We currently offer a range of nationally recognised teaching qualifications through a mixture of theory and practical experience in readiness for a full and enjoyable career within the Education Sector.

University-led programmes providing you with specialist training led by university tutors informed by practical experience in placements include the Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (Level 7 PGCE), the Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (Level 6 PGCE), Certificate in Education (Level 5 CertEd). These are awarded by the University of Huddersfield.

In addition the school offers the BTEC Award in Education and Training (Level 3), which serves as an introduction to teaching or progressing onto the level 5, 6 or 7 programmes

The Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course is designed to encourage students to achieve the aims through engaging in activities which are directly related to their own teaching context. Students are assessed through a mixture of essays, reports, assignments and practical tasks as appropriate for the learning outcomes of each individual module. Holders of these awards may apply for Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status which is conferred by the Society for Education and Training following a period of professional formation. From 1st April 2012 QTLS status has been recognised as equivalent to QTS for the purpose of teaching in secondary schools.

Course Modules

Module 1: Research Informed Teaching, Learning and Assessment

What’s it about?

This module discusses the implications of educational settings and current policies for the care and learning of young people and adults. It will enable you to evaluate theories and models of learning relevant to the design of subject-specific teaching and learning activities. By the end of this module you will be able to distinguish the key principles underpinning the selection of strategies for assessment and recognise factors influencing the motivation and behaviour of students. What will also be covered is the use of English, maths and digital skills within subject-specific teaching and learning.

What do I learn?

This module develops your understanding of how people learn in the lifelong learning sector and of the role of assessment in enabling learning and achievement. It introduces theories and principles of learning and assessment, and develops your ability to apply research evidence in designing effective learning and assessment strategies and materials. It develops positive approaches to the management of group and individual behaviours and promotes an inclusive approach to teaching, learning and assessment. It introduces the role of key transferable skills and the ways in which people learn English, maths and digital skills.

What’s the assignment?

The Assignment is in three sections:

Assignment 1
Section 1 – context and planning: plan and prepare a 90 minute session and a rationale for your approach to planning it. Complete a written session plan using a provided template; prepare teaching, learning and assessment resources to support your teaching session.
Section 2 – Micro-session teaching: teach a 20 – 25 minute session to your peers based on the 90 minute session prepared for Section 1.
Session 3 – Reflection on learning: Reflect on the session you have taught considering what you learnt from the process and your progress against the ETF Professional Standards.

Assignment 2
This assignment is in two sections:
Section 1 – Design an intervention, activity or resource to improve student learning in your subject-specialist area.
Section 2 – Write an account of the intervention, activity or resource in which you justify and evaluate it in relation to research-informed principles of learning, assessment and motivation (approximately 2,000 words).

In each module, you are required to maintain a Teaching Practitioner File, which records your development as a practitioner in teaching or training throughout the course.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Module 2: Becoming a Subject Specialist Teacher

What’s it about?

This module reviews your practice as a trainee teacher. It explores your teaching values, knowledge of your subject specialism, and your knowledge and understanding of how you are learning to teach. You will learn how to identify and respond to students’ needs, and how to use suitable teaching, learning and assessment strategies to develop inclusive teaching and learning strategies to create inclusive teaching and learning environments. You will evaluate your teaching effectiveness and develop yourself as a reflective practitioner. You will engage in personal and professional development planning, against the appropriate Professional Standards, to recognise and develop relevant subject specialist knowledge, behaviour and skills. This will include further development of English, maths and digital skills for yourself and your students.

What do I learn?

By the end of this module, you will be able to distinguish theories and principles relevant to teaching and learning in your own specialist area. You will be able to discuss values and principles of equality and diversity, including the promotion of inclusivity and differentiation, and be able to identify ways in which English, maths and digital technologies may be integrated into your subject specialist area. You will learn to evaluate the process of learning to teach in relation to relevant theories of teacher learning and the appropriate professional standards.

What’s the assignment?

A teachers portfolio containing evidence of personal development including records on a minimum of 4 observations, structured reflections on a range of specified themes, a critical discussion of how you have been learning to teach and become a teacher, and lastly, completion of a review and action plan agreed with your tutor. You will also be required to do a personal skills presentation, giving a reflective account of how you have identified appropriate learning outcomes, the knowledge and skills development achieved, and how it has enhanced your practice. The presentation will take the form of a seminar, poster presentation, website or other appropriate format. It should be appropriately researched, delivered and referenced.

In each of the modules, you are required to maintain a Teaching Practitioner File, which records your development as a practitioner in teaching or training throughout the course.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Module 3: Being a Subject Specialist Teacher

What’s it about?

This module builds on previous generic and subject specialist development in two ways. Firstly, it contributes to your development of more advanced strategies and methods for promoting learning and, secondly, it involves a focus on specific specialist areas and the critical analysis of specialist subject pedagogy. The module achieves these purposes by enhancing your ability to reflect critically on, and to evaluate, teaching and learning, by recognising particular curriculum and professional challenges, and by enabling you to develop critical responses to these concerns in sophisticated, innovative and creative ways. Key learning activities of the module are practical teaching experience and the engagement with other specialities through collaborative practice. The module is assessed through a Teaching Portfolio and a Conference Paper dealing with teaching and learning in the specialist subject.

What do I learn?

By the end of this module, you will be able to review key pedagogical principles and their implications for teaching and learning in a specialist area, critically analyse the theoretical concepts of innovation and creativity in teaching and learning and their application to a particular subject specialist area, and discuss ways in which learning can be supported or enhanced through the application of digital and other new technologies. You will analyse new developments impacting on professional practice within the subject specialist area, and review and agree with your tutor a level of achievement on the course and an action plan for further professional development.

What’s the assignment?

A Teaching Portfolio with evidence of personal development, tutor reports on a minimum of four observations and structured reflections on a range of specified themes. You will complete and review the action plan agreed with your tutor, and present a specialist conference paper which should discuss key pedagogical principles and factors affecting teaching and learning within the specialist area. The presentation will normally be supported by a written paper.

In each of the modules, you are required to maintain a Teaching Practitioner File, which records your development as a practitioner in teaching or training throughout the course.

A compulsory section of Module 3 – Being a Subject Specialist Teacher is the attendance at a subject specialist conference held at the University of Huddersfield and there are associated costs such as hotel, subsistence and travel which are anticipated to be in the region of £150. Dates will be announced at the start of the academic year

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Module 4: Policy and Professional Issues

What’s it about?

This module will develop your understanding of policy and issues relating to professionalism in lifelong learning. You will explore the impact of policy on professional practice and curriculum developments, drawing on appropriate evidence to evaluate professional practice and discuss possible improvements. You will also discuss key issues of professionalism in lifelong learning, including debates on reflective practice and a discussion of your own educational values and the extent to which these promote social justice.

What do I learn?

By the end of this module? You will be able to demonstrate an understanding of professionalism in the context of curriculum development and discuss relevant social and cultural perspectives on educational policy in Lifelong Learning. You will analyse evidence-based research in own curriculum area and contextualise professionalism and related values in education, analyse educational philosophies in Lifelong Learning, and debate reflective practice.

What’s the assignment?

A presentation on a contemporary issue and a professional issue assignment. You will be required to produce an essay in which you review debates central to your own professional context in Lifelong Learning, analyse notions of curriculum, social and cultural diversity, equality of opportunity and inclusion, discuss concepts of reflective practice and debate its role in teacher professionalism, and evaluate the development of own values and dispositions during the period of teacher identify formation.

In each of the modules, you are required to maintain a Teaching Practitioner File, which records your development as a practitioner in teaching or training throughout the course.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.


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The course information describes programmes offered by University Centre Colchester at Colchester Institute. The College takes all reasonable steps to provide courses as described, but cannot guarantee provision. The information is for guidance and does not form any part of a contract.

The College reserves the right to update and amend information as and when necessary. University Centre Colchester at Colchester Institute will do its best to provide the courses shown, but may have to modify or withdraw a course depending on customer demand and other factors.