School Direct (Tuition Fee): Religious Education
School Direct (Tuition Fee) is a route into teaching at both primary and secondary levels. Trainees join other student teachers on the established Religious Education PGCE programme at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), whilst undertaking their teaching experience at their host school or alliance.
This programme provides an understanding of why religious education is taught in schools and allows student teachers the chance to research how the subject has evolved and thus is just as relevant as part of the English curriculum today as it always has been. The Religious Education PGCE / School Direct (non-salaried) course also enables students to reflect upon the aims of religious education and how different pedagogies can support learners to develop key religious education skills and be challenged and excited by the world today.
Students undertake two Master’s-level (level 7) modules of 30 credits each, totaling 60 credits. These can be carried forward onto full Master’s programmes at the IOE.
The Secondary PGCE consists of three core modules: two Master’s-level modules, which are assessed through written assignments, and the Professional Practice module, which is assessed by the observation of practical teaching in placement schools.
Completion of the Professional Practice module and the two level 7 (Master’s level) modules (60 credits) will result in the award of a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE). Completion of the Professional Practice module and one or two level 6 (undergraduate/Bachelor’s level) modules, will lead to the Professional Graduate Certificate of Education (PgCE).
- Learning, Teaching and Assessing Religious Education (30 Master's-level credits)
This module serves as a broad introduction to, and foundation for, teaching Religious Education (RE) across the secondary sector. You will be expected to build upon your research completed for your first module and consider how the theory impacts on practice in the RE classroom. Individual sessions focus on specific aspects of the RE curriculum, providing knowledge and understanding of the documentation (both statutory and non-statutory) which shape RE.
Throughout the module, you will be encouraged to reflect on your own roles as learners and teachers, to engage with recent and relevant theories of learning and teaching as they relate to RE and critically and constructively engage with policy contexts and initiatives.
- The Philosophy of Religious Education (30 Master's-level credits)
This module will explore the history and development of Religious Education (RE) in England, as well as pertinent legislation. The module will present, and expect you to critically engage with, a variety of justifications for and aims of RE. In addition to this, you will be presented with and expected to critically engage with a diverse range of pedagogical approaches to RE.
- Professional Practice
The Professional Practice module combines practical experience in schools, where trainees observe and undertake classroom teaching, subject knowledge development through UCL Institute of Education (IOE) sessions as well as pedagogical and professional development in schools and IOE-based sessions. During teaching practice, trainees gain the practical experience they need to meet the Teachers Standards as required for the recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Assessment for this module is undertaken by school-based mentors in collaboration with IOE tutors.
You will spend most of your time (120 days) in schools, working with religious education mentors who support you through your school placements. The Professional Practice module is assessed through these placements, associated tasks and a portfolio.
Teaching and Learning
The programme is delivered via keynote lectures, subject lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and directed study days at the IOE, as well as time spent in placement at the host school or alliance. Assessment is by the observation of practical teaching, assignments and a portfolio (which links into continuing professional development in the induction year).
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
Normally a minimum of a lower second-class UK Bachelor’s degree or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.
No specific subjects required.
English Language and Mathematics at grade C.
Prospective students must complete a minimum of five days of school experience before they can be enrolled on the Secondary PGCE. This may involve observations, work experience (e.g. as a teaching assistant or cover supervisor), or voluntary work. Applicants must have a minimum of five day's school experience before interview; some subjects will be looking for significantly more than this. Applicants must ensure that their school experience is relevant in helping them to prepare for the Secondary PGCE, during which Student Teachers are placed in a wide range of schools across London and the South East.
If you are made an offer you will be required to successfully complete Occupational Health and Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure checks. The total cost of these checks is £125. These checks are required to ensure you meet the Department for Education’s requirements for physical and mental health to teach, as well as assessing your suitability for access to children and vulnerable adults. More details can be found on the Entry requirements page.
All applicants must successfully complete professional skills tests in literacy and numeracy before they can enrol. More information can be found on the Get Into Teaching website.
English Language Requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Good
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
Bursaries of up to £9,000 are available to students who meet the eligibility criteria for the Religious Education programme. To find out what funding may be available to you, please visit the Department for Education website.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Graduates of this programme are currently working across schools in London and around the UK as teachers, heads of departments and heads of year. Some graduates decide to pursue an academic science education route by pursuing Master's or doctoral level study.
Recent career destinations for this degree
- Religious Education Teacher, Unspecified Secondary School
- Religious Education Teacher, Unspecified Girls' School
- Religious Education Teacher, Unspecified Academy
Graduates of the Secondary PGCE programme are highly employable and sought after by schools and colleges in London and beyond. Almost all graduates secure their first teaching post by the time they finish the PGCE programme. Graduates of the programme also have great career prospects, with many becoming Head of Department or a Head of Year within 2-5 years, often acting, in their schools, as mentors to new PGCE student teachers. Many of our graduates become senior teachers (such as Assistant Headteachers or Head of a Faculty) in 5-8 years of graduating, and some are now Headteachers. Others have developed their careers as subject specialist teachers and educators, both becoming lead teachers in the classroom and researching, writing and advising other teachers themselves. The Secondary PGCE Programme is a springboard into a rewarding career, not just as a skilled teacher, but as an educational leader.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
Why study this degree at UCL?
This course offers students unique opportunities such as visits to places of worship, national galleries and museums, as well as the chance to discuss religion with leading philosophers and people of faith and consider the impact of religion on society today. Current research at the IOE and elsewhere is drawn upon to inform a student's religious education teaching and encourage them to engage with recent debates and literature in the field.
Tutors on the Religious Education PGCE are skilled classroom practitioners with extensive experience in secondary schools and colleges as well as in school leadership, inspection, educational research and consultancy. Students also benefit from the opportunity to develop strong peer networks both within the IOE and with religious education student teachers from other London providers to share ideas and resources.
Accreditation: This route leads to the award of QTS (Qualified Teacher Status).
Department: Institute of Education
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Institute of Education
78% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
Who can apply?
The Secondary PGCE is suited to those wishing to gain Qualified Teaching Status (QTS) for teaching in UK Secondary schools and who have fulfilled the appropriate entry requirements.
Early application is advised as programmes may close as soon as places are filled.
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now