Department of Education


Course Leader: Stella Knight

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 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.

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 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 learning is gained 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 addition, some curriculum days are spent embedded in local school music departments, enabling observation of excellent practice and opportunities to try out different approaches and technologies. The Music team include practicing teachers and is active nationally and internationally in music education research and policy.

Want to study part-time?

From 2017, teacher music trainees can opt to study part-time.This option is designed for those committed to teaching music and gaining QTS and a PGCE, but might be unable to undertake the full-time course for financial or family reasons. It is particularly suitable for those working as part-time instrumental teachers.

Entry requirements are the same as for the full-time course, and you will have the same number of school experience and university days but they will be spread over a two year period. Following a 2-3 week induction at the University in September, you will spend one day at university and two days in a school placement during your first year of study/training. University curriculum sessions are held on the same day each week. You will also submit your first main assignment. In your second year, you will complete further assignments, attend university occasionally, and undertake a second school experience placement, including a six-week block placement.

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, micro teaching , 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 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. See 'Our Entry Requirements' at the bottom of our Applying web page. Additionally, given the competition for those applying for a place on the Music Initial Teacher Education course specifically, you should also be able to demonstrate:

  • 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
  • a good honours degree (2:2 or above) 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 general music history, theory,  and your musicianship. You should normally also have at least an A level (or equivalent qualification) in Music.

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 Music 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: