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Past Questions

  1. Hi, could you tell me about the Secondary Religious Education course?

    Hello, thank you very much for your question and apologies in the delay getting back to you. My name is Emma from the Postgraduate Recruitment team, and I am replying on behalf of the mentor as they have not yet answered it.

    I'm afraid I don't know the course in detail but our website has lots of information on the course:

    You can also use this enquiry form to contact the PGCE team:

    Best wishes, PG Recruitment

  2. Hello, I wanted to ask a few questions about the course you studied. If I wanted to study for the Masters, would I have to do the course at UoB or could I do it at a different University? Also, could the NQT year be in a different city to the university you studied at or does it have to be in the same city? I am assuming from speaking to teacher training advisors that I would have to find a school to do my NQT at? Thank you.


    That's correct - your NQT year is your first year as a qualified teacher and not associated with your university or training. You will be provided with lots of information and advice about applying, interviewing and securing the right teaching post during your training year.

    Yes, you will need to gain the PGDipEd credits from the University of Birmingham to complete the Masters with a 60 credit dissertation. The university offers other Masters degrees on a part-time basis but your PGDipEd credits are only valid for the MA Teaching Studies. For more information I would recommend contacting

    Best wishes


  3. Hi Francesca,

    I hope you're doing well during this unusual time!

    I found your details on the UoB website and was wondering if you would be able to recommend any books/guides etc which would be useful to read before starting the Postgraduate Diploma Primary Education at Birmingham? Or any books/guides you've found especially useful now you've started teaching?

    I studied Education and Sociology at UoB for undergrad and now find myself with plenty of free time now to start thinking about starting postgrad!

    Thank you in advance.


    Absolutely! Here are a few suggestions which I think are particularly worthwhile: Making every primary lesson count: Jo Payne and Mel Scott Readings for reflective teaching: Andrew Pollard The Elephant in the classroom: Jo Boaler Mathematics Explained for primary teachers: Derek Haylock (there is also a student workbook which goes alongside this) Behaviour management: Bill Rodgers has written a range of book which offer useful practical suggestions

    There are lots of articles on the University of Bimringham's Jubilee centre for character and virtues website:

    I would also recommend reading children's books themselves so that you are familiar with a range of texts to choose from when you start planning.

    Here's some CPD I've recently come across (and am working my way through!) My interests are very much around special needs and disadvantaged children so apologies if they follow a similar theme.

    Openlearn: an introduction to childhood psychology. This is helpful to decipher the role of an educational psychologist in school and how you can support their work as a teacher.

    There are many other free courses on open learn such as reading for pleasure, engaging parents within the curriculum etc.

    Averse Childhood Experiences: This offers a certificate and is very informative.

    Maths mastery:

    Any training or reading around emotion coaching, mental health and strategies to support children with special education needs. I feel that this is going to be especially important when we return to school.

    If there are any specific areas you're interested in let me know and I'll see if I have anything else on my list.

    Take care!


  4. Hello Francesca,

    I was wondering whether the University of Birmingham can accommodate Skype or video-call interviews.

    Thank you.


    I'm sorry but I am unsure. Please find more information and the contact details for the school of education here:

    Best wishes


  5. Hi! I have done a BSc in Media and Mass Communication studies, a 4 year programme and scored 3.08CGPA. Am I eligible for this programme? When are the admissions opening? Are the admissions still open for February session?


    It is unlikely that admission is still available for the New Year, as it can take eight weeks to process an application. However, please do apply for our September intake.

    Best wishes, Tom

  6. Hi, I was just confused about the PGDipEd. I wanted to ask what is the difference between this and a PGCE? Would there be any issues in terms of opportunities if I do a PGDipEd instead of a PGCE?


    The PGDipEd is a postgraduate diploma in education, whereas the PGCE is a postgraduate certificate in education. You will be completing more credits on the diploma course (120) compared to the certificate course. It means you will be able to complete your Masters more easily, if you wish to do so. I would suggest that by completing the diploma course you are getting a more rounded experience, underpinned by academic research as you are completing more modules. However, both courses will award you qualified teacher status (QTS). I hope this helps!


  7. Hi Francesca,

    I am in my final year of University studying Psychology, but have decided to take the route of completing a PGCE in the course you have completed at UoB.

    I was just wondering what it was like for you? How the modules were set out, etc? Did you get an option to choose where your placements were or was it a decision that was already made for you? I am very excited and passionate about making a difference to children's lives in the future. How long did it take for you to gain a job afterwards and what has that been like since?


    That is the best reason to get into teaching - you'll love it! I secured a job towards the end of February in my PGDipEd year. We had a lecture focussing solely on apply and accepting a job (before Christmas break) but I had friends who waited until summer and were still successful in securing a position. I spent 3 years at this Birmingham school before moving on this September. The last 3 years have been unforgettable for so many reasons but fundamentally because I will never forget the children. Just make sure you find a school which has a similar ethos to your own and you will flourish.

    The course included professional practice within a classroom and academic essays. I had 3 placements (one each term) and essays which linked to classroom practice. This may have changed so I would always recommend checking the programme website: We did not have any choice over the location of the placements as the allocation is designed to ensure you get a full range of schools and year groups to support your future career.

    The very best of luck for your final year!


  8. Why did you choose the University of Birmingham?

    Having already studied at the University of Birmingham for my undergraduate degree in Philosophy, I knew that the quality of teaching and resources were fantastic and that the support I would receive would match this. The University’s achievements aside, I had also fallen in love with the city. The beautiful campus, nightlife, city centre, and Winterbourne gardens are but a few reasons I want to continue calling Birmingham my home for the foreseeable future.

  9. What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?

    I decided to undertake postgraduate study because I wanted to qualify as a primary school teacher. There are a few different routes you can take to qualify as a teacher yet I opted for postgraduate study because I still enjoy the academic challenge of university. The benefit of studying at the University of Birmingham is that the course offers 120 credits towards a Masters degree and on-going support to complete this in your third year; comparable to the schools direct route which has less ‘on-campus’ university study and only qualifies you with 60 credits towards a masters degree.

  10. What, for you, are the best things about the course?

    The staff are phenomenal. The difference between undergraduate study and postgraduate is apparent from the offset in the attitude of the students and lecturers alike; an expectation is set. However, this doesn’t mean that your PG life for the next few years is going to be dull and stress ridden. I can honestly say that I could approach any member of the education department (including Val in the café!) and have a relaxed, friendly conversation. The teacher training course is an intense year of assignments, lectures, block placements, learning to plan, mark and asses the children and yet you know that if all else fails, you can send a quick email, arrange a meeting or just knock on the door of your tutor and they will be there. They understand what we are experiencing because they have all been in the same position.

  11. How will your degree prepare you for what you want to do afterwards?

    Ultimately my MA will allow me to stand out from other qualified teachers. It is not essential to complete your masters degree in order to qualify as a teacher therefore by completing this I hope to be set apart from other qualified teachers. Not only will my degree allow me to progress within the world of education faster, it will ensure that I have a broader understanding of theory, research and current issues which in turn will guarantee that I am performing as a well-informed teacher. In addition to this, I’m still enjoying reading and completing my own research and by attaining my MA I am keeping my options open; who knows, I may want to continue researching within education in the future.

  12. Do you have anything lined up for once you have completed your degree?

    Not yet, however I am confident that I will be employed as a newly qualified teacher come September 2016. With 100% of early years and 91% of general primary graduates securing a job last year, the University reinforces my confidence in finding a job. I have just completed my first block placement within school and will be attending tutorials on applying for jobs in the next few weeks… I’m pretty calm about it (at the moment!) as I know that the University and my tutors will be supportive and informative.

  13. Hi Francesca, I will be starting my PGCE in September. I am a mother of a 3 year old and would be very grateful if I could have a copy of your schedule so I can have a brief idea of the childcare I will require. Also how many weeks will I be at University and how many at my schools? Will I be required to attend University during the reading week? And during the school holidays. Thank You. I am very grateful for any answers you can provide.

    Hi. The course requires full commitment between September and the end of June (with the potential to extend into July). You are required to be in school for at least 120 days, of which the University arranges around 110. The dates this year were as follows (although this may be different next year!):

    Term One Reading week (we were not required in University- this is time to get organised and prepare for the course. The University will email you a reading list.) September 5th-9th One week in school 2 weeks of University 4 weeks of "serial days" whereby you spend Monday and Tuesday in your placement school then Wednesday-Friday in University. 5 week block placement spending half term in University.

    Christmas break: 19th December until 3rd January (in line with schools).

    Term Two 2 weeks of serial days (Monday-Tuesday spent in school, Wednesday-Friday in University) 6 week block practice in school with half term spent in University Term ends 24th March (in line with schools).

    Two weeks off for Easter

    Term Three 11th April, one week of additional school days (these can be arranged in any school) *This is likely to be different due to early Easter this year. Again, the dates will be in line with school. 2 weeks of serial days in your third placement school (Monday-Tuesday spent in school, Wednesday-Friday in University) 6 week block placement in third school- half term spent in University 1 week in University (Course ends June 25th)

    Additional school days to meet the 120 day requirement can be arranged after June 25th where necessary.

    You are required in University during each half term. University days can be 9-5:30 however are often shorter. Within my class of PGCE students (around 35) at University there are a handful who are also mothers, so although the course is intense it can be done! I hope this gives you some guidance and confidence in starting in September! All the best.

  14. Hello, I was just wondering when to apply for a course starting in September 2017, and when to arrange skills tests? Thank you!


    I applied as soon as I was able to do so. Due to the nature of ITT courses it is best to apply early as places are quickly filled. Keep an eye on this webpage as it will keep you up-to-date on when you can begin to apply. If I remember rightly I applied in late September/early October and was interviewed in November.

    We were advised to complete skills test as early as possible however you will need an offer from the University before you can do so (this offer may be conditional). The skills centre will ask to see evidence that you have been made an offer - a print screen of UCAS, or a printed email was sufficient when I attended my test.

    I hope this helps! Best of luck with your application.


  15. Hi Francesca, is there anything that you would suggest doing prior to starting my PGDipEd at UoB? e.g. any prior insightful reading, preparation etc. Thank you!


    The university will send you some pre-course reading and tasks during summer - most of the books you can find in the library so do not feel you need to buy them all (they're quite expensive!). I would highly recommend reading the national curriculum a few times before September.

    In hindsight I would recommend looking at KS2 grammar in particular - it's an area that many of us have struggled to get our heads around this year!

    The university sent the reading list and tasks by post last year around August time.

    Hope this helps and good luck!


  16. Hi Francesca, I was just wondering if you're able to specialise in a certain subject at some point on the General Primary Course? I'm currently an undergrad music student, so would wish to specialise in Music Teaching if possible. Thanks!


    Unfortunately there is not an opportunity to specialise within the course. However, there is a strong foundation support within the University. We had dedicated lectures in Music, Geography, History, RE and MFL. Although you cannot specialise within music, your experience and passion for music will be a huge advantage when applying and interviewing for your NQT year!

    Best wishes


  17. Hi Francesca. I graduated in Law from UoB in 2015 and would like to do a general primary PGCE starting 2017. I have not yet gained any school experience, will 5 days obtained before application be sufficient? This is all I am able to get leave for from my current full time job.


    I believe the University stipulates that you must have at least five days of recent experience within a school so this should suffice as a minimum requirement.

    On a more personal note, before I stared my PGCE, I had volunteered within a local primary school for 10 weeks (1 day per week) during my second year of undergraduate study. I found this beneficial to get a feel for how schools work however when I started on the course I found a lot of students had been a teaching assistant, studied an undergraduate within the education/child development field, or had generally spent a lot more time in school than me! This was initially daunting, however I do not feel that it was detrimental to my experience and I did not feel disadvantaged. The University of Birmingham course allows you to experience three placements in three different schools which gives you the breadth of experience necessary. There are also visits to best practice schools which again allows you to experience the way in which different schools function.

    At first I did wish that I had been able to spend more time within school prior to the course commencing, however it is equally important to balance other commitments which, for more, included completing my undergraduate degree and working to ensure I could afford the course! In short, experience is invaluable but not at the expense of other important commitments. The course will provide a range of experiences for you.

    Apologies for the long response, this is something I wish I had asked prior to the course so I hope it helps!

    Best wishes Fran

  18. Hi, I just wanted to ask, will this course certify me to have the QTS? And do I need to carry out a skills test? I have heard most courses with QTS require a skills test.


    Yes, the course will give you QTS as well as a postgraduate diploma. You will need to complete the Maths and English skills test to be accepted onto the course.

    Hope this helps!


  19. Hey Francesca. I graduated with a 2.1 in Education with Special Inclusive Needs from LJMU in July 2014, I however did not have my Science GCSE as it was not compulsory in my secondary school. I am finding it difficult to see whether universities accept you with a pending science GCSE? I have all the other necessary qualifications and years of experiences, however not my Science GCSE which I will be taking this year. Any advice would be great, thanks!


    To my knowledge, you are required to have a GCSE in English and Maths at grade C or higher to apply for the PGCE. I do not believe you have to have a Science GCSE. Having said this, you would certainly benefit from gaining this as there is a high level of subject knowledge required.

    Please contact the department directly to confirm this:

    Best wishes


  20. Hi Francesca, I just wondered how many days you were in uni compared to placement please?


    Initially, you will be in university for three days a week and in school for two days. This will be for roughly 2-3 weeks at the beginning of each term. Then, you will be on block placement where you spend between 6-8 weeks full-time in your placement school. You should also expect to be in University during half term holidays.

    Best wishes


  21. Hi I'm currently doing my degree in Psychology and I'm aiming to become an SEN teacher. On the diploma at Birmingham, is there much opportunity to work with SEN children? I also have volunteer experience with kids and teenagers who have special needs but I'm wondering if I'd get to carry on that experience with the course at Birmingham :) thank you!


    Absolutely. You will be exposed to a range of schools which in turn educate a range of children. I worked in three schools on my training year and had classes which ranged from 0 children with a diagnosed SEN to having 11 children diagnosed with a SEN. I'm not sure whether the University of Birmingham partners any specialist schools however, being in a diverse city you are certainly exposed to a variety of special and specific educational needs.

    I hope this helps.

    Best wishes


  22. Hi I am thinking of completely starting from scratch to become a teacher. I only have GCSE's in Maths and English at a C grade. I work as a health care assistant and I studied a BTEC Travel and Tourism at college many years ago which I passed, but I would like to become a primary school teacher. I am 27, what would you suggest I do to be able to do this?


    To train as a primary school teacher you must have at least a C grade in GCSE maths and English as well as a degree. If you are yet to complete a degree, there are two main routes to achieving QTS (qualified teacher status).

    1. A three year undergraduate degree in education with QTS
    2. A 3 year undergraduate degree in any subject, followed by a 1 year PGCE with QTS

    I would contact UCAS directly for advice on this:

    There are also paid routes into teaching which can alleviate the financial pressure of going back to education.

    Sorry I couldn't be of more help. Best of luck!


  23. Hi Francesca, I am currently reading English and coming to the end of my second year. I am now beginning to think about applications for my ITT year commencing in Sept 2018. I was just wondering about the application process really, as in, how much experience did you have when you applied? What is the interview like and how early did you apply? (Sorry for 21 questions ha) I have completed 15 days within a school so far, but feel I will need to continue this to deepen my reflection and experience.


    I applied as early as possible to avoid disappointment! ITT courses have a specific number of places and the university can close applications early if necessary (the government dictate a lot of the numbers/funding). UCAS, and the UoB course page, will keep you up to date on the application opening date however, applications usually open late September to October.

    I volunteered each Monday during my second year of undergraduate study in a local Birmingham primary school. This gave me a lot of experience to discuss within my application and interview. Having said that, the university stipulates a minimum of 10 days within a school setting. If you are looking for experience it is worth emailing schools, as many are crying out for volunteers, but be sure to offer regular voluntary commitment.

    Once you are offered a conditional place on an ITT course, you will have to attend an interview and pass your English and maths tests before you become unconditional. The interview for UoB consisted of a further maths and English test as well as a formal interview. Be sure to read up on current education news! (Check the government website, TES, Mathshub and the university itself)

    I hope this helps in some way. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask.

    Best wishes


  24. The experience I have is two years in a tuition centre teaching additional content courses. Could this be considered as experience as I have only been in a school setting a couple of times?


    The experience needs to be in a mainstream school setting to ensure exposure to the national curriculum etc. Having said this, any additional experience is certainly a benefit.

    Best wishes


  25. Hi Fran, I am currently in my second year of BA Education at UoB and intend on applying for a PGCE after my degree. However, I am quite worried I wont get the grade I need (2.1). Any advice please?

    Hi, as far as I'm aware, the requirement for ITT courses is s a 2:1 classification. However, I have heard of exceptional circumstances accepting a 2:2. Make sure you apply for the ITT course early and have all other requirements for example, current experience in a school setting. For more information I would recommend contacting ITT admissions directly. Here is the website with contact details:

    Seek advice from your current department and make them aware of your aspirations, I'm sure they will do whatever they can to support you in achieving a 2:1.

    I hope this offers some help - best of luck!


  26. Hi Francesca, I have my offer for the PGDipEd general primary course commencing 2017. I'm really excited to start, just wondering if you could recommend any textbooks or resources that I could be reading up until September, textbooks relevant to the course or that may help with teaching practices? I look forward to hearing from you.

    Hi, the university will send you a list of recommended readings later in summer (I think it was around August time). I wouldn't necessarily recommend buying any of the readings as they can be expensive and they are all readily available in the library. Having said this, some students from the previous year will be selling them on cheap which is a good option.

    To be honest, my main advice would be to use your summer to relax (or work - if you have to like I did)! Your year will be intense so take some time for yourself. In hindsight, I would have spent some time reading children's books, or at least part of them, to inspire future lesson plans. It's hard to know which book to chose for the children if you are unfamiliar with what's out there!

    The national curriculum is readily available online and is a must read so if you are going to read anything, this is what I would recommend. Also, if you know there is an area you feel less confident with (maths, grammar, science etc.) maybe spend a little time looking at this.

    I hope this helps and best of luck! Fran

  27. Hi there, I will be starting the PGCE course September 2017 and have not yet received any information about our timetable, assessment deadline etc. I just wanted to know your opinion on how demanding the course actually is and whether part time employment alongside this course would be possible?


    We received information on timetabling and core readings in August. The timetable is full-time whether you are in term time or during holidays. You will spend 2-3 days in school and the remainder of the week at university. During your block placement you will be in school every day for approximately 6 weeks. Please be aware that you could be expected to start work from approximately 7:30 (to prepare lessons) and leave at 6pm (staff meetings, marking etc). Remember to consider travel which could add a further hour either side of your day. During half term holidays you will have a full week of university.

    From what I can remember, on top of class/placement timetabling, you will have five/six 3,000 word assignments to complete across the year. In addition to this, you are expected to plan and evaluate each lesson you teach and complete small tasks as part of your professional portfolio.

    Having said this, I worked at weekends until around Christmas when I found it was becoming less manageable. I then worked as and when I could. Worklink are a great university based centre who offer casual work - if you do not feel you can commit to work every week, this would be a great option.

    Hope this helps!



  28. Hi Francesca, I am planning to apply for 2018 and I'm currently based in London. The really good reputation of the university attracts me to study here, but I might want to return to London for a job placement. Is that usually easy, or is it better to train in the city where you're based? The section "Employability" does say that the vast majority of our students gain employment in the local region, many of them choosing to remain in partnership schools. I would be very grateful to hear back from you. Thanks.

    Hi, you will be placed into three placement schools which are located in the West Midlands. You are required to be in university regularly so will need to live somewhat locally. Having said this, when applying for your newly qualified teaching position (your first teaching job) naturally you can apply to any location you desire.

    I hope this helps. Francesca

  29. Hi, I am wondering what a typical weekly timetable looks like, how many days in university and how many on placement each week? Thank you.

    Hi, You will have a couple of introductory weeks in university at the beginning of the year. Then, you will be in university for three days a week and in school for two days. This will be for roughly 2-3 weeks at the beginning of each term. Next, you will be on block placement where you spend between 6-8 weeks full-time in your placement school. You should also expect to be in University during half term holidays.

    Best wishes Fran

  30. Hi, can you talk me through the course modules? Thanks.


    I studied in 2015/2016 and there were 6 modules, each carrying 20 credits. This included: studying at university, submitting assignments (theory) and school based placements (practical). We studied modules such as professional studies which compliment your placements as well as enhancing your pedagogy surrounding teaching. However, as this was a couple of years ago, please refer to the course webpage for up-to-date information as the modules may have changed.

    Best wishes Francesca

  31. Someone told me we will have QTS audit tests when we start the course and so should I revise Maths and Science and English during the summer. Is this true? I don't want to buy all the revision books if she's got wrong information!

    You will have an English grammar, maths and science 'test', however they do not count toward your qualification. The department ask you to sit the test to highlight the areas of each subject you need to revise. If you do not pass the first time you are invited to revision sessions and will be supported until you pass. I wouldn't worry about revision before you sit the first audit.

    I hope this helps and please do not worry about them! Fran

  32. Hi, I'm looking to apply for September 2018 entry but as it stands i have no experience in schools. I've just read that you applied late September time. I know this question isn't directly about the course, but if you could you give me some advice on how to get some experience I would really appreciate it! Thank you.

    Hi, no problem at all. Schools are always looking for additional hands. When I was looking for experience I emailed a number of local schools asking to volunteer (including my CV, motivation and availability). Schools are very busy so many were unable to reply so it would be worth telephoning the schools too.

    I hope this helps, Fran

  33. Hi, I'm a recent law graduate from the University of Birmingham. I'm really interested in doing a career switch and going into teaching, as I am really not satisfied working in Law. My experience with primary school children is quite limited, how stringent is the requirement to get experience? I am actively trying but to no avail at the moment! Finally, when are the deadlines for applications? Kind Regards

    The 10 days of experience in a school are a requirement - unfortunately you will not be accepted without this. Have you tried calling schools? They are very busy places, as you can imagine, so calling directly may offer a better response rate than an email which can be missed.

    The deadline for applications changes each year so please refer to the UCAS and university website as they should specify the date. The government will dictate numbers to the university so applications may also close suddenly - make sure you apply early!

    Best of luck! Francesca

  34. Hi Francesca, do you know where I can find a copy of the general primary reading list for 2017/2018? I appear to have misplaced my posted copy during my placement week.

    I would try looking on canvas (the VLE) or email the reception.

    Best wishes, Francesca

  35. Hi Francsesca, I am currently in my third year studying English and Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham and I want to apply to start studying this Romany education PCGE in 2018. I was wondering what I need to do to prepare for this in terms of the tests and my personal statement, and what the application deadline is? I am also currently struggling to get work experience as the school's I have emailed haven't responded, any advice?

    Schools are very busy so I would suggest that you call them directly to enquire and leave your details. If you know anyone working in a school, use your contacts!

    There are dedicated books which cover the content of the tests - I think the university stock a couple of copies but for an up-to-date copy you should look online.

    Your personal statement should detail your experience but ultimately why you are passionate about teaching. It's a tough year (and profession) so show them why you'll be suitable for the job.

    I hope this helps! Best of luck.


  36. Hi Francesca. Quick query - I have an interview booked next week for PGDipEd General Primary and was wondering if you could give me a breakdown of what to expect on the day and timings if possible? Thanks in advance.

    Hi, first of all, good luck! Just show the members of staff how passionate you are about teaching - remember, it's about the children :-)

    When I was interviewed a few years ago, the days consisted of three main parts: a maths test, English essay and a one-to-one interview. Make sure that you are aware of current news in education. The TES website is always a good place to start. This will ensure you have something to write about in the English written task and topics to discuss during the interview. Also, make sure you are able to talk about your current experience as well as your personal statement.

    I hope this helps - best of luck!


  37. Hello, I am interested in applying for the Postgraduate Diploma Primary Education (PGCE Advanced) General Primary course starting September 2018 and I wanted to know whether the course involved choosing a specific core and/or foundation subject as a specialism? If it does what are the options?

    Hi, no, there are no specific specialisms. You can apply for either General Primary (5-11 years old), Early Years (3-7 years old) or a mathematics specialism but will cover the same subjects within all three courses.

    Hope this helps!


  38. Hi Francesca, I am due to attend my Primary PGCE interview next week and would like to ask for any tips to prepare for it? I know that there is to be a maths and literacy test as well as and interview. Are you able to give me and insight as to what the tests will entail and the questions that may be asked in the interview so I am thoroughly prepared, please?


    The maths test will consist of primary mathematics questions, if you have prepared for your skills test you will be fine. The English was more of an essay style question about a current topic in education. I would recommend reading the articles online at TES to explore general topics. Reading around current topics will also help with the interview section, however I distinctly remember the lecturers focusing on my application and personal statement; wanting to discuss this, alongside experience, mostly.

    I hope this helps and best of luck!


  39. Hi Francesca, I am wanting to apply to do my Teacher Training at the Birmingham but have a couple of worries about travel. I am planning on living at home and commuting, (just under an hour train journey from campus) do you think that this would be doable? My other concern is that I don't drive and so would be reliant on public transport to get to my placements. Do you know if this taken into account when placements are assigned? Thanks for your help!


    Unfortunately, from my experience, although the university enquires about your travel arrangements, placements are not arranged based on distance from the university or your travel situation. I did not own a car during my training year and had over an hour commute on public transport for each of my three placements (which was tricky!). If the cost of your commute is excessive there is a route to claiming back some funds, however I image it is probably the time rather than cost which causes you concern. I'm sorry I can't be of more help - I would recommend talking to your tutor about this, once assigned, or contacting the department directly, in advance of commencing on the course.

    I hope things work out positively for you!

    All the best,


  40. Hello, I was just wondering what the entry requirements were for this course. Do you have to have a good honours degree (preferably 2:1 or above)? Thank you for you time.

    Hi, yes, a 2:1 or above is stipulated, however with the relevant experience this may be flexible. Please contact the department directly to discuss this.

    Best wishes, Francesca

  41. Hi, I wanted to know how many hours per week would we be at uni for any University training?


    You will have a couple of introductory weeks in university at the beginning of the year: you should expect to be in university between 9-5 during the week.

    Then, before your placement begins, you will be in university for three days a week and in school for two days. This will be for roughly 2-3 weeks at the beginning of each term. Next, you will be on block placement where you spend between 6-8 weeks full-time in your placement school. Schools usually expect you to arrive no later than 8am and leave no earlier than 4pm but bear in mind you will have marking and planning to consider. You should also expect to be in University for full days during half term holidays.

    Hope this helps and best of luck!


  42. Hello Francesca I have my Maths and English GCSE however I need to re-do my Science GCSE. Will the University of Birmingham allow me to do a test whilst completing the course? Also I have more experience in working in early years settings and have just two days in primary school and two days in a secondary school, do I still need minimum of ten days of volunteering? Thank you.


    Sorry, I am usure about your question. Please contact the university department directly to discuss this.

    With regard to experience, I would suggest that the more experience, the better. Having a variety of experience (as you do) is a great basis but make sure that you have 10 days within a Primary setting if you are applying for general primary.

    Sorry I couldn't have been more helpful!

    Best wishes


  43. Hi Francesca, I have only just decided that I want to do a PGCE course but applications have been open since early October (It is now early November). I am worried that I won't be able to make a good application/personal statement in time, as I also need to prioritise my third year dissertation. Do you think submitting my application in late November/Early December is too late?

    Applications are often accepted throughout the year but will close when the university has filled its spaces. I would advise you to contact the department directly for more information:

    Best wishes


  44. Hi Francesca, I am currently preparing for my PGCE interview next week, and I was just wondering what exactly to expect. What are some typical interview questions which may be asked? Thank you


    First of all, good luck! Just show the members of staff how passionate you are about teaching - remember, it's about the children.

    When I was interviewed a few years ago, the days consisted of three main parts: a mathematics test, English essay and a one-to-one interview.

    The maths test will consist of primary mathematics questions: if you have prepared for your skills test you will be fine. The English was an essay style question about a current topic in education. I would recommend reading the articles online at TES to explore general topics. Reading around current topics will also help with the interview section, however I distinctly remember the lecturers focusing on my application and personal statement. They generally want to discuss your interest in education, current topics and your experience.

    Hope this helps – good luck! Francesca

  45. Hello Francesca, I am currently deciding what courses to place as my 3 choices of training programmes. I was wondering, if I was to choose the PGDipEd (QTS) English course would I be able to teach primary and whether the PGDip Primary Education with early years gives a bursary of £15,000 to those with a 2:2/above degree?

    Hi, unfortunately I am unsure whether you would be qualified to teach primary: I suggest you contact the department directly here. The bursary is is different for primary trainees and is significantly less I'm afraid.

    I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help!

    Best wishes, Francesca

  46. Hi Francesca, I'm currently a student at Cardiff University. I have decided I want to do a PGCE, and Birmingham at the moment is my top choice. I was wondering what the accommodation is like for Postgrads? As I'm not already in Birmingham I'll be coming to Birmingham not knowing anyone. However my ideal situation would be to be in a house with other PGCE students, or at least other postgrads. Is this possible? If not, what is the general situation like for postgrad students coming from elsewhere? All the best.

    Hi, luckily I should be able to help as I used to work in the accommodation team helping students find accommodation!

    Unfortunately, unless you are an international student, you are not guaranteed accommodation as a postgraduate. However, there are many ways of finding private housing which is reasonably priced and close to campus.

    The first two approaches I would recommend are contacting: living (the university accommodation team - they may also be able to put you in touch with Facebook and social groups of PGCE students looking for a shared house) or SHAC (a private letting agency who are affiliated with the university).

    In addition to this there are many private letting agencies in Selly Oak, however do ensure they are accredited landlords and if in doubt, contact the living team to check your contract before you sign - it's a free service!

    I hope this helps! Any further questions would be best directed to the living accommodation services.

    Beat wishes, Francesca

  47. Hi, I'm hoping to do the early years PGCE but I am struggling to choose between 2 University's as I would like to live at home and commute. While I would like to choose Birmingham, it is about an hours commute to the university! I was just wondering whether you had any advice about whether, in your opinion, this is doable. I know that placement-wise the university will try and place me nearer to home (and so hopefully not on the other side of Birmingham to where I live!), but I was just wondering if you had any thoughts on this, having completed the PGCE. Thanks!

    Unfortunately when I was studying for my PGCE there was little the university could do regarding placement and distance - it cannot be guaranteed that you will be placed near to home as placements can be difficult for the university to secure. If you are already commuting for 1 hour into university your placement school may be a further hour on top of this (depending on whether you drive of use public transport).

    Having said that, I highly recommend the course and think it's worth asking the department this question as the considerations may have changed since I studied a few years ago.

    I hope this helps and all the best with your PGCE!


  48. Hi, I was wondering if you are required to be in full time for the five days of the week. I have children of nursery age and if I don't have to put them in every day then I wouldn't. Thank you!

    Good afternoon,

    Generally speaking yes - more often than not you will be required 5 days a week, specifically during your block placements.

    Kind regards