Department of Education


Visit our virtual information event web page for videos about Initial Teacher Education at Sussex, the training routes we offer, and subject options.

To see PGCE and School Direct places available for teachers training in 2023/24, see the latest PGCE and School Direct Place List

For funding opportunities, see PGCE & School Direct Trainee Fees & Bursaries: 2023 and the Government's 'Scholarships and bursaries' web page.

Our partnership offers a one year, full-time Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Secondary course, providing both an academic award at Master's level and Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). In partnership with local schools, we also offer this course as a School Direct Route to a Sussex PGCE with QTS.

Our PGCE and School Direct courses will empower you to develop the professional knowledge, skills and characteristics you need to become a successful teacher. We offer the following Secondary subjects at Key Stages 3 and 4 (ages 11-16): BiologyChemistryClassicsComputer ScienceDesign Technology (DT), DramaEnglish and DramaEnglish and Media StudiesEnglishGeographyHistoryMathematicsModern Foreign Languages (MFL), Music, Physics and Religious Education (RE). Professional practice is focused on Key Stages 3 and 4, but training also includes inputs from the post-16 curriculum with teaching experience placements - where available and on request.

We also offer the following subjects at Key stage 4 and 5 (14-19) where these subjects are taught: Media StudiesBusiness Studies and Pysychology.

Alternatively, you may wish to teach Primary aged school children, or younger children in early years settings through our Early Years Education MA.

Whilst the PGCE Secondary is offered as a distinct route to QTS, School Direct trainees in our partnership schools also have the opportunity to follow the same course and receive the same award of PGCE.

During the course you will learn to:

  • express the values, virtues and expectations of successful professionals, challenging learners to fulfill their potential and enjoy learning
  • secure a strong subject knowledge and critical appreciation of the curriculum and pedagogy in subject specialisms
  • plan, teach and reflect upon successful teaching and learning strategies, and their impact on pupil progress
  • anticipate and respond to the different learning, motivation and personal abilities and needs of individuals, groups and classes
  • develop effective classroom management techniques which promote good behaviour
  • assess the progress pupils make, and the ways in which this can be enriched
  • establish an understanding of a range of whole-school issues, the values and assumptions that underpin them, and their application to school and classroom practice
  • meet the professional requirements for conduct and practice as set out in the Department for Education's Teacher's Standards.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Our PGCE and School Direct courses are delivered in partnership between the University and over 200 schools, colleges and academies across Sussex. Professional learning across the partnership is secured 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. Alongside curriculum sessions which explore the most recent developments in subject specialisms, cross-curricular professional studies bring the cohort together to engage in broader educational issues led by visiting speakers and research-informed faculty.

Over the course of the academic year (190 working days), you will undertake two periods of professional practice in two different schools (a minimum of 120 working days). Initially, you will benefit from a 'serial placement' in which your working week is divided between four days in school and a day of further training and reflection at the University. Towards the end of the course, however, you will teach five days a week in school as a 'block placement' to enable you to experience a full school week.

At all stages, you will receive comprehensive and personalised support from a dedicated university subject specialist, as well as an experienced subject mentor who will give you extensive tutorial support. Also in school, a senior professional tutor will provide you with a programme of practice-based professional studies, together with other trainee teachers. 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 academic assignments during the course.

You will earn the PGCE award having successfully completed all the modules that make up the PGCE Secondary course. These are illustrated in the following table:

ModuleMode of assessmentCredit level & weighting
Professional Practice 1 Professional Practice Profile assessing quality of teaching and professionalism over Autumn Term  15 Credits / Level 6
Applying Professional Knowledge Coursework essay evaluating impact of pedagogy on professional practice (6000 words) 30 Credits / Level 7 (Masters)
Professional Practice 2 Professional Practice Profile assessing quality of teaching and professionalism split into two parts: Spring Term (70%) and Summer Term (30%) 15 Credits / Level 7 (Masters)
Reflecting on Professional Knowledge Portfolio of Reflections (mapping progression in Teachers’ Standards) and explored at the end of assessment RPK exit interview 30 Credits / Level 7 (Masters)

Successful graduates of the Sussex PGCE have access to a comprehensive programme of Masters accredited support throughout their Newly Qualified Teacher year. You will also have accrued the credit equivalent to one third of a Sussex Education MA degree. Our part-time Education MA course enables you to complete the qualification at concessionary fee rates over a further year, provided you start the course within five years of beginning your PGCE or School Direct course.

How to apply

Applications for all Initial Teacher Education courses are made online via the Government's Department for Education website.


For some teacher education courses, some 'home'/EU trainee teachers will be able to draw on a tax-free non-repayable training bursary of up to £25,000 - the amount will depend on your degree classification and subject/phase specialism. Additionally, scholarships of £25,000 are offered to graduates of Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry and Computing by various professional bodies.

For the latest funding opportunities, see our PGCE & School Direct Trainee Fees & Bursaries: 2023 and the Bursaries and scholarships page on the Department for Education's website for further information.


General enquiries about any ITE course, including application queries, should be directed to the ITE admissions team:

Or the Secondary Lead, Clare Stenning
T: 01273 876588