Cert Ed/PGCE/PgDipE Lifelong Learning In-service

HomeCert Ed/PGCE/PgDipE Lifelong Learning In-service

Awards of the University of Huddersfield include:

  • Lifelong Learning Certificate in Education (CertEd) In-service
  • Lifelong Learning PGCE In-service
  • Lifelong Learning PGDipE In-service

About the course

This is a two year part-time in-service (whilst teaching) lifelong learning (post-14) teacher training course.  Upon successful completion, you’ll be eligible to proceed, following a process of professional formation through the Society for Education and Training, to gain Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status. This is the full professional status for teachers in the Lifelong Learning Sector.


If you are currently teaching young people (post-14) or adults this course helps you to develop your teaching skills, reflect on current ideas about education and training (particularly transformational education), and to creatively explore the professional opportunities open to you.  The mission of the Northern College is transforming communities and we are particularly looking for applications from people whose work has a social purpose, including trainers in the voluntary, community, public and trade union sectors. 

Our students teach across a diverse variety of settings: colleges, training providers, voluntary and community organisations, health, local authorities, prison education. They call themselves ‘teachers’, facilitators, tutors, group workers, assessors – or teaching may just be part of their role.

The course allows you to focus on your particular subject specialist area, alongside general teaching in the lifelong learning sector and a significant amount of your learning happens in your place of work – allowing you to put theory into practice.

Whilst you will be a student of the University of Huddersfield your place of study will be Northern College. It is a blended learning course, meaning that as well as spending two days in college approximately once a month (currently a Friday and Saturday, 9.30am – 4.30pm), there are significant additional requirements in terms of engaging with your tutors and peers online, independent study and teaching practice.

Course detail 

There are four pathways available. Graduates can work towards either:

  • Lifelong Learning Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)  
  • Lifelong Learning Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) which has 60 Masters credits attached to it
  • Lifelong Learning Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDipE) which has 120 Masters credits attached to it
  • Those with other qualifications work towards a Certificate in Education (CertEd).

The structure of the course is the same for all pathways meaning you would not necessarily know who was following which in your group. 

You undertake four 30 credit modules over the two years which are based on different aspects of teachers’ work such as designing learning materials, assessing students, and evaluating learning and teaching: 

Year 1 Modules 

Research Informed Teaching, Learning and Assessment 

This module aims to develop your understanding of how people learn in the Lifelong Learning Sector and of the role of assessment in enabling learning and achievement. It introduces theories and principles of learning and assessment and develops your ability to apply research evidence in designing effective learning and assessment strategies and materials. It seeks to develop positive approaches to the management of group and individual behaviours and promotes an inclusive approach to teaching, learning and assessment. It introduces the role of key transferable skills and the ways in which people learn English, Maths and digital skills. The module is assessed by means of a practical micro-teaching assignment and the design of an intervention, strategy, activity or resource, underpinned by an understanding of key principles of teaching, learning and assessment.

Becoming a subject specialist tutor 

The module reviews your practice as a trainee teacher. It explores your teaching values, knowledge of your subject specialism, and your knowledge and understanding of how you’re learning to teach. You’ll have the opportunity to learn how to identify and respond to students’ needs, and how to use suitable teaching, learning and assessment strategies to develop inclusive teaching and learning environments. You’ll have the chance to evaluate your teaching effectiveness and develop as a reflective practitioner as well as engage in personal and professional development planning, against the appropriate Professional Standards, to recognise and develop relevant subject specialist knowledge, behaviours and skills. This will include further development of English, Maths and digital skills for you and your students.

Year 2 modules 

Being a subject specialist tutor 

This module builds on previous generic and subject specialist development in two ways. Firstly, it contributes to your development of more advanced strategies and methods for promoting learning and, secondly, it involves a focus on specific specialist areas and the critical analysis subject specialist pedagogy. The module seeks to enhance your ability to reflect critically on, and to evaluate, teaching and learning; by recognising particular curriculum and professional challenges; and by enabling you to develop critical responses to these concerns in sophisticated, innovative and creative ways. Key learning activities of the module are practical teaching experience and the engagement with other specialists through collaborative practice. The module is assessed through a Teaching Portfolio and a Conference Paper dealing with teaching and learning in the specialist subject.

Policy and professional Issues 

The module will develop your understanding of policy and issues relating to professionalism in Lifelong Learning. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the impact of policy on professional practice and curriculum developments, drawing on appropriate evidence to evaluate professional practice and discuss possible improvements. You’ll also discuss key issues of professionalism in Lifelong Learning, including debates on reflective practice and a discussion of your own educational values and the extent to which these promote social justice.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by undertaking written assignments, a micro-teach, reflections, presentations and providing evidence in an e-portfolio.  This allows you to explore topics that are of interest to you, relevant to your working environment, and to your career development.  Your teaching practice will also be observed by tutors and your mentor (four observations each year). 

As part of the Year 2 module Being a Subject Specialist Tutor, you will be expected to attend two conference days at the University of Huddersfield (whist this is currently on a Saturday in November and one around the Easter school holidays the University may implement equivalent alternative arrangements).  Attendance is part of the assessment for the module and is therefore mandatory.

Entry requirements 

Much of the course is focused on practical teaching and you need to be in paid or unpaid employment, as a teacher or trainer, for a minimum of 100 hours (at least 50 hours in any one year). Voluntary teaching/training may be acceptable if certain conditions apply. Do have a chat to us about what counts as teaching in your day job – you might be surprised! 

You are also required to identify a work-based mentor who can guide and support you in your subject specialism. 

If you are a PGCE or PGDipE applicant you should hold a UK first degree or equivalent and relevant work experience (where appropriate to the subject field). 

If you are applying for the CertEd course you should have a minimum of a Level 3 or equivalent professional qualification and significant work experience in the area you teach (where appropriate to the subject field). 

If you hold CTLLS at Level 4, or Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training, and substantial knowledge and experience of teaching you may be eligible to APEL directly into Year 2 of the course by undertaking a paper based claim for accreditation of prior learning. There is an additional cost attached to this and for further information please contact David Feeney   Dfeeney@northern.ac.uk  

Although, not a condition of entry, we would recommend that you have English and Maths at Level 2 (GCSE or equivalent) as many employers require these qualifications. There is the opportunity to study for these at Northern College either alongside the CertEd/PGCE or after completing it. 

Further study

Those who complete the Certificate in Education could proceed on to the BA/BA (Hons) in Education and Professional Development. Those who complete the PGCE/PGDipE may wish to progress to a Masters degree and/or doctoral study.

How to apply 

Applications should be made online via the University of Huddersfield website https://sepd-onlineapps.hud.ac.uk/ 

Certain conditions must be in place: 

Criminal records declaration and check 

Learning and teaching organisations normally include young and vulnerable people and it is therefore important that screening is undertaken to help ensure a safe environment. As this is an in-service course, your employer is responsible for ensuring that you are a fit and proper person to undertake the work that they employ you for. The University does not therefore normally undertake checks on those applying to this provision (though it reserves the right to do so). 

If you are self-employed as a teacher/trainer, it is your responsibility to arrange for an enhanced clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and to provide evidence that you have done so. Guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service


With your application form is a reference request form, which you should pass on to your referee for them to complete and return to David Feeney   Dfeeney@northern.ac.uk  

Evidence of qualifications 

You must provide evidence of your qualifications.  Photocopies are not acceptable. The Northern College will make arrangements to see your original certificates before you can be formally enrolled.

What is the selection process?

On receipt of your application, we will invite you to an informal interview which will give you the opportunity to find out more about the course and the way we teach as well as for us to begin getting to know you.  We will then let you know if you have been offered a place.  If we can’t offer you a place, we will tell you why.  


Fees for 2021/22 will be £3680*

*Fees are subject to change and may rise in line with inflation (Retail price Index)

Further information on course fees can be found here https://www.hud.ac.uk/undergraduate/fees-and-finance/

This course is eligible for a Student Finance England Loan for tuition fees and, if you are studying on the PGCE or PGDipE route, you are also eligible to apply for a maintenance loan. https://www.gov.uk/apply-online-for-student-finance 

What do I need to do next? 

If you have any questions, please email David Feeney   Dfeeney@northern.ac.uk 

If you’re happy and you want to go for it, complete the online application at https://sepd-onlineapps.hud.ac.uk/  and email David Feeney (do let us know if you have any problems with this and it’s worth checking to see that we’ve received your application)

We look forward to meeting you.

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