PGCE Secondary History
Our PGCE Secondary Education with History addresses all aspects of secondary history education, and enables you to benefit from tutors whose research directly informs course content.
This Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) Secondary History course leads to the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), qualifying you to teach the 11-18 age group in secondary schools in England and Wales.
Our history programme is designed to develop practitioners so that they can excel in any teaching context. A love of history is at the heart of what we do and is evident in all aspects of the training year.
We ensure that the right space and guidance is there for trainees who arrive with differing experiences of history and education so that everyone can develop the right subject knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge.
- how to teach pupils about causation, change and continuity, similarity and difference, and difficult concepts
- how to develop pupils’ evidential thinking and chronological understanding
- how to make big decisions about which period of history to teach and when to teach it. In order to do this, the history tutors team work closely with mentors in schools, including school visits and training to ensure our high professional standards are maintained.
On this programme we collaborate with the Department of History at Whiteknights campus. Throughout the year, a range of historians give sessions to help trainees engage with the academic discipline while bringing the contemporary historical discourse into the classroom. In recent years, these historians have included Dr Jacqui Turner, Prof. Lindy Grant, Dr Richard Blakemore and Prof. Rebecca Rist.
As part of the training year, we work with a range of specialists to help develop trainee thinking. Recently these have included the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education, the National Archives, and the Citizens Project at Royal Holloway.
Furthermore we organise trips to consider history learning in different contexts, as well as the value of local history and leading effective trips. In 2019 our cohort spent days at Windsor Castle, where they drew upon the Royal Archives in an exclusive tour, and the Museum of English Rural Life.
Our course combines research and practice from the very beginning, developed through a huge amount of classroom-based teaching and subsequent reflection.
Climate and sustainability education
- what is happening to our climate, how to help children learn about climate and sustainability in an age-appropriate and accessible way, and how to develop your own positioning as a teacher
- climate justice, the impact of current and future changes to our environment and climate on ourselves and others and implications for teachers
- how to translate knowledge and theory into change and personal action through building climate and sustainability education into your planning, teaching, and children’s learning.
Visit Partnering for the Planet to find out more about the University of Reading’s world-leading work in climate science.
Placements enable you to develop the skills and knowledge valued and desired by employers - you will build your confidence in the classroom and gain practical teaching experience. Placements also provide you with the opportunity to connect with potential employers and build your professional network.
At Secondary level we have strong relationships with around 90 schools in the local and surrounding area. It is a testament to the strength of these partnerships and the regard with which our graduates are held, that most schools in Berkshire employ at least one graduate of the Institute of Education.
On your Secondary PGCE course, you are required to carry out three placements in two different age groups — ensuring you receive a broad range of experiences. Two placements must be undertaken in a school setting, but the third can be taken in a different setting, allowing you to sample teaching in an alternative environment.
We offer our students an unusually flexible and broad range of contexts and educational environments - you will have the opportunity to gain experience in special needs schools, Pupil Referral Units, independent schools, museums and charities.
You will have plenty of opportunities throughout your course to apply your developing skills in real settings. In schools, you will be involved in:
- observation of other teachers
- planning and teaching small groups and whole classes
- planning and teaching elements of lessons and whole lessons
- reflecting on and evaluating your teaching
- receiving feedback on your teaching
- gaining experience of the range of responsibilities of classroom teachers.
The quality of our research was recognised in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, placing the Institute of Education in the top quartile of education departments in the UK.
REF also rated more than 80% of our research publications as world leading or internationally excellent. The impact of our research on educational policy and practice in first and second language education was judged to be world leading.
This subject is also available via School Direct as well as the University-based route. Those students following a School Direct route may be studying for a PGCE or QTS only. However, all students come together as a subject group in University sessions.
Those taking the PGCE will spend more time in the University than those taking the QTS-only course. The PGCE will involve writing assignments that are designed to help trainees to plan their teaching effectively and imaginatively, and to evaluate their developing knowledge and skills, particularly in terms of the quality of learning achieved by pupils. Successful completion will result in 60 master's-level credits.
For more information, please visit the Institute of Education website.