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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).


Key features of the course

  • Qualify to teach at primary level or at secondary phases in one of a choice of subjects.
  • Progress from classroom support all the way to planning and solo teaching a range of lessons.
  • Link theory to practice while developing your subject knowledge.
  • Choose from two routes, salaried or part-time, picking whichever best suits your personal circumstances.
  • Learn in English or Welsh – it’s up to you.


Course code


  • 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.
How long it takes
2 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


This new PGCE is designed for the new Curriculum for Wales 2022 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 a mix of online and face-to-face sessions with mentors and practice tutors.

Salaried route

If you already work in a state school as a teaching assistant, or in a non-teaching role linked to learning, you can ask your school for permission to endorse you and to apply to the programme.

You’ll work in school full time while studying. In the first year you’ll divide your time equally between completing your usual duties, and dedicated practice learning periods and protected online study time. You’ll also attend a placement block in a second school in your area, where you’ll learn to teach in a different setting to your usual school environment.

In the second year, you will begin to develop autonomous practice. You’ll be able to teach for the majority of your week while retaining some protected time for study. We will work with you and your school to support the design of your timetable as your PGCE teaching commitments increase as you progress in each module.

Your application must be endorsed by your school as they will pay your salary. They will form a partnership with The Open University while you study, and will need to meet our criteria to become an employer school.

If you don’t currently work in a state school, you can still apply for the salaried route. We will work with our partners to try and locate you an employer school, subject to demand in your area.

Places on the salaried scheme are limited and there is often high demand for this route. If there are no salaried places available in your area, we may be able to offer you a place on the part- time route instead.

Part-time route

If the salaried route isn’t right for you, consider the part-time option. 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.

Each module will begin by studying the online materials and participating in live online teaching sessions. Then we will match you to two different schools throughout the course of the two-year PGCE course, where you will be able to complete the practice learning placement days required within each module. You’ll have a total of 120 days of school placements – 60 per year. In your second year, at least 30 days of your school placements must be completed in a continuous block.

If you are already working in a school but would like to follow the part-time route, it may be possible to complete some of your school placement days in your workplace, but this is not guaranteed. It will depend on whether your school meets our Associate school criteria and agree to you following the part-time programme structure. Read more about the Associate school criteria for details.

Both routes comprise three modules. The first two modules are 30 credits each at level 6 (undergraduate) and the final module is 60 credits at level 7 (postgraduate).

All 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 (EE304)
30 02 Oct 2021
PGCE 2 (EE305)
30 06 Mar 2021
PGCE 3 (EE806)
60 04 Sep 2021


Part-time route modules Credits Next start
PGCE 1 (EEXP304)
30 02 Oct 2021
PGCE 2 (EEXP305)
30 06 Mar 2021
PGCE 3 (EEXP806)
60 04 Sep 2021

Each module involves academic study through online seminars led by your curriculum tutor; a period of school experience; and the submission of 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.

You’ll move from introductory familiarisation in PGCE 1 to consolidation of your learning in PGCE 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 all of 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 in PGCE 1 to planning and teaching of a sequence of lessons in PGCE 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.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.


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 17 March 2021.

Entry requirements

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. There may be changes to these regulatory requirements in response to Covid-19. Please visit the Welsh PGCE page for the most up to date information.

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.

You must have the following:

  • A UK degree (or equivalent). If you want to become a secondary school teacher, your degree should ideally contain a significant proportion of the subject you want to teach. 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.
  • GCSE Mathematics or Mathematics–numeracy at Grade B or above (or equivalent). Due to current exceptional circumstances, Grade C (GCSE or equivalent) in Mathematics or English Language may be accepted. You would be required to achieve the necessary Grade B (GCSE or equivalent) during the programme or will be required to withdraw from the course.
  • GCSE English Language or Welsh Language at Grade B or above (or equivalent). Or, GCSE English Literature or Welsh Literature at Grade B or above (or equivalent), plus GCSE English Language or Welsh Language at Grade C or above (or equivalent).
  • GCSE Science at Grade C or above (or equivalent) if you want to become a primary school teacher.
  • 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.

If you have a qualification which is considered equivalent to a GCSE B grade, you can discuss this with the Wales PGCE team. If you have overseas qualifications, you will need to check they are equivalent by contacting ENIC.

If you do not have the requisite B grades in English/Welsh/Maths or a C grade in Science, it may be possible for you to meet programme entry requirements by completing an equivalency test. We’d recommend either:

  • an external equivalency test with
  • completing a relevant OU module, such as Discovering mathematics (MU123), Questions in science (S111), Science: concepts and practice (S112) or English for academic purposes (L185).

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 don’t have a named employer school, tell us the geographical location where you’re seeking a salaried placement. 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 for 20/21 are shown below:

Pathway Opening date Closing date1
Primary salaried (with endorsing school) 2 November 2020 26 February 2021
Primary part-time 2 November 2020 30 April 2021
Secondary salaried (with endorsing school) 2 November 2020 2 July 2021
Secondary part-time 2 November 2020 2 July 2021
Salaried applicants without an endorsing partner school 2 November 2020 29 January 2021

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 made after the closing date.

If you are successful in obtaining a place on the course and there are no salaried placements in your area, we will notify you by May 2021 to offer you a place on the part-time programme instead.

All routes will close from 5pm on the closing date stated above.

Application documents

If you’d like to apply, you should first read the application guidance notes.

Then, you must complete the online application form.

For salaried students with a sponsor school, you must also download the endorsement letter template and 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 the Welsh medium.

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

  • Complete an Open University 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).
  • Complete a health check. If, in exceptional circumstances, there are serious doubts about your fitness to practice on health grounds, you may be asked to undergo a medical examination.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we have made some adaptations to our interview process. Interviews will take place in an online format for 2021.

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 starts in October each year and finishes the following March. 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

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.

While based on teaching experience in Welsh schools and for the Welsh curriculum, the PGCE 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.