Teaching Modern Foreign Languages at secondary level

Postgraduate Certificate in Education Secondary Level (11-16 years with post-16 enhancement experience)

Organiser and Tutor: Lynne Kay


PGCE Course Overview

The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), one-year, full-time, Secondary course prepares graduates to teach in secondary schools (age range: 11-16 years with post-16 enhancement experience). The course is assessed against 'M' Level criteria - leading to Qualified Teacher Status and 60 credits at Masters Level.

This is an interesting, often very demanding but tremendously rewarding age group to work with as pupils mature from early adolescence to adulthood. The course is designed to equip you to teach your main subject and to make an effective contribution to the work of schools beyond your subject.

The UEA partnership scheme has attracted national and international attention for its successful close inter-weaving of school and university-based work. It provides you with the opportunity to engage in the systematic study of theory and current good practice both in schools and in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning at UEA. The PGCE course has received a series of excellent grades in OfSTED inspections.

The 36 week long course includes an extensive 24 weeks of placement in two of our partnership schools near, or within reasonable distance of, your home. This emphasis on practical teaching provides you with a broad range of teaching experience in different schools.

At university sessions you will discuss experiences with others on the course and learn more about the theory and practice of teaching. Expect to be involved in a range of teaching methods, including lectures, seminars and practical workshops.


Secondary Teaching Information Event

Our Secondary Teacher Training Information Event for 2014 entry was held in October 2013. The next event will be held in October 2014.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact the UEA PGCE Admissions Team. 


Subject Specific Information - Modern Foreign Languages

The changing world of communications has brought different countries and cultures closer together. Opportunities to bring the outside world into the languages classroom is increasingly easier to achieve through the use of satellite television, video material, email and the internet. The PGCE course in Modern Foreign Languages at UEA is designed to reflect these changes. It aims to help trainee teachers develop the skills to make language learning an enjoyable experience for all language learners within the demands of the National Curriculum, GCSE and post-16 courses.

The PGCE course focuses on the nature of communication in the classroom. What is a truly communicative activity? How can we encourage pupils to initiate conversation? What is the role of writing in the language learning process? Other topics covered will include the use of the target language, differentiation, the teaching of grammar and ICT and language teaching. Language learning theories and examples of good practice informed by them are linked throughout the course. Research on wider educational issues such as motivation, gender and language take up and different teaching and learning styles will also be considered and are essential to an understanding of effective teaching in the language classroom.

Trainees on this course will have the opportunity to work in pairs and groups as well as individually on specific tasks. They will practise their first and second languages, for example, in group work where preparation for sixth form teaching will be conducted in the target language. There is also the possibility to use resources in the James Platt Learning Centre to further develop language skills according to individual needs. Tasks are set each week so that students can link their reflections on language teaching and learning at UEA with practice in the classroom. By the end of the course trainees will have built up a bank of language teaching resources and a glossary of key expressions to support their language teaching in the target language.


Student Endorsements

Two of our past students, Anna Fox and Nicola Wright, share their experiences - why they decided to train to teach, what the course was like and what they're looking forward to achieve in the future.


Entry Requirements

Applicants to the course should hold a BA degree (or equivalent) in languages, languages and literature, or linguistics. In addition to high level language skills, applicants should have a good knowledge of the countries and cultures where the language(s) offered are spoken. The main languages currently required by schools are French, German and Spanish although proficiency in other languages (such as Italian and Russian) will be considered if these are offered as a second language and if we have schools in which school based placements can take place. Applicants offering two languages are preferred.

Native speakers with a non-language based BA but who have relevant teaching experience are encouraged to make enquiries regarding eligibility for entry to the course.


Subject Knowledge and Experience

The standard of applications to the course is very high and we therefore strongly recommend that applicants have some experience of working with youngsters, or of observing the teaching of modern languages in English secondary schools. Most schools will provide such opportunities for those considering applying for a PGCE. Many of our applicants come from abroad and also have prior experience of teaching and working with children.

We advise that all applicants reflect on their experience of working with children or of observing them in school as this forms a major focus of the interview. We also suggest that applicants familiarise themselves with some of the information on the Department for Education website and that they demonstrate some preparation for the interview through initial reading about language teaching. The National Centre for Languages (CiLT) website is a good starting point for this and also the Lingu@net (Virtual Language Centre) website.

Click on the link to access further information about how you can gain school observational experience.


Career Opportunities

Many of our trainees are appointed to teaching posts in Norfolk and Suffolk. Career opportunities within secondary teaching are now far wider and more diverse than ever before. Within a few years of beginning teaching many are able to gain promotion to leadership positions within their subject or for pastoral responsibilities. There may also be opportunities to become a Leading Practitioner, taking a leadership role in developing, implementing and evaluating policies and practice in the workplace - contributing to school improvement. After experience of middle management successful teachers can progress to senior management as Senior Teacher, Deputy Head or Head.


Training Incentives

TA Training Bursaries are available for the PGCE Secondary Modern Foreign Languages course for entry in 2014.

Click on the link to access further information about Financial Information.


Further Enquiries

If you would like to discuss your application further please contact us by email: pgceinfo@uea.ac.uk, by telephone: +44 (0)1603 592855 or write to us:

PGCE Admissions
Room 0.20, School of Education and Lifelong Learning
Admissions, Recruitment & Marketing
University of East Anglia
Norwich Research Park
Norwich NR4 7TJ UK

For further details on how to make an application please see our PGCE Secondary overview page


Online Prospectus

Our PGCE Teacher Training Prospectus for September 2014 entry is available to download in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format.

Thank you for taking the time to view this website. We hope it has given you some idea of what we have to offer and that, if you are thinking of training to be a teacher, you will consider applying to us.