PGDE (Secondary)

Producing reflective and competent teachers, sensitive to the demands of the pupils and the job.

Our PGDE Students

Programme aims

The aim of the PGDE (Secondary) is to provide a route to qualified teacher status for graduates whose qualifications satisfy the requirements for entry into the teaching profession in Scotland.

It aims to produce reflective and competent teachers, sensitive to the demands of the pupils and the job, responsive to a changing education system and committed to continuing their own professional development throughout their careers.

A one year programme which commences in late August

This is a one year programme of 36 weeks duration and is divided into a first block of 16 weeks, a second block of 11 weeks and a final block of 9 weeks and comprises an equal balance between University-based and school-based activities.

Please note that this programme of study commences in late August.

The PGDE (Secondary) course aims to develop in our students:

  • the knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies necessary for a beginning teacher
  • knowledge of the distinctive traditions, practices, and forms of organisation of education in Scotland
  • the ability to relate theory to practice in all aspects of education
  • the attitudes and values necessary to support reflective practice
  • skills in professional research and enquiry, including skills in action research
  • a critical understanding of the teaching and learning process, including those relating to special needs, new technology, and equal opportunities
  • an ability to work successfully in collaboration with others
  • skills in planning, reviewing and monitoring their own and academic development
  • enhanced ability to work in a critical, innovative and creative manner
  • enhanced communicative skills

Design principles

This programme is designed to prepare our students adequately for the range of roles that teachers are expected to play. It is coherent and progressive and features assessment that will support student learning to provide reliable feedback and reporting. These requirements lead to the following principles for the design of the programme.

  • Student learning will address an appropriate set of unifying themes and core topics.
  • The programme curriculum will be informed by an explicit developmental model which describes how students' learning will progress.
  • University-based studies will be organised around a sequence of tightly integrated lectures and workshops.
  • Placement experience will be built on an effective partnership between the University and schools.
  • Assessment tasks will be well matched to the developmental model and will be guided by explicit performance-related criteria.

Teaching roles

Teaching in the early twenty first century is a highly complex profession. A teacher is required to be proficient in not one major role, but several.

  • The teacher in the classroom, has to be a competent reflective practitioner, responding effectively to the learning needs of a wide range of pupils.
  • The teacher in the school, has to be a good collaborator and positive contributor to the school ethos through the formal and informal curriculum.
  • The teacher in the curriculum development process, has to be a subject specialist, curriculum developer, and contributor to educational innovation.
  • The teacher in the profession, has to be an active member of a community of educationalists with shared obligations, values and responsibilities.
  • The teacher in society, has to conduct and sustain relationships at many levels: for example, at local level with parents, other professional agencies, and education authorities; at national level, with assessment authorities, policy making, advisory and research bodies; at international level with exchange programmes.

Each role brings a distinctive set of challenges and requires deep knowledge and skill.

Entry requirements

The qualifications for admission to the PGDE (Secondary) are:

  • A degree from a UK Higher Education Institution or degree of an equivalent standard from an institution outwith the UK.
  • The degree should be in the subject to be taught and containing at least two graduating courses (80 credits) in the relevant subject.
  • SQA Higher Grade pass at levels A, B, C (or equivalent) in English.
  • SQA Standard Grade (Credit Level 1 or 2) pass in Mathematics or its equivalent.

Selection and the subjects planned to be offered

Selection involves a professional interview.

Here is a list of the Secondary subjects currently planned to be offered for entry. Each is linked to a PDF of further information.

Registration with GTCS/Teacher induction scheme

On successful completion of the programme, students are recommended to contact the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) for provisional registration. Full registration is awarded on the completion of one satisfactory year of teaching the subject(s) for which qualification has been gained through this programme. Further information about the GTCS can be found at their website (link to website at foot of this page).

The Scottish Government and the General Teaching Council for Scotland have recently introduced a guaranteed probationer year for students graduating from a Scottish Higher Education Institution with a teaching qualification whose training has been publicly funded. Students who pay overseas or full fees are not in publicly-funded places and are therefore not eligible to join the scheme.

Tuition fees

For tuition fee purposes, the PGDE is treated in the same way as an undergraduate programme.

Tuition fees for eligible students from Scotland or a non-UK European Union country are paid by Student Awards Agency For Scotland (SAAS). Check your fee status to see whether you are eligible.

How to apply

Application forms and details on the application procedure are available from UCAS at:

  • UCAS
  • Rosehill
  • New Barn Lane
  • Cheltenham
  • Gloucestershire GL52 3LZ
  • Work: +44 (0) 870 11 22205

For further information, please contact:

  • Jason Andreas
  • Undergraduate Admissions Office (Education) College of Humanities and Social Science The University of Edinburgh
  • David Hume Tower
  • George Square
  • Edinburgh EH8 9JX
  • Work: +44 (0) 131 651 3147

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