Department of Education


Course Leader: Duncan Mackrill

What does the Sussex ITE partnership offer?

You can apply directly to the university to study for the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) specialising in Music. Alternatively, many schools work in partnership with the University to offer School Direct places which can also lead to a Music PGCE award. Either route will prepare you, as a trainee teacher, to teach Music at Key Stages 3 and 4 (11-16 years) with enhancement opportunities in the Post-16 Music curriculum.

Successful trainees will be recommended for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Why is Music teacher education distinctive at Sussex?

It's an exciting time for Music education with many new initiatives and a Music curriculum which recognises the importance of the subject in the lives of young people and emphasises creativity and innovation. Throughout the Music ITE course you will be encouraged to consider your pivotal role as a musician in bringing together music from both in and outside of the school environment, helping young people to make sense of their learning and nurturing their development.

Having an identity as a 'musician in the classroom' and the ability to facilitate creative music-making are fundamental attributes of a successful Music teacher. You will build on your existing skills as a musician and develop your subject knowledge in previously unfamiliar areas - whether your background is traditional western classical, popular music, world music or music technology. You should be open to new styles and genres, and be prepared to broaden your musical horizons.

Music ITE is highly interactive and is delivered through seminars, discussion, tutorials and practical workshops - such as singing, improvisation, composing and world music. Imaginatively run seminar groups and workshops - often led by visiting specialists - develop your confidence and expertise in areas such as approaches to GCSE and A level, creative teaching and learning strategies, and directing extra-curricular musical activities.

You are supported in the use of music technology but not expected to have good skills in this area before you begin the course. We encourage 'hands on' sessions to develop skills and consider how technology can be effectively integrated in the classroom. The emphasis of the course is on applying knowledge gained in seminars to the classroom. A number of curriculum days are spent as a cohort in schools, allowing the opportunity to observe excellent practitioners in operation, and to participate in good practice.

In Septembner 2005, the Music ITE Course Leader was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy.

Teaching, learning and assessment

You will learn to be a Music teacher through a combination of taught sessions at the University and school-led professional development and classroom practice. You will start your course with a 2-3 week induction at the University in September, which is followed by a programme of lectures, seminars and workshops every Friday. These involve presentations, group work, role play, classroom modelling and peer teaching for which you will explore ideas and approaches and reflect on your own experiences.

Over the course of the acdemic year, you will undertake two periods of professional practice in two different schools (these may vary slightly in length, but will equate to a minimum of 120 working days in total). You will be supported in your professional placements by a Music specialist who will act as a mentor, offering you tutorial support and developing a programme of practice-based professional studies for you. Your progress will be assessed through observations, feedback and discussion. To this end, you will create and maintain a portfolio of evidence demonstrating how you have met the various Teacher's Standards.

You will engage with the theoretical foundations of classroom practice and demonstrate the depth of your professional knowledge by completing three academic assignments during the course.

Additional entry requirements

To be accepted on this course, you must meet the partnership's established entry requirements for Initial Teacher Education. Additionally, given the competition for those applying for a place on the Music Initial Teacher Education course specifically, you should be able to demonstrate the following:

  • A strong knowledge and understanding of Music, and an awareness of how the subject is currently taught within Secondary state schools
  • That you are a practicing, active musician
  • An honours degree in Music or Music Technology. You may be considered if you have a degree in a subject other than one that is Music-related, but you would need to demonstrate a good understanding of music theory and music history and your musicianship. You must also have at least an A level (or equivalent qualification) in Music. 
  • School-based observation of Music teaching is highly recommended. The partnership expects a minimum of two days' observation prior to application, plus an another eight days' before the course begins.

How to apply

Applications for all Initial Teacher Education courses are made online via the UCAS Teacher Training portal.


See our Scholarships, fees and living costs web page for information on fees and eligibility for financial support. Specific information on bursaries, financial incentives and other sources of funding for Initial Teacher Education are available from the Department for Education.


General enquiries about any ITE course, including application queries, should be directed to the ITE admissions team:
T: +44 (0)1273 877888

Specific course enquiries can be directed to the Course Leader:
T: +44 (0)1273 877614