Primary - PGCE


Course Overview

​The PGCE Primary programme is taught from one of the largest centres of teacher training in Wales and the UK. It has been designed to provide students with a variety of challenging experiences with a ​continuum of school and university work, in order to prepare students to become primary teachers and to enable them to meet the standards for Qualified Teacher Status. 

​Students can opt to follow either the Foundation Phase route or Key St​age 2​ route.​​

Please note this course starts on 4th September 2017.

Please note that it is very likely that Standards for Qualified Teacher Status will change in June 2017 to be implemented for programmes starting in September 2017. This is a Welsh Government directive.

For more information on how to become a teacher or further your teaching career, visit the Discover Teaching Wales website.

​Course Content​​

School Based Component

The School based component is undertaken in our excellent range of SEWCTET partnership schools and is an integral part of the programme.  Students will spend a total of 120 days in school, which is predominantly arranged on a 4:1 split. This means that Monday – Thursday is spent on school placement whilst Friday is spent in university. This allows for clear links to be made between theory and practice and for the skills associated with being a reflective practitioner to be developed.

A key part of the development of the reflective practitioner is enquiry based learning to encourage student teachers to reflect critically on learners, their own practice, and to develop an independent, enquiri​ng approach to their professional development. This is achieved through the completion of “Learning Packages” that focus on key educational priority aspects. The packages scaffold the student teacher in id​​enti​fying their own areas of interest and to improve their practice in systematic ways, as they are more able to closely examine the issues and acquire newfound knowledge that is readily retained.

University Based Sessions​

The university-based sessions include either experience in the Areas of Learning outlined in the Foundation Phase or the subjects outlined in the National Curriculum orders. All university-based modules are studied at Master's level, allowing 60 credits to be achieved. The module ‘Learning and Teaching’ consists of three constituent parts:

  • Learning & Teaching 1: Professional Studies

  • Learning & Teaching 2: Literacy and Numeracy

  • Learning & Teaching 3: Curriculum focus

All parts of the programme complement each other and specific links are made with the School Experience module.  The module as a whole develops students’ conceptual understanding of fundamental principles of primary education and pedagogical aspects related specifically to Foundation Phase or Key Stage 2 (depending on route chosen).

Time commitment required

The school-based element requires students to be in school for the normal working school day as well as additional time before and after school for preparation and meetings.
A similar professional commitment is required of students when undertaking the university-based element of the programme. 

All students learn Welsh as part of the university based programme and approximately 25 per cent of our students are prepared for teaching posts in Welsh medium education.

Learning & Teaching​

​The Students will receive on-going support and guidance from an experienced personal tutor who will mentor the individual through their academic and initial professional development. Personal tutors will endeavour to place students in partner schools that can best support the student’s individual development and the programme is designed in such a way that regular contact in university is maintained throughout school placement.

The programme fosters students’ abilities in advanced scholarship to make purposeful use of educational research findings and to critically analyse and articulate relationships between theory and practice in learning contexts. Students should feel secure in their ability to investigate current learning and teaching initiatives and to be discerning and pro-active, in light of practical experience and research. The university element adopts a blended learning approach including lead lectures, group seminars, tutorials, independent study and directed activities using Cardiff Metropolitan University’s virtual learning.


Trainees will be assessed both on practical teaching and university coursework. The coursework is assessed at Master's level and affords trainees 60 credits at M level. A pass is required for both school and university based aspects of the course. Progress is monitored by continuous assessment of trainees' competence.

There is no formal end of programme examination.

Employability & Careers​

Successful completion of the programme will lead to the Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) and recommendation to the General Teaching Council for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and provides opportunities for employment at the primary level.

What can I expect to earn when I start teaching?
Information can be obtained from the Training and Development Agency for Schools website:

Professional Development:

The programme also offers an advantage towards continuous professional development by affording 60 credits at Master’s level.  These credits may be carried forward towards a full Master’s qualification studied on a full or part time basis.​

Entry Requirements​ & How to Apply

2017 Entry:

All applicants should meet the following essential criteria:

  • GCSE grade B/grade 5** or above in English Language and Mathematics and a grade C/grade 4** or above in Science (or a standard equivalent). Students studying to teach in Welsh medium schools will also need a GCSE grade C or above in Welsh (First Language). A B grade in Welsh (First Language) will be considered in combination with a C grade in English Language for entry.
    **for applicants holding newly reformed GCSEs in England

  • Applicants who have achieved a grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics (or equivalent) on application will be considered for interview. (grade 4 or above for applicants holdong newly reformed GCSEs in England)  Applicants will need to have made arrangements to resit the GCSEs (or an acceptable equivalent) in order to obtain the B grade and indicate this on the UCAS Teacher Training application. If successful at interview, applicants will be offered a place subject to the B attainment.  Please note, if you are taking a GCSE equivalent qualification, do not choose the option 'Equivalent' on the UTT application as this suggests you are applying to sit an internal test with Cardiff Met which we do not offer, you will need to select 'Other'. 

  • Honours degree in an area related to primary education, of at least 2:2 classification; or any honours degree of at least 2:2 classification where an A level grade C or above (or equivalent) has been obtained in a primary curriculum subject area.  Access to HE programmes are considered as an equivalent to A level within a relevant subject where 15 Merits have been achieved at Level 3. CACHE Level 3 Diplomas at grade C are also considered as well as Pearson BTEC (QCF)/OCR/NQF Level 3 Diplomas within Childcare at Merit Profile.

  • Recent and relevant experience in a mainstream school across the primary age range. This should be for a minimum of ten days and taken place within the 12 months prior to attending interview. Evidence of this MUST be included on the UCAS Teacher Training application. Please include details within the work experience section of the UCAS Teacher Training form. Should applicants reach the interview stage, they will be required to bring evidence of the experience with them. This will be in the form of a reference from the head teacher of the school where the experience takes place, on headed paper and signed off by the head teacher.

  • A strong personal statement indicating the applicant's potential to undertake the PGCE Primary Programme. The statement should demonstrate the breadth of knowledge and personal experience gained in primary education to date and how this has equipped the applicant to potentially be an effective primary teacher. Reference to personal experiences/extra curricular interests that could contribute to enriching children's learning should also be included. A high standard of written English/Welsh is essential.

  • The principal referee must be an academic who is most able to comment on the applicant's academic and vocational abilities. An academic reference for those applicants who have undertaken their degree more than 5 years in not required although one is preferred if this can be obtained. For those applicants whose HEI reference is more than 8 years old, a reference from a more recent educational professional such as a head teacher is required. It is important that this referee can make objective and informed judgements based on significant knowledge of the applicant in an educational context. Should you have any queries regarding your reference, please contact the Admissions Unit.

GCSE Equivalents:

Cardiff Metropolitan University will be offering an in-house equivalency exam for GCSE English Language and Maths to meet B grade requirements. More information can be found here.  We also accept equivalent qualifications for the GCSE requirements, which include examinations undertaken with Equivalency Testing and with the University of South Wales. ​

Please click here​ for guidelines on B grade GCSE equivalents (English and Mathematics) as recommended by all providers in Wales.  For further guidance on what Cardiff Met accepts please click here.​

Criminal Records Check:

Entry is also subject to a satisfactory criminal records check. More details about criminal records procedures can be found at​

How to Apply:

Applications for this course should be made via UCAS Teacher Training.  Information in relation to the application procedure and applying can be obtained at: We advise applicants not to use more than one choice for the pathways listed below. We are only able to offer on one pathway, dependent on applicant choice and assessment at interview.

UCAS Application Codes:
Primary Foundation Phase (3-8 years): X100
Primary Foundation Phase (3-8 years): X1X1 (Welsh medium)
Primary Key Stage 2 (7-11 years): X171
Primary Key Stage 2 (7-11 years): X178 (Welsh medium)

Pre Entry Tests, Interview and Selection Procedure:
Applicants who meet the essential criteria for courses which lead to QTS at Cardiff Metropolitan will be required to sit Pre Entry tests in Literacy and Numeracy, click the 'Tests' tab to find out more. Tests will be completed and supervised under 'exam' conditions. The tests will be undertaken as part of the interview day.

The interview will also include a group problem solving task, individual presentation and a series of questions related to primary education and postgraduate study. See ‘Interview Process’ Tab for further details.

Applicants with additional needs who are requested to sit these tests will need to notify Cardiff Metropolitan University immediately so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

Due to the high number of applications received for this programme, applicants who do not meet the entry criteria listed above cannot be considered. Any queries on any aspect of the information detailed should contact Admissions.​

Information for Attending Interview

Please report to the main reception at the Cyncoed Campus where a member of staff will collect you. You will need to allow for the whole day for the interview process.

Additional to the information contained in your interview letter and on the tab regarding the compulsory Tests, please click here for important details on your group and individual tasks.

Applicants are required to indicate within their personal statement if they wish for their interview to be conducted through the medium of Welsh.


English Medium Applicants 

Literacy Test

There will be two tests for postgraduate applicants:

The first will test spelling, punctuation, grammar and comprehension. This test will be completed electronically on the day of interview but a printable, sample copy of the paper is available here.

This test will be 30 minutes long. To prepare for the first literacy test, applicants should work through the sample paper provided. In addition, the current literacy skills test in England, as found on the DfE website, will also serve as a useful reference tool as the tests are similar in content. 

Another useful resource is:
Johnson, J. (2012) Passing the Literacy Skills Test (Achieving QTS) 3rd edn. Exeter: Learning Matters, ISBN 9780857258793.

The second will test comprehension skills as well as assessing potential at Master's level and will be a critique of a journal article. You will be asked to critically analyse the article's content in the light of your own personal learning and reflect upon its implications for your chosen school setting in approximately 300 words. This second test will be 45 minutes long.
The task will assess the ability to:

  • Analyse, critically reflect and/or explain/persuade;
  • Locate information and synthesise material with an eye for detail and awareness of appropriate context/style/form;
  • Express ideas and information clearly, precisely and accurately;
  • Write appropriately for the intended audience and purpose, engaging the interest of the reader;
  • Write for the intended audience and purpose using an academic style where appropriate;
  • Select and prioritise information to construct a coherent argument;
  • Use a variety of accurately punctuated sentence and paragraph structures to control progression, matching style to audience and purpose;
  • Use and spell accurately a wide range of appropriate, ambitious vocabulary to convey precise meaning.

Numeracy Test

There will be one numeracy test, which focuses on the functional mathematics which teachers need in their professional role.

Welsh Medium Applicants

Applicants who wish to train for the Welsh medium sector should indicate this choice clearly on their applications. You will be placed in Welsh medium schools and some of the university provision is through the medium of Welsh.

During the interview procedure you will be assessed on your ability in both English and Welsh.

Literacy Tests

  • All applicants will complete the first literacy test in English (see above for further details)
  • Welsh medium applicants will also complete a literacy skills test in Welsh (15 mins.), which requires applicants to demonstrate their understanding of Welsh grammar. In preparation for this test we recommend that you look at the sample paper provided here and refer to the following useful text: Breese, N., Clement, B. (2011) Seren Iaith. Ceredigion: Atebol Cyfyngedig. ISBN 978-1-907004-85-8 (£5.99) The following sections will be most useful: Chwilio'r gwallau 1 pp.6-105 and pp.166-197.

All applicants will complete the second literacy test as above (English and Welsh versions provided) and Welsh medium applicants can choose whether to critique this article in Welsh or English.

Welsh medium applicants will also be expected to write a short passage (approx 150 words) in Welsh if you choose to critique the article in English, or vice-versa, in order to assess your written ability in both languages.

Numeracy Test

English and Welsh versions of the question paper will be provided. Applicants can choose to answer in either language.​

Key Facts

Place of Study:
Cardiff School of Education
Cyncoed Campus

Course Length:
One year full-time.

Tuition Fees and Financial Support:
For up to date information on tuition fees and the financial support that may be available. Please refer to

Financial incentives and training grants may be available for PGCE Primary students depending on your undergraduate degree classification. Please visit the Teacher Training Cymru website for further details:​.​

Contact Us

For general enqui​ries please contact the Admissions Team on 029 2041 6044 or email​.

Full terms and conditions in relation to accepting an offer to study at Cardiff Metropolitan University can be found by visiting