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Technology & Design

The post primary PGCE is a one year, full-time programme that prepares students for a career in teaching.

This course will prepare you to teach Technology & Design to the full range of pupils in post primary schools. It is offered at the Coleraine campus with additional subject workshops in partnership with the Education Authority in their purpose-built facilities in Belfast.

Work placement / study abroad
Students nominate three secondary schools and three grammar schools for the teaching practice placements. Every effort is made to accommodate student preferences.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements

a. English and Mathematics (GCSE grade C or equivalent).

b. An Honours degree, in a technology related subject. In the case of a combined Honours degree at least 50% shall be in the specialist subject. The normal minimum offer standard is a 2:2 Honours. Applications are welcomed from engineers (elctrical, mechanical, civil), product designers, and architects; and also from quantity surveyors, graphic and interior designers whose applications are supported by relevant A level (or equivalent) subjects.

c. All applicants need to provide evidence of knowledge, interest and experience in working with young people of post-primary age normally in a formal/informal education setting.

d. Applicants for the post-primary pathway also require:

i Two supportive references.

ii Medical certificate of satisfactory health.

iii Applicants will be scrutinised by Access NI and must also satisfy the University and the Department of Education that nothing would prohibit them from working with children.

e. The application form will be examined for spelling, punctuation and use of English and general quality of presentation.

f. Applicants appearing to fulfil the above requirements will be shortlisted. In the event that the programme is oversubscribed, enhanced criteria (e.g. degree classification) will then be applied and candidates fulfilling these criteria will be interviewed to ascertain their suitability for the course.

g. An offer of a place will be conditional upon satisfying the Selection Committee on all of the above criteria.

h. Applicants who are deemed suitable but for whom an immediate place is not available will be placed on a waiting list and offered a place if another applicant declines his/her place.

English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability
There are no exemptions recognised for entry to this course and it is not possible to transfer from other courses. Access to the PGCE is by the successful completion of the application and interview process.

The PGCE is a recognized teaching qualification in the UK. For those applicants wishing to teach in other jurisdictions we recommend that you contact the relevant authorities there to discuss their requirements for recognised teacher status.


This is a programme of professional education and training of teachers for the teaching profession. Attendance, therefore, is compulsory for all activities, modules and components of the course. The main PGCE course runs from the end of August to the beginning of June. University modules normally run from Monday to Friday (9:30-4:30) and students are required to attend all classes and course activities. School placements (of which there are two, each of twelve weeks) require commitment to the school, usually 8:30-5:00 with evenings spent in lesson preparation.

The T&D PGCE course includes a six week workshop practice in Belfast, normally commencing in July each year. An additional specialised course will run one afternoon per week in Belfast during September and October.

Careers or further progression

Career options
The course prepares you to teach Technology & Design at post primary school level. Where appropriate students may have opportunities to teach other subjects, depending on their own degree and A-Level specialisms.

The PGCE is an internationally recognised programme for Initial Teacher Education leading directly to a career in teaching. The post primary PGCE is for those who wish to teach the 11-19 age range. Successful completion of this course qualifies the graduate to seek registration with the General Teaching Council of Northern Ireland.

The PGCE is a recognized teaching qualification in the UK. For those applicants wishing to teach in other jurisdictions we recommend that you contact the relevant authorities there to discuss their requirements for recognised teacher status.

Further enquiries

Course Director for PGCE Technology & Design: Sammy Taggart
School of Education.
T: +44 (0)28 7012 3496

Subjects taught

You will acquire knowledge and skills in those areas of Technology and Design in which you may have had little or no experience, e.g. CAD, Electronic Systems, PCB production, Pneumatic Control Systems, Graphics and Computer Control Systems. While practical in nature, you will draw on knowledge gained from the other areas of the course and at all times, apply these skills in the classroom. As an aspiring professional, you will be expected to be self-motivated and to take the initiative in managing your own professional development. In your school placements you will be expected to prioritize pupil learning and develop your teaching strategies accordingly. Elements of the course are taught at Masters level and you will be expected to support your development with a detailed understanding of current research and literature in teaching, learning and Technology and Design. You will be assessed through a variety of means including e-portfolio, essays, observations and tests.

"The Northern Ireland Curriculum aims to empower young people to achieve their potential and to make informed and responsible decisions throughout their lives." The overall aim of our PGCE programme at Ulster is to support this aim and to foster the development of pedagogical competences in the following three areas: - Professional Values and Practice; Professional Knowledge and Understanding and Professional Skills and Application. To achieve these aims the PGCE post-primary programme at Ulster University prepares student teachers to be competent in the following: - the ability to plan, teach and assess worthwhile learning activities in their subject area(s) in post-primary schools in Northern Ireland for the 11-18 age group; - the acquisition of the knowledge, understanding and skills that are essential for the promotion of learning among pupils; - to assume responsibility for developing as competent reflective practitioners, able to monitor and evaluate their teaching performance; - to realise a commitment to on-going personal and professional development in pursuit of sustained pupil learning and school improvement.

Student teachers on the PGCE will evidence their competence through achieving the following objectives by demonstrating:
• a critical understanding of the Northern Ireland Curriculum and of National Curriculum requirements;
• a knowledge of their subject and its contribution to the area of study and to the "Big Picture" of the curriculum at Key Stages 3 & 4 with its objectives of: a) developing the young person as an individual; b) developing the young person as a contributor to society and c) developing the young person as a contributor to the economy and the environment.

The successful completion of the PGCE also requires the student to:
• recognise and take account of those factors which influence curriculum planning in a particular school context;
• understand how children learn and appreciate the social, moral, psychological and cultural factors which affect educational attainment; plan, teach and evaluate lessons, units and schemes of work organise and manage classes effectively;
• use a range of teaching and learning methodologies supported by resources for pupils of all ability levels, including those with special educational needs;
• recognise the need for continuity, progression and differentiation in pupils' learning;
• assess for learning including the recording and reporting pupil achievement;
• adopt an assessment of learning mindset;
• develop pupils' language and numeracy skills through the teaching of their subject;
• promote skills of problem solving, decision making, presentation, teamwork, leadership and independent learning;
• develop pupils' personal and interpersonal skills;
• promote fairness and equality of opportunity;
• build and sustain good relationships with both pupils and staff;
• work co-operatively with colleagues and other student teachers and contribute to school wide activities;
• develop skills and confidence in Information Communications Technology (ICT) and emerging technologies for both personal and professional use.

The PGCE is a recognized teaching qualification in the UK. For those applicants wishing to teach in other jurisdictions we recommend that you contact the relevant authorities there to discuss their requirements for recognised teacher status.

Teaching and learning assessment
a. Formal lectures are a core activity in teaching the Professional Studies generic component of all modules being the most effective way of teaching large classes. Interactive delivery of lectures is promoted through the use of presentation software. Videos, tape recordings and the use of emerging technologies are also used to illustrate lectures. Access is provided to lecture notes which are posted on the PGCE's Virtual Learning Environment site.

b. Practical classes are fundamental to the study of pedagogy and the delivery of taught material in the main subject area. As outlined in the module descriptors, students engage in a diverse range of practical classes including work done in ICT labs. All practical classes are designed to develop core teaching skills and to link subject pedagogy to research and professional development. Health and Safety procedures in the classroom are emphasised in practical classes.

c. Seminars are used not only to extend the lecture topics but also equip students with the skills to seek relevant research material and to present the material as a lucid exposition and argument within a given time frame. With the increasing amount of information available on the internet, the knowledge and skills to select appropriate, educationally sound material are vital to all potential teachers. Students are also afforded the opportunity to make both individual and group presentations.

d. Tutorials are used to support students who need help with their studies. Tutorial time is built into the weekly university programme and the post lesson discussion led by the university tutor and class teacher are in the nature of tutorials.

e. Group work is an important element of the learning regimen in the School. It is used to help students integrate learning from a variety of sources, to provide opportunities to apply knowledge or case studies for class and seminar work. Role-playing and micro-teaching has also been used to stimulate student participation in classroom discussion.

f. Problem based learning. In order to gain experience of integrating the professional themes covered in each semester in the general lectures, towards the end of each university based teaching phase students are asked to engage in a problem-based learning activity. These take place in mixed seminar groupings and each group is given time to work collaboratively without direct supervision.

g. Course work assignments are an essential part of the teaching and learning strategy as it encourages students to be independent learners. Assignments take a variety of forms and are used to encourage students to read the education literature underpinning lectures, integrate and apply knowledge and improve writing skills. Assignments include structured essays, literature reviews, case studies, word-limited reports, poster presentations and the practical ICT Portfolio. It is expected that all students should be able to write a fully referenced educational/curriculum studies paper as evidenced by the School- Based Projects at Master's level. Evidence of achievement at Level 7 is sought through the quality of students' written assignments, designated at that level. In preparation, in subject sessions, seminars and through group problem-based learning activities students are encouraged to engage with, and evaluate, professional discourse on key educational issues. They are also introduced to the tools of enquiry necessary to collect appropriate evidence to evaluate their practice. Within assignments there must be evidence of an investigative approach informed by a critical review of literature with the framing of appropriate questions related to educational issues. Students are expected to take cognisance of educational research, synthesise its outcomes and use it both to present higher order thinking and to inform and improve their practice. Assignments should reflect the professional discourse encountered in taught sessions and in literature. They should also critique aspects of their practice in a systematic and critical way in the light of this literature. Thus, the course fosters an understanding of the role of the critically reflective practitioner. The PGCE requires the successful student to demonstrate a high level of application of theory within all written assignments. For all level 7 assignments, extended reading lists are provided that require students to underpin their writing by drawing on refereed journal articles and research data. The assignments all require the student to evidence a sophisticated level of critical reflection and the ability to synthesise a broad range of research literature and to link it appropriately to their own practice. To support the student the PGCE course offers a range of lectures and seminars in developing academic writing skills at master's level. The PGCE is a competency based model and as such the award is based on evidence of holistic student competence and in accordance of the professional standards for teachers (GTCNI, 2007). The PGCE course is fully cognisant of the Ulster University Qualifications and Credit Framework and successful completion of the PGCE the student will be awarded 120 credit points (60 at level 7 and 60 at level 6).

Application date

The closing date for applications is 31 January 2018.

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: September 2018.

How to apply online
All applications are made online - competition for funded entry is high and applicants are advised to discuss their application prior to submission with relevant staff.

In order to be considered, your application must be completed in full, including: 

- all information on existing qualifications and transcripts
- funding details or requirements
- evidence of English language proficiency
- names and addresses of referee

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