The PGCE is broadly aligned with the Northern Ireland Curriculum, preparing graduates to teach across the 11-18 year age range.
You will gain a postgraduate qualification and 'Eligibility to Teach' (referred to in some other jurisdictions as 'qualified teacher status', QTS). The programme combines university-based tuition, consisting of taught sessions and directed independent study, with professional placements in schools.
Extra places are reserved to prepare those who are interested in teaching their subject through the medium of Irish in Irish-medium schools. An additional certificate in Irish Medium Education (IME) is awarded in conjunction with St Mary's University College.
The PGCE is organised around three interdependent strands:
- Professional School-based Experience - focuses on developing practical teaching competence particularly through working closely with experienced teachers during periods of school placement.
- Subject Studies (eg English, Mathematics) - focuses on teaching and learning within your subject specialism (and cognate areas).
- Educational and Professional Studies - focuses on common aspects of teaching and the professional role of the teacher, bringing together relevant theory, policy and practice. This includes issues such as: the Northern Ireland education system, curriculum theory and policy, theories of learning and assessment, social class and educational disadvantage, special educational needs and barriers to learning, pastoral care and child protection/safeguarding, student voice, mental health and wellbeing of students, positive behaviour management, diversity and inclusion, effective use of technologies and whole school approaches to literacy, numeracy the social and emotional health of young people. Students are also offered a choice of elective course designed to enhance the subjects and skills they can offer to schools.
We offer the following subject specialisms:
- Information Technology/Computing
- Modern Languages (you should offer at least one of French, Irish or Spanish. German is welcomed in combination with French and/or Spanish)
- Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
- Religious Education
- Social Sciences (Health and Social Care, Politics, Sociology)
After enrolment in early September, you will complete an Induction week followed by a one-week placement in a primary school.
The next six week block of the course is devoted to university-based tuition (subject-specific taught sessions and directed independent study) before you commence your first eleven week period of professional placement based in a school.
At the beginning of February, you return to university-based tuition in preparation for your second professional period in a school (12 weeks). A final week of university-based tuition completes the course at the end of May.
Successful completion of the PGCE depends on achieving satisfactory standards in both practical teaching and in course work.
The extended placements, which the University arranges, are normally in two different school types. This ensures a varied experience of teaching in different schools and working with pupils from the whole ability range.
In the two post-primary schools you will work closely with members of each school’s staff. Your subject lecturer from Queen’s will also maintain close co-operative links with these teachers during your school placements.
The course combines university-based tuition covering topics such as learning barriers, classroom management, pastoral care, diversity and inclusion, along with school placements to put teaching into practice. Regular communication and observations whilst on placement provided support, constructive feedback and agreed areas for improvement for professional development. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on placement and building relationships with pupils, enabling them to develop and blossom within the classroom. Tori Coulter, PGCE Science
Science Teacher, Ballymena Academy
Qualified teachers have found employment in secondary schools either locally or in the UK, or abroad. They have progressed through either a subject specialist or pastoral role or into middle and senior management.
Others go on to further study, training roles in industry or working in alternative education.
In our employability videos former students describe some of the different routes into finding a permanent teaching job.