PGCE School Direct Pathway

This postgraduate course is accredited by the University of Birmingham.

Overview (NV)
Course length
1 year full-time
Fees (Home/EU)
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Fees (International)
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Kick-Start Scheme

All new students studying a full-time, undergraduate or PGCE course, paying fees at the maximum rate (£9,250), and with a student status of Home, EU or Channel Isles are eligible to receive £300 per year via the Kick-Start Scheme. To find out more about how these funds can support your studies and your future career, and to find out if you are eligible for an additional £500 per year, visit Kick-Start FAQs

Teacher training is no longer one size fits all

If you have a desire to make a difference and arm children with the skills and knowledge they need to enhance their own career prospects, but are keen to be at the heart of the classroom throughout your studies, this route is for you.

Our School Direct course is quite unique to the traditional PGCE primary QTS route and perfect for those who want to do the majority of their training in a real-life setting.

For this course, you will train at either one of our partner schools, which include Wilson Stuart School and Birmingham Nursery Schools Teaching Schools Alliance, and will only attend university one day a week, with four days right at the heart of things.

Whether you aspire to work in a mainstream school or one for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), this will start your journey in a profession which boasts a competitive salary, generous pension and financial support while training.

Ready to take the leap?

To be eligible to apply, you will need a minimum of a 2:2 in any BA or BSc (Hons) degree. If you hold a 2:1 and three years’ work experience, you could even receive a salary instead of paying tuition fees (see entry requirements).    

You will also need to ask yourself which age group you’d like to teach:

  • 3-7 year olds – focus is Foundation Stage (pre-school) and Key Stage 1 (yrs 1 and 2)
  • 5-11 year olds, focus is Key Stage 1 (yrs 1 and 2) and Key Stage 2 (yrs 3 to 6)


PGCE stats


Unlimited resits – teacher entry test

The great news for those who haven’t passed the professional skills test – required to enter initial teacher training - is that you are now able to do unlimited resits.

Even better, the Department for Education is also allowing two extra resits to be taken for free before fees apply. Find out more here.

Why should I choose this course?

  • Training in a primary and early years environment four days a week
  • Intellectually stimulating content and effective teaching methods with high quality support from lecturers
  • Training that concentrates on themes that address key government priorities – behaviour management, SEND and children who use English as an Additional Language (EAL)
  • Professional skills and theory to critically evaluate the principles of teaching
  • Increased career prospects through working in one of our partnership schools


Open Days

Our open days are designed to give you as much information as possible about University College Birmingham and the areas you are interested in studying. Discover more about our wide range of courses and cutting-edge facilities at our next postgraduate open day.

Teaching & Assessment (NV)

Teaching & assessment

Teaching is carried out by appropriately qualified and experienced lecturers one day per week. You will be taught amongst a small group with weekly tutorials available. In addition to your four days a week in school we offer visits to outside venues which are arranged each year, as part of the university based programme. UCB Online provides a 24 hour access to learning and support material.


An estimated breakdown of the assessment for this course is as follows:

  • 3 modules
  • Professional Development Portfolio which serves to provide evidence that the Teacher’s Standards have been met
  • 3 assessed placements 

Please note that the information provided above is indicative only and actual timetables and assessment regimes will be issued to students at induction.

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2015-2020.

Entry Requirements (NV)

Entry requirements

Salaried route

2.1 Honours degree with at least three years working experience.  

Tuition fee route

2.2 Honours degree with relevant experience of working with children e.g. from placements or voluntary/paid work in schools.  

You need to have a GCSE at grade C or above (or its equivalent) in English, maths and a science subject and pass a skill test in English and maths . 

UCB welcomes a range of degree disciplines such as Early Childhood Studies, Childhood Studies, Education Studies, Psychology, Sociology, English, Mathematics, Dance, Drama, Performing Art, Sports or similar.

Professional skills test and DBS

Trainees starting an initial teacher training (ITT) course from September 2015 will be required to pass the professional skills tests before starting their course. Once you have submitted your application to us, you will need to arrange to take and have passed the tests before we can select you for interview. 

If you would like to speak to someone about the skills tests, contact the Professional Skills Tests candidate help desk. The helpdesk can be reached on 0845 450 8867, Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm. Alternatively email any queries to

Students must also complete a Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS) before starting this course. UCB will co-ordinate and fund the completion of the DBS check.

Applying for the professional skills test

It’s important that you are equipped with the right information before booking, and bring with you the right documents when attending the skills test centres. Any candidates that do not follow the below process will be turned away, and may lose their first free attempt at taking the skills tests. 

Booking the skills test:

You can book your skills test once you have submitted your application through UCAS Teacher Training. You can book in advance of this as long as an application is submitted before you attend the test centre.  

What you need to bring:

Two forms of identification - a primary ID such as a passport, and a secondary ID this can be for example a debit card. More information can be found on the STA website.

You'll also need to bring proof of your teacher training application. Evidence that will be accepted:

  • a welcome email from UCAS Teacher Training
  • correspondence from your school or university
  • a copy of a completed UCAS Teacher Training application form
  • confirmation of, or an invitation to, an interview from your school or university 

For more information please visit the STA website or the Get into Teaching website.

Modules (NV)


  Please note
The modules listed on the website for this course are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by industry as well as the latest teaching methods. Unless otherwise stated, the modules listed above for this course are for students starting in the academic year 2020/21. On occasion, we may need to make unexpected changes to modules and if this occurs, we will contact all offer holders as soon as possible.
Placements (NV)

Work placement

As part of this course, you will work four days a week in one of our partnership schools at Wilson Stuart School, Colmore Partnership Teaching School Alliance (CPTSA) or Birmingham Nursery Schools Teaching Alliance (BNSTA). You will study in UCB for the remaining day of your working week.

Employability (NV)


Successful completion will lead to the award of a PGCE with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). There is an expectation that successful completion of the course will result in trainees being offered employment by one of the schools involved in their School Direct provision – however, this is not guaranteed. 


hired@UCB is our new student and alumni support service designed to provide a single reference point for information, advice and guidance regarding opportunities to develop and demonstrate employability and enterprise skills. 

Based in new facilities on the ground floor of Moss House, in newly refurbished facilities, the hired team comprises of specialist and qualified staff with knowledge and experience of: 

  • Careers advice and guidance
  • Placements, work experience and volunteering
  • Employer engagement
  • Part-time and seasonal work
  • Internships, apprenticeships and traineeships
  • Graduate schemes and alumni support
  • Unitemps – UCB's recruitment agency 

Find out more about hired@UCB services.

Profiles (NV)
ashley lillis

Ashley Lillis

PGCE Primary School Direct

Read more