Primary PGCE

Primary - PGCE

Primary PGCE

Key Facts

Place of Study: 
Cyncoed Campus

Cardiff School of Education & Social Policy

Course Length:
One year full-time.

Please note this course starts on 3rd September 2018 (subject to change).

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 that it is very likely that Standards for Qualified Teacher Status will change in June 2018 to be implemented for programmes starting from September 2018. 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.

Please note: ITE courses in Wales have recently undergone an accreditation process by the Education Workforce Council (EWC)Cardiff Metropolitan University will continue to provide PGCE Primary and PGCE Secondary ITE courses; we will start receiving applications for both courses in October 2018.

Please refer to the EWC website for further information regarding the accreditation.

​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 Education Workforce 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​

Essential criteria for 2018 entry:

GCSE Requirements:

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

GCSE Resits:

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 holding 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.    

GCSE Equivalents:

Cardiff Metropolitan University offers 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,  University of South Wales and the National Extension College.

Please click here​ for guidelines on B grade GCSE equivalents (English and Mathematics) as recommended by all providers in Wales. To view the document in Welsh, click here.  Cardiff Met does ask for higher entry requirements with some of the equivalent qualifications stipulated in the document, so please click here to view Cardiff Met's requirements, or to view this document in Welsh click here.​

Initial Degree Requirements:

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.

Applications may be considered from those who have achieved below a 2:2 Honours degree, but where higher qualifications have been attained, e.g. Masters, PhD.

Work Experience:

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.

Personal Statement:

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.

Academic reference:

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 Admissions.

Criminal Records/DBS Check:

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

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 the ‘Information for Attending Interview’ 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.

If you are interested in using credit from another institution, or have obtained qualifications and/or experience to study for a course at Cardiff Met,  you can find further information on this as well as information on how to apply on the RPL page.

International Applicants
Students whose first language is not English will need to provide evidence of fluency to at least an IELTS 7.5 standard or equivalent. For full details about how to apply and English Language qualifications please visit the International pages on the website.

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.

For 2018 entry from March 13th onwards, the application fee to UCAS Teacher Training will be reduced from £24 to £1. Anyone that has already made an application before March 13th, will be refunded the £23 difference over the coming weeks.

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)

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.


Literacy Tests:

There will be two tests:


  • The first test will focus on 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 test will focus on 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 60 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.

Extra information for Welsh medium applicants:

Applicants who apply to train for the Welsh medium sector 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.​



I don’t have GCSE grade B/grade 5** or above in English Language and Mathematics – can I still apply for the PGCE? 
Applicants with a grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics (or equivalent) will be considered for interview (grade 4 or above for applicants holding newly reformed GCSEs in England). However, applicants will need to have made arrangements to re-sit 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 attainment of grade B. 

Does Cardiff Met offer in-house equivalency exam for GCSE English Language and Maths?
Cardiff Met offers an in-house equivalency exam for GCSE English Language and Maths. The tests are designed to meet the GCSE B grade requirements for entry into Cardiff Met ITE programmes only. 

To be eligible to sit the exams, applicants must have received an offer and replied, or intend to reply, 'Firm'. For those choosing the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) route, applicants will be permitted to sit the exams prior to offer. There is no fee attached to the equivalency exams and applicants are permitted to sit one retake, in each exam, during the year in which they apply. 

Are my qualifications acceptable?
The equivalency of overseas qualifications is determined by UK NARIC.
If you are an International student you should contact UK NARIC. If you are a Home/EU applicant please contact our Admissions team who will be able to offer further advice on your qualifications. 


Do you hold Open Days?
We hold a number of Open Events including PGCE information throughout the year. Please check our Open Days and Events page for further information.
Also, to ensure accessibility for everybody we include all relevant PGCE information on the website and you are always welcome to contact us by phone or email. 

When is the closing date for applications?
There is no set deadline for applications. Programmes will close when the course becomes full. Competition for places is extremely high for PGCE Primary and PGCE Secondary (PE) so we recommend that applications are made early in the academic year to avoid disappointment. 

Do I apply directly to Cardiff Met?
No - all applications for PGCE Primary and Secondary must be made via UCAS Teacher Training. Information in relation to the application procedure and applying can be obtained at:

Will I have to complete a Criminal Records Check?
Entry is subject to a satisfactory criminal records check. More details about criminal records procedures can be found at

What should I do if I am a Welsh Medium Applicant for 2018 entry?
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. 


How will I receive information about the interview?
The date of your interview can be viewed on your UCAS Track. Information will also be sent via email and by post. 

How often are interviews held? Are there specific dates?
There are no specific dates. However you will be given sufficient notice for your interview. 

What happens if I do not bring all of my certificates to the interview?
Certificates can be produced at a later date if you are successful in gaining an offer. 


How much does the PGCE course cost?
See our Fees and Finance page for further details. 

Do I get a bursary?
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:

Is there any other funding available? 
Welsh domiciled PGCE students who choose to stay and study in Wales are also eligible to receive support from the Welsh Government in terms of the Tuition Fee Grant. For further information about the grant and to access the relevant PN1 form please visit: 

Course Information 

When does the PGCE start and finish?
For Academic Year 2018/19 the PGCE course will start on 3rd September 2018 (subject to change) and finishe
s in June 2019. 

What days will I need to be on campus?
Friday is spent on Cyncoed campus and Monday–Thursday is spent on school placement. 

When will I find out about school based placements? Where will they be? Can I arrange my own?
The School based placement component is undertaken in our excellent range of SEWCTET partnership schools and is an integral part of the programme. You will be notified at the beginning of your programme. You cannot arrange your own placement. 

Can I defer my place?
Unfortunately, we are unable to allow deferrals on our teacher training programmes.

Additional Information

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 Discover Teaching website for further details.

Contact Us

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


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