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Primary PGCE

Primary school child in class pointing at his drawing

Important notice on blended learning for all 2021/22 courses

Given the unpredictability of health, safety and travel restrictions over the 2021/22 academic year, students enrolled in courses at the Faculty of Education should expect some form of blended learning.

The Faculty will continue to follow guidance published by the University and by the Government. The specific nature of blended learning will be course-dependent, and may be subject to changes in line with guidance.


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Everyone's passion for education is really contagious and I can see why Cambridge is so highly commended for this course.

you can talk with your mentor and tutors, its a very supportive environment.

a university based course allows you to take research from your peers and implement it in schools.

open notebookCourse overview

The Faculty of Education offers two PGCE Primary courses; the PGCE Early Primary and the PGCE General Primary.

  • Early Primary (covering ages 3-7)
  • General Primary (covering ages 5-11).

Trainees on the Early Primary course complete substantial placements in both the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, with opportunities for nursery placements for trainees with a personal interest in working with younger children.

Trainees studying on the General Primary course follow either the 5-9 years old specialist option with substantial placements in Key Stages 1 and 2 or 7-11 years old specialist option with substantial placements in Key Stage 2 and a short placement in Key Stage 1.


male teacher with young learnerUnderstanding young children's learning

The PGCE course prepares our trainees to develop the qualities characteristic of an outstanding primary school educator.

The Faculty considers it vital that trainees understand the nature of young children's learning through:

  • Recognising the learning needs of children at the start of their educational career
  • Understanding the nature of the holistic child as being integral to the provision of effective practice
  • Knowing how to develop an emotionally secure, playful and nurturing learning environment
  • Demonstrating a knowledge of key theoretical perspectives and how understanding how these underpin a pedagogy of excellence for young children
  • Building positive working relationships within a team of professionals which will include colleagues across educational settings and external agencies
  • Managing the importance of smooth transition between the Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 to facilitate continuity in provision.

route mapPGCE Early Primary

As a trainee on the Early Primary PGCE course, you will learn how to deliver the imaginative, playful learning that characterises the classrooms of children aged 3 to 7 – but that’s just the start of what you might go on to achieve. The skills you will acquire are increasingly regarded as essential for successful primary schools in general, and across the curriculum as a whole. As a result, our graduates are often in high demand: not only because of the excellence they bring to this vital phase of children’s education, but because of the knowledge and perspectives they can add to any primary teaching team.

Trainees complete substantial placements in both Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1,
 with opportunities for nursery placements.

You will be guided by a supportive team of experienced fellow-professionals to develop a strong, nuanced understanding of how to create a stimulating and playful environment for children who are still at an early stage in their learning journey. You will discover how you can support the development of social and emotional skills and well-being that are integral to a child’s academic success. And you will learn how to reflect on your own work and respond flexibly to the needs of individual children at different stages of their development.

This is a hugely exciting and enjoyable course, led by experts specialising in the education of young children with many years of experience of primary school teaching and leadership. The course involves professional studies lectures, conferences and visits, and multiple opportunities to work with the General Primary trainees so that you can place what you have learned in the broader context of primary education as a whole.

Furthermore, you will be training with the support of many leading international researchers whose work is in, or impacts upon, primary education itself; giving you direct exposure to the very latest thinking and the chance to explore how you can apply it to your own practice. In particular, the Faculty is home to the PEDAL Centre – a major international hub for academic research into play in education, development and learning.

If you would like to find out more or have any questions or queries about the course, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Admissions Team.


lecturePGCE General Primary

The General Primary PGCE course at the Faculty of Education prepares trainees to engage with this very exciting phase of education. We believe education has the power to transform lives and champion the vital role that state primary schools and early years settings play in improving outcomes. Children in schools, both in the UK and globally, deserve the very best and our aim is for you to become an outstanding primary teacher who can provide it for them. Our PGCE programmes work in a wide-ranging partnership with state schools, and together help realise a commitment to a series of values we collectively feel make a difference to learners. We believe these shared values of training beginning teachers for socially-critical, committed and collaborative work within schools are essential for making 21st Century classrooms vibrant and challenging spaces engaged in learning.

To understand where children are coming from and going to, it’s important that trainees should have an understanding of children and how their learning progresses across the whole primary range which is why we provide the opportunity for trainees to teach all primary age phases whilst specialising in two age phases.

Trainees follow either:

  • 5-9 specialist option 
    with extended, placements in Key Stages 1 and Year 3 or 4 and a short placement in Year 5 or 6
  • 7-11 specialist option 
    with substantial placements in Key Stage 2 and a short placement in Key Stage 1.

The ITE curriculum offered by the Cambridge course is transformational, ambitious, rewarding, stimulating, rigorous and research informed. It is high-quality, coherent and well-sequenced, leading to a deep understanding of educational research, theory and practice. Our curriculum develops an accumulation of professional knowledge which can be utilised to inform pedagogy across a variety of settings throughout careers.

The course involves professional studies lectures and workshops, subject specific sessions, conferences and day visits to schools in addition to school placements and enrichment opportunities. You will have the opportunity to learn from experts in their field. These include expert practitioners based in school, subject specialists and internationally renowned researchers whose work is in, or impacts upon, primary education itself; giving you direct exposure to the very latest thinking and the chance to explore how you can apply it to your own practice. In addition, you will be supported by a team of very experienced teacher educators all of whom have extensive classroom experience and extensive experience of supporting beginning teachers.

The skills you will acquire are increasingly regarded as essential for successful primary schools. As a result, our graduates are often in high demand: not only because of the excellence they bring to this vital phase of children’s education, but because of the knowledge and perspectives they can add to any primary school community. The Cambridge PGCE course is highly evaluated by trainees and school partners; it has very high completion rates and employment rates with on average 45% of the cohort each year securing their first posts in local partnership schools.

If you would like to find out more or have any questions or queries about the course, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Admissions Team 


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Our current Oftsed report rates the Faculty of Education teacher training as outstanding.

We are the number one teacher training provider in England in the 2017 Good Teacher Training Guide.

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Primary PGCE

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