Primary - PGCE 

Course Overview

The PGCE Primary programme 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 Stage 2.

Course Content

The School based component of the programme comprises block school experience in partner schools. The students are assessed on their school experience according to a set of criteria for Terms 1, 2, and 3. Successful completion of Term 3 enables students to receive the qualification of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), awarded by the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW).

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.

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.

Employability & Careers

The programme provides trainees with a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), and provides opportunities for employment at the primary level.

Entry Requirements

2014 Entry
All applicants should meet the following essential criteria:

  • GCSE grade B or above in English Language and mathematics and a grade C or above in science (or a standard equivalent) on entry to the programme. Students studying to teach in Welsh medium schools will also need a GCSE grade C or above in Welsh (first language).
  • Applicants who have achieved a C or above in English Language and mathematics on application will be considered for interview. Applicants will need to have made arrangements to resit the GCSEs in order to obtain a B grade and indicate this on their UCAS Teacher Training application. If successful at interview, applicants will be offered a place subject to the B attainment.
  • 'A' level (or equivalent) at grade C or above in a primary curriculum subject area. Access to HE programmes are considered 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.
  • Please click here for further details on B grade GCSE equivalents (English and mathematics).
  • Good honours degree, of at least 2:2 classification.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Applicants who meet the essential criteria for programmes which lead to QTS at Cardiff Metropolitan University will be invited to attend a one day interview. This will include completion of time-constrained tests in literacy and numeracy; click the 'Tests' tab to find out more. Tests will be completed and supervised under 'exam' conditions and will form 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.

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.

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

Applications are welcomed from candidates wishing to study through the medium of Welsh for both age phases. This must be clearly indicated within the personal statement so that interviews are carried out through the medium required.

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 the Admissions Unit.

Please note you must apply for this programme through UCAS - Teacher Training at and information in relation to the application procedure and applying can be obtained at:

The UCAS - Teacher Training system is new for 2014 and will allow applicants to apply for 3 choices at the same time. It is recommended that applicants go to the UCAS website for information on the new system as there will be no closing dates unlike the present GTTR (Graduate Teacher Training) system and institutions will be able to close a programme to applications after a period of two weeks. It is recommended, therefore, that applicants apply in November in order to be considered


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

Campus: Cyncoed

School: Cardiff School of Education

Course Length: One year full-time

PGCE code(s):
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)

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. 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)

How to Apply:
Applications for this course should be made via UCAS - Teacher Training. For further information please visit our How to Apply pages at

Selection Procedure:
Application form, literacy and numeracy tests and interview.

Contact Us

For general enquiries please contact the Student Recruitment Team on 029 2041 6044 or email

For course specific enquiries, please contact the programme leader, Cheryl Anthony:
Tel: 029 2041 6583

See Also:
Cardiff School of Education Website

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