Teacher Training

Train to teach with STEEP: Primary PGCE with early years specialism

STEEP offers School Direct, Primary PGCE courses in Partnership with Goldsmiths University. You will gain Qualified Teacher Status, and have an Early Years specialism which makes our courses particularly suited to those wishing to teach in Nursery or Reception phases in the EYFS whilst providing you with the transferable skills to teach the Primary school age range. 

"The STEEP course has shown me how important it is to work with the child as well as their families. Working with experienced early years practitioners has been a great opportunity for me to learn first-hand about the early years curriculum and how children learn through various learning styles. I had the chance to work with supportive mentors who have supported me throughout the process of what are the aspects of a child’s early development and how it looks in an effective environment. STEEP is a family where I have grown to become a confident early years teacher".

Shannon Caws, past STEEP student

Why choose STEEP

Successful applicants accepting a place on our course will:
  • Be allocated a place at one of our six outstanding Maintained Nursery Schools, where you will join a team of experienced, specialist professionals who are passionate about Early Childhood Education.
  • Receive high quality support and mentoring throughout your training and benefit from the expertise of Senior Leaders across all six settings.
  • Track how children are supported and develop over the course of an entire academic year and how strong relationships with families is central to this.
  • Complete a Reception and a Key Stage 1 placement, equipping you well to work in a Nursery, Reception and Primary School environment.
  • Join our alumni of highly regarded Early Years specialist teachers where 100% of our STEEP students gain employment in their specialist area.
You will:
  • learn about the very latest theory and research, on which our teaching rests
  • have the opportunity to reflect on what theory looks and feels like in practice.
  • join Goldsmiths, University of London’s Primary ITT programme, with full access to University services and facilities, benefitting from the expertise and the research profile of the Goldsmiths’ Primary team
  • focus on 3-7 year-olds (Foundation Stage/Key Stage 1) and spend time working with very young children
  • cover the National Curriculum subjects, including the three core areas of English, Mathematics and Science with additional sessions relevant to teaching in the Foundation Stage
In addition to the University based taught input you will:
  • receive bespoke input from the STEEP partners and attend staff meetings and school in-Service training in your host school
  • attend the annual STEEP Conference, which has an attendance of over 200 and hear from leading Early Years academics and practitioners

On completing this course you will be well prepared to lead your own class with strong principles of practice, enabling you to provide high quality Early Childhood Education.

What courses we offer

We offer two unsalaried School Direct, Primary PGCE courses. 

Course code 2MBS:    Maintained Nursery School host, with Primary School alternate placements

Course code 2XTC:     Primary School host, with Nursery School alternate placements

The difference between the two courses being where your host placement will be. This will be either:

  1. in one of the STEEP Maintained Nursery Schools,  or
  2. one of our partner Primary Schools.

 

Working in partnership with Goldsmiths University, we offer this outstanding School Direct, initial teacher training route, leading to the award of Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), with 60 Master’s credits and Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

On completion you will be well equipped to teach in Nursery and Primary schools in inner city London, within the UK, and across the world.

What qualification you'll receive

The STEEP PGCE leads to the award of Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), with 60 Master’s credits and Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).


On completion you will be well equipped to teach in Nursery and Primary schools in inner city London, within the UK, and across the world.


You will gain practical skills needed to become a Qualified Primary Teacher, by working alongside experienced Early Years Foundation Stage practitioners in our nursery schools;  including historic the Rachel McMillan Nursery School.

Course structure

Our course ensures you have the required 120 days in school, with additional time to reflect and hone your skills as a teacher. You will see a cycle of the full school year and the development of children during that time.

Over this PGCE year you will have placements in your host school and in at least one other alternate school so that you experience teaching in different age groups.

STEEP arranges all the school placements within our Teaching School Alliance (tsa) and partner schools.

In advance of each placement you will receive taught content provided by STEEP and Goldsmiths University to support your teaching on school placement.

Successful applicants on the 2MBS course will be allocated a place at one of our six outstanding Maintained Nursery Schools, with access to the support and expertise of a multi-skilled Early Years team. This ‘host’ school will be your base for your the full academic year and the school Leadership and Staff of your host school form a significant part of your support network whilst you train, including when you are on placement in other schools.

Applicants for the 2XTS course will be will be allocated a place at one of our partner Primary Schools, with access to the support and expertise of a multi-skilled Early Years team in the STEEP Maintsined Nursery Schools.  This ‘host’ school will be your base for your the full academic year and the school Leadership and Staff of your host school form a significant part of your support network whilst you train, including when you are on placement in other schools.

Throughout the course you are supported by your class based mentor and your school based mentor who will visit and support you in your Reception and Key Stage One school placements. This provides vital personalised support and consistency of approach ensuring students can develop and transfer their skills, across the age phases and in different settings.

Alongside this you have blocks of time at Goldsmiths University, and taught sessions, in each of the six STEEP schools, this includes the opportunity to visit each school in the Spring term to follow your own areas of investigation.

Two modules are offered at Masters (M) level. These are Studies in Professional Issues and Research in Education (SPIRE) – a classroom-based research project with a pedagogic focus – and Curriculum Studies, which has an integrated focus in which there are a number of options.

Two written assignments are required for submission to Goldsmiths University during the PGCE year, which can earn you 60 Master’s credits along with your PGCE award.

Entry requirements

To apply to the STEEP course you need:
  • Degree with honours (2.2 or above)
  • Grade C or above GCSE or equivalent in English, Maths and Science


If you are successful at interview you will need meet the following conditions:

  1. Pass in QTS skills tests Literacy and Numeracy
  2. Occupational Health check ok (fitness to teach)
  3. Clear DBS check
  4. Self-declaration of suitability form
  5. Complete 5 days school experience and have this validated by the school


We are looking for applicants who are:

  • interested in young children and how they learn
  • able to communicate effectively with others, adults and children
  • excited by the unexpected and able to be flexible and adaptable to change
  • reflective and analytical and able to evaluate what is going well and what could be done better
  • interested in their own learning and professional development
  • with a willingness to take “risks” and try out new ideas
  • positive and optimistic in attitude
  • resilient and have a sense of humour

Application process

To apply:

Please apply for STEEP School Direct via UCAS Teacher Training  http://www.ucas.com/apply

Lead School:    Chelwood Nursery School
Course code:    2MBS or 2XTC
Institution Code:     21K

Find our courses on the on the DfE Postgraduate Teacher Training portal here.

Please check you meet all the entry requirements before you apply.

Employment prospects

To date 100% of participants completing the STEEP PGCE course have secured teaching posts in their area of specialism.

STEEP students are in demand across London and the South East. We have recruiting schools contacting STEEP looking for newly qualified teachers with and our Early Years specialism.

About the provider

The South Thames Early Education Partnership are six like-minded London Nursery Schools sharing principles of practice, but unique in identity.

Our shared understanding of pedagogy and principles guides our early years practice with children and their families.

With Goldsmiths we have co-constructed a teacher education program to specialise in the teaching of children early years of their education.

Proud of our secure and established Early Years specialism, and the high level of expertise and experience amongst our staff; teachers, nursery nurses and support staff.

We share a passion for the importance of putting the needs of the children first and ensuring high quality early education for all our children.
We know from experience that children thrive and achieve when the staff who work with them are specialist early years practitioners.  All children deserve teachers who are:

  • well qualified in their field and have high levels of expertise,
  • have a robust understanding of the development of young children
  • a knowledge of how young children learn most effectively, and
  • a tireless commitment to put the needs of the child and family, at the heart of their work.

STEEP are committed to developing a well qualified children’s workforce and we are proud to play our part in training the teachers and support staff of the future.
“there cannot be a compromise on quality and we must be relentless in our desire to improve experiences for young children.” (Cathy Nutbrown in her review of Early Education and Childcare Qualifications).

About the accredited provider – Goldsmiths University

Goldsmiths have a strong pedigree in teaching practice – training teachers since 1904 – and have gained recognition from Ofsted for our ‘outstanding contribution’ to widening participation in Initial Teacher Education. This means that as a student here you have the chance to start or continue your studies into primary and secondary teaching including PGCE through a range of routes.

You will be encouraged to be reflective in your learning and engaging in research, and take 
part in conversations that inform group learning, so you can explore education not just from afar but in relation to your own experience.

What people are saying about the course

"I was told about the STEEP course by a (very excited) Early Years colleague who attended a STEEP conference at Goldsmiths a few years ago. Her words ‘YOU MUST APPLY FOR STEEP!’ stuck with me and I’ve been working towards this course ever since. I am so delighted with the experience so far. I feel really supported by everyone at school and at Goldsmiths which makes learning on this course really enjoyable."
Sophie Martin
2018-19 STEEP student
"The STEEP course has shown me how important it is to work with the child as well as their families. Working with experienced early years practitioners has been a great opportunity for me to learn first-hand about the early years curriculum and how children learn through various learning styles. I had the chance to work with supportive mentors who have supported me throughout the process of what are the aspects of a child’s early development and how it looks in an effective environment. STEEP is a family where I have grown to become a confident early years teacher".
Shannon Caws
Past STEEP student