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 2018/19


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. 


This is a blended learning course, meaning that as well as spending two days in the Northern College’s Wentworth Castle base in South Yorkshire (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:
    • Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) (Lifelong Learning), or  
    • Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) (Lifelong Learning) which has 60 Masters credits attached to it, or
    • Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PgDipE) (Lifelong Learning) which has 120 Masters credits attached to it.
    • Those with other qualifications work towards a Certificate in Education (Cert. Ed.) (Lifelong Learning).

The structure of the programme is the same for all routes and participants on each normally work together for much of the course.  You would not necessarily know who was following which pathway, in your group. 


Structure of the Course 

The courses are structured around modules which are based on different aspects of teachers’ work such as designing learning materials, assessing students, and evaluating learning and teaching. There are four 30 credit modules as follows*: 

Year 1 Modules 

Research Informed Teaching, Learning and Assessment 

Becoming a Subject Specialist Tutor 

Year 2 Modules  

Being a Subject Specialist Tutor 

Policy and Professional Issues 

Academic credit is gained by undertaking assignments and providing evidence of achievement.  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 a 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.


Teaching Experience 

Much of the course is focused on practical teaching. You have the opportunity to gain experience of learning and teaching alongside other professionals, with support from tutors and your mentor, as a vehicle for your development. 

Practical experience allows you to gain competence in planning teaching and learning, and in working with learners both in formal classrooms and in student-centred learning situations, such as drop-in study centres. 

During the course you undertake project work, such as developing new course materials. Academic work includes critically examining creativity in teaching, subject specialist related studies, quality and professional issues. Modules also allow you to explore particular areas of interest. 


Entry Requirements 

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 3/4 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 taking an online bridging route. There is an additional cost attached to this and you can find out more about the process here http://consortium.hud.ac.uk/projects/apelbridging/ or you can 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. 

We require you 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. You are required to identify a work-based mentor who can guide you in your subject specialism. 


How to Apply 


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. At the end of the Cert Ed/PGCE application form there is a declaration that you must sign to say that your DBS check is in place.  In the interests of safeguarding, this is an essential entry requirement and is non-negotiable. 

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 the relevant centre of study. 


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 (currently £12.50 at September 2018) per night for bed only, with evening meal and breakfast available at subsidised prices.   



Fees for 2018/19 are £3585 per year. It is hoped that employers will contribute towards fees and that the balance will be loaned to the applicant via Student Finance England (see below).  For the past few years, some students have been able to claim up to £1000 towards the cost of their fees but this changes every year – please check the University of Huddersfield’s website www.hud.ac.uk (School of Education and Professional Development) for up-to-date information.  You might also like to put yourself in the picture by seeing what the Society of Education and Training has to say https://set.et-foundation.co.uk   

Student Loans are available for this course via Student Finance England.  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 is the applicant’s 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).  

*Please note that all course titles, module titles and other information supplied may be subject to change. 


Frequently Asked Questions 

About the Cert Ed/PGCE at The Northern College 
What’s different about the Northern College Cert Ed/PGCE? 

As we’ve said elsewhere, our course is designed to meet the needs of teachers/facilitators/tutors/trainers/group workers from the voluntary, community, social enterprise, public and trade union sectors.  What we’re interested in is transformational education or, as we call it ‘Teaching for a Social Purpose’ (more at www.teachnorthern.wordpress.com).  

So what we are into is challenging and stretching you, supporting and nurturing you, to be in absolutely the best shape to go out and change the world. 

Another feature of our unique course is that it is a blended learning course.  This means that the 14 days’ attendance each year is supplemented by online support and resources, including social media.  We call this, and the student-led sessions we have, the Community of Praxis.  If you’re not already ICT literate, now is the time to go and get yourself online! 

How much will I have to pay? 

Fees are £3585 per year in 2018/19 and it is anticipated that most people will fund this via a student loan (which begins to be paid back once you are earning £25,000 a year).  You can also use the online calculator here

People who wish to stay residential will have an additional (very reasonable) cost to factor in – see below. 

Beth and Marie in our Student Services Department would be happy to guide you through the Student Loans application process, contact Beth on 01225 776000 or b.hutchinson@northern.ac.uk  Please note that Beth and Marie do not give financial advice. 

Do I have to stay residential? 

No but we recommend that you do! The college is a beautiful learning environment and by staying residentially you can take full advantage of the learning resources here, including our gorgeous Library. There is a cost per night (room only) of approximately £12.50.  Meals are very reasonably priced and offer a broad range of choices. 

We understand that this is not possible for everyone, and the choice is yours.   

What is there to do in an evening? 

At any time of year, we wouldn’t be surprised if you wanted to spend all your time outdoors in our glorious gardens.  However, there are things to do inside too! 

The Home Farm complex hosts a café bar and a games room, and our Student Activities Co-ordinator likes to know who is coming in, so that she can organise entertainment for you – quizzes, karaoke, treasure hunts, folk nights.  There is also a Bar in the Blue Room, which opens as a café during the day. 

The Library is generally open until 8pm and the ICT Study Rooms until 10pm.  There are TV rooms in all the accommodation areas. 

How much work will I have to do at home? 

Aside from the two days in college a month and your course work, you will also be expected to attend tutorials and mentoring sessions and engage in online discussions.  Tutorials may be face-to-face, by Skype or phone. 

You will need to ensure that you are able to do 100 hours teaching, 50 hours in any one year – this is an entry requirement of the course and it is your responsibility to get this sorted.  We have learned from experience that where people have not got this nailed on, they worry about it for two years and it detracts from the learning experience for them.  Unfortunately, we are not able to provide teaching hours for you at Northern College.  Do have a chat to us about what counts as teaching in your day job – you might be surprised! 

There is a significant commitment in terms of the work you will do to produce your assignments, with Year 2 feeling ‘heavier’ than Year 1.  You will have lots of support, but 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. 

I have a disability and I am worried about how I’ll cope. 

We understand this and that’s why we have an Additional Learning Support Team to help you if you have a physical, mental or learning disability.  We would expect you to tell us about your disability when you apply for the course.  You will then be contacted by Rob Gant, our Additional Learning Support Manager or by his counterpart at the University of Huddersfield, and together you’ll come up with the best plan of support for you.  Remember, we can only help you if you let us know how things are for you.  

Can I bring my children to Northern College? 

Yes, this is possible if you book your child(ren) into the Children’s Centre well in advance (depending on availability and the age of the child).  Tell us when you apply about your children and we can investigate booking them a place – we’ll ring you if there is anything we are unsure about or if we are full.  Charges apply.  Contact Joanne at the Children’s Centre if you want to come up and visit beforehand (01226 776000) or j.bell@northern.ac.uk. 

What will the course qualify me for? 

It will qualify you to be a teacher of adults, and will lead to Qualified Teacher Status for the Lifelong Learning Sector (QTLS), following Professional Formation, if you choose to pursue this route.  From 2nd April 2012, QTLS also qualifies to teach in schools.  Please visit the Society of Education and Training website (https://set.et-foundation.co.uk ) to find out more about becoming a teacher. 

I’ve heard that you can’t go to Northern College if you’ve got a degree.   

Certain courses at Northern College are especially designed for people with few or no formal qualifications but these are not.  Indeed, you have to have a degree to take the PGCE route.  If you do not have a degree, you will be required to have at least a Level 3 qualification in your subject specialism, to be accepted for the Cert Ed.  You will need to provide proof of your original entry qualification before being accepted onto the course. 

Where is Northern College? 

We are located just outside Barnsley in South Yorkshire, near the village of Dodworth, a few miles from both Junctions 36 and 37 of the M1. Look us up on our website www.northern.ac.uk or ring the College on 01226 776000 and we’ll send you a map. 

If you’re using your Sat Nav, make sure you don’t turn into the Wentworth Castle car park (you’ll have to pay to get yourself out!), but carry on up the hill to the Northern College entrance. 

What do I need to do next? 

If you have any more questions, please email either Alison Longden alongden@northern.ac.uk or Jill Wilkens jwilkens@northern.ac.uk who are course tutors for the Cert Ed/PGCE.  

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 – contact Lisa on l.purcell@northern.ac.uk or 01226 776000 (please note Lisa does not work Fridays).  

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. 

Our information sessions follow the format of a ‘Thinking Environment Interview’, which is designed to really find out what you want to think and say.  You are interviewing us as much as we are interviewing you!  The Thinking Environment is one of the philosophies underlying our teaching.  (For more on Thinking Environments, see www.timetothink.com).  And for more on our philosophy of ‘Teaching for a Social Purpose’ see teachnorthern.wordpress.com  

We do recommend that everyone applying to us does the Award in Education course first of all.  This is not about ‘bums on seats’ for us; we have no problems filling our courses.  We have observed that students get much more out of the Cert Ed/PGCE when they have benefited from the thorough grounding of the AET and we would strongly recommend that you take this route.  Please contact Lisa Purcell for details l.purcell@northern.ac.uk  

We look forward to meeting you! 

The TeachNorthern Team