Summary of the Programme

Download our latest brochure HERE.

Keele and North Staffordshire Teacher Education is a Primary Teaching programme leading to the following awards:

  • Post-Graduate Certificate in Education with recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status
  • Professional Graduate Certificate in Education with recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status

The programme can be studied either full time or via our 2 year flexible course and is offered by Keele and North Staffordshire Teacher Education either as a provider or through our cluster of School Direct Lead schools.

Both our provider and school direct route offer exactly the same course i.e. the content, experience and outcome is identical for both routes. The only difference between the 2 routes is that with the School Direct route your placements will usually be within a specific cluster of schools.

Whilst our programme trains you to become a General Primary Practitioner, we are also delighted to offer the following Specialisms across all routes within our programme:

  • General Primary (3-7) with Early Years
  • General Primary (5-11) with Art and Design
  • General Primary (5-11) with English and the Performing Arts
  • General Primary (5-11) with Geography and History (Humanities)
  • General Primary (5-11) with Mathematics
  • General Primary (5-11) with Physical Education
  • General Primary (5-11) with Science
  • English & Communication (SEND) (7-14)

Our course involves a minimum of 120 days on professional placement in at least 2 schools and a minimum of 70 days taught input delivered both at Keele University and in schools and other learning environments. All participants undertake modules in:

  • Effective and Outstanding Practice
  • Learning and Assessment
  • Subject Identity and Pedagogy
  • Learners and Learning

Programme Overview

Download our latest Brochure HERE.

Our programme is aimed at enabling trainees to achieve a PGCE alongside the recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

To gain a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education with recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status or a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education with recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status all elements of the programme have to be passed at the appropriate standard.   All participants undertake the same assessments with the Certificate part of the final award determined by the written work associated with the modules.

Programme Content

Keele and North Staffordshire Teacher Education foregrounds evidence informed practice and recognises that our Associate Teachers (our term for our trainees) come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and have already completed degree level study or higher, and are in a position to learn from each other.

Our programme involves:

  • a minimum of 120 days on professional placement which take place in at least 2 different schools, and involve our Associate Teachers in undertaking observations and study alongside a teaching timetable that increases as the placement progresses.   These placements are overseen by a school-based Teacher Educator and supported by a SCITT based Personal Tutor.   Placement schools are carefully selected, and may involve some travel.   Across the course we endeavour to minimise travel, though you are expected to travel for up to 1 hour 15 minutes determined from where you live during the course.
  • a minimum of 70 days of taught centre-based sessions, which whenever possible are led by school-based colleagues and involve lead lectures, seminars, group activities, individual and group tutorials, practical workshops, as well as directed activities in professional contexts. The sessions take place in one of our teaching classrooms, at Keele University (ST5 5BG) or Seabridge Primary School (ST5 3PJ).   All our classrooms are set up for young children to be taught within it as well as yourselves.   The rooms are fully equipped and you will have access to an extensive set of resources to support all curriculum areas within early years, primary and special needs education, many of which can be loaned to you whilst on placement for use in your placement schools.


Whilst our programme trains you to become a General Primary Practitioner, we are also delighted to offer specialisms across all routes.   More information about these specialisms can be found here.

The Programme Aims

Our vision is a powerful one: ‘Rooted in evidence; reaching for excellence’. We value both the scholarship and practice of teaching. This means that not only do we examine and consider different teaching strategies but that we also enable you to learn more about how pupils learn. We think that this is vital if you are to truly reflect on the impact that you are having on enabling pupils to progress.   The broad aim of the curriculum component of the PGCE/School Direct programme is to:

  • develop your subject knowledge and teach you how to put that knowledge into practice (pedagogy) in order to thrive in the culture of our schools;
  • enable you to become a highly motivated, outstanding effective, creative and reflective practitioner;
  • prepare you for a career in teaching that will prove to be successful and rewarding;
  • develop in you a commitment to and enthusiasm for continuing professional and personal development;
  • provide you with sufficient information, experience and opportunity in order that you might achieve the QTS Standards.


Opportunities for reflection and critical evaluation are embedded in each of the modules that you study.   These modules are as follows:

  • Effective and Outstanding Practice
  • Learning and Assessment
  • Subject Identity and Pedagogy
  • Learners and Learning

Effective and Outstanding Practice

This module will enable you to grapple with the complex concept of knowledge including the relationship between practical and academic knowledge, subject knowledge and pedagogy. You will do this in relation to your specialism. You will critically examine the idea of subject knowledge and explore the ways in which your specialism’s body of knowledge is distinctive, both academically and pedagogically. The representation of your subject within the National Curriculum (England), other policy documents and by professional bodies will be compared to classroom practice. Through a consideration of the processes that underpin the creation of such definition and positioning of subject knowledge, you will explore the political, social and cultural dimensions of curriculum pedagogy. You will consider the ways in which being an expert teacher differs from being an expert in the subject.

Learners and Assessment

The module examines the relationship between learning theories and classroom practice. You will consider questions such as: What do we know about how students learn? How do these ideas affect our practice as educators? What factors affect student learning? How might we take those factors into account when deciding what we want students to know understand and be able to do? How has the concept of multiple intelligences affected classroom practice? Why do we assess students? Who decides what to assess? How fit for purpose are the assessment instruments that we use?

Subject Identity and Pedagogy

This module will enable you to grapple with developing an informed understanding of the complex concept of knowledge. You will do this in relation to your specialism. You will critically examine the notion of ‘what comprises subject knowledge?’ the way that your specialism’s subject knowledge is framed, academically and pedagogically, and how it is presented within the National Curriculum and other government documentation. You will consider the processes that lie behind the creation of such ‘definitions’ so that you better understand the political, social and cultural dimensions of subject knowledge.

Learners and Learning

This module provides an opportunity for you to develop your understanding of the diverse experiences of schooling which young people have and the issues which need to be considered in developing approaches which can support their learning. You will consider learners in terms of different social groups and what is known about provision and outcomes for those groups. The module helps students to develop their position with regards to key concerns for educators in meeting the needs of learners such as: approaches to equal opportunity, diversity and differentiation; teaching by ability; the significance of school context for learner outcomes; and approaches to behaviour management.


Whilst our programme trains you to become a General Primary Practitioner, we are delighted also to offer specialisms. Our specialisms include, Art and Design, Early Years (PGCE with QTS), English with performing arts, Geography and History, Mathematics (specialism NOT specialist), Physical Education and Science.

Art and Design

The Art and Design specialism with Keele and North Staffordshire Teacher Education alongside NSEAD (National Society for Education in Art and Design) ‘believes that a world class art, craft and design education provides and inspires personal expression, cultural understanding, creative and practical responses, promoting imaginative risk taking to provide solutions to our material, emotional, social and virtual worlds.

A world class, art, craft and design education will engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to participate in, experiment with, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. To enable our Associate Teachers to fully engage with the Art and Design specialism, we
use a mixture of discussion, practical opportunities within schools and gap tasks that fully support the knowledge and understanding required.

Early Years

The Early Years Specialism is for you, if you are particularly interested in early learning and child development. The Early Years (EY) is a unique phase of education which involves framing first hand learning opportunities both inside and outdoors in relation the curriculum and children’s prior experiences. Your sessions will enable you to become familiar with the requirements and expectations of both the Early Years phase and Key Stage 1. You will come to recognise that Key Stage 1 is also a distinctive and important part of a child's educational experience. This is the time when children develop a curiosity to learn more, including engaging with reading, applying their mathematical knowledge and making sense of how the world works. We will enable you to lead learning so that you can improve outcomes for children.

English with Performing Arts

Our English and the Performing Arts specialism enables you to draw on your passion for English and develops your capacity as a curriculum maker. You will be supported in carefully considering how through disciplined thinking you can connect English with other areas of the curriculum particularly focusing on performing arts. English is not only an essential National Curriculum subject but it also unlocks learning in all subjects whether that be through reading, writing, speaking or listening.

English and Communication (SEND)

Full details about our English and Communication (SEND) programme can be found here.

Geography and History (Humanities) Specialism

This specialism focuses on developing your understandings of the purpose of geography and history in the primary curriculum. John Berger once suggested that 'time and space' are the two key concepts that underpin what it means to be human. We will explore further these key concepts, together with others associated with these subjects. Through practice-based sessions that carefully consider both pedagogy and curriculum, we will inspire you to think about the significance of these disciplines in the primary phase. You will enquire into how young people both become more knowledgeable and are able to understand their world in more meaningful ways. We will enable you to think carefully about progression, assessment and curriculum organisation. You will benefit from the expertise of practitioners currently working in our partnership schools.

Mathematics Specialism

Our mathematics specialism focuses on developing your understanding of how best to sequence the development of mathematical concepts. You will be encouraged to consider how to harness children's curiosity about numbers, shapes and patterns. You will reflect on the significance of empowering your learners to reason and justify their solutions to mathematical dilemmas. Developing children's capabilities so that they can use and apply their mathematical reasoning skills is a key aspect of primary education. Through practice-based sessions that carefully consider both pedagogy and curriculum content, we will inspire you to think about the significance of mathematics in the primary phase. We will enable you to think carefully about mastery, progression, assessment and curriculum organisation. You will benefit from the expertise of practitioners currently working in our partnership schools.

Physical Education Specialism

We will nurture your own passion for physical exercise and sport by asking you to reflect on why it is important that all young people should benefit from a positive experience of physical education. You will appreciate why, from an early age children in the primary phase should experience both enjoyment and success through physical activity. You will develop a confidence in recognising pupils' capabilities and you will develop an expertise in selecting activities which match pupils' needs and interests. Through practice-based sessions that carefully consider both pedagogy and curriculum, we will inspire you to think about the significance of physical education in the primary phase. We will also enable you to think carefully about progression, assessment and curriculum organisation.

Science Specialism

Reflecting on how science influences our lives and the lives of others is a key aspect of primary children's learning in this discipline. The science specialism focuses on developing your understanding of how to develop scientific enquiry with young people. You will carefully consider how best to enable children to develop ideas from evidence by 'working scientifically'. You will reflect on how best to empower your learners to create, consider and evaluate evidence so that they can develop reasoned ideas from their data and findings. Through practice-based sessions that carefully consider both pedagogy and curriculum, we will inspire you to think about the significance of science in the primary phase. We will also enable you to think carefully about progression, assessment and curriculum organisation.

Download the new English and Communication (SEND) brochure HERE

English and Communication (SEND)

Available via Blackfriars (1JA) and course code (V252)

Whether you want to work in special and inclusive education contexts, or progress your career in a mainstream school, this course could be for you. KNSTE is delighted to be working with Blackfriars Teaching School Alliance to offer an enhanced SEN pathway through our partnership. This course enables you to develop the professional and intellectual capabilities to prepare you for working with children with a diverse range of abilities and needs. You will benefit from placements in both Key Stages 2 and 3, one practice will be in a SEND school and the other will be in a mainstream setting. This will allow you to explore and critically reflect on the opportunities of multi-disciplinary learning. Our focus on KS2/3 is innovative and will facilitate your development as a subject specialist in English and Communication. You will be introduced to the expectations of the Primary Curriculum at KS2 in addition to English at Key Stage 3.

This pathway is open to applicants with English, English related or other appropriate degree subjects with a strong communication focus e.g. Law, the Humanities, Social Sciences or vocational degrees such as journalism.  The course will develop your appreciation of the significance of speech, language and communication in education. Verbal and non-verbal communication will be explored alongside alternative augmentative and technological strategies. The route will prepare you to evaluate what you as an individual can bring to the profession.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need an English degree?

No. You do need a degree, as with any teaching qualification, but it doesn’t need to be in English. English related or degree subjects with a strong emphasis on communication would also be suitable (see SEND brochure for examples). We need to assure ourselves that you have the capability to be trained to teach KS3 English – so the standard expected in Year 9 of a mainstream school. Therefore we will assess your qualifications to see if you have this potential.

Do I need a Science GCSE or Equivalent?

Yes – as you will be teaching in KS2 we need to meet the entry criteria of the primary PGCE and so we do require a Science GCSE or equivalent. Equivalency tests will be available through BCU and available from February 2021. We will provide information closer to this date.

Will I be trained for the full primary curriculum?

Yes – your course has been constructed so that once qualified you can apply for either a primary or secondary, middle school or special school post.

Am I qualified to teach GCSE English?

You will not have gained experience at KS4 or beyond on this programme. Ultimately it is up to an interview panel to determine your suitability for any post that you apply for, but your ITE programme will not have given you experience in relation to this phase.

Is the route available on a part-time basis?

Yes!  In Year 1 this is 2 days a week and in Year 2 3 days a week with a full-time block towards the end of your second year.

How are my placements organised?

You will do your mainstream placement first, either in KS2 or 3. Your KS3 mainstream KS3 placement will be in one of our middle schools. Your SEND placement will be your second practice and will be in the alternative Key Stage to your first placement.

Secondary Teacher Training 

Keele and North Staffordshire Teacher Education also works with the OAKS SCITT which is an OFSTED Outstanding Secondary SCITT that also works in conjuction with Keele University.

If you are interested in Secondary Teacher Training please visit the OAKS website for more information about their courses.

2 Year Flexible PGCE Programme with KNSTE

Keele and North Staffordshire Teacher Education is pleased to announce that from September 2019, it will offer a 2 year flexible training route for all its primary courses (including the SEND pathway). This route is directed particularly at career changers, or those with caring responsibilities and will offer the opportunity to phase in your Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programme, combining it with other commitments. Whilst this route will appeal to many and it is a great opportunity, it is a demanding option and one that will draw on your organisational skills and capacity to prioritise how you use your time.

How does it work?

On the 2 year flexible route you will receive blocks of core, professional and subject knowledge training during your first year and blocks of school experience. These will be on a Thursday and Friday. The proportion of time that you spend in school will increase in the Summer Term of Year 1, but never exceed two days. You will be in one school throughout the year. The course runs from the end of August through until the beginning of July. During your second year you will spend three days per week with us, during the Autumn and Spring Terms, two of these will be school based (Wednesday and Thursday) and Fridays will be SCITT based. In the Summer Term of Year 2 you will then need to commit to spending 6 weeks full time in a school. You will be in a different school in Year 2 to that which you were in for Year 1. The reason for being full-time during your final term is so that you can assure yourself and ourselves that you can sustain the demands of full-time teaching. This will enhance your employability as well as develop your passion for the profession. You can opt to complete your NQT and RQT Years on a part-time basis following your successful achievement of your ITE programme.

What qualifications will you achieve?

At the end of the two years of ITE you will gain QTS, together with a Keele University PGCE Academic Award worth 60 Master's credits (4 modules of 15 credits. The four modules are Effective and Outstanding Practice (EOP), Subject Identity and Pedagogy (SIP), Learning and Assessment (LA) and Learners and Learning (LL)) You will be expected to complete  your first module during the Autumn Term of Year 1, and second in the Spring Term. The remaining two modules are completed in the Autumn and Summer Terms of Year 2. Additionally you will be required to complete school based professional enquiries. Details of these will be provided at the start of the course. You will receive the same amount of SCITT Tutor and academic tuition visits as the full time trainees, but spread across the two years.

You can apply for our 2 year flexible route via UCAS Teacher Training. For any additional advice please contact us. You are welcome to attend one of our open days or back to school days that are advertised on our website. These are available regularly throughout the year.

Training with Disabilities

It is a privilege for us to be working in a region with a range of exceptional teachers who value supporting trainees who come to us with a range of prior experiences and needs. We will work with you to focus on issues related to inclusion, equity and social justice both from the viewpoint of the children we teach and yourselves as life long learners.

Keele University and our school based teaching rooms are accessible and any applicants who would benefit from additional support in relation to access should let us know on their application so that we can facilitate appropriate placements. We regularly support trainees with a variety of needs including for example dyslexia and autism, and find that they are able to thrive on our course. At the start of the programme you will all have the opportunity to disclose any needs that they may have so that the appropriate support can be put into place.

Your mental health and well-being is a prime concern of ours. On the course you will be enabled to support others and so we will ensure that you are aware of how we can help you to meet your own needs so that you can thrive and enjoy our amazing profession.

Keele and North Staffordshire Teacher Education have a Deputy Director who is pleased to be responsible for student welfare and also acts as the enabling coordinator.   She can assist students in accessing the various excellent support services offered by Keele University. More information can be found at