A new way to become a teacher

If you aspire to become a teacher, now is your opportunity with the new flexible Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) from The Open University in Wales in conjunction with the Welsh Government, Regional Consortia and schools across Wales.

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Teacher at front of classroom

Study a PGCE with The Open University

To become a teacher you need to achieve a degree or PGCE leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Our two-year PGCE course will allow you to achieve QTS for either primary or secondary school level and can be studied in either English or Welsh.

These innovative routes into teaching blend online academic study with essential practical experience within schools, in a format that works for you. There are two routes available:

  • Salaried route If you already work at a school as a teaching assistant or in a non-teaching role, you can apply for your school to sponsor your study. You’ll need to get agreement from your school to apply for this route. You will study for your PGCE around your existing school duties as part of your full-time employment in a school and your costs of study are covered by a training grant from the Welsh Government. You can still apply for the salaried route if you don’t work in a school, but you’ll need to have a school willing to sponsor you, which we could help you find.
  • Part-time route – If you don’t work in a school, or the salaried route isn’t right for you, there is a part-time option available. This route offers some flexibility as you’ll study towards your PGCE, and gain part-time practical teaching experience in a school, while working around your current job or other life commitments.  You will need to consider and plan for how you will carry out the 2/3 days practice learning and approximately 16 hours of study per week. This route can be self-funded or you can apply for a student loan and part-time maintenance grants to help with the costs.

What can I study?

We currently offer the following age phases or subjects:

  • Salaried Route – Primary, Secondary Maths, Science, Welsh and English. 
  • Part-time Route – Primary, Secondary Maths, Science, Welsh, English, English with Drama, English with Media Studies. 

Please note that applications for the primary salaried and primary part-time routes for October 2021 start have now closed.

How will the flexible PGCE be taught?

Both routes include a mix of online and face-to-face sessions with mentors and practice tutors. They also include 120 days of practical experience across two schools:

  • Salaried route – you’ll be employed full time in a school in a non-qualified teacher capacity across the two years, while also completing your academic studies.
  • Part-time route – This route offers some flexibility as you can gain part-time practical teaching experience in a school alongside your existing commitments. Across the two years, you’ll have 120 days of school placements; 60 days per year. In the second year, 30 days of your school placements must be completed in a continuous block.

How to apply

Applications dates for 2020/2021 are shown below:

PathwayOpening dateClosing date*
Primary salaried (with endorsing school)2 November 2020Closed
Primary part-time2 November 2020Closed
Secondary salaried (with endorsing school)2 November 20209 September 2021 (closed for English applications)
Secondary part-time2 November 20209 September 2021 (closed for English applications)
Salaried applicants without an endorsing partner school2 November 2020Closed

*Please note we reserve the right to close applications sooner if places are filled. There are a limited number of places available and demand for the Salaried route in particular is very high. It is in your best interest to make an application to the route of your choice at the earliest opportunity. We regret that we cannot accept applications made after the closing date. 

To apply for our programme, please complete this application form. To help you complete the form we have produced some guidance notes

For salaried students with a sponsor school, you must send your endorsement letter to Wales-PGCE@open.ac.uk when you complete the application. The endorsement letter template must also be used. Failure to include your endorsement letter means that we cannot progress your application.

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Your questions answered

What’s it like to study with the OU?
You’ll be able to study at home, in school, or on the move. You’ll use our Virtual Learning Environment to access module content such as textbooks, video and audio, and recorded tutorials. It's also where you'll be able to interact with tutors and other students via online forums.

Will I have support?
Although the PGCE with The Open University involves distance learning, there is lots of support available. You’ll be allocated a Curriculum Tutor who’ll be a specialist in your chosen field, and an in-school mentor who’ll provide support and practical advice.

Plus, you’ll be able to speak to our dedicated Student Support Team who can give you help and guidance throughout your studies. You’ll never be on your own.

What qualifications do I need?
You must already hold a degree to register for the PGCE. If you want to become a secondary school teacher your degree must contain a significant proportion of the subject you want to teach. The exception for this is Welsh, whereby you can apply with any degree, providing you are a fluent Welsh speaker.

You'll need to have at least a Grade B in Mathematics or Mathematics-Numeracy at GSCE (or equivalent) level. And at least a GCSE Grade B (or equivalent) in one of the following:

  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Welsh Language
  • Welsh Literature. 
If you hold an equivalent to a Grade B (GCSE or equivalent) in either English Literature or Welsh Literature, a minimum of a Grade C (GCSE or equivalent) must be achieved in the corresponding GCSE examination in English or Welsh Language.

If you want to become a primary school teacher, you must also have a Grade C or above in Science at GCSE level (or equivalent).

Due to current exceptional circumstances, Grade C (GCSE or equivalent) in Mathematics or English Language may be accepted. Students would be required to achieve the necessary Grade B (GCSE or equivalent) during the programme or will be required to withdraw from the course.

Find out more

We have a number of resources available to answer any questions you may have: 

Visit our School Partnerships page to find out how your school can become a PGCE partner school.