Skip navigation
7th Jun 2023 9:00am Blogs

What to expect when studying PGCE Citizenship Studies

In this guest blog, three Kingston University students share their insights from studying a PGCE in Citizenship

What to expect when studying PGCE Citizenship with Social Science

What to expect from your PGCE year?

By completing a PGCE at Kingston University it will allow you to give your students a better-informed position of the world and how to make an impact in the future. You will also find your own unique teaching style which is authentic and distinctive to you. 

During this PGCE you will study a range of pedagogical strategies at the university and then experiment with them during teaching placement to develop and enhance your skills as a Citizenship teacher. Not only will you learn to plan effective lessons and deliver them in an engaging way, but this will allow your students to develop a deep understanding of contemporary issues and build confidence in themselves and their ability to present, defend or take a position on a topical issue. 

How Kingston Citizenship with Social Science PGCE training prepares you for school life?

  • It allows you to get a realistic picture of teaching life – there is excellent university mentoring support throughout your course, not only in subject sessions but throughout all modules.
  • In this specific course, you will be teaching Citizenship but a have the opportunity to develop a subject specialism in the social sciences which is great as Citizenship draws on a range of subjects such as politics, sociology, anthropology, law and economics. This is a true representation of school life – where you will unlikely just be teaching one subject in your ECT year.
  • Expert led sessions by the fantastic course tutors at the university, who explore current Citizenship issues, debates, and ideas. Also teachers, who are currently teaching the subject, will come to deliver and share expertise in Citizenship and social sciences to give you a great holistic picture of teaching life.
  • Mixed Cohort Sessions – some of your lessons will be a mix of Early Years, Primary and Secondary education allowing you to learn and develop your ideas from other trainees’ experiences and expert knowledge. For instance – exploring social mobility and education is not specific to just secondary teachers. 

4 Tips for Teacher Training Year

  1. Remain up-to-date with assignments and readings: part of the challenge and reward of the year is studying whilst simultaneously learning to teach.
  2. Cohort Support – at Kingston, the course is great at facilitating a close peer support network. Your cohort will be your best friends thought your training year and your support system. Communicating with the cohort and sharing ideas will help develop your teaching away from the readings and feedback. New ideas can come from their experiences as well as your own.
  3. Organisation is key – organising your resources and lesson plans by weeks and topics will help you keep not only your profile organised, but also your ideas.
  4. Ask for Constructive Criticism – feedback is always beneficial, seek it out even if it is not given. Do not be afraid to speak to SLT and other subject teachers throughout the school – different teacher approaches are beneficial and provide a different lens to view your practice.

Why do schools need more qualified Citizenship Teachers?

Citizenship is an essential subject to build up students’ life skills and understanding of how power operates. This includes not only the government, and other international organisations, but how society works locally. Therefore, it is important to have specialist teachers that can teach it as a standalone subject and not just through PSHE and other classes. Specialist Citizenship teachers are also uniquely qualified to teach controversial issues, teach topical issues and create safe spaces in which to have meaningful debates and dialogue – a true embodiment of democratic learning. If schools employed more specialist Citizenship teachers, it would implement a domino effect in gaining recognition of how important the subject is for students’ skills in life after education and why it is important to know what is happening not only in politics but globally as well.

Why becoming a Specialist Citizenship teacher can make a difference?

If you choose to train in Citizenship, you will develop essential skills that will enable you to tackle contemporary problems, not only in the subject you teach but also in wider school activities such as assemblies and pastoral tasks. Due to the skills you will learn as a Citizenship teacher, you will be uniquely qualified to build up confidence in students to speak up about important issues that affect them, their communities and broader global issues.

Find out more about studying a PGCE in Citizenship 

Many institutions offer PGCE courses in Citizenship. Here are links to two institutions offering places starting this September:

Kingston University London:

IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society:

Studying PGCE Citizenship studies authors

About the authors

Zivile Zokaite: Zivile is a Citizenship with Social Science PGCE student at Kingston University, prior to the course she has worked as SEND Teaching Assistant and has a Psychology degree. Fun fact: Zivile has a pet snake named Shura!

Salma Elsayed: Salma is a Citizenship with Social Science PGCE student at Kingston University, and has a Masters Degree in International Journalism with a focus on the Arab Spring Rising. Fun Fact: she is an avid photographer who used to run a food blog.

Amie Bannerman: Amie is a Citizenship with Social Science PGCE student at Kingston University, she is also a Martial Arts Instructor with both a British and American Degree in Political Science with International Relations. Fun fact: Amie is a trained barista whose favourite coffee is an Iced Black Americano!