Department of Education

English and Media Studies

Course Leaders: Sue Pinnick & Keith Perera

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

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

Why combined English and Media Studies teacher education at Sussex?

At the heart of the combined English and Media Studies PGCE course at Sussex is a belief in the importance of English Language, English Literature and Media. Enabling pupils to become independent, critical readers who love reading and talking about texts with teachers and peers will allow them to succeed in all other areas of the English - and indeed the school - curriculum. Therefore, you will gain understanding of how to develop the reading abilities of your pupils, drawing connections between your own knowledge and love of literature and the comprehension strategies and exposure to challenging texts that will enable your pupils to become similarly enthusiastic, engaged readers. Exploratory talk about texts is also central to developing pupils' talk and writing, combined with rich, textual models. You will deepen your own grammatical understanding and that of your pupils, enabling them to become creative, effective writers.

Media is at the heart of contemporary culture and its study enriches young people’s understanding of their place in the world. Sussex has a strong tradition of serious study of media and this has influenced our teaching training course.  This combined PGCE course will offer you a strong grounding in the theoretical aspects of school based media study but also develop you as a media creator with specialist input using industry standard hardware and software.

It is a vital time to be engaged in Media studies. Technological change has had a profound impact on media classrooms where the aims of preparing children for possible careers in media related fields vie with a learning design that develops an awareness of the power relations inherent in media communications..

Many English and Media Studies teacher trainees go on to teach both subjects, though some choose to specialise in one or the other whilst enhancing their teaching with the knowledge and skills acquired while training in the second subject. Many progress to our Masters courses to continue to enhance their teaching abilities and deepen their subject knowledge by researching best practice.

Teaching, learning and assessment

You will learn to be an English and Media Studies 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 academic 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 an English and Media 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 Teachers' 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. See 'Our Entry Requirements' at the bottom of our Applying web page. Additionally, you should be able to demonstrate the following:

  • A strong knowledge and understanding of English literature and language, and a sound awareness of how the subject is currently taught within Secondary state schools
  • A joint honours undergraduate degree 2:2 or above in English and Media - or an English degree with at least 30% Media and a Media Studies A level. 

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 English and Media Studies 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: