Hibernia College Dublin

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Secondary Initial Teacher Training with PGCE

Initial Teacher Training with HCUK

We provide a blended online learning and in-school postgraduate Initial Teacher Training (ITT) with PGCE, available in England, through a National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) accredited programme.

ITT courses are available in key teaching subjects including Maths, English, Physics, Chemistry and Modern languages (ML), which include French, Spanish and German. On completion of the programme you will gain Qualified Teacher Status as well as Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)* if you opt to complete one.

The programme aims to address the current shortages of secondary Maths, English, Physics, Chemistry and ML teachers in England by providing an accessible and flexible path to becoming a fully qualified secondary school teacher.

We have developed a unique two-phase programme that blends Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) with essential in-school experience, which is supported by a personal pathway tutor throughout.

Phase I – Preparation

  • Bespoke preparation before in-school experience
  • Delivered fully online
  • Includes Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE)
  • Ranges from eight weeks to 32 weeks depending on your need

Phase II – Core Programme

  • School placements in two schools arranged through our national network of hub schools
  • At least 30 weeks of in-school experience
  • Chance to prepare and deliver your own lessons
  • In-school experience is supported by continued online study throughout Phase II

The ITT programme is designed to provide you with the right amount of preparation before starting the in-school phase of the programme, ensuring that your knowledge of the subject and curriculum and teaching skills are at the optimum level.

The length of your full programme will largely depend on the amount of knowledge that you currently have. The shortest time frame that the programme can be completed in is 12 months, if a participant is not required to complete SKE or has already completed an SKE course, and the longest period will be approximately 24 months if a considerable amount of SKE is required. Each programme is tailored to the participant and their programme length will be defined as part of an offer letter.

Our ITT programme is a national programme delivered locally through a combination of online tutorials, lectures, face-to-face tuition and school experience organised by HCUK through our Hub Schools. You will be guided and supported by an experienced subject-specific pathway tutor throughout the programme, both online and face-to-face during the in-school experience to coach you and facilitate effective progress towards QTS.

ITT Options

We offer a range of flexible and accessible Initial Teacher Training (ITT) programmes in shortage subject areas (currently Maths, English, Physics, Chemistry and ML). There are two ITT routes to choose from:

  • ITT leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) with a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)*
  • ITT leading to QTS only

If you choose the optional PGCE you will be required to complete three additional written assignments during Phase II.

* The PGCE option is only available for specific subjects on specific start dates and is subject to annual review by our university partners.

Programme Structure

Our ITT programme is broadly split into two distinct phases. This two-phase approach means that your programme will be tailored to your specific needs and will vary depending on your existing knowledge and skills. The shortest length that the programme can be completed in is 12 months and the longest is approximately 24 months.


PHASE I: Preparation

The first phase provides you with access to key subject knowledge, pedagogy and other resources that you will need to enhance your knowledge and skills before going into the classroom. Your first phase will focus on subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) and will be delivered 100% online with the support from an experienced pathway tutor. This online delivery means you have the option of fitting learning around personal and professional commitments. Phase I is tailored to your individual needs – this means that the programme length will vary according to your current knowledge and skillset. The shortest programme is 8 weeks and the longest programmes is 32 weeks.

PHASE II: Core Programme

The second phase of our ITT programme provides you with three terms (minimum of 30 weeks) of full-time in-school experience, giving you the chance to put all of the knowledge and key skills that you have acquired in Phase I into practice in the classroom. This school experience is normally organised by HCUK with a school within a commutable distance from where you live. The school experience is supported by regular day release for online study and a number of face-to-face workshops throughout the year. Your personal pathway tutor will also continue to guide and support you throughout the second phase both online and in-person with a number of in-school visits.

Who Should Apply?

Motivated individuals who have a passion to teach Maths, English, Physics, Chemistry or ML and meet the following entry criteria:

  • Achieved a Grade C or above in GCSE English and Maths (GCSE equivalents will be considered)
  • Hold an undergraduate degree* in a relevant subject (or another qualification of equivalent academic standard in a relevant subject)
  • Have undertaken, or have evidence of having arranged to undertake, a minimum of 5 days of secondary classroom experience prior to the programme start date
  • Possess the appropriate qualities, attitudes and values expected of a teacher
  • Have the ability to demonstrate English language proficiency (reading, writing and speaking)
  • Must have undertaken the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks and/or any other appropriate background checks (and such checks must not identify them as being unsuited to working with children)
  • Meet the Secretary of State’s requirements for health and physical capacity to teach
  • Meet The National College for Teaching and Leadership’s financial eligibility criteria in order to be accepted for a publicly funded place on this ITT programme

* A degree of a 2:2 or above is required for English, Chemistry, French, German and Spanish. Other degree classes may be considered for Maths and Physics.

Why Choose an ITT programme with HCUK?

  • National programme available anywhere in England
  • Leads to QTS with an option to add PGCE*
  • Programme split into two phases to offer flexibility and accessibility. The first phase is delivered 100% online allowing trainees to maintain personal and professional commitments
  • Course materials are available 24/7 every day of the year
  • Fully supported – each trainee is assigned a personal pathway tutor who will guide and support them throughout the programme
  • Online Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) is offered as standard as part of Phase I
  • 3 terms of in-school experience is included and organised by HCUK**
  • School experience is supported by high performing, experienced Hub Schools
  • Placements with schools aiming to create their own specialist teacher supply
  • Multiple start dates throughout the year
  • Funding and bursaries are available to eligible trainees

* The PGCE option is only available for some subjects on specific start dates and is subject to annual review by our university partners
**HCUK will do everything it can to arrange suitable school placements for you, however this is not guaranteed

Start Dates

Our ITT programme is designed with accessibility and flexibility in mind. We offer various start dates throughout the year but there are three key factors that will influence the date you begin the programme:

  • How much Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) you require in Phase I
  • Whether or not you would like to include the PGCE option as part of Phase II. This is only available at certain start dates
  • You meet all of the pre-conditions in your offer letter before starting Phase II

We strongly advise you submit your application as soon as possible to ensure you can join the best possible Phase I and Phase II start dates for your needs and circumstances.

Application Deadlines

Application Deadline Interview Date
7th Jan 15 4th Feb 15
6th Feb 15 10th March 15
13th March 15 14th April 15
10th April 15 12th May 15

Please contact us for dates beyond April.

You will only be allowed to start Phase II (core programme) once you have met all of the conditions of your offer (including the completion of SKE programme if required).Please note that successful applicants will be offered the next interview date available to them. If you pass the interview stage you may be asked to complete an SKE programme before starting Phase II (as part of a conditional offer*). If you have to complete an SKE, you will be offered the next available SKE start date based on your assessed needs.

Start Dates Phase I – Preparation (SKE)

We offer a range of online SKE courses that vary in length from eight weeks up to 32 weeks. Usually you will be required to complete an SKE course as part of your ITT programme.

The length of this first phase will be advised as part of your offer letter, which will detail the next available SKE start date for you.

Applicants who have already completed an SKE course with another provider or those who do not require SKE may be able to join the programme at Phase II subject to completion of any pre-conditions*.

Start Dates Phase II – Core Programme (in-school experience)

Phase II consists of around 30 weeks of full-time in-school teaching experience with regular day release for online study. Most applicants will be required to complete Phase I and any pre-conditions prior to starting Phase II.

Phase Two Start Date (induction period) In-School Placement Est. Programme End Date
16th March 2015 20th April 2015 March 2016
27th July 2015 14th September 2015 July 2016
December 2015 January 2016 December 2016

Applicants join Phase II once they have completed SKE and met any pre-conditions. If the applicant has not completed the required length of SKE prior to their intended Phase II start date, the applicant may be required to join Phase II at a later date. We strongly advise that applicants submit their application as soon as possible to avoid this. 

* Certain pre-conditions for entry into the ITT programme may be required. These can include the required skills tests and evidence of suitable in school experience


Our ITT programmes are delivered through a blended-learning experience, which incorporates online on-demand sessions, face-to-face tuition and in-school experience.

The programmes are broadly split into two phases, the first is deliver 100% online and includes Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) and subject pedagogy. The second phase consists of 3 terms (minimum 30 weeks) of in-school experience, which is supported by regular day release for online study.

Online learning

The whole of Phase I and parts of Phase II are delivered online via Moodle, an innovative and interactive e-learning platform.

This platform means that you can learn in your spare time and fit the online elements of the programme around existing personal and professional commitments.

You will be issued with login details for Moodle at the start of your course. You can then access course materials, lessons and tutorials from any Internet-enabled device. This can be done anywhere in the world, at any time, making learning extremely flexible. If you opt to undertake the PGCE as well as QTS you will also benefit from access to our partner university’s e-library when completing the PGCE assignments in Phase II.

You are strongly encouraged to attend regular live interactive online tutorial sessions, where you can discuss the topics in more detail, ask questions and interact with other trainees. Tutorial sessions are usually held in the early evening and last around one hour. It is important that you attend these sessions as often as possible. However, live sessions are also recorded and made available on Moodle, allowing you to revisit sessions at a later date.

Subject-specific pathway tutor

An important part of the delivery of the programme is the use of specialist pathway tutors. You will be appointed a personal pathway tutor, who will mentor you and work with you to draw up and adhere to an agreed learning plan and calendar. These pathway tutors are subject specialists who provide you with regular feedback on your progress and coach and mentor you on subject knowledge and teaching-skill development.

In-school experience

An essential part of the delivery of the programme is the in-school experience. You will be required to complete three terms (minimum 30 weeks) of in-school experience during Phase II of the programme. School experience is normally split into two blocks (24 weeks and 6 weeks) at two differing schools. This in-school experience is supplemented with continuing online training and you will be given regular study leave from school to complete online learning, tasks and PGCE assignments where relevant.

We understand that finding school placements can be difficult and that is why our team works closely with a national network of schools in England. We will try to find you suitable school placements that are within a reasonable commute from where you live (normally less than 90 minutes travel).

During Phase II, in-school experience, you will be supported by experienced subject-specific, school-based mentors as well as by your personal pathway tutors. Individual training plans guide and support the training experience and make links to the online components so you can put the knowledge and skills that you have learnt in Phase I into practice. Your pathway tutors will make up to nine visits to see you during the in-school experience to observe teaching as well as support and guide you towards QTS.

On-site workshops

You will be encouraged to attend a number of on-site workshops and tutorials as part of the blended-learning experience. On-site days will typically take place on a Saturday at one of our Hub Schools. These workshops are designed to further enhance the integration of what is learned online with what is learned in school. They also offer the opportunity to meet your peers and to forge the creation of learning communities, which can prove to be an invaluable source of peer support for online learners, both when online and when in-school.

While you are supported throughout the programme by an individually assigned pathway tutor, our programmes do suit individuals who enjoy being independent learners, who value the flexibility and accessibility to manage their own learning at a pace that suits them.

Blending Phase I and II

Phase I and II are designed to seamlessly feed into each other with a slight cross over between both phases. However, you may choose to complete Phase I SKE early in order to have a break before starting Phase II.

The transition between Phase I and II will be subject to the candidate meeting all of the conditional elements of their offer, which may include:

  • Completion of phase I, pre-course preparation and SKE
  • Passing the skills tests
  • Positive record of school experience
  • Acceptance by placement school through in-school assessment an interview


Phase I

You are expected to:

  • View interactive on-demand lectures and activities when necessary
  • Complete end-of-session tasks
  • Write a reflective comment for each session in your online Learning Diary
  • Post and participate in discussion forums where necessary
  • Complete self-assessment exercises
  • Perform peer review tasks
  • Attend live synchronous online tutorial where appropriate

Phase II

During the core programme you will be expected to:

  • Attend all school experience placements (full-time during the school week)
  • Actively participate in online learning
  • Complete self-assessment exercises
  • Complete formal written assignments
  • Perform peer review tasks
  • Try out and evaluate teaching activities where possible
  • Take on teaching responsibilities and plan and evaluate lessons where necessary
  • Complete additional independent study where necessary


HCUK’s assessment strategy is based on a formative (self-reflective) assessment. You will be continually assessed with a final summative assessment based on a portfolio of tasks undertaken over the full period of the course. This assessment strategy is designed to evidence whether you have met the Teachers’ Standards. The assessment process includes end-of-session tasks and reflections, peer review of learning activities, and evaluating the impact of your teaching on pupils’ progress.

Trainees will be continuously assessed by their individually assigned pathway tutor, who will monitor end-of-session tasks, self-assessment grids, Learning Diary entries and other contributions.

You will only be allowed to progress to Phase II of the programme once your pathway tutor and the programme director are satisfied that you have completed Phase I to a high enough standard.

During Phase II (in-school experience) you will be assessed continually by your school-based mentors, senior school managers and pathway tutor to ensure you are making effective progress towards achieving the Teachers’ Standards. If you opt in to the PGCE you will be required to complete three supplementary written assignments during Phase II. These assignments are in addition to the other elements of the programme.

The pathway tutor, in conjunction with the programme director, will be responsible for monitoring, assessing and reporting your progress and performance periodically throughout the duration of the programme, as well as more formally at the end of the course.


Our ITT programme will help you to gain:

  • Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)
  • An optional Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)*
  • Comprehensive knowledge and understanding of your chosen subject and the specialist pedagogy associated with that subject
  • Wide-ranging knowledge and understanding of professional skills including a strong focus on national priorities (such as behaviour for learning)
  • Confidence in teaching your chosen subject to secondary school pupils (aged 11-16 years)
  • The qualities to become an outstanding teacher
  • Awareness of the criteria Ofsted uses to judge outstanding teaching
  • Experience of action research and evaluating the impact of this on pupil progress to help career progression and increase pay
  • Ideas and activities for use in the classroom
  • Three terms (minimum 30 weeks) of in-school experience
  • The ability to reflect critically and think on your feet
  • Confidence using new technologies

* The PGCE option is only available for specific subjects on specific start dates and is subject to annual review by our university partners


ITT course fees

The tuition fees below are for Home/EU trainees who meet the full entry/eligibility criteria set by The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). Trainees may choose to use their NCTL bursary to cover some or all of their tuition fees. Payment options may also be available on request but an additional administration fee may apply.

ITT tuition fees for academic year 2014/15:

  • £8,500 ITT leading to QTS only
  • £9,000 ITT leading to QTS and a PGCE

Most Home/EU trainees will be eligible for a tax-free ITT training bursary worth up to £20,000.

Eligible trainees undertaking an SKE course as part of Phase I of the programme should be able to access NCTL SKE course funding* through HCUK to cover the full cost of this part of the programme. They may also be eligible for an additional SKE bursary worth up to £6,400 depending on the length of their SKE course.

Government funding of the SKE part of the programme has only be guaranteed for eligible trainees starting their SKE programme before 31st July 2015.

Loans and Grants

Home/EU trainees may be able to apply for a tuition fee loan and/or a living cost loan or grant through the Student Loans Company to help with costs associated with the programme.

Please note that all NCTL funding and bursaries are subject to conditions and are not guaranteed. For details, visit www.education.gov.uk/get-into-teaching.

*eligibility criteria apply


Most of our ITT trainees will be required to complete an SKE course as part of our ITT programme. This means that you could be eligible for an SKE bursary as well as an ITT bursary. The bursary amounts are normally based on your degree class, your ITT subject, the length of your programme and other personal circumstances. Please see below for an outline of the SKE and ITT training bursaries available.

SKE training bursary 2014/15

Most applicants will be required to complete an SKE course as part of Phase I of the programme. If you are enrolled on an SKE programme with HCUK you may be able to access a National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) SKE bursary worth up to £6,400 depending on the length of your SKE course.

HCUK will advise what length of SKE course you are require to complete as part of your offer of a place on our ITT programme.

Subject Programme Length SKE Bursary
Maths, Physics, Chemistry, French, German or Spanish 8 weeks £1600
Maths, Physics, Chemistry, French, German or Spanish 12 weeks £2400
Maths, Physics, Chemistry, French, German or Spanish 16 weeks £3200
Maths, Physics, Chemistry, French, German or Spanish 20 weeks £4000
Maths, Physics, Chemistry, French, German or Spanish 24 weeks £4800
Maths, Physics, Chemistry 28 weeks £5600
Maths, Physics, Chemistry 32 weeks £6400

HCUK is responsible for requesting this funding from the NCTL on your behalf. We will then pay the SKE bursary directly to you in monthly instalments for the duration of your SKE course.

Government funding for SKE programmes has only be guaranteed for eligible trainees who start their SKE programme before 31st July 2015.

ITT training bursaries 2014/15

Most home/EU trainees will be eligible to receive a tax-free ITT training bursary from the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL).

The bursary will be paid directly to you by HCUK in monthly instalments throughout Phase II. The amount of bursary that you will receive is based on individual circumstances. Typically, the bursary amount is calculated based on your chosen subject and the level of your degree qualification.

UK undergraduate degree level (or equivalent) Maths or  Physics Chemistry MFL(French, German and Spanish) English
First class £20,000 £20,000 £20,000 £9,000
2:1 £20,000 £15,000 £15,000 £4,000
2:2 £15,000 £12,000 £12,000
Other degree class £9,000

Funding for an ITT programme where the phase II will begin during the 2015/16 academic year (from September 2015 onwards) will be different from the above and can be found here. Please contact us for more information.

Please note that all NCTL funding and bursaries are subject to conditions and are not guaranteed. For full details, visit www.education.gov.uk/get-into-teaching.


How to apply

When you submit your application, you are applying for the whole ITT programme (Phase I and II). You will be advised in your offer letter, after the initial interview, whether or not you are require to complete Phase I and what length of SKE you are require to complete. At this stage, you will also be given details for the next available SKE courses to suit your needs.

You can apply for our Maths, English, Physics, Chemistry or ML ITT programme by:

Selection process

We have a three-stage selection process, which consist of:
Stage 1: Initial written application
Stage 2: Selection event
Stage 3: School Interview

Selection event

If you are successful at the initial application stage you will be invited to attend a selection event, which will normally be held at our London office and/or one of our local Hub Schools.

As part of the selection event, you will be required to undertake four specific activities. The four activities currently forming part of the selection event are as follows:

1.  Reading and comprehension activity
2.  30-minute individual interview
3.  5-minute lesson presentation
4.  Observed class activity

You may also be asked to take a subject knowledge test to assess your existing subject knowledge levels.

School Interview

If you are successful at both Stage 1 and 2 you will be asked, as part of your conditional offer of a place on our ITT programme, to attend an interview at a local school (Stage 3). The interview will normally take place at the school in which you will complete the majority of your in-school placement in Phase II. The school interview must be successfully completed before you can progress to Phase II.

Initial Teacher Training Prospectus


To view the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) prospectus click here.

Take the test: how good is your subject knowledge?

We’ve put together six quick quizzes designed to test your existing subject knowledge in Maths, Physics, Chemistry, French, German or Spanish.

Click here, pick a quiz and see how you get on!

“The distance learning aspect is a really positive part of the course. It’s demanding, it’s interesting, and I think that it appeals to someone who is self-motivated. It works brilliantly to be honest.

Once you get used to it – the idea that you can log on, do a module at a time, and go back to it when it suits you – it’s very good.” Harry

“The online tutorials are set up a bit like an Internet chat room. A tutor talks us through a topic, and you are able to speak and interact with everyone present – the technology is impressive.

Feedback is provided very quickly, and you are always able to drop a tutor an e-mail knowing that they will provide you with a quick response.” Alex

“HCUK’s ITT programme has given me the flexibility to spend time with my daughter and develop the teaching career I have always wanted.

The option to study in any location and at any time means that I can easily complete my teacher training and spend time with my family.” Claire


We have endeavoured to ensure the accuracy of the information provided on our Initial Teacher Training programme is accurate at the time of publication. However, this information is issued as a guideline to potential applicants and interested parties. While we aim to implement what is outlined on the website, we cannot undertake any obligation to provide the programme and facilities as stated and we reserve the right to amend course information, cancel, suspend or modify the course or change the entry requirements at any time without prior notice.

Correct at time of publication. Last updated: November 2014

Vol. 1

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