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Part-time route

The part-time route is available on the primary pathway and the secondary pathway in Science, Maths, Welsh, English, English with Drama, English with Media, Design and Technology or Computing/ICT.

This graphic outlines the key features of this route.

Schools must apply for Associate School status to be able to offer the part-time route. Find out more about Associate School status here.

Apply to become a partner school

Associate School commitments are outlined here

Students will work towards a Post-graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) with QTS over two years.

They will work towards 60 credits at Level 6 (which is equivalent to the last year of an undergraduate degree) in year 1. In year 2 they will work towards 60 Credits at Level 7 (Masters level). 

This is a distance learning course and there is plenty of support available. The academic delivery takes place through a combination of online study materials and live online seminar sessions with a Curriculum Tutor, who’ll be a specialist in their chosen field. An in-school mentor will provide support and practical advice.

Students will use our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to access module content such as textbooks, video and audio, and practice learning activities. It's also where they'll be able to interact with tutors and other students via online forums. 

Plus, they’ll be able to contact our dedicated PGCE Wales Team who can provide help and guidance throughout their studies.

For career-changers who want to become a teacher but don’t work in a school, or the salaried route isn’t right for them, a part-time option is available. This route offers some flexibility as students will study towards the PGCE, and gain part-time practical teaching experience in a school, while working around a part-time job or other life commitments. They will need to consider and plan for how you to carry out the commitment of 2 to 3 days practice learning and approximately 16 hours of study per week throughout the programme. This route is self-funded, or applicants can apply for a student loan and part-time maintenance grants to help with the costs.

The part-time route is similar to a more ‘traditional’ PGCE approach as the student teacher experiences a consecutive study approach. This means they will spend around 2 to 3 days per week studying for the PGCE. Sometimes that will mean studying online, and at other times, they will be in school. Students will have regular online seminar sessions with their OU Curriculum Tutor. These are usually held in the evening. Within each module, there is a ‘window’ of time where they will need to go to school for 2 to 3 days per week (this increases as the programme progresses). Each module has a minimum number of days that must be completed. Students should expect to be available for up to 3 full days per week during longer placement periods. They will be expected to follow the same routine as other teachers in the school – arriving/leaving at the same time as staff. It’s not possible for students to complete their time in less than full day sessions.

Student teachers all spend time learning in a school setting, which we call ‘Practice Learning’. This is an integral part of any PGCE qualification in Wales and must meet accreditation rules set out by the Education Workforce Council and Welsh Government. Examples include:  

  • The statutory requirement to undertake 120 days school experience 
  • Experience in two different school settings 
  • Teaching across the age phases  

Whilst the student is in school, they will undertake practice learning activities, designed to bridge their module study and practice learning experiences. 

Practice learning takes place in a school setting, supported by a programme of mentor support which takes a graduated approach to the development of teaching. 

This graphic outlines the structure of the programme.

There are three placement experiences in total with a placement in each module (30 days; 30 days; 60 days). In year one, the placement periods are flexible and the days may be taken as a block or as 2 to 3 days per week. Students will need to discuss this with the placement school.

Keep in mind that the more placement days in the module, the more likely it is the students will need to complete some 3 day weeks.

In year 2, at least 30 of the 60 days must be taken as a continuous block, so that the students can begin to prepare for the hustle and bustle of life as a qualified teacher! Practice learning periods are a continuum moving from supervised practice in the first year to independent practice in the second year.

Students will study a range of online interactive materials via the OU website. It’s not just reading! There will be bespoke video materials to watch and activities to complete as they go. We will provide a helpful study planner to help keep studies on track.

Students will have access to a subject site which gives an overview of the PGCE and a module site to access learning materials, online teaching sessions and the discussion forums. They’ll be able to reach out to other student teachers across Wales to share experiences.

Students will attend live online seminars with an OU tutor in the evening and learn alongside peers across Wales, so they’ll need a computer and a decent internet connection. Students will be expected to have a high level of attendance in online sessions. Sessions for subject or phase are usually held fortnightly, but there are also other learning sessions that they will need to attend from time to time.