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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 childrens 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.

lecturePGCE General Primary

Trainees follow either:

  • 5-9 specialist option
    with substantial placements in Key Stages 1 and 2 or
  • 7-11 specialist option
    with substantial placements in Key Stage 2 and a short placement in Key Stage 1.

The General Primary PGCE course at the Faculty of Education prepares trainees to engage with this very exciting phase of education.

The reform of the primary curriculum has been a major focus of recent national educational priorities, and researchers based at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education, under the leadership of Professor Robin Alexander, have made a particularly important contribution to this debate in the form of the Cambridge Primary Review. The aims and principles of this Review are central to the both the early primary and the primary PGCE course.


We are outstanding

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

Core Subjects

Foundation Subjects

Professional Studies

School Placements