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PGCE (M) – Post Graduate Certificate in Education 14+

Do you have a bachelor’s degree and wish to teach people aged 14 and over? If you have a passion for your specialist subject and want to inspire and educate others, this nationally-recognised masters level qualification offered at Aquinas College opens the door to teaching and assessing in further and higher education, work-based learning, pre-employment training and more.

Course Overview

Teaching is a challenging and rewarding career, and it’s not limited to schools. Further education and sixth form colleges, adult and community education, the prison and probation services, pre-employment training and work-based learning are also environments where talented teachers are needed. If you’re already qualified in an area such as art and design, business and legal studies, health and childhood studies, humanities, language and communications, maths, science, or technology, then this course taught at Aquinas College offers you the skills and knowledge needed for a wide variety of roles teaching people aged 14 and above. This PGCE (M) course is 120 credits at masters level (HE7), demonstrating your ability to work independently at a high level in the field of education. 90 credits at HE7 can be transferred to a full masters award, depending on the specialist masters pathway.

Through a combination of traditional study and work-based learning, you’ll be able to explore the key theories and techniques of teaching, learning and assessment. We’ll support you as you discover how to apply them in practice, how you can mould them to the teaching of your specialist subject and how they link into current research in education.

We’ll guide you as you learn to plan lessons, deliver classes, assess your students’ performances and provide constructive feedback. Our expert and supportive tutors will work to help you become an expert, engaging and inclusive teacher with high standards of professionalism.

  • Highlights
      • This is a pre-service Initial Teacher Education (ITE) course – you don’t need prior experience of teaching or current employment in education.
      • At Aquinas College, there’s no need to find your own placement. We’ll provide one for you on-site (subject to availability in your subject area), so you’ll have your lectures and placement all in the same building. Where possible, we offer opportunities to help you gain experience in different educational settings, such as local secondary schools and other colleges. Additionally, we’ll encourage you to get involved with our pastoral and enrichment programmes to enhance your training further.
      • The course is designed to help you achieve your potential and enjoy teaching. By encouraging you to reflect on your performance and take charge of your own development, we aim to prepare you for a successful career in education.
      • While you’ll be based at Aquinas College for the duration of your studies, you’ll graduate from the University of Bolton.
      • You’ll have access to the University’s e-learning resources, an extensive e-library and the support of University librarians.
      • A link tutor provides academic communication between Aquinas College and the University of Bolton’s academic school. This ensures the experience you receive as an off-campus student is equivalent to that of an on-campus student.
      • As an off-campus student, you’ll also have access to the support of the University’s dedicated Off-Campus team and resources to help make you truly feel part of the institution.
  • Key Features
      • The University of Bolton is one of the largest providers of teacher training for further and higher education in the UK. Aquinas College is an established partner for the University of Bolton, extending its strong reputation in providing further education to higher education provision in ITE.
      • Our highly qualified and dedicated team offers a wealth of experience teaching both in post-14 education and training and teacher education.
      • We offer a warm and friendly environment for your studies, with relatively small class sizes and excellent IT and library facilities.
      • Work-based learning through teaching placements is essential for success on this course, and you’ll have the opportunity to gain a minimum of 100 hours’ experience planning and delivering learning.
      • This PGCE M 14+ course meets the requirements of the FE-specific Diploma in Education and Training (DET), which is the recognised full teaching qualification for the FE and Skills sector. It’s ideal if you wish to teach in adult and community education, further education, sixth form colleges, universities, the prison and probation services, pre-employment training and work-based learning.
      • After completing this ITE course, you can progress towards QTLS (Qualified Teacher for Learning and Skills), which is recommended for teaching in the FE and Skills sector.
  • Careers Summary
    • The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (M) 14+ is a teacher education course for graduates who wish to teach in the Further Education and Skills sector of education; for example, in adult and community education, further education, sixth form colleges, the prison and probation services, pre-employment training and work based learning.

      This sector offers opportunities to work with further education learners who range in age from 14 years old to adult. These students come from different backgrounds and experiences and may enter further education from local schools, the community, industry or local businesses.

      What you can do with your qualification

      In addition to working in FE colleges, sixth form colleges and schools, there are significant opportunities to work in a range of other educational sectors. The work-based learning sector ensures people are ready for work and have the latest skills. It includes working with apprentices, young people who are not yet ‘job ready’, and employed adults who need to update their skills. Job opportunities in this sector are often with training providers in the private sector but can also be within the work-based learning units in colleges.

      The adult and community learning sector delivers a range of community-based courses, including practical and creative, basic skills, language and computer courses. The justice sector involves working in prisons and youth offender institutions, teaching basic skills. Some offender institutions offer vocational preparation courses. Much of this work is sub contracted out to local FE colleges, who then provide relevant staff.

      Alternative Careers

      PGCE M 14+ holders can also use the qualification as a stepping-stone into a range of other careers. For some of these roles, relevant experience and/or further postgraduate study may be required. Some of these careers include:

      • Higher education
      • Education officer
      • Mentoring
      • Family liaison
      • Educational psychology
      • Education administration
      • Student services advice
      • Student liaison
      • Educational writing and journalism
      • Examinations
      • Counselling
      • Careers guidance
      • Training
      • Quality standards
  • Professional Recognition
    • The University of Bolton’s Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) M 14+ programme meets the requirement of the FE-specific Diploma in Education and Training (DET). All new FE and Skills teachers must complete a teacher education qualification as the first step in obtaining QTLS (Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills).

      The course does not lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) to teach in schools. However, QTLS does legally have equivalence to QTS and is recognised by some head teachers in schools.

  • Postgraduate Options
  • Teaching and Assessment
    • We take a blended approach to teaching and learning, using a combination of face-to-face sessions, work-based learning and electronic resources and communications. You can expect timetabled classes and lectures, along with workshops, small group and individual practical activities, and structured exercises and discussions. You’ll receive individual support in tutorials. We’ll encourage you to participate in online discussions with your peers and tutors, make full use of ICT as a source of information and support, and maintain a digital portfolio of evidence.

      If you are successful in obtaining a place on the PGCE M at Aquinas you will have a guaranteed teaching placement in your subject specialism at Aquinas for the duration of the course.

      During your placements, your teaching practice will be assessed according to Ofsted guidelines and documented through session planning, observation reports and reflective journals. You’ll receive informal feedback on your performance to help you assess your progress and improve your practice, as well as formal assessment that will contribute to your overall grade
      for the course.

      Additional formal assessment will be based on coursework. You’ll be expected to produce written
      work that demonstrates your understanding and ability to apply the course content. You’ll also
      receive informal peer and tutor feedback on individual and group activities. Your tutor will guide you towards appropriate research and background reading that will help you complete your coursework.

      To be awarded your PGCE M 14+ qualification, you’ll need to demonstrate that you’ve met all the learning outcomes for the course. Our highly experienced and dedicated staff will guide and support you in this. Still, a significant amount of personal and independent study is essential, and you’ll need to take responsibility for managing your own learning.

  • Modules
      • Introduction to Teaching and Learning
      • Behaviour and Wellbeing for Teaching and Learning
      • Curriculum and Assessment for Teaching and Learning
      • Developing Professionalism in Teaching and Learning (Specialist Module) Part 1 – ITE
      • Developing Professionalism in Teaching and Learning (Specialist Module) Part 2 – ITE
  • Entry Requirements
      • You should have at least a lower second class (2.2) honours degree (or equivalent) in a subject relevant to the area you wish to teach.
      • If you have a third class honours degree, your application will be considered on an individual basis.
      • If your degree is not from a recognised UK higher education institution, advice will be taken from the International Office on comparability.
      • If you have an HND, Foundation Degree or DipHE, please see our CertEd Certificate in Education 14+ course details.
      • You’ll be required to attend an interview as part of the application process. This will involve written diagnostic tests for English/literacy and mathematics/numeracy, a short oral presentation, and a face-to-face interview.
      • This course involves working unsupervised with children and/or vulnerable adults and all students must gain an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Disclosure certificate for a Child Workforce including Child Barred List checks, before starting their studies. Charges are payable to cover the cost of the DBS Enhanced Disclosure application and annual registration with the online Update Service. (
      • You’ll need to provide satisfactory references, a satisfactory health declaration and a satisfactory student agreement prior to enrolment on the course.
      • If English isn’t your first language you’ll also need IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band (or equivalent). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details. (
      • We’ll also consider applications where appropriate work experience can be demonstrated in lieu of, or in addition to, the published academic qualifications in line with the University’s Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) procedures.
      • Please note that this course is subject to the University of Bolton’s Fitness to Practise procedure. (
  • Fees and Funding

Applying for the course

You can apply for this course via Bolton University:

Apply Now

If you submit an application for this course please let us know by email once you have submitted your application and send copies of your personal statement and qualifications to us at

For an informal discussion and further details about the course please contact

What our trainees say

“Since being at Aquinas I have been welcomed as a staff member and part of the team. The lectures are far more engaging than any I experienced at university, with a wide variety of active learning strategies and great resources. As a trainee teacher at Aquinas I have felt wholly supported by both my lecturers, subject mentors, personal tutor and also if I have any queries I know all the staff here are happy to help”


“I have been incredibly fortunate to be rewarded with a full time position as a PE and Sport teacher after being successful at interview. This is a great opportunity for myself to complete my NQT year in an outstanding department, at an institution regarded so highly and continue to develop into a well-respected experienced teacher in this sector.”


“A unique aspect of the PGCE course at Aquinas is that both the teaching practice and lectures are based at the college, in one location. I feel I have been able to develop a stronger rapport with the students and other staff members because of this. I have also enjoyed having the opportunity to teach a variety of classes within my subject area, such as Film & Media Studies and Creative Media Production.”


“I always had a passion for religious studies and thanks to Aquinas I was able to pursue this passion and turn it in to reality for myself. I chose Aquinas because it has a name that speaks for itself, it produces first class students and now first class teachers too. I have just secured my first teaching position, which I feel confident approaching knowing that the skills I have developed here have been to such high standards. There’s no feeling quite like knowing you are helping to inspire and motivate young people and sharing the same passion for your subject to your students. I know I made the right decision, and I have Aquinas and the course leaders to thank for that. Although I am excited to embark on my career ahead I will be truly sad to leave Aquinas behind, and it will forever hold a special place in my heart.”


PGSE students studying in a classroomPGSE students class of 2021