Cert Ed/PGCE/PgDipE Lifelong Learning

Certificate in Education (Lifelong Learning),  
Professional/Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Lifelong Learning)  
 Post Graduate Diploma in Education (Lifelong Learning) 
‘Cert Ed/PGCE/PgDipE 

Awards of the University of Huddersfield 

Course dates 2019/20


2 years part-time study 

This is a part-time (normally two years) In-Service (whilst teaching) post-compulsory teacher training course leading to a professional qualification in further, higher, and adult education and training.  For those employed in the learning and skills sector it provides the evidence for Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status, alongside Professional Formation and, currently, membership of the Society of Education and Training should you choose to pursue that route. From 2nd April 2012, QTLS also qualifies you to work in schools. 



If you are currently teaching young people (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 looking for applications from people whose work has a social purpose, particularly trainers in the voluntary, community, public and trade union sectors.  (For more about Teaching for Social Purpose, read the TeachNorthern blog at teachnorthern.wordpress.com) or follow us on Twitter @teachnorthern  

The Certificate in Education (Lifelong Learning), Professional/Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Lifelong Learning) and Post Graduate Diploma in Education are professional qualifications for people teaching in lifelong learning, across a diverse variety of settings (you may not even call yourself ‘teacher’, you may be a facilitator, tutor, group worker, assessor – or teaching may just be part of your role).  The University of Huddersfield has been training people working in these areas since 1947 and the Northern College also has a long history of delivering initial ‘Training the Trainers’ courses (currently the Awards in Education and Training) for teachers in the voluntary, community, public, social enterprise and trade union sectors. 

Whilst you will be a student of the University of Huddersfield your place of study will be The Northern College’s Wentworth Castle base in South Yorkshire. It is a blended learning course, meaning that as well as spending two days in college (residential accommodation and childcare is available at very reasonable rates) approximately once a month, there are significant additional requirements in terms of online engagement, tutorials and teaching practice.

By operating together through HUDCETT (The Consortium for Post Compulsory Education & Training), the University and the colleges are able to ensure that you receive high quality tuition.  The University of Huddersfield is one of the best centres in the country for teacher education. In May 2007, the University was awarded national status as a Centre for Excellence in Teacher Training (CETT).  


Summary of Course 

There are four routes available: 

  • Graduates can work towards either
    • Professional Graduate Certificate in Education or  
    • Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Lifelong Learning) which has 60 Masters credits attached to it, or
    • Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (Lifelong Learning) which has 120 Masters credits attached to it.
  • Those with other qualifications work towards a Certificate in Education

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

You will be assessed by undertaking assignments 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.  You will be part of what we call our Community of Praxis, in which students, tutors and graduates support one another to learn and grow. 

As part of the Year 2 module Being a Subject Specialist Tutor, you will be expected to attend a two day conference at the University in Huddersfield (currently held during the Easter school holiday weeks in March or April, or whatever equivalent alternative arrangements that the University may implement).  Attendance is part of the assessment for the module and is mandatory.

There is a significant commitment in terms of the work you will do to produce your assignments and whilst you will have lots of support, we want you to understand how much you are taking on.  That is one of the reasons why we encourage you to contact us if you would like talk it through.


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 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).  You must also hold qualifications at Level 3 in the subject area you teach, if this is different from that of your degree. 

If you are applying for the Certificate in Education 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 or 60 credits of a previous Cert Ed/PGCE you may be eligible to APEL directly into Year 2 of the course, by undertaking a paper based APEL claim. There is an additional cost attached to this and for further information please contact Alison Longden alongden@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. 

This Northern College course is aimed at teachers and trainers who define their work as contributing to the transformation of communities.  We particularly welcome applicants from ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. 


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.  DBS checks are free for some volunteers – please see website for details of how ‘volunteer’ is defined.


Health check 

As this is an in-service course, your employer is responsible for ensuring that you are fit to undertake the job you are employed for. The University therefore does not normally undertake health checks (but reserves the right to do so). 



With your application form is a reference request form, which you should pass on to your referee for them to complete and return to Alison Longden alongden@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.


Residential Element 

We strongly recommend that you take advantage of the opportunity to stay overnight in our gorgeous, Grade 1 listed building.  Accommodation is available at a reduced rate per night for bed only, with evening meal and breakfast available at subsidised prices.   



Fees for 2018/19 are £3585 per year (we expect a small increase for 2019-20). It is hoped that employers will contribute towards fees and that the balance will be loaned to the applicant via Student Finance

Student Loans for tuition fees are available for this course via Student Finance England.  If you are studying on the PGCE or PGDipE route you are also eligible to apply for a maintenance loan

Loans begin to be paid back when your personal income rises above £25,000 per annum, so please do seriously consider this as the repayments are very reasonable.  It will be your responsibility to apply to Student Finance England for support with fees.  You will need to provide evidence of how you will pay your fees, when you enrol on the course or you will not be allowed to enrol. 

Please note that once you have enrolled, you are responsible for the fee for that year, no matter what happens with your application to Student Finance England.  We do pursue fee debtors for payment. Please make an appointment with Beth in Student Services at the Northern College if you want to find out more about Student Finance England loans. For advice, further information or just a human touch, please contact one of the course tutors (Alison Longden or Jill Wilkens) by email alongden@northern.ac.uk  jwilkens@northern.ac.uk Or you can contact Lisa Purcell, Course Administrator who is available on 01226 776000 or at l.purcell@northern.ac.uk (please note Lisa does not work Fridays).  

What do I need to do next? 

If you have any questions, please email either Alison Longden alongden@northern.ac.uk or Jill Wilkens jwilkens@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/  (do let us know if you have any problems with this and it’s worth checking to see that we’ve received your application)


What is the selection process? 

On receipt of your application, we will invite you to an informal interview and/or information session (if there is one coming up) which will give you chance to explore the way in which we teach and for us to get a glimpse of 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. 


We look forward to meeting you! 

The TeachNorthern Team

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