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PGCE Primary Education with Special Educational Needs and Disability

Qualify as a primary school teacher with the option to specialise in supporting pupils who have extra learning needs.

92% student satisfaction (Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey, 2020).

A degree at 2:2 or above.

GCSE English, Mathematics and Science at grade 4 or grade C or above (or an equivalent qualification).

Experience of working with young people.

Approx 10 days in a mainstream primary school should give you a good overview of primary teaching.

Candidates must take part in individual and group interviews with representative from partnership schools and the University.

We have a responsibility to ensure that trainees have the health and physical capacity to teach. Candidates must meet the Secretary of State’s requirements for physical and mental fitness to teach as detailed in ‘Fit to Teach’ by completing an on-line medical questionnaire. A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is required.


UCAS code M409

Duration 1 year full-time

How to apply for this course

Course Summary

Do you want to be there for those children who need extra support with their learning? Our specialist PGCE Primary Education with Special Educational Needs and Disability (5-11) is for trainee teachers with an interest in special education and SEND pupils.

This course is a direct route to a career that helps pupils in mainstream and special schools to develop confidence and knowledge. The focus is on learning for all. Working in inclusive classrooms alongside expert teachers, you will develop depth of knowledge to support all learners and enhanced knowledge to promote learning for SEND pupils. You'll be trained in a range of teaching styles appropriate to mainstream schools but also specific approaches for the special schools sector.

The aim of this PGCE Primary Education with SEND is to prepare trainee teachers for a first appointment as a teacher in a primary or special school. If you want to train to teach whilst having the university experience, then a PGCE is the right choice for you. On this course you’ll be supported as a trainee within the university, at the same time as going into classrooms in our huge range of partnership schools.

You will spend 24 weeks in placements at key stages one and two. Your classroom responsibilities will increase as your confidence and expertise grows. This experience will ensure you are comfortable with your skills and confident of what you are looking for when applying for your first role as a Newly Qualified Teacher.

Show video transcript

What is it really like to study PGCE Primary?

Melissa: I love the course. It's really inspiring. It's given me focus, drive. Marjon's as a whole, you just come here and the atmosphere is a buzz and gives you a want to learn and a want to achieve.

Thomas: The people on the course are really good, really nice. The lecturers have brilliant expertise. The teaching quality's amazing. And they're really supportive if you have any issues while you're on placement. So you're not at the uni, they're really good about communicating and keeping on top of everything, so that's good.

Charley: I quite enjoy the theory side of things before you out on placement. So you start off by getting the knowledge from the lectures, and then you go out onto placement and put theory into practice. Really enjoy the placement side of things because you get a real taste for the school environment and becoming a teacher.

Sam: And the fact that I've made some really good friends here and the tutors are all lovely.

How is Marjon helping you to develop as a teacher?

Thomas: By giving us loads of opportunities to go to conferences, training days, encouraging us to go to inset days while we're in school, telling us ways that we can improve our subject knowledge, basically up-to-date research, lots of things really.

Melissa: Aw, it's been amazing. It's given us the insights of theories and strategies in a class environment, but then going out on placement and actually putting that into practice and that's been really good. So it brings everything to life and makes it real.

Sam: Well, we get to go out on placements, which means that we get experience with the classrooms. And also, they give us advice on how to do your subject knowledge. And just, yeah, basically they're really supportive in whatever we get to do.

Charley: When we come back off placement, we have our UTs who give us a report of how we've done on placement, so that gives us time to come back, reflect on what we've done well, what we haven't done so well on. And then everyone here gives you lots and lots of support to make you a better all-rounded teacher.

What has been the highlight so far?

Thomas: Probably some of the lessons that I got to teach during placement A where you have a really good lesson and you encourage the kids to come out of their comfort zone and maybe take part in a lesson that's something they've never done before, to have really brilliant discussions. Knowing that you're facilitating, that's pretty cool.

Melissa: I think my personal highlight is just seeing the difference I made when I went in my first placement, and knowing that I actually made a difference to those children in that class, and some children particularly, that was absolutely amazing.

Sam: I would have to say it's my last day of placement when all the children brought me up in front of the whole school in assembly and presented a massive big card and presents and everything, and actually made me realize why I wanted to be a teacher.

Charley: Personal highlights so far is probably the cohort. We've got a really nice cohort here of other teachers. Everyone's in the same boat. Everyone's really nice and supportive. It's been a pleasure meeting everyone, and everyone really helps you strive for your placement and hopefully we'll get through the end with each other.

Thomas: Yeah, really good. So from the academic side, the tutors, you have your personal development tutor, who's there to help you, they help you with personal statements, CVs, work. There's student support to help you with you have an assignment, and then they also have great stuff like counseling, mentoring, if you're struggling with anything personally. So yeah, there's a lot around really.

Charley: Support's really good, not just for yourself, but for everyone. As I said, we do have a really good cohort here, so everyone supports each other through. Everyone's in the same boat. Lecture side of things, we have really good supportive lectures, open door policy. You go see them when and as you need them really, and that they offer you support on placement, assessment, normal subject knowledge, anything really. Really good.

Sam: Support is fantastic. So obviously you've got your PDT, which is your pastoral mentor. Obviously your cohort is very supportive as well. You've got student support, the hub, everybody's really supportive and, yeah, able to be with us the whole way through the cohort.

Melissa: Absolutely. I'd say if you want a university that is really supportive and cares, but on a greater level that you actually feel they're part of the family, the support on student support, from your lecturers, they know your names and they really do care. So you can give them as much or as little information about your own personal life, and that's just an amazing opportunity to have.

Thinking about your future in teaching, what are you most looking forward to?

Thomas: Basically having my own classroom that I can arrange how I want, treat it how I want and not having to obey rules that I might disagree with, structuring things in my own way that I think would be a good for the pupils.

Charley: Definitely enjoying having my own classroom. I think going in, having your own environment set up in your own class, it's something I'm really looking forward to working with.

Sam: Having my own classroom. No, yeah, it's basically seeing those light bulb moments in the children, especially when they haven't got something over that whole week, and then, bang, Friday, that's it. Boom. They've got it. And yeah, that's what I want to achieve.

Why this course at Marjon?

Our expertise covers many specialisms of education, as well as special educational needs and disability you can explore childhood development, early years, literacy and wellbeing.

93.9 % of our graduates are in further study, sustained employment or both five years after graduating, compared to a sector average for England of 88.2%. We are 1st in the South West and 6th in England (LEO, 2019).

We have relationships with around 300 primary schools to give you a wide choice of learning experiences.

This course is perfect if you're curious about

Are all classrooms inclusive in today’s schools and how do we address specific needs of learners?

Do children really learn through play?

How do we create deep learning rather than surface learning?

What are the pros vs cons of testing seven year olds?

Should we teach children that hard work can let them achieve anything?

Are teachers responsible for children’s wellbeing?

It was clear that all trainees felt very satisfied with the delivery of the programme and praised Marjon’s full support, clear information and excellent communication ... there is a good assessment diet evident with journal entries, case studies and reflective assignments ... assessment is fair and consistent and tutors provide supportive and constructive feedback to develop students’ learning further ... processes are exemplary.
External Examiner - 2020

What might you become?

You will develop the critical thinking that results in a reflective, flexible, caring, confident and knowledgeable approach to teaching, with outstanding results for pupils. Graduates from our PGCEs achieve extremely high rates of employment with fast progression to leadership roles. Most trainees start to apply for jobs from January ready for September start. Our Jobs Fair in late winter helps many trainees to get their first role. Our teaching graduates are highly sought after. 93.9% of them are in further study, sustained employment or both five years after graduating, compared to a sector average for England of 88.2%. We are 1st in the South West and 6th in England (LEO, 2019).

OFSTED complimeted our partnerships noting an "effective use of local diversity and wider links which ensures trainees have breadth and variety in their training, so making them highly employable" (OFSTED, 2014).


Show video transcript

The teaching training rooms are designed to replicate the classroom environment typically found in schools. Desks can be rearranged for group work. The walls are decorated with posters and other student work. There is a smart screen and lectern for presentations and lectures. This room offers a lovely view of the quad and chaplaincy, with additional seating by the windows.

Modules for this course


1st Year

Inclusion in the primary classroom
This module supports your understanding of the factors that contribute to an inclusive classroom, allowing you to recognise the impact of individual difference on teaching and learning. Placement A runs alongside this module.
Developing knowledge for planning, teaching and assessment
During this module you will learn how to critically assess and monitor progress to enhance children' s learning. You will also have opportunity to consider how children learn. Placement A runs alongside this module
Developing a philosophy of learning and teaching across the primary curriculum
During this module you will consider different approaches to teaching and discover your own philosophy of teaching. You'll also reflect on the type of teacher you want to be and consider your future career plan.
Current educational issues for the teaching professional
This module will enable you to develop your understanding of current education policy. You will explore a range of strategies teachers employ to support diversity in the classroom.
Teaching placement
Placement B (14 weeks) in which you will demonstrate progress against the Teachers’ Standards to meet Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Fees and funding

Fees UK students: £9,250

Fees for International students: £12,000

Funding available for this course


Additional costs:


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Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

Includes lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical workshops and 24 weeks of placement experiences, in two 12-week blocks (one at Key Stage 1 and one at Key Stage 2). Teaching is intensive and akin to being in a full time job (9 to 5 Monday to Friday).


How will you be assessed?

Based on the same way you will be assessed when you are a qualified teacher and includes: teaching portfolios, assignments, presentations, observed teaching and case studies.

Course leader

Kate Brimacombe

Kate took her PGCE at Marjon becoming a primary school teacher here in Devon. She has been working back at Marjon for 13 years training future teachers where her favourite part of the year is 'celebration day' in July when the trainees get their results, they know they have passed and all celebrate together.

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Ruth Benton


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Victoria Brown

Senior Lecturer

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Caroline Colfer

Senior Lecturer

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Caroline teaches aspects of the course related to how children learn and leads on Design & Technology teaching.

Kate Firks


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Kate specialises in Special Educational Needs and Disability. She is a Qualified Teacher of the Vision Impaired. 

Scott Fisher


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Dr Tara Hollins

Senior Lecturer

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Tara specialises in teaching primary mathematics and is also currently involved with an international project about making maths more accessible to primary aged children and their parents.

Alexandra Parks


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