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PGCE Secondary History / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course description

Secondary PGCE courses - The University of Manchester

PGCE Secondary (History) will train you to teach secondary history in the UK across the 11 to 16 or 11 to 18 age range, including the National Curriculum, GCSE and A-level. 

Completion leads to a postgraduate qualification and recommendation for qualified teacher status (QTS). 

Tutors and mentors will help you to transform your subject knowledge into teaching skills and educational theory into practice. 

University tutors have substantial experience of teaching and of examining at a senior level for GCSE and AS/A level. Experienced teachers from our partnership schools complement teaching, including sessions led by subject mentors, who will help you develop your subject knowledge and provide advice about teaching methods. 

University-based sessions will give you creative and innovative ideas to take into the classroom. 

Find out more about your university tutor Tom Donnai


You will: 

  • Develop a critical awareness of lesson and curriculum planning, spending time on each with school-based mentors and University tutors.
  • Develop skills and knowledge in inclusive History teaching, considering how to include marginalised narratives in the curriculum.
  • Develop pedagogy and gain an understanding of a range of different teaching strategies in the History classroom.
  • Develop subject and curriculum knowledge for KS3, KS4 and KS5 History.

Special features

Photo of Taylor

I've loved the work on inclusive curriculum building, particularly what we covered when looking at LGBT+ and BAME Histories.

I've also got loads out of sessions with the Chair of Examiners for AQA GCSE History and pretty much feel ready to teach GCSE History right now. I've also loved working with archives; we've done some brilliant session so planning local history enquiries using unique primary source material.

Taylor Pearson / Student, PGCE Secondary History
  • Our PGCEs are rated `Outstanding' by Ofsted (2019), and we have been judged best university provider of initial teacher training in the North of England (Good Teacher Training Guide 2017).
  • We have links with more than 200 schools, academies and colleges, and you will benefit from significant school-based teaching experience.
  • Our leading experts in education have trained more than 5,000 teachers in the last 15 years.
  • Our students come from all over the globe and a variety of backgrounds - from recent graduates to mature learners.
  • Our research improves the quality of education across the world, with 78% of our activity defined as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' (Research Excellence Framework 2014).

Teaching and learning

The structure of our PGCEs includes both school-based and university-based learning.

On our secondary PGCEs, around two-thirds of your time will be spent in secondary schools, academies and colleges on placements.

The course is run in partnership with schools and colleges drawn from a wide area, including Bolton, Bury, Cheshire, Deeside, Lancashire, Manchester, Merseyside, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Staffordshire, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Warrington and Wigan.

The University's partnership schools are highly committed to giving you the best possible experience whilst you are on your school placements, giving you the opportunity to put into practice all the knowledge you have acquired from sessions held at the University.

When on placement, you will observe and teach classes under the guidance of an experienced teacher. You will also have a mentor to help you to plan lessons, deal with marking and assessment, and improve your teaching skills.

Peer observations of lessons will enable you to participate actively in your own and your fellow students' development as teachers. You will be provided with a significant amount of responsibility to develop your own teaching style, set targets, take your own initiatives and evaluate your own work in planning, teaching and assessing.

Your remaining time will be spent at the University, for example in lectures and seminars, and in subject-specific groups.

We will support your training to become a secondary school teacher by providing:

  • a quality teaching experience in our partner schools and colleges;
  • a study of current, challenging educational issues;
  • careers planning and early professional development;
  • guidance and support from experienced tutors and mentors;
  • opportunities for reflective practice and research.

As a guide, you should anticipate that time in university-based learning combined with school-based placements will roughly equate to the time commitment of a full-time job, with additional time required in evenings and weekends for background reading, lesson planning and completing written assignments.

Coursework and assessment

Your school and University experiences are formally assessed. Both your mentors and tutors will help you to record your achievements and set targets from week to week and from placement to placement. 

During each placement, a University tutor will observe you teach and discuss your progress with you and your mentor. 

At the end of each school experience, you will receive a progress report from your mentor. The report will provide clear feedback and targets in the following areas:

  • subject and curriculum knowledge;
  • planning and teaching;
  • assessment;
  • wider professional responsibilities. 

These reports, together with your record of achievement and development, facilitate your progression as a teacher. 

The written assignments will allow you to gain a maximum of 60 master's-level credits, and guidance and support to complete these assignments will be available from your University tutors.

What our students say

Photo of Emma

Despite Covid-19, my school placement has been a dream.

I feel very lucky to be here, as both my mentors are great and I'm also supported by the entire staff body, other teachers love coming by to chat and give advice, which gives me a real breadth of experience to draw from.

Emma Hollis / Student, PGCE Secondary History.

Find out more about Emma and Taylor's experience on the 2020-21 PGCE History course in their student profiles: 

Our PGCE History trainees have also shared their experiences on our PGCE History blog  (Personal blog of the PGCE History course lead Tom Donnai). 


The course is taught by the Manchester Institute of Education (MIE), with most PGCE University days based in the University's Ellen Wilkinson building, on the University's Oxford Road campus, close to the Main Library, Alan Gilbert Learning Commons and the Students Union.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service.

For more information, email