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Primary PGCE : Core Subjects

Punting on the River Cam

Building castles in maths, making shadow puppets in science, going on a bear hunt in English, racing cars made from cereal boxes and pretending to be a clown in dance. There have been so many brilliant moments on the course both on placement and at the Faculty.

Young person's writing

'It has definitely felt like my English Tutor has gone the extra mile this term to support my developing understanding, which has turned English into a subject that I am excited about teaching rather than afraid of.'

The English course explores exciting, innovative and creative ways to engage children with literacy learning from an early age. A series of lectures, seminars and practical workshops support understanding of spoken language, reading and writing. Throughout the course, the needs of all learners, including those with English as an Additional Language and those with Special Educational Needs are addressed.

The course is underpinned by a philosophy that high quality literature for children and high quality writing from children are linked. As well as considering what is written in various genres (including picture books, novels, poetry, non-fiction texts, digital texts and film), prominence is also given to strategies for enabling children to become more fluent, enthusiastic, discriminating and adaptable readers and to ensuring that all trainees are confident and competent in how to teach early reading. The development and transition of children’s writing from emergent mark making to a fluent style is explored. Practical workshops support investigations into the writing process.

Board of numbers with plastic ducks

'I loved every maths session.  I learnt so much and became so aware of the tiny steps of understanding that underpin broader mathematical awareness.'

Throughout the Maths course trainees are helped to use and develop their own subject knowledge and to appreciate the way in which this underpins the mathematical learning of children. Tutors draw on research into the teaching and learning of mathematics as well as on practice in schools.

The Early Primary maths course explores the importance of handling real objects and using strong imaginary contexts before eventually developing abstract mathematical thinking. Trainees learn to deconstruct tasks, identifying the individual mathematical skills and concepts required, in order to provide effective teaching and support individual learning.

The General Primary maths course focuses on developing 'deep subject knowledge'; and knowledge of pedagogical approaches or strategies in relation to particular content areas of primary school mathematics e.g. multiplication and division or shape and space. Seminar activities promote the use of teaching and learning approaches such as dialogic teaching, mathematical enquiry, collaborative working, problem solving and the use of innovative and relevant resources.

Collection of colourful test tubes

'Outstanding and highly stimulating.  Science is about enthusiasm for knowledge and the lectures and seminars were brimming with it.'

A highlight of the year for all trainees is the Environment Day which places science firmly within a cross curricular context as trainees discover how science activities and a wide range of creative arts - including work with clay, textiles, printing and photography - can be brought together within a study of the natural environment.

The Early Primary science course looks at areas of knowledge such as 'materials', 'weather and seasons' and 'ourselves', and generic topics such as science through play, science and creativity and the importance of making links to the other core subjects in KS1 and the prime areas of learning in the EYFS.

The General Primary science course similarly considers a wide range of issues and themes relevant to the teaching of science in primary schools through lively, interactive sessions.

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