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Education - Early Years

This course is designed for those who wish to prepare for a teaching career specialising in the 3-8 age range.

The course is of thirty-six weeks duration, beginning in early September and lasting until late June. Half of the course is based in the University College and the other half in schools. Both aspects of the course have been designed to complement each other and to contribute to the development of professional competence.

The University College-based part of the course includes three key areas, namely:

1.Educational Issues, focusing on current initiatives in early years education;

2.Curriculum Content, addressing how young children's learning can be developed in Pre-school, Foundation and Key Stage 1 classes; and

3.Classroom Practice, developing the teaching skills and competencies that are required to become effective classroom practitioner.

The school-based component forms an integral aspect of the course and is designed, in partnership with schools, to enable students to achieve levels of competence, experience and knowledge that will fully qualify them for entry into the teaching profession.

Learning and Teaching
Students will experience a variety of teaching and learning methods during the course of their study. They will gain knowledge and understanding through lectures, seminars, workshops, peer group discussions and debates, peer group collaborative tasks, individual consultation opportunities, presentations and independent study time. Every effort is made to support students in their preparation for School Based Work and a wide range of resources is made available for use in schools.

Early Years Play 2016The course is assessed wholly by course work and continuous assessment, including the assessment of practical teaching.

Entry requirements

In keeping with all courses of initial teacher education, entrants are required to have achieved Grade C in GCSE (or equivalent) Mathematics, English Language and a single or combined Science subject. GCSE qualifications must have been gained at the time of application. Entrants to the PGCE (Early Years) will also be required to possess an upper second class honours degree in the area of Early Years. Substantial and recent
experience of working with children in the 3-8 age range will also be required. This must be obtained at the time of application. Entry to the PGCE (Early Years) will be based on qualifications, reference, relevant experience and an interview.

Due to the competition for places, admission requirements may be enhanced at the short-listing stage, and applicants who are short listed will be called for interview, which will include a short presentation by the candidate.

In line with government policy it is a requirement that all entrants to the course must undertake a criminal record check through AccessNI.

Careers or further progression

Career Opportunities
This PGCE course will lead to 'Eligibility to Teach' status which is granted by the Department of Education. With this qualification students will be able to seek employment in nursery schools and/or primary schools in a Foundation (Years 1 and 2) or Key Stage 1 (Years 3 and 4) class. All students who successfully complete a PGCE at Stranmillis University College will be eligible to claim 30 M-Level credit points towards a Master's qualilfication.

Further enquiries

Application forms can be requested from Academic Registry, please telephone 028 90384263 or email

Subjects taught

Education Issues
A range of educational issues will be focused upon throughout this course such as:

•A Quality Early Years Curriculum
•Experiential Learning and the Powerful Medium of Play
•International Perspectives
•Special Educational Needs
•Children's Rights
•Pastoral Issues

Curriculum Content
Students will attend a series of workshops and seminars designed to develop their knowledge and understanding of the integrated and holistic nature of teaching and learning within Early Years Education and to help them prepare for their placement in the Pre-school, Foundation and Key Stage 1 settings.

Classroom Practice
This aspect of the course is designed to help students acquire some of the basic skills of teaching. Emphasis will be placed on observation, assessment, communication skills, questioning, classroom management, group work, activity/lesson planning, resource management, differentiation and self-evaluation.

School-Based Work
This will consist of serial day visits and blocks of practice. Students will undertake their placements in Pre-school, Foundation and Key Stage 1 settings.

Application date

Admission Procedures
Application should be made on the appropriate form which can be obtained from Academic Registry from early December.

Application forms can be requested from Academic Registry, please telephone 028 90384263 or email

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