Classroom with two teachers and children

Postgraduate Certificate in Education in Wales

To become a teacher, you need a PGCE with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Our PGCE will qualify you to work at either the primary or secondary school phases and focuses on the curriculum in Wales. You can study through the medium of English, Welsh or a combination. Teaching is online, including live online seminars, with face-to-face support provided in school. You’ll experience teaching in two different schools in Wales (at least 120 days over the two years). Students endorsed by a school participating in the scheme may be fully funded (salaried route); or, you can self-fund and could be eligible for a student loan and/or a maintenance grant (part-time route).

Fersiwn Gymraeg

Key features of the course

  • Qualify to teach at primary level or at secondary phases in one of a choice of subjects.
  • Available to study through the medium of Welsh or English, across the whole of Wales.
  • A fully accredited programme by the Education Workforce Council leading to Qualified Teacher Status.
  • Link theory to practice while developing your subject knowledge.
  • Choose from two routes, salaried or part-time, picking whichever best suits your personal circumstances.

Certificate

Course code
K36
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
120
How long it takes
2 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method

Distance and practice-based learning

Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details

Modules

This PGCE is designed for the Curriculum for Wales and supports the reform agenda for the professional learning of teachers.

You can follow one of two routes: the salaried route or the part-time route. Both routes include the same modules and are a mix of online and face-to-face sessions with mentors and practice tutors.

Salaried route

If you already work at a mainstream state school as a teaching assistant or in a non-teaching role, you can apply for your school to endorse your study. Your school must apply to become a partner school and provide you with an endorsement letter, as they will pay your salary. 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.

If you are a career changer, and do not currently work in a school, you can still apply for the salaried route, in one of our secondary shortage subjects. You will need to find a secondary school willing to endorse you, which we can help you find through one of our many partner schools in Wales.

Find out more about the Salaried route.

Part-time route

If you are a career-changer and want to become a teacher but 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 a part time job or other life commitments. You will need to consider how you will commit to 2-3 days practice learning and approximately 16 hours of study per week throughout the programme. This route is be self-funded or you can apply for a student loan and part-time maintenance grants to help with the costs. 

Find out more about the Part-time route.

What will I study?

Both routes comprise two modules. The first modules is 60 credits at level 6 (undergraduate) and the second module is 60 credits at level 7 (postgraduate).

Both modules are compulsory, and you study them in the order specified, starting in October.

To gain this qualification, you need 120 credits as follows:

Salaried route modules Credits Next start
PGCE 1 and 2 (EE306)
60 Oct 2023
PGCE 3 (EE806)
60 Sep 2024

Or

Part-time route modules Credits Next start
PGCE 1 and 2 (EEXP306)
60 Oct 2023
PGCE 3 (EEXP806)
60 Sep 2024

Each module involves academic study through online seminars led by your curriculum tutor; a period of school experience; and submitting a portfolio of evidence that includes responses to academic tasks and reports from your school experience. From the start of your studies, you will engage with the medium of Welsh in a school context, building on your level at the start of the PGCE.

All students will be supported to develop their Welsh language skills, which is key in delivering the new Curriculum for Wales.

You’ll move from familiarisation to consolidation of your learning in PGCE 1 and 2 to autonomy of teaching practice in PGCE 3. As you move through the modules, your understanding of the theories and concepts will progress. Your practical experience and assessments will prepare you for your next module and help you progress towards meeting the Professional Standards for Teaching and Leadership in Wales.

Teaching across the modules will be through a series of practice-focused strands. You’ll develop skills from the following:

  • Curriculum
  • Understanding learners
  • Planning for learning
  • Pedagogy
  • Assessment
  • Professional practice

Academic theory will be combined with substantial, supported experience in schools.

Salaried students will undertake practical experience at the same time as studying. Part-time students will undertake their practical experience after completing their academic study in each module. School placements will be available in Welsh medium and English medium schools.

You’ll work with your mentor, and school staff members to take on increasing teaching responsibility. You’ll move from classroom support, and planning and teaching of single lessons to planning and teaching of a sequence of lessons in PGCE 1 and 2 to responsibility for planning, resourcing and solo teaching a range of lessons in PGCE 3.

Whether you’re on the salaried or part-time route, you’ll undertake an individual classroom research project in PGCE 3. For students on the part-time route, you’ll need to complete 60 full days of teaching experience, 30 of which must be undertaken in a block (five days a week over six consecutive school weeks).

Mentors will support you throughout your school experience. They’ll mediate and facilitate regular school-based tasks, which feed into your studies.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.


On completion

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Wales). You’ll be entitled to use the letters PGCE Wales (Open) after your name. We’ll also recommend you for QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) to the professional body, the Education Workforce Council.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 


We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 15 March 2022.

Entry requirements

We strongly recommend you read the Frequently Asked Questions before making an application to ensure you are eligible.

The entry requirements for this programme are set by Welsh Government and the Education Workforce Council and are therefore essential for all salaried and part time applicants. Some pathways within the PGCE have additional entry requirements.

For the part-time route you must have a home address in Wales. For the salaried route, you must have a home address in Wales or England and be able to complete your teaching experience in two Welsh state schools.

As a minimum, candidates must hold:

  • a standard equivalent to GCSE Grade C or above in mathematics or Mathematics-Numeracy
  • a standard equivalent to GCSE Grade C or above in either English Language or Welsh First Language
  • a standard equivalent to GCSE Grade C or above in a science subject, if you want to teach in primary school (learners aged 4 – 11).

You may already hold a qualification which is equivalent to the GCSEs above. Please contact Wales-PGCE@open.ac.uk for advice on the qualifications we can accept as equivalent.

If you do not currently meet the GCSE (or equivalent) requirements, you will need to re-sit your GCSE to gain the required grade(s). You must have gained the required grade(s) before the programme commences, or your place will be withdrawn.

Please note these entry requirements are set by Welsh Government and are statutory.

It should still be noted that the application process is competitive, and that GCSE grades are one component of how we consider your application.

  • A full UK honours degree (or equivalent). You must hold a degree with at least 50% relevance to the subject if you want to teach to become a secondary school teacher (learners aged 12 – 16). For those applicants applying to Secondary Welsh, your degree does not necessarily have to be in this area if you can demonstrate that you are a fluent language user, as consideration may be given dependant on depth of knowledge.
  • Due to high demand for places, entry to our primary part-time programme is limited to applicants who possess a 2:2 or above at degree level.
  • Experience working in a school environment/with young people if you want to study the salaried route. Be prepared to complete a voluntary week in school before starting the course if you want to study the part-time route.

Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions or contact Wales-PGCE@open.ac.uk to discuss your requirements.

In addition, you’ll need to demonstrate the following:

  • Aptitude, capability, and resilience to meet the required QTS outcomes by the end of your PGCE programme.
  • Personal and intellectual qualities to become an excellent practitioner.
  • You can read effectively and communicate clearly and accurately in spoken and written English and/or Welsh.
  • Personal functional skills in literacy, numeracy and digital competency applicable in a professional teaching and learning context. This will be evaluated through an assessment.

During the application process you’ll need to do the following:

  • Apply for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to show that you are not or have not previously been barred or excluded from teaching or working with learners, or have a criminal background that might prevent you from working with children or vulnerable people. Safeguarding is a legal requirement.
  • Confirm you understand that you will need to complete an extended period of time in a second school.

If you’re applying for the salaried route, you must have a named employer school. You must include a supporting statement endorsed by the headteacher in your application. Applications without the school’s endorsement letter will not be accepted. If you are a career changer, for secondary subjects we can match you to one of our partner schools across Wales. You’ll also need to register with the Education Workforce Council as a Learning Support Worker before starting the programme.

You’ll also need access to a computer with internet connection.

How to apply?

Application deadlines

Application dates will vary slightly every year and are subject to change. Application dates for October 2023 entry are shown below:

Pathway Opening date for 2023 Closing date for 20231
Primary salaried (with endorsing school) 31 October 2022 30 April 2023
Primary part-time 31 October 2022 28 February 2023
Secondary salaried (with or without endorsing school) 31 October 2022 30 June 2023
Secondary part-time 31 October 2022 30 June 2023

1We reserve the right to close applications sooner if places are filled. There are a limited number of places available and the demand for the salaried route in particular is very high. We recommend you submit your application to the route of your choice at the earliest opportunity. We regret that we cannot accept applications submitted after the closing date.

Application documents

You must complete the online application form.

For salaried students with an endorsing school, they must download the endorsement letter template and you must include a completed endorsement letter with your application. Failure to include this means that we cannot progress your application.

Applicants who are applying to teach Secondary Welsh, or who wish to complete their studies through the medium of Welsh, should complete the Personal Statement section in Welsh.

As part of the selection process, and in conjunction with partnering schools, you must do the following:

  • Complete the PGCE Wales application form. This will include a personal statement and references.
  • Provide original copies of all your relevant qualifications (if you do not have original copies, you will need to obtain copies from your exam board or qualifying institution.)  
  • Take part in aptitude testing and group and individual interviews.
  • Undertake a written test or tests.
  • Achieve an International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) score of 7 (if English is not your first language and your home country is outside the UK).
  • Be prepared to complete a health check. If there are serious doubts about your fitness to practice on health grounds, you may be asked to meet with PGCE Wales staff to discuss your situation and/or undergo a medical examination.

Financial support

Salaried route

As a salaried student, you’ll be eligible for a Welsh Government training grant to cover the cost of your study. If you are working in a secondary state school, your employer may also be eligible for support with the cost of your salary.

Part-time route

On the part-time route, you can apply for a student loan and part-time maintenance grants to help with the costs of this self-funded route. You may also be eligible for additional teaching incentives from Welsh Government on a pro-rata basis.

Find out about PGCE fees and funding

How long does it take?

You’ll complete the qualification in two years. PGCE 1 and 2 starts in October each year and finishes the following June. PGCE 2 starts in March and finishes in September. PGCE 3 starts in September and finishes the following June. You’ll receive your results in July. Break weeks coincide with the Welsh school holidays.

For more information about either route or how and when to apply, email Wales-PGCE@open.ac.uk.

Career relevance

On achieving your PGCE, we’ll recommend you for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), as either a primary or secondary school teacher, depending on which option you chose.

The programme is employability-focussed and will prepare you to enter the profession. As a vocational teaching qualification, it’s accredited by EWC (Education Workforce Council) and monitored by Estyn. The combination of academic and practice-based skills and experience is central to the programme, ensuring you’re familiar with ‘practice as theory and theory as practice’. Your eportfolio will assess your skills and experience against relevant learning outcomes and professional standards.

The PGCE is based on experience in Welsh schools and the delivery of the the Curriculum for Wales, but it is also valid in England. If you wish to teach in Scotland or Northern Ireland, you must register with the appropriate country’s professional body. They’ll assess applications on a case-by-case basis.

Why become a teacher? Read more about why teaching is such a worthwhile career and how the Open University’s PGCE Wales programme prepares your for the profession, visit A new way to become a teacher.