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PG Cert FAQs

PG Cert FAQs

1. PG Cert PLACES – “How many PG Cert training places are available? Do I have a good chance of securing one?”

Our programme is designed to recruit high-quality trainees to meet the needs of schools within the regions covered by The Cambridge Partnership. The number of places available for any given subject varies annually in accordance with national and local need.

2. "Academically, I completed my A Levels and then went straight to university. I am now about to complete my degree programme. Is the PG Cert for me?"

Yes, this would be a suitable route for you providing that you meet the entry requirements. Acceptance onto the programme is a competitive process. Experience suggests that there will be a significant number of high quality applications. An important element of the selection procedure is to consider the life and vocational experiences of the applicants and the extent to which they support this career choice along with their academic qualifications. 

3. GCSE MATHEMATICS/ ENGLISH – “I haven’t got GCSE Maths/English, but I am going to take it this year, can I still apply for PG Cert?”

You MUST have secured a GCSE grade C or above (or equivalent) in Maths and English BEFORE your application will be considered and you can be interviewed for a place on the programme. You may have to wait until the next academic year if all places have been allocated. You will need to produce original certificates if you are selected for interview.
You are advised to consult the Teaching Agency website to check that you fulfil the requirements to teach in the United Kingdom. 


4. GCSE MATHEMATICS/ ENGLISH – “Where can I take GCSE Maths/English? The local FE College will not accept external candidates at this stage of the year.”

You can be offered an equivalency test. There is an examination fee payable by the applicant for this service to cover administration costs. Please note equivalency tests taken with one provider are not always accepted by another. If you have taken an equivalency test already please check with The Cambridge Partnership if it can be accepted.

5. MATHEMATICS DEGREE – “I have a degree in Mathematics, but I haven’t got GCSE Mathematics. Will I need to take GCSE Mathematics?

All applicants must have GCSE Mathematics or equivalent. Whilst an A-Level in Mathematics would be acceptable, a degree on its own would not because it is too specialised. 

6. DEGREE RESULT – “I will not know the class of my degree until June, can I still apply?

You may submit an application, pending your result. Any offer of a place would be conditional on the successful completion of your degree to the required level. 

6.1. DEGREE – “My initial degree is only partially relevant to the subject I wish to teach, e.g. a degree in Business Studies which included Mathematics.” – from a Secondary Mathematics applicant.

The degree must be relevant to the subject choice. A minimum of 50% of the content of the degree needs to be directly related to the subject you wish to teach. There are exceptions where other qualifications and experience may be taken into account. For all applicants, their other qualifications and experience will help to inform the selection committee. The final decision about the relevance or equivalency of your degree will lie with The Cambridge Partnership. 

6.2 OVERSEAS QUALIFICATIONS – “My initial degree is from an overseas university, am I eligible?”

Possibly, you will need to approach UK NARIC (tel. 0870 9904088) to secure a certificate of confirmation of equivalence. Some public libraries offer access to the NARIC data base at no cost. You will be asked to produce this at interview if it is not attached to your application.

7. PROFESSIONAL SKILLS TESTS - "I understand that I have to pass the Professional Skills Tests before I can start the course. Is this correct?"

Yes, all applicants are required to pass professional skills tests in numeracy and literacy before starting their course. Full details can be found on the National College for Teaching and Leadership website.

We have received the following clarification from the Skills Tests / Supply & Recruitment Division of the National College of Teaching and Leadership

"Anyone who starts an Initial Teacher Training course must pass the skills tests before they start the course, irrespective of how they are funded. As with all other applicants they can book an appointment a few weeks in advance of submitting an application to ensure they secure a convenient appointment. However, they must have submitted the application prior to taking the test. They will need to take evidence of the application to the test centre when they take the tests. The school and/training provider will be able to access their results by searching for their surname and date of birth".

You can book a test by registering online via the DfE website, www.education.gov.uk/teachskillstests. You do not need a reference number to apply but you will be given a skills tests reference number when you register which you can keep for your own records.

You must have submitted your application form before you take the tests.


8. SCHOOL EXPERIENCE – “How should I arrange school experience prior to interview?”

One of the best ways to find out whether a career in teaching is right for you is to spend some time in a classroom and speak to experienced teachers and school staff. The School Experience Programme (SEP) has been developed to allow you to gain classroom experience in secondary schools. Click on the link above to visit the SEP webpage. 

Whether you have been involved with the SEP or not, you MUST obtain some school experience prior to interview. You should make your own arrangements to visit a maintained school, preferably in your local authority (LA). You should arrange with the head teacher to spend some time in classes of the appropriate age range. While you are in school, you should observe teaching and learning within your subject or phase. It would be beneficial to have a discussion with the head of department or key stage coordinator, who should complete the School Experience form which should then be signed by the head teacher. We recommend that all applicants undertake at least five days of school experience, preferably more. The aims of this experience are to confirm your decision to go into teaching, to update your understanding of educational practice, to inform the interview and selection process and to support future learning.

Note, whilst experience gained at, for example, an Independent school or a state primary school is beneficial and helps to develop an understanding of the process of teaching and learning, it cannot count towards either the pre-selection observation period nor to the programme’s school experience for both of these must be within the state maintained secondary sector.


9. PART-TIME – “Can I do PG Cert over 2 years?”

Although The Cambridge Partnership programme is designed for completion within an academic year we are prepared to consider part-time provision. The training programme will be adapted to reflect individual needs.

10. TRAVEL – “How much will I have to travel?”

The programme is largely delivered within three designated centres – Sawtry, Peterborough and Kings Lynn. However, subject groups often meet in schools across the region. Trainees are responsible for their own travel arrangements.
During the first two terms all trainees will meet once a week, on Fridays, for subject days, conferences or professional studies. All other training is school based. 

11. COMMITMENT – “How many hours of study will the training consist of?”

The PG Cert is a professional training programme. It will require the commitment equivalent to that of a serving full time teacher in terms of the length of school day, plus additional preparatory and academic work. The programme cannot be contained with a particular number of hours per week, you must expect it to consume a large part of your time and you must be prepared to be flexible.

11.1 COMMITMENT – “When am I expected to be in school?”

Firstly, all schools are different! As a trainee following a professional training programme you must expect to be on the school site in much the same way as all teachers and this is typically from about 08.00am until 5.00pm or later. Playing a full part in the work, life and community of the school, you cannot expect to leave with the children! There may be variations during the year, and from school to school, but you will be expected to attend the weekly cycle of meetings within school as part of your commitment.

12. LOCATION OF WORK AND TRAINING - Can I apply to more than one lead school working with The Cambridge Partnership as the provider? 

Applications are processed centrally with the lead schools. If the applicant applies to more than one of the Partnership’s lead schools, then it is the locality in which they are resident that would normally be considered. 

12.1 "Do I have to apply to the LA where I am resident?"

No, all vacancies for training are managed by The Cambridge Partnership and the lead school offering the training place. This does not have to be in the local authority where you reside. It must be noted that trainees are responsible for their own travel arrangements.

13. PAY – “Will I get paid? How much will it be?”

There is no salary with PG Cert. Funding will be through bursary, subject to eligibility, and loans from the Student Loan Company. Please click here for more information about funding.


14. SCHOOL PLACEMENTS ONCE A TRAINEE IS ON THE PROGRAMME – “Do I have to find my own school placement?”

No, for PG Cert The Cambridge Partnership will be responsible for securing appropriate schools to support your development as a teacher. However, this does not prevent you from suggesting potential placements for consideration.

The Cambridge Partnership will secure contrasting school placements as part of your training and in some instances may be able to help in identifying a possible employing school. 

15. PREVIOUS WITHDRAWAL FROM INITIAL TEACHER TRAINING – “Is it still possible for me to apply for PG Cert?

Yes, but you must include within your application a letter, from your previous training provider, supporting the reasons for you terminating that programme. This would give you clearance to join a new programme. Please remember that clearance to apply does not guarantee a place.

16. APPLICATIONS TO MORE THAN ONE COURSE - “I am desperate to get a place in teaching and have applied for/will apply for a PG Cert place with another provider. Can I still apply to The Cambridge Partnership?”

Yes, you can apply for up to three places at any one time. The Cambridge Partnership will, however, expect you to make a commitment once an offer of a place has been made post interview. 

16.1 "I have been offered/accepted a place on a PG Cert course with another provider can I still be considered for a place in The Cambridge Partnership?"

The Cambridge Partnership will not offer interviews and places to applicants who have already been offered and accepted a place on a PG Cert course with another provider.