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Secondary PGCE : Art

Applications for those wanting to undertake a PGCE in Art & Design for year 2018-19

The Art & Design PGCE course will be resting in 2018-19.

Prospective Art & Design applicants might consider applying for the Design & Technology PGCE (please see list of relevant degree/experience that is required below*). Many trainees from an Art & Design background have successfully studied on the Design & Technology PGCE at Cambridge over the past 17 years.

* Any design related degree course (e.g. 3D design, Product design, graphic design, architecture, interior design, fashion/textiles, any fine art degree which a substantial materials/workshop component and/or experience of workshop)

  • Studying the D&T PGCE will not stop you pursuing a career as a teacher of Art & Design. Indeed, on successful completion of the course, you may wish to apply for Art & Design teaching vacancies, as well as D&T teaching vacancies. Studying on the D&T PGCE will provide you with more opportunities to pursue a career in teaching.
  • The course tutor for D&T, Bill Nicholl, has experience of teaching Art & Design in secondary schools, and the course focuses on creativity and the role of the teacher in teaching for creativity.
  • The D&T PGCE course will build on your degree/experience and help you address any gaps in your subject knowledge.
  • By studying on the D&T course, you may qualify for a subject shortage bursary of up to £12, 000.

If you would like to discuss the possibility of applying to study on the D&T PGCE course at Cambridge, you can contact Bill Nicholl, D&T subject leader and PGCE course manager, in the first instance (ban22@cam.ac.uk).


Our PGCE Art & Design course is rigorous and stimulating with specialist tutors working in partnership with experienced mentors in schools. We have connections with local museums, such as the Fitzwilliam and Kettle's Yard with their internationally acclaimed collections, and a purpose-built specialist studio in the Faculty.

We aim to draw upon and develop our trainees' range of skills and understanding in art, craft and design within the contexts of education and schooling. Emphasis is placed upon trainees themselves being their most important resource, working together and sharing skills. We seek to promote a questioning and critical approach to art teaching, addressing fundamental issues relating to art, craft and design in education.

The art PGCE at Cambridge was exhilarating. Faculty staff are exceptionally supportive and informative, precisely what you need on an intensive PGCE course. More importantly, the faculty of education is equipped with a huge studio, perfect for any budding art teacher.


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Who is this course for?

Aimed at academic studio practitioners, the course is ideally suited to those who have a degree in any art, craft or design subject, including history of art. We occasionally take people whose degree is in another area altogether as long as their portfolio and performance at interview demonstrates that their subject knowledge and skills are at least degree level.
'I can’t imagine finding a more passionate, explorative and interesting course than the Secondary School Art PGCE course. Not only is teaching children Art a fascinating, thrilling and rewarding enterprise for all involved, it also helps children to be creative and artistic throughout their lives'. (Former PGCE student and Chair of mentor panel)


PGCE student group

What will I study?

The course examines areas such as the development of children's imagery, intercultural approaches, critical and contextual studies and the role of language. Practising teachers and other professionals are actively involved throughout the course, including assessment of trainee teachers' progress. Through a range of media and resources, we aim to examine concepts in education in relation to contemporary art and design practice, as well as examining concepts in relation to current educational practice. We study art education as an epistemologically discrete area of study, in addition to concepts related to art and education.


PGCE study group Faculty of Education Cambridge

How will I study it?

The subject will be taught via seminars and one to one tutorials; the key member of staff being Dr Richard Hickman. We aim to draw upon and develop our trainees' range of skills and understanding in art, craft and design within the contexts of education and schooling. Emphasis is placed upon trainees themselves being their most important resource, working together and sharing skills. We seek to promote a questioning and critical approach to art teaching, addressing fundamental issues relating to art, craft and design in education.

'The structure of the Art and Design PGCE course at Cambridge University allowed students to have a thorough insight into the teaching profession. The dynamic mix of practical and theoretical knowledge from the course leader and art specialists provided students with both confidence and experience that could be taken into the classroom. The support from the course leader and PGCE staff was constant, allowing students to seek advice when needed especially during the busy year! The depth of pedagogical knowledge and breadth of experience Richard provided students with prepared us well for our experience in the classroom, as well as our academic pursuits throughout the year.' (Rosie Ellender, PGCE 2014-15)


Faculty of Education sign

Advice for applicants

It is important that prospective students note that they must demonstrate portfolio evidence of competence in a studio skill (such as drawing). It is expected that all candidates will be familiar with ICT; it is desirable for candidates to be proficient in art and design-related software such as Photoshop.

For full application details visit our PGCE admissions page.


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How will this course prepare me for positions of leadership?

We anticipate that graduates from this course will be leaders in their subject; past trainees have for example moved directly into Head of Department positions and others have, in due course, become teacher educators themselves. Art and design education at Cambridge is rapidly acquiring an international reputation for its work, particularly in relation to the quality of teaching and learning in the subject.


Student studying

How does this fit in with the MEd?

PGCE Art & Design students have in the past opted to follow the researching practice MEd or the Arts, Culture and Creativity course; some have opted to continue their studies into PhD. The PGCE course is tailored to individuals' requirements, with emphasis being on their ability to articulate their own philosophy of art and design education and to be rigorous educational researchers.

For more information, visit the Master of Education (MEd) page.