PGCE Primary interviews

PGCE Primary Interviews

We look forward to welcoming you to Plymouth Marjon University for your interview day and hope that you will gain much from the experience. The day is important for both you and for us as it is important that we see if you are suitable for the course you have applied for, but equally that you find out if this is the place you want to study.

During the day you will have the opportunity to

  • look round the University
  • find out more about the course and meet tutors
  • meet headteachers or teachers from our partnership schools who are also involved in the interview process

We want you to present yourself in the best light on the day so there are a number of different components to the interview and we aim to make you feel comfortable and welcome. Please read the information provided in the letter and on the website carefully so you come well-prepared for the different parts of the day. 


Recommended preparation for interview

It is not essential that candidates have school experience when they apply for a PGCE Primary Education course, however, we would recommend that candidates obtain some observation experience to ensure that teaching is the right career path for them. If you want to gain experience, we suggest spending approx 10 days in a mainstream primary school as this amount of time should give you a good overview of primary teaching. 

You should research the National Curriculum in your subject area and/or age group, 

You should also be aware of changes to policy and current issues in education.


The Interview Process

The interview process comprises two key elements:

  • An individual interview lasting 20–30 minutes with a University tutor or Partnership school headteacher/teacher
  • A group task where you will be expected to show your ability to share your enthusiasm for teaching and learning


Structure of the interview day 

Please click here for the structure of the interview day


Literacy Assessment

During the day you will be given a task to assess your ability to read, understand and provide a response to a written article.  You will be expected to critically discuss the arguments presented within the article (click on the title to access), 'Research schools: what are they and why do they exist? by Samantha Lauren King' (  September 26 2017).


Group Task

In preparation for your group interview we would like you to share something about which you are passionate or in which you have a particular skill. 

The activity will be in a group of 5 or 6 candidates and you will have a maximum of 10 minutes to complete your task. 

To be successful in this task: 

  • You need to teach the other members of the group something about this interest
  • You should expect and encourage the other members of the group to interact with you
  • The other members of the group should have learned something by the end of your task 

In addition we will be assessing: 

  • Your interaction with others when you are sharing your interest
  • Your ability to interact with others when others are sharing their interest
  • Your engagement with others
  • Your empathy with others
  • Your clear communication with others using Standard English 

This task will take place in a teaching room: 

  • You will not have access to ICT
  • You need to provide all the resources for your 10 minutes 

Please bear in mind that 10 minutes is not long - keep it simple! 

We look forward to learning about a broad range of interests and skills. Please remember that the subject matter is entirely your choice. It is how you go about it that interests us.  


Individual Interview 

You will be asked a number of questions which are designed to ascertain if you are a suitable candidate for teaching and for this PGCE course. The following areas will be focused upon: 

  • Professional Skills and Attributes
    • High expectations and commitment to realising pupil potential;
    • Professional behaviour;
    • The ability to reflect on your own practice and identify areas for future development.
  • Subject Knowledge and Pedagogy  
    • Subject knowledge per se – the essential knowledge and understanding needed to teach the subject effectively;
    • Pedagogy – an understanding of the teaching skills and strategies needed to teach all pupils effectively;
  • Pupils’ Development
    • How learning is linked to pupils’ development and their social, religious, ethnic, cultural and linguistic backgrounds and contexts
    • How to promote positive attitudes to pupils’ learning.