Initial teacher education courses in Northern Ireland

Information on the various course options for initial teacher education in Northern Ireland

Providers, contact details and provision

Initial Teacher Education (ITE) in Northern Ireland is provided in the following institutions:

Stranmillis University College

Stranmillis University College:  a College of Queen’s University Belfast 

Provision

  • A four year BEd (Hons) course directed at primary level teaching
  • A four-year BEd (Hons) courses directed at post-primary level teaching in Business Studies, Religious Studies, Technology and Design, Mathematics/Science
  • A one-year course directed at primary level teaching for university graduates leading to the award of a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). The subject specialism on offer is Early Years

St Mary’s University College 

St Mary’s University College:  a College of Queen’s University Belfast

Provision

  • A four-year BEd (Hons) course directed at primary level teaching          
  • A four-year BEd (Hons) courses directed at post-primary level teaching in Business Studies, Religious Studies, Technology and Design, Mathematics/Science                                                                    
  • A one-year course directed at primary level teaching in Irish Medium Education schools for university graduates leading to the award of a PGCE

Queen’s University Belfast

Queen’s University Belfast

Provision

  • A one-year course directed at post-primary level teaching for university graduates leading to the award of a PGCE. The subject specialisms on offer are English, Mathematics, Computing/IT, Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics), Modern Languages, Religious Education, Social Sciences (Politics, Sociology), Irish Medium Education (in association with St Mary's University College)

Ulster University (Coleraine)

Ulster University (Coleraine)

Provision

  • A one-year course directed at primary level teaching for university graduates leading to the award of a PGCE
  • A one-year PGCE course directed at post-primary level teaching for university graduates holding relevant degrees. The subject specialisms on offer are: Art and Design, English with Drama and Media Studies, Geography, History, Home Economics, Irish Medium Education (in association with St Mary's University College), Music, Physical Education, Technology and Design

ITE is phase-related, ie both the professional studies and the school experience elements of the courses provided are directed at teaching in primary or secondary schools.

Applications

Applications forms and details of the entry requirements for admission to PGCE courses may be obtained from the Registrar/Admissions Officer of the College or University concerned. 

Applicants for the four-year BEd courses at Stranmillis University College must apply through UCAS, and applicants for the equivalent course at St Mary's University College must apply directly to that College.

Tuition fees

From September 2006, institutions in Northern Ireland can charge variable tuition fees to all new full-time ITE students, including graduates commencing PGCE courses.

All eligible students can choose to defer payment of their fees by taking out a fee loan which they will repay when they leave higher education and have an income over a set level.

Details may be obtained from the Education Authority or, in the case of candidates from a country within the European Union, the Student Loans Company in Darlington: 

Telephone:  0141 243 3570
Telephone International:  +44 (0)141 243 3570
E-mail: EU_Team@slc.co.uk

Vetting

All candidates who are accepted for a place on a course of ITE are subject to a police criminal records check.

Approval of programmes

The link below contains a description of the arrangements for the approval of initial teacher education (ITE) programmes in Northern Ireland.  This circular sets out and explains the requirements that underpin inspection and accreditation, both of which are necessary for approval of ITE programmes.

Minimum education requirements

The minimum educational qualifications for admission to initial teacher education courses in Northern Ireland institutions are:

For BEd (Hons) courses

Subject to paragraph 3 below, applicants require:

  • passes in two subjects at GCE Advanced level together with a Grade C or above in three other subjects at GCSE level
  • passes in three subjects at GCE Advanced level together with a Grade C or above in two other subjects at GCSE level or three other subjects if the application is for admission to the BEd (Hons) Primary Programme

An institution may accept passes in examinations other than GCE/GCSE if it is satisfied that they are of equivalent standard.

For Postgraduate Certificate in Education courses

Subject to paragraph 3 below, an approved university degree or alternative qualification which meets the Department’s eligibility requirements for teacher salary purposes.  Enquiries regarding such qualifications should be made to the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland.

It should be noted that these are minimum requirements for admission to BEd and PGCE courses, and the higher education institutions may seek qualifications over and above these.

For all courses

For admission to any initial teacher education course, applicants must demonstrate an acceptable level of competence in English language and mathematics.  In addition, all new entrants to primary level courses must demonstrate an acceptable level of competence in a science subject or subjects.  An acceptable level of competence is defined as a GCSE level pass at Grade C or higher, or an equivalent qualification.  Enquiries regarding equivalent qualifications should be made to the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA).

It is for institutions to satisfy themselves that candidates meet these minimum requirements.  They should be prepared to assist candidates who do not hold a GCSE pass at the requisite level (or its equivalent), but who are otherwise considered acceptable, to attain the required standard before starting the course, and to undertake the assessment of candidates’ ability themselves.

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