PGCE Secondary Modern Foreign Languages


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Find out more about studying the PGCE Secondary course at UEA

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“This has been one of the most challenging years, but I can genuinely say it has also been one of the most rewarding. Thanks to the excellent PGCE course, and the inspirational support and expertise, I am now totally confident in starting this new and exciting career.”

In their words

Nicola Varchetta, PGCE Secondary Graduate

Stimulating young minds and watching pupils grow in confidence and achieve their full potential – that’s what secondary education is all about.

Our PGCE Master’s programme closely interweaves school and university-based training. Over 38 weeks, you’ll spend at least120 days (minimum 24 weeks) on school placement and 60 study days in structured learning at UEA.

You will develop a range of skills to enthuse youngsters and support them in achieving their linguistic potential, and learn about the importance of developing cultural understanding and the impact this can have in shaping young people’s worldviews.

Our course will provide you with the opportunity to research and evaluate the latest thinking in good teaching practice. It will help you understand how pupils best learn foreign languages, so that you can support and guide them in an effective manner. It will also allow you to develop your own strategies to make your teaching an engaging and positive experience for all.


Our one-year, full-time Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) Secondary Modern Foreign Languages programme will equip you with the skills, experience and knowledge you need to teach modern foreign languages to pupils aged between 11 and 16 – plus the option of additional experience of A-Level modern foreign languages teaching. Upon successful completion of your PGCE, you’ll graduate with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and 90 Master’s credits.

An essential part of the course is to understand and be able to help pupils to meet the demands of the National Curriculum and post-16 specifications.

You will learn about the theory of how languages are learnt and benefit from engaging in activities which give you practical experience of planning schemes of work and individual lessons. Collaborating with your peers, you will compare and contrast methods and build your confidence and techniques before undertaking school-based placements.

By studying a range of topics and themes, we will prepare you to plan lessons that ensure pupils make constant progress in inclusive environments. You will learn how to employ appropriate language learning strategies in different contexts.

Throughout the course you’ll focus on a number of key areas, including second language acquisition, the nature of communication in the classroom, grammar teaching, communicative approaches, inclusive approaches, differentiated activities to meet the needs of all abilities, the place and use of the target language and the development of listening, reading, speaking and writing skills. You will also focus on developing intercultural competence and understanding, and its place in the overall secondary curriculum.

Secondary schools are demanding but tremendously rewarding environments to work in. You’ll be teaching pupils as they mature from early adolescence to adulthood. And our programme will teach you how to make an effective contribution to the work of the school beyond your subject.

Course Structure

UEA’s PGCE programme combines university-based learning on our Norwich campus with teaching placements at our partnership schools across East Anglia.

During your placements you will work in two different schools, so you’ll gain a broad range of experience and greater insight into different types of schools.

The university-based training will include seminars, lectures and practical workshops. You’ll discuss and reflect on your school experiences with your fellow students, while learning more about the theory and practice of teaching.

You’ll spend time focusing on pupil assessment and progression, then put this into practice by planning and identifying strategies to encourage positive pupil participation and achievement. You’ll also learn how to promote equal opportunity, understand special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and how to address controversial issues.

Teaching and Learning

We take a collaborative approach to your learning and place an emphasis on ongoing reflection, as well as giving you every opportunity to put theory into practice. You will work closely with both your UEA tutors and your assigned mentors at your placement schools.

Studying for this professional qualification comes with independent study requirements, both while you’re at UEA and also while on school placement.

You will be expected to prepare for curriculum and professional development sessions. You’ll also study independently throughout the course, researching and writing your Master’s-level assignments.

You’ll also be required to carry out an ‘audit’ of your own subject knowledge, as you work to become familiar with the breadth of national curriculum content.

You will work independently and in pairs and groups on specific tasks. Some activities will focus on allowing you the opportunity to further develop your linguistic and cultural knowledge in both your first and second foreign languages (French/German/Spanish).

You will build a bank of language teaching resources as well as a glossary of key target language expressions to support your work in the classroom. You will develop knowledge about a range of digital technologies to enhance teaching and learning in your placement schools.

As a second language student, you will also have full use of the James Platt Centre for Language Learning at UEA, to help you further develop your language skills. You can use this state-of-the-art resource for specific purposes such as developing reading and listening skills and watching visual material.


You’ll complete assignments that are designed to prepare you to be an effective teacher. These relate directly to your professional knowledge and understanding, as well as your teaching experience on your school placements.

Throughout your time in schools you’ll benefit from regular observations of your teaching along with a professional dialogue to ensure you’re always learning and developing. Our helpful guidance and constructive feedback will help strengthen the quality of your teaching and improve your pupils’ learning.

All your assessments will be moderated by external examiners from other universities and you will be assed against both the Teachers’ Standards and Master’s-level criteria.

After the course

Our graduates go on to have great success in their careers. Alongside your PGCE, you’ll gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and 90 Master’s credits.

Career opportunities for qualified teachers are more diverse than ever before. Within a few years of joining the profession you could find yourself being promoted into a role with subject leadership and pastoral responsibilities, and progressing into senior leadership roles after experience of middle management.

We are committed to supporting you beyond your training year and work closely with schools and Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) induction bodies to identify and provide support during your NQT year.

Career destinations

  • Teacher
  • Deputy head teacher
  • Head teacher
  • Management
  • Tutor
  • Communications

Course related costs

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of additional course-related costs.

Course Modules 2020/1

Students must study the following modules for 92 credits:

Name Code Credits


Critical evaluation of a series of lessons.




pedagogy and it's relevance to learning in the classroom.



Reflective Project in Education

Analysis of school data and reflection of professional practice.




The Secondary PGCE (M) prepares trainees to teach pupils from 11-16 years, with post-16 enhancement. We work in partnership with schools in the region, where trainees are based for their teaching experience. Two main placement schools are assigned to ensure that trainees meet with two contrasting environments. Trainees are supported by school-based link teachers and mentors and university tutors on placement.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

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Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Languages
  • Degree Classification 2:2 or above preferred.
  • Special Entry Requirements Please see below.

Entry Requirement

Degree requirements

Applicants are required to hold a degree from a Higher Education Institution by the beginning of the PGCE programme in September, ideally in languages, literature or linguistics.  Native speakers with a non-language based degree are encouraged to make enquiries regarding eligibility for entry to the course.  In addition to high-level language skills, applicants should have a good knowledge of the countries and cultures where the language(s) offered are spoken.

The main languages currently required by schools are French, German and Spanish.  It is important that you are able to offer one of these languages, to be able to teach to A-level where possible but definitely to Key Stage 4/GCSE, and another to at least Key Stage 3, as being able to offer two mainstream languages greatly increases employability.  Early applicants can participate in funded Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses to develop their second foreign language.

GCSE requirements

Before making your application you must have a GCSE pass at Grade C or its equivalent* in English Language and in Mathematics.

*Please note: It is up to the discretion of the individual Initial Teacher Training provider as to whether an appropriate level has been satisfactorily achieved. We therefore strongly urge candidates with equivalent qualifications to check with us that these are acceptable before making their application.

Pre-Application classroom experience

From February 2018, applicants are not required to have gained any prior experience within a school. 

Although not a requirement, time spent in a school could help you to gain valuable insight into the role of a teacher, how teaching and learning takes place within the classroom, and help you to decide whether teaching is the right profession for you. It is recommended, that where possible, you gain some school experience prior to application.

It would be most useful if experience could be gained across the Secondary age range in your chosen subject area.

If you are able to gain classroom experience prior to submitting your application there are a number of ways in which this can be achieved:

Contact Your Local School
Try contacting local schools where you live to see if you are able to arrange a time to observe some lessons, or register with the DfE School Experience Programme to help book school experience through their online portal.

University Career Schemes
Candidates who are currently studying at University may be able to participate in Student Mentoring through the Student Ambassador Scheme, which aims to contribute towards raising the aspirations of year 9 school students, particularly those from backgrounds with no family history of further or higher education. Mentors provide students with academic and personal development support through mentoring sessions, educational activities and visits to UEA. Please contact for further information.

Knowledge of the National Curriculum, key contacts and useful links


Applications are considered on an individual basis and being able to demonstrate a strong level of knowledge about the National Curriculum and current issues affecting teaching is advantageous. These educational links will provide you with some useful points of contact to help to get you started.

Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS)

Disclosure of Criminal Background for Those with Access to Children
All applicants for the PGCE course will be required to obtain an EnhancedCriminal Records check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The enhanced disclosure will be used to assess suitability for the programme and information provided may be discussed with the external members of the School's Safeguarding Sub-Committees. Candidates are responsible for payment of the DBS fee. General information about this process can be obtained from the Disclosure and Barring Service Website.

Satisfactory Health Check

You will need to demonstrate your fitness to teach by completing an Occupational Health Assessment. This will give us information about any special needs you may have, and enable us to assess whether the University and placement areas will be able to provide support. It is therefore, in your interest to provide full answers to the questions.

Students for whom English is a Foreign Language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 58 (minimum 50 in all components)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date. Other tests such as the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English are also accepted by the university. Please check with the Admissions Office for further details including the scores or grades required.

Further Information

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

PGCE Admissions Team
Tel: +44 (0)1603 592855


Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

Fees for the PGCE programme will be £9,250 for Home/EU students and £19,800 for International students for entry in September 2020.

Maintenance grants (UK Students Only)

If you are normally resident in England you may be entitled to receive a Maintenance Grant. All candidates from the UK should contact Student Finance England or tel: 0845 300 5090 for full information on Maintenance Grants.

Department for Education Training Bursaries (UK/EU Students) 2020/21

Please contact the Department for Education for information on Bursaries and Funding, including terms and conditions.  

Languages Teacher Training Scholarships

Languages scholarships from the British Council are an alternative option to bursaries and are only awarded to the most gifted language trainees. You’ll be guaranteed £28,000 to help towards your training year. Find out more from the British Council. Find out more from the British Council.

Living expenses

Approximately £9,135 living expenses will be needed to adequately support yourself.

How to Apply

Making your application

Candidates are required to apply via the UCAS Teacher Training (UCAS). This is the central "clearing house" which deals with all applications for PGCE courses across the country. There is no specified deadline for any of our teacher training courses. However, all candidates are advised to apply as early as possible in the application cycle.


You are advised to ensure that your referees are available to submit their references immediately upon request (usually electronically via UCAS Teacher Training). Your chosen institution will not receive your application until both referees has submitted their references. Please see the UCAS Teacher Training Referee Guidance for information on selection. NB: Candidates are required to supply an academic referee as their first reference if they have completed their studies in the last 5 years.

Preparing your application

Candidates are encouraged to prepare thoroughly. Application forms should be able to demonstrate not only your depth of subject knowledge but also your enthusiasm and commitment to a career in teaching. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with our PGCE Teacher Training Prospectus and the information available from the Department for Education and related educational establishments. These sources will help you to gain knowledge of the current issues facing teaching, specifically in the subject area for which you are applying. During interview you will be expected to be able to answer questions about these issues, and what has prompted your desire to choose teaching as a career.

Candidates are normally chosen on the basis of their application form, references and an interview.

Equal opportunities

The University of East Anglia operates an equal opportunities admissions policy. We aim to ensure that no applicant receives less favourable consideration on the grounds of gender, marital status, race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin or religious belief. More on equal opportunities...

See also: UEA PGCE Equal Opportunities Document

Students with a Disability (including Dyslexia)
The University welcomes students with disabilities and is working towards the provision of an inclusive environment for all its students, staff and visitors. More on disability support.

Further information

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

PGCE Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 592855

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515