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PGCE Top-up Primary/Early Years/Secondary

Key Facts

  • Level:


  • Duration:

    1 year part time

  • Starting:

    October, January

  • Fees UK:


  • Location:

    Waterside, Online

Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

UK/EU Students enquiries
0300 303 2772

International Students enquiries
+44 (0)1604 894503


The PGCE Top-up course enables you to achieve the academic award of Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) if you have already successfully gained QTS through the Graduate Teacher Programme, School Direct or similar. This PGCE is accredited by the General Teaching Council Scotland which means on successful completion you will have met the requirement to be eligible to apply for registration as a teacher in Scotland.

If you are interested in doing this, information about the rest of the requirements for registration can be found on the GTCS website. In addition, QTS holders in the UK and internationally will benefit from this one year programme, designed to meet the needs of practicing teachers and increase your employability around the world.

Dr Helen Caldwell talks about the programmeFor more information you can email Dr Helen Caldwell.

Updated 14/10/2021


  • Flexible schedule to fit around work schedules.
  • Course is accredited by the General Teaching Council Scotland.
  • Achieve PGCE status if you have already completed the required credits.

Course Content

  • This course enables academic study alongside full-time teaching. It consists of formal taught sessions with tutors held at weekends or during the mid-term breaks. We also deliver teaching through online sources, which you can access anywhere, at your convenience through our Virtual Learning Environment, NILE. You will also have access to the library and a tutor, who will be available to help in person or online, and we hold regular webinars to support your studies.

    This course is designed to support your professional development, embedding academic studies in the context of your work. You will enhance your QTS by studying modules at Masters’ level to gain the PGCE qualification. It will give you a deeper understanding of teaching and learning to enhance your practice and help you on your way to a Masters’ degree and beyond if you wish to progress this further.

    Module information can be found on the Award Map.

  • Applicants are required to have a minimum of 2:2 classification from their First Degree from a UK university of equivalent.

    You must have QTS status through the Graduate Teacher Programme, School Direct route or similar and have some teaching experience.

    Applicants should normally be currently teaching in a school whilst participating in the course. If you are not currently teaching your application will be considered on a case-by-case basis; individuals in this situation must be able to find a school in which to undertake small-scale classroom based enquiry for the second module of the course. We are happy to discuss this with individuals.

    For more more information on how to make an application, please visit our How to Apply page.

  • 21/22 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 21/22 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • £2,490 (60 credits)

    There are currently no additional costs anticipated for this course for 2021 entry

    20/21 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 20/21 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • £2,475

    There are currently no additional costs anticipated for this course for 2021 entry.

  • How will I be assessed?

    You will have a variety of assessments, submitted throughout the year. They will include reflective pieces of writing, essays and a small-scale research project.

    How will I learn?

    The entire course consists of 18 hours of interactive, taught sessions, involving activities and discussions. This course is run over three terms, generally in October, January and April. You should also expect to do six to 10 hours of private study each week.

    The structure of the course has been created to accommodate practicing teachers term times, this is largely an online course with the requirement for private study. There are 3 conferences held at the University (one per term, usually held on Saturdays) with virtual alternatives for those studying at a distance.

    It is therefore possible to study on this course without needing to come to Northampton.

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Joanne Barrow

Senior Lecturer in Education, Children and Young People
Faculty of Health, Education and Society

View Profile

Careers and Employability

Most PGCE top-up students will already be professional teachers, however this qualification will allow you to teach in other countries, subject to their own regulations, and opens up opportunities for career progression such as leadership and management.

Student Story

"As an experienced teacher the course allowed me to reflect
on my practice in a really proactive way."