Religious Education PGCE

If you are interested in applying for a place on the Religious Education PGCE programme starting in September 2016 and would like to discuss the programme further, please email Jane Savill, Programme Leader, for an informal chat at

This PGCE programme is challenging, exciting and stimulating. Religious education (RE) is a subject that embraces the opportunity to change and adapt to meet the needs of pupils in the 21st century.

We will enable you to teach RE at Key Stages 3 and 4 and to gain experience of teaching at post-16 level. We are committed to a multi-faith approach to teaching religious education. The programme is taught by tutors with a wealth of experience, and by visiting colleagues who are actively engaged in research in religion and the teaching of religious education. As well as taking part in sessions at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), student teachers visit places of worship and meet with members of faith groups and others who support high standards of RE in schools.

Current research at the IOE and elsewhere is drawn upon to inform your RE teaching and encourage you to engage with recent debates and literature in the field. Our underlying aim is to develop you as a reflective and highly skilled teacher.

During school placements, you will have the opportunity to observe and learn from teachers who are highly skilled in the art of teaching RE and ensuring that outstanding learning takes place in their classrooms. RE works when pupils are given the chance to debate the big questions about life, death and the universe, and are intellectually challenged. We will expect you to learn from your observations and from each other, in order to deliver RE that 'works'.


This programme has been designed to enable all students to demonstrate that they have met the Teachers' standards across Key Stages 3 and 4 (11–16 age range).

Wherever possible, we provide opportunities for trainees to gain experience at Key Stage 5 (post-16 age range), even where their qualification is for 11 to 16 teaching.


In your placement schools or colleges, your responsibilities will be equivalent to those of a practising teacher, but on a reduced timetable. The working day starts at approximately 8.30am and ends at 5.00pm. Sometimes it is shorter, but you will need to plan your life to reflect the demands of the school day and the school term dates, which may not be the same as the published IOE term dates.

Days spent at the Institute include keynote lectures, subject lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and directed study days. In addition, time in the evenings and at weekends is needed for further study and planning.


You will be assessed in two ways:

  • on your practical teaching and your progress in achieving the Teachers' Standards at a level consistent with what could reasonably be expected of a student teacher.
  • on assignments, portfolio tasks and, for some subjects, practical projects.

We will monitor your progress throughout the PGCE, and you will record this in a Career Entry and Development Profile statement. This will form part of a portfolio that links into the induction year (your first year of teaching) and your continuing professional development.

Subject entry requirements

You should have a good first degree in religious studies, theology, philosophy or a closely related discipline.

We normally give preference to candidates with upper second class honours or above.

You may be asked to acquire an additional breadth and depth of religious knowledge (including philosophy and ethics) through other routes, and you should be prepared to develop your knowledge of the major world religions, philosophy of religion and ethics as an essential part of the PGCE.

You will need to spend at least five days in the RE department of a secondary school before applying, as this will give you a valuable insight into the teaching and learning of RE.

You should have a genuine interest in education (and particularly RE), good communication skills, the ability to take on the role of a professional, a commitment to teaching as your chosen career, a willingness to take responsibility for your own learning, and the ability to work well within a team.

Where do our students go?

Religious Education PGCE graduates are currently working as:

  • teachers of religious education and philosophy and ethics
  • heads of department and heads of year
  • headteachers.

Visa Information

This programme is suitable for international students on a Tier 4 visa - study must be full-time, face-to-face, starting September

For more information about visas please see our guide to visas for study (pdf, 0.32mb). You can also contact (by email) the international support team for advice.