Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Top Up)

Why choose this course?

This course is ideal for you if you are an experienced teacher who already has Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and want to develop your professional career further. This flexible PGCE Top Up course enables you to achieve the academic award of a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).

You will already have completed a route into teaching such as School Direct or the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) and achieved QTS without the academic award.

This course will develop your skills and knowledge, support your progress towards leadership and provide a foundation for further study. You will examine education and teaching policy and practice, and how these affect your classroom experience.

Developing critical evaluation skills, you will explore current issues in teaching and learning.

The following pathways are available:

  • PGCE (Top Up) Early Years
  • PGCE (Top Up) Primary
  • PGCE (Top Up) Secondary
Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Part time 1 year Weekend attendance and online learning September 2020
Location Kingston Hill

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • This course is for practising teachers who have achieved QTS through a range of routes including the BA, GTP or School Direct programmes.
  • It is designed to fit alongside your teaching commitments. Taught sessions take place at six conferences on Saturdays during the academic year.
  • You will be able to use technology-enhanced learning opportunities for collaboration and networking with other students on the course.

What you will study

You will learn about education and teaching policy and practice, and how these impact on your classroom experience. You will develop your critical evaluation skills and explore current issues in teaching and learning.

You will study for two modules combining interactive, face-to-face learning plus private study.  The interactive learning will include taught sessions with discussions and activities and is planned to fit around practising teachers' work commitments. 

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Core modules

Core modules

The Reflective Teacher

30 credits

This module introduces students to theories of reflective practice and the value and purpose of reflection for teachers. This will enable students to develop in-depth understanding of how they reflect in order to identify issues and develop solutions in their professional settings.

The main features of the module are critical explorations of factors that affect how children develop physically, socially and as learners. Students will critically analyse issues relevant to their current practice considering their own position as effective teachers.

Through completion of a reflective journal during the module students will develop critical, reflective and reflexive skills to inform peer and colleague discussion within a learning community. Students will be encouraged and supported to challenge and develop their professional practice.

Perspectives on policy, practice and professionalism for teachers

30 credits

This module enables students to locate themselves as professionals within wider discourses about teaching as a profession. It engages them in evaluating their own identities as professionals and in reflecting on the values that they and the wider profession hold.

The module supports students to critically engage in discussions and debates that consider factors affecting classroom practice. These debates focus on specific areas to exemplify wider issues in education and include inclusive teaching and learning issues and legislative frameworks that influence codes of practice.

Students will read key papers related to the sessions and respond in online discussions to develop shared understandings. Students will focus on an area of interest in their professional practice when writing the assignment, drawing on knowledge and understanding gained through the formative tasks.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

What you need to apply for this course

Applicants for this course should have a first degree with a minimum 2.2 classification from a UK university or equivalent. It is expected that applicants will be working in a school or similar setting while enrolled on the course. If this will not be the case please contact us via email at the address below.

You must have QTS achieved through GTP or School Direct and have an assessed professional portfolio.

You should be able to provide:

  • evidence of your QTS and portfolio;
  • a letter of support for your application from your current headteacher; and
  • an academic reference supporting your application.


All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no element below 5.5. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

You will engage with teachers and staff through attending teaching and learning days (six Saturdays) and through the University's virtual learning environment which includes online tutorials that can be scheduled to fit around your work.

There are technology-enhanced learning opportunities for collaboration, networking and peer feedback will be available via the virtual learning environment (VLE) discussion forum.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will also be able to use the University's support services

Your workload

10% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 60 hours
  • Guided independent study: 540 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises of essays, online discussions and reflective tasks.

The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows:

  • 100% coursework

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Who teaches this course?

The tutors for your course have experience teaching in schools. They continue to be actively involved in a range of education related activities, such as further study, research and direct work with schools and in educational settings.

Course fees and funding

Here you can find more details about fees for this course, as well as any funding opportunities available to you for this course. Please note that fees relate to the academic year in question and will increase in future years.

If you require a Tier 1-5 visa to reside in the UK (this includes a Tier 4 student visa), you will not be able to enrol on a part-time programme at the University.

2020/21 fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • £2,655


Visit our Fees and funding page to find out about the student funding options available to help you fund your postgraduate studies. 


Kingston Hill

There is a wide range of facilities at our Kingston Hill campus, where this course is based.

Kingston Hill is a leafy, hillside campus situated about three miles away from Kingston town centre. It is a quiet, secure place to study with easy access to London, meaning it provides the best of all worlds for our students.

Find out more about the Kingston Hill campus in the virtual tour.


One of the highlights of the Kingston Hill campus is the modern library, called the Nightingale Centre after Florence Nightingale, who was a regular visitor to Kingston Hill.

The library provides a spacious and attractive place for students to meet and study and features a cafe, more PCs and zoned study areas. Long opening hours give you plenty of access to specialist education books, journals and online resources.

Find out more about the Nightingale Centre in the virtual tour.

Computer and online facilities

There are many computers (PCs and Macs) available for you to use across the Kingston Hill campus when you need a place to study. Access to the wireless network across the campus means you can also work from your laptop or mobile device.

Using IT to support your studies is crucial. Kingston has an innovative virtual learning environment called Canvas. This allows you to access course materials and contact fellow students and staff while away from the campus.

After you graduate

This course has been designed to be a practical, work-based course in learning, teaching and assessment in higher education. As such, it prepares you for working as a teacher and/or facilitator in higher or further education.
The award of a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education is recognised by most universities in the UK, and increasingly internationally, as necessary qualifications for teaching in higher education institutions.

Additionally the course thoroughly prepares you for every success in applying for the status of Fellow of the Higher Education Academy with the Higher Education Academy, a status recognised by most universities in the UK, and increasingly internationally, as necessary/desirable recognition for teaching in higher education institutions.

Research areas

Many of our staff in the School of Education are research active. This ensures they are in touch with the latest thinking and bring best practice to your studies.

Education research at Kingston includes:

  • Subject pedagogy
  • Curriculum design
  • Planning
  • Assessment
  • Safeguarding
  • SEND and inclusive practice
  • Early Years
  • Supporting more able learners
  • Educational inequalities
  • Policy
  • History of education
  • Higher education