Department of Education


Course Leader: Richard McFahn

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 History. Alternatively, many schools work in partnership with the University to offer School Direct places which also lead to a History PGCE award. Either route will prepare you, as a trainee teacher, to teach History at Key Stages 3 and 4 (11-16 years) with enhancement opportunities in the Post-16 History curriculum.

This course can also be undertaken part-time over two years by suitable candidates. 

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

Why is History teacher education distinctive at Sussex?

Our partnership believes that History matters. It fosters curiosity and enquiry, reveals the complexity of identities, and allows pupils to place their world in a local, national and global context. As a school subject, History continues to stand out as one of the most popular and successful taught areas of the curriculum.

Our teacher education provides carefully structured, professional learning opportunities which will enable you to critically and effectively progress in planning, teaching and assessing successful school History. Together, university teacher educators and excellent classroom practitioners share their enthusiasm and professional knowledge to give you opportunities to focus on how to best engage, enthuse and enlighten your pupils in their understandings of the past.

Building on successful and engaging practice in History departments, you are encouraged to take an active role in your own professional learning by developing secure knowledge of the History curriculum whilst recognising how your pupils make sense of the past from Key Stage 3 through to A level. The nature of significance, the excitement of enquiry, and the challenges of historical interpretations are all practically explored alongside conceptions of chronology, change, continuity and causation. University and school-based sessions draw on local and national expertise, offering perspectives and startegies on a range of different teaching issues, from accessing original historical sources at local and national museums and archives, to engaging pupils in the sensitive, controversial and emotive histories of slavery and the Holocaust.

Leo BryantLeo Bryant (2017)

"Training to teach is an extraordinary experience and I'm very glad I was able to do it at Sussex. The school placement system means that much of the training year involves being thrust in front of classes full of children and actually having to teach them. It all takes place in a supportive environment under the watchful eye of experienced teachers. This means you really do get an opportunity to try a wide range of ideas and approaches to teaching and develop your own 'style'. The bulk of these ideas are triggered by the lectures and tutorials at Sussex which succeed in balancing the academic pedagogical theory with the practical 'how do I actually get kids to engage and learn' side. Having experienced and grounded tutors and lecturers who genuinely care about your progress and wellbeing as a teacher was invaluable and provided a much-needed forum for sharing experiences and guidance at the end of every week. I've met a great group of people in my fellow trainees at Sussex and I'm glad many of us are still in touch either socially or as a support network for sharing ideas and resources."

Teaching, learning and assessment

You will learn to be a History 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 History 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 two compulsory assignments during the course.

Hannah GardnerHannah Gardner (2017)

"The University of Sussex ITE History course an enriching and positive experience. The PGCE is a challenging year but the programme of professional studies at Sussex, coupled with the varied experiences of the two teaching placements, provides you with all of the skills you need to feel fully prepared to embrace and enjoy your new profession. The support of my curriculum tutor whilst I trained to become a history teacher was invaluable, giving me so many different ideas for lesson planning, teaching different key stages and abilities and preparing and practising for the all-important job interviews. As you progress through the training year you come to realise how generous and supportive the teaching community is and the collaborative nature of the course at Sussex. Placements are chosen with thought and care to specifically meet your needs so you can develop a wide range of skills, is a particular strength. Choosing the University of Sussex as my first step towards becoming a teacher is one of the best career decisions I have made; the Sussex ITE course is widely respected throughout the education sector and when you train through Sussex you can understand why."

Additional entry requirements

To be accepted on this course, you must meet the partnership's established entry requirements for Initial Teacher Education. See 'Our Entry Requirements' at the bottom of our Applying web page. Additionally, given the significant competition for those applying for a place on the History Initial Teacher Education course specifically, you should be able to demonstrate the following:

  • A strong knowledge and understanding of History, and a sound awareness of how the subject is currently taught within Secondary state schools
  • A good honours degree (2:2 or above) in History. Those with only History-related degrees (ie. Classics, Archaeology, Politics) will need to demonstrate that at least half of their degree was History-focused. Those without a History degree will need to undertake a Masters degree before applying.

Undertaking a short classroom type teaching task and showing an awareness of the curriculum and school life is part of our interview process, so candidates may wish to prepare themselves by spending some time in an appropriate school setting for the subject/phase they intend to teach beforehand.

All candidates offered a place on a teacher training course will be required to satisfactorily complete an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (formerly known as a CRB check), including a check of all cautions and warnings as well as convictions, before their place can be confirmed. The University will pay the costs of this check on your behalf.

How to apply

Applications for all Initial Teacher Education courses are made online via the Government's Department for Education websiteSee also our 'Applying' web page for a step-by-step process for how to apply to train to teach at Sussex.


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 on our PGCE & School Direct Trainee Fees & Bursaries: 2023 and from the Department for Education.


See full details of the Secondary History PGCE course at Sussex on the Prospectus.

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

Specific course enquiries can be directed to the Course Leader: