Secondary (English Medium) PGDE

UCAS code X133

What is special about this course?

This course will prepare you for life as a secondary teacher, with the skills and knowledge to influence the lives of the young people you teach.

The course is offered in partnership with Argyll and Bute, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highland, Moray, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands councils, each working with the university through their local campus. The programme is also offered in partnership with Scottish Borders council, with applicants based in the Borders registered through Inverness College UHI.

The PGDE (Secondary) consists of 18 weeks study at the university plus 19 weeks in professional practice in schools.

The subjects listed below can be studied at the following campuses: Argyll College UHI (Oban); Inverness College UHI; Lews Castle College UHI, Stornoway; Moray College UHI; Orkney College UHI; Shetland College UHI; or the Scottish Borders.

  • Business Education (code: UX3BS)
  • Chemistry and Science (code: UX3CS)
  • Computing Science (code: UX3CO)
  • English (code: UX3EN)
  • Gaelic (code: UX3GA) (only available at: Argyll College UHI, Oban; Inverness College UHI; and Lews Castle College UHI, Stornoway) 
  • Home Economics (code: UX3HO)
  • Mathematics (code: UX3MA)
  • Physics and Science (code: UX3PS)
  • Technological Education (code: UX3TC)

The programme is sometimes available at Lochgilphead (through Argyll College UHI) and at Benbecula (through Lews Castle College UHI). This decision is made annually and is dependent on the number of applicants in those areas.

Special features

  • Opportunity to undertake secondary education programme in the Highlands and Islands and Scottish Borders
  • Linked local authorities plan to offer students an induction year within their schools, following successful completion of the course


Entry requirements

Important: Please read our FAQ sheet before applying to this programme

Applicants should hold a relevant degree at undergraduate level or above; preference will be given to those possessing a degree at honours level, though consideration will also be given to those holding ordinary degrees, PLUS:

  • Scottish Higher level English plus Maths or Applications of Mathematics National 5 at grade C or above, or SQA Intermediate 2 or Standard grade Credit; or equivalent, or
  • A Level English at grade D, or GCSE English Language or English Literature plus GCSE Mathematics at grade C or above; or equivalent
  • Please note: There are subject specific entry guidelines for secondary teaching stipulated by GTC Scotland. These are available from the GTC Scotland website: Memorandum on Entry Requirements to Programmes of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland, 2013: details of these are available in our Frequently Asked Questions document - see link above
  • Successful applicants will be required to complete a PVG Disclosure Check and become PVG Scheme Members in order to undertake this course
  • Applicants who have lived outside the UK for a period of six or more consecutive months in the past ten years will also be required to provide a criminal record check from all relevant countries prior to enrolment on the programme


PDGE Taught Modules:

Collaborative Practice (20 credits)

This module will develop teachers who are critically reflective, accomplished and enquiring professionals, able to fully engage with the complexities of education and become key people in shaping educational change. It will enable an understanding of the nature of curriculum and its development, the relevance to the modern world and a changing society. The module will examine how Curriculum for Excellence aims to achieve a transformation in education by providing a more enriched, coherent and flexible curriculum. Students will be equipped with the skills to plan, teach and assess within a curriculum framework where the focus is on themes across learning and working with their class and teaching colleagues as part of the whole school.

Enquiry and Practice (20 credits)

This module is aimed at establishing children and young people’s learning, and their classroom experiences as learners, as the central focus for students’ enquiry into their own practice, as the key driver for all planning, teaching and assessment decisions made. The module is closely linked to the four blocks of Placement experience in schools, to enhance understanding of learning as a continuum.

Reflective Practice (20 credits)

The module will equip students with the necessary tools to develop an enquiring and critical approach to their teaching, as part of their own personal and professional resources to ensure continuing growth and development. It aims to ensure that the aspirant teacher will become a reflective professional, embodying the necessary skills to think seriously about the quality of children and young people’s learning and the ways in which their own practice impacts on learning.

Professional Practice (Secondary) (60 credits)

For this module students will develop their teaching practice and professional identity as a teacher in four blocks of school placements. These are allocated nationally via the Student Placement System to afford experience of:

  • Broad General Education in S1 to S3
  • Senior Phase Education in S4 to S6

Students will gradually increase the duration and scope of their responsibility for learning, teaching and assessment in their school placement class, culminating in classroom leadership for 0.8FTE during the final 6-week placement.

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • For the taught element of the course, you will study through a combination of face-to-face and video conference lectures, and online study via the university’s virtual learning environment (VLE)
  • The practical element takes place in school

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 1 year


How much will my course cost?

The following fees apply to our PGDE for 2017-18:

2018-19  Scottish and EURest of UK
PGDE £1,820 £9,000


2017-18  Scottish and EURest of UK
PGDE £1,820 £8,000

There are a number of funding options available to UK and EU students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living whilst studying. Students who are resident and studying in Scotland can apply for their fees to be paid by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). SAAS will determine eligibility.


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact the relevant university partner college for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed this course, you will be guaranteed a one-year training post as part of the GTCS Teacher Induction Scheme. Linked Local Authorities plan to offer an induction year to students within their schools.

Can I progress into further study?

The PGDE Secondary programme links directly to the MEd Critical Enquiry in Education which offers a structured programme to support professional learning throughout your teaching career.

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Secondary (English Medium) PGDE

You must apply through the main UCAS undergraduate scheme using UHI code H49 for this programme.

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). UHI operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.

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