Important information for
Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
These guidance notes provide an outline of the next stages of the admissions process together with other useful information for PGCE applicants.
Information for Offer Holders
If you have received a letter of offer by post, we look forward to welcoming you on the PGCE course.
The next stages of the admissions process are outlined in the section 'Your application - what next'.
You should refer to these notes carefully including the additional information required below to ensure you take appropriate action within the deadline dates indicated to avoid delays in processing your application.
Replying to an Offer of Admission
To accept or decline an offer of a place, you should reply online through the Postgraduate Applications Portal
You should also refer to the notes on ‘Conditional Offers – Notification of Examination Results’ and ‘Unconditional Offers’ in the section 'Your application - what next'.
Please note that we do not defer places. If you are unable to accept the offer this year, you should re-apply for entry for September 2019.
Additional Documentation Required
All candidates who have been offered a place on the course must also complete and return the following within two weeks of the date of their offer:
- Access NI Enhanced Disclosure (complete the online application form for an Enhanced Disclosure Certificate and return the PIN Notification and ID Validation Form to the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work with cheque and ID documents) along with a signed copy of Consent to Share Disclosure Information with Third Party/ies;
- Health Declaration (return hard copy);
- School Experience Preference Form;
- Student Profile (return by email to email@example.com)
The PGCE course involves working with children in ‘regulated activity’ as defined by the Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Groups (NI) Order, as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. The current legislative framework requires the University to conduct criminal history checks (Enhanced Disclosure Checks) on anyone engaging in regulated activity.
Enhanced Disclosure Checks are only requested for the preferred applicant when the place is offered and all offers are subject to a satisfactory check.
The organisation that processes these checks is called AccessNI. After the check is completed an Enhanced Disclosure Certificate (EDC) is issued. This certificate contains details of any spent and unspent convictions, as well as any cautions, informed warnings and diversionary youth conferences that are not ‘protected’ or ‘filtered’ as per the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Exceptions) (Northern Ireland) Order 1979, as amended in 2014. It will also indicate if there are no such matters on record. EDCs may also contain non-conviction information (for example attempted prosecutions which were unsuccessful) that are held on police records which a Chief Police Officer thinks may be relevant to the post applied for (i.e. “soft/police intelligence”). The police may also include information that is protected or has been filtered by AccessNI on the basis that it “might be relevant and ought to be disclosed”. The EDC will confirm whether you are on the Children’s Barred List.
To enable the University to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure Certificate you should complete the online Application form by following the instructions on the PIN Notification and ID Validation Form. Your application will be progressed when your identification has been checked as specified. We will only request a check of the barred lists for the workforce you will be engaging in regulated activity with e.g. the children's workforce or the vulnerable adults' workforce. Before completing the Access NI Enhanced Disclosure Application Form please read the 'Guidelines for Access NI'.
Any information received will be treated confidentially, in compliance with ANI’s Code of Practice, in line with the University’s Recruitment of Ex-Offenders Policy and in line with Data Protection principles.
The disclosure of a criminal conviction or ‘soft intelligence’ may not necessarily prevent you from obtaining a position with the University, however, if you appear on the barred lists it is an offence for you to engage in, or seek to engage in, regulated activity.
A candidate who attracts a criminal record after submitting the application for an Enhanced Disclosure Check and before the date of admission to the University should inform the Director of Initial Teacher Education in writing, without delay. If an applicant fails to disclose such information they may have their offer withdrawn. In addition, you are required to inform the Director of Initial Teacher Education of any cautions or convictions incurred during the PGCE course.
Each applicant must complete and return the Health Declaration. Dates of most recent vaccinations must be given to avoid delay in processing your medical information. You may need to contact your GP or University Health Department for this information. The completed questionnaire should be returned directly to the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work in hard copy and we will forward it to the Senior Medical Officer, University Health Service. Please read carefully the notes which accompany the declaration of health questionnaire.
School Experience Preferences
The PGCE is considered to be school-based, rather than university-based, with 24 of the 36 weeks spent in schools. You should read the Notes for School Experience carefully before completing the School experience preference form.
In order to enable schools to provide you with the most appropriate experience, you should complete the student profile form which will be sent directly to the schools we approach requesting a placement. Given that this is the first impression a school has of you, please complete this fully, checking the accuracy of your spelling and grammar. Present yourself in a favourable light – treat this as if it were an application form as schools may agree to a placement or refuse you on the basis of the information you provide in your profile. The student profile form should be returned by email.
You are responsible for arranging your own primary school experience. Many students find it convenient to arrange attendance at a primary school convenient to their home address. If possible, you should organise your Primary Experience at the time of offer. Refer to Notes for School Experience for further details.
You should download the following and forward them to the principal of the primary school:
Please note that when you correspond with schools on such matters, it is a courtesy to enclose a stamped addressed envelope for a reply. When you have arranged your primary school experience, please return the Primary School Experience Notification form.
You will find some helpful links, materials and pre-reading relevant to the primary school on our website. You should consult these before embarking on your primary school experience.
- organise your primary school experience before primary schools close at the end of June and return the Primary School Notification form to us.
- contact your Education & Library Board, Local Education Authority, Student Finance etc. with regards to your funding arrangements.
- provide evidence that you have satisfied any condition(s) of your offer. If your offer is conditional upon the completion of a degree and/or other academic qualification, you are required to upload evidence to the Postgraduate Applications Portal to confirm that you have satisfied the condition(s) of your offer. Please ensure that you upload scanned copies of your documentation to the My Applications section of the Portal. If you are not a Queen's student, you should upload an official transcript from your Higher Education Provider, confirming the classification awarded. If you are a Queen's student, you should also upload evidence which confirms the classification awarded. This can be in the form of an unofficial transcript which should be available for you to download from your Queen's Online account.
You will receive information regarding registration/ enrolment in late August. Please ensure that you read this information carefully and attend at the appointed date and time.
Note: If at any time you decide that you no longer wish to take up your place, please notify the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (028 9097 5941) promptly or email firstname.lastname@example.org as often there is a waiting list for places.
Please return your documentation to the PGCE Course Secretary at the address below.
It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that correct postage has been paid when sending documents by Royal Mail. We would suggest that you return your documentation either in person or post them using Recorded Delivery.
School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work
69-71 University Street
Queen's University Belfast
+44(0)28 9097 5941/3323