Moray House School of Education and Sport

Programme structure

The Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) Secondary is for graduates who want to become subject-specialist teachers in the secondary sector. Combining graduate level study of education and professional placements, this programme is one of the Scottish routes to qualified teacher status. Find out more about the subjects we have on offer.

Teaching in the twenty-first century is a highly complex profession. A teacher is required to be proficient in not one major role, but several. The Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) Secondary is designed to prepare you for the range of roles that teachers are expected to play:

  • The teacher in the classroom - a competent reflective practitioner, responding effectively to the learning needs of a wide range of pupils.
  • The teacher in the school - a good collaborator and positive contributor to the school ethos through the formal and informal curriculum, through interdisciplinary learning and through extra-curricular activities.
  • The teacher in the curriculum development process - a subject specialist, curriculum developer, and contributor to educational innovation.
  • The teacher in the profession - an active member of a community of educationalists with shared obligations, values and responsibilities, and with the capacity for leadership.
  • The teacher in society - who conducts and sustains relationships at many levels: 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.

You will develop the capacity to become a transformative teacher, making a positive impact on the outcomes of learners , with the capacity to become a future leader in the profession. To this end, we focus on teaching student teachers to use their powerful subject knowledge to create interesting, relevant and progressive teaching.

Programme start date: 22 August 2022

Please note that the start date for this programme is earlier than most postgraduate programmes at the University, with the next cohort beginning classes on 22 August 2022. 

Full attendance is expected Monday to Friday 9am-5pm for the duration of this intensive programme. During Professional Placements in schools, these working hours may be extended. Time on campus will be split between taught lessons, independent teaching and collaborative work with peers.  

Programme Structure

On the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) Secondary, we aim to provide a professional learning experience. The programme seeks to ensure that student teachers have both a theoretical and practical knowledge of how to teach, in order to meet the needs and interests of young people. The programme seeks to develop the ability of student teachers to think and act reflectively and reflexively to a high level.

A key focus of the programme is on social justice and what this means for practitioners in terms of how they think about their teacher identity and what and how they teach within and across their subject disciplines.

Combining campus-based courses taught at Moray House and experiential Professional Placements undertaken in schools, this programme provides an excellent foundation for an impactful career in education.

Students will undertake extensive critical reading during their study. On-campus learning occurs as lectures, workshops, online learning and self-study. The development of collaborative working skills in problem-based learning contexts and responsibility for learning through professional enquiry is key. The courses involve learning in the domains of educational theory and practice, ensuring that you are well prepared to take on the professional role of a student-teacher on placement. You are expected to build on skills gained in your previous education.

University-based learning for all Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes takes place at our Holyrood campus, and student teachers who accept a place on an ITE programme are required to have a term-time address in a location that will allow them to travel to campus on a regular basis for in-person teaching. 

Subjects we offer

Art and Design - W1X1

Apply now to join us in August 2022!

Biology - C1X1

Apply now to join us in August 2022!

Chemistry - F1X1

Apply now to join us in August 2022!

Design and Technology - J9X1

Apply now to join us in August 2022!

Drama - W4X1


English - Q3X1

Apply now to join us in August 2022!

Geography - F8X1

Apply now to join us in August 2022!

History - V1X1


Mathematics - G1X1

Apply now to join us in August 2022!

Music - W3X1

Apply now to join us in August 2022!

Physical Education - X9C6


Physics - F3X1

Apply now to join us in August 2022!

(The University reserves the right to withdraw certain subjects, depending on the quotas set by the Scottish Funding Council: Further information)

Professional Placement

School-based learning takes place in placement schools and this constitutes approximately half of the programme. Professional Placement courses address classroom knowledge and skills; and experience of planning, managing, organising, assessing and evaluating pupil learning and taking on the role of a class teacher for increasing periods of time.

All Student teacher placements are allocated via the national Student Placement System (SPS) that is hosted and maintained by GTC Scotland. Student teachers are not permitted to arrange their own placements independently.  Placements in Scotland are matched via SPS using an automated process.  Schools, Local Authorities and Universities work together to complete this process successfully. 

Information about SPS and the allocations process

Moray House School of Education and Sport has established partnerships with six Local Authorities. Our Local Authority partners are City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian.   Whilst the majority of placements are usually located within the partnership authorities, students may be placed in independent schools and other local authorities across Scotland. You should not normally be required to travel more than 90 minutes each way for your School placement from your stated term time address.  This means that all student teachers at all ITE institutions must be prepared to travel up to 90 minutes to their placement school, although students will be placed closer wherever possible.    

Key local authorities

Dual qualification status

Dual qualification means that a teacher is qualified to teach two different subject areas within schools, such as History and Geography, or Mathematics and Physics.

We welcome applications for dual subject qualification and can accommodate many dualities. One exception to dual qualification is Design and Technology as this is already considered a double subject in Scotland. For the academic year 2021 – 22, it is possible to apply for dual subjects in the following areas: 

If you want to pursue a dual qualification you must have an additional 80 credits in the second subject area and meet the GTCS requirements for teaching this subject. Your application should be made for your main subject area but you should state on the form that you have an interest in dual qualification in a specific second subject.

Please contact the Programme Director for further information about dual qualification.

Email the Programme Director (Mary Bovill)

Photograph of group of students working in library

Professional Outcomes

The PGDE (Secondary) programme 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 you 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 is designed to support student teacher development through experiential learning in schools and face-to-face campus-based learning in the university.
  • University-based studies will be organised around a sequence of 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.
  • The programme is designed on the principle that teaching is social practice and therefore much time is spent with tutors and other students.

Place2Be partnership

Place2Be logo

Teachers today are faced with a range of mental health needs in the classroom, and yet traditionally they receive very little training in this area, or support to cope with the emotional impact that the role may have on them. A unique strategic partnership between Moray House School of Education and Sport and children’s mental health charity, Place2Be, provides a unique resource to student teachers at Edinburgh. The approach is informed by Place2Be’s 25 years’ experience supporting the wellbeing of pupils, families and school staff in schools.

Building on a successful two-year pilot – this partnership continues to increase knowledge, understanding and skills around children’s mental health for student teachers and the initial teacher education programmes across Moray House as a whole. As a core element of the partnership, our dedicated Place2Be clinician will provide direct support for student teachers, via a reflective space known as ‘Place2Think’. These sessions aim to build emotional resilience and to promote the need for teacher self-care.

Through this unique partnership, we will equip teachers with the skills they need for a rewarding career and to produce mentally healthy classrooms benefitting everyone’s mental health.

Place2Be at Moray House

Kathleen Forbes

Place2Be Clinician

  • Moray House School of Education and Sport

Contact details