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Interview Days - Primary PGCE

Information on interview days for our Primary PGCE programme.

What to expect

This information is for prospective applicants. As part of the PGCE application process, you'll take part in an interview day. These focus on the knowledge and skills that are essential to succeed as a trainee teacher

On the interview day you will take part in the following assessed activities:

  • Teaching Episode
  • Interview
  • Written and mathematical tasks

We’ll provide you with your individual time slots for each activity on the day. Your assessors will include staff from Newcastle University, plus teachers from local partnership schools.

You can find more information about the items you should bring on the day, plus instructions for each of the activities below. Your invite to interview email will provide you with details of the date, time and location of your interview day. See our campus map for directions.

Note: Due to COVID-19 our interviews are currently taking place remotely. This means there will be some slight differences to the process. We'll keep you informed at all points.

Hear from Fred Clark, Head of Education, as he talks you through what to expect on your Interview Day.

What to bring on the day

Please bring originals of the following documentation:

  • passport and/or driving licence
  • birth certificate
  • degree certificate (if you have already graduated)
  • GCSE certificates or equivalent for English Language, Maths and Science
  • any change of name documents (for example, marriage certificate, change of name deed)

You'll also need to bring the resources for your Teaching Episode (see information below).

Teaching Episode

You’ll have five minutes to teach a small group of assessors who will act as your ‘class’ of children. Assessors will be looking for engaging and creative lesson ideas.

You must:

  • choose a topic relevant to a subject area in the Primary National Curriculum
  • select the intended year group

You should design your Teaching Episode to:

  • enable you to understand the learning needs of the ‘class’
  • allow you to respond to these needs during the session

Before your five minutes begin, we'll ask you to explain the theme of the session and the intended age group to your assessors.

You’ll need to bring along any resources you will need for your Teaching Episode (such as whiteboards, pens and learning aids).


Your interview will take place after your Teaching Episode. It will last approximately 20 minutes.

We'll give you a copy of the interview questions to look over before your interview. We’ll ask you questions which allow us to assess your:

  • understanding of educational and professional issues
  • commitment to joining the teaching profession

We’ll also ask you to reflect on your Teaching Episode, which will have taken place earlier in the day. You should:

  • analyse the learning which took place
  • identify the future learning needs of the ‘class’

Your interview is also an opportunity for you to ask us any questions you have.

Written and mathematical tasks

We’ll provide you with instructions for these tasks on the day. You don’t need to do any prior preparation.

The written task will assess your written communication and your skills of analysis and evaluation.

The mathematical task will assess your ability to solve maths problems. This includes calculations involving:

  • fractions
  • percentage
  • multiplication and division
  • data analysis

These tasks will help identify areas of the Primary National Curriculum that you'll need to revise before the start of your PGCE course.

Assessment criteria

Decisions following the Interview Day are reached through consultation between partnership school and university colleagues. They are based on:

  • your application
  • your references
  • your performance throughout the Interview Day

We'll use the following criteria:

  • written and oral communication skills
  • pedagogical and subject knowledge
  • understanding of education (especially current issues within education and the demands of teaching in primary schools)
  • reflection on experience
  • quality of thinking
  • personal attributes and skills

MERIT scheme

The Minority Ethnic Recruitment into Teaching (MERIT) scheme offers support to Black or Minority Ethnic (BAME) students aspiring to train as a teacher in the North East.

For further details and contact information visit the MERIT scheme website.

Next steps

You’ll be informed of the outcome of your Interview Day via DfE. You’ll also receive an email from the University. You'll usually be notified of the decision within a few days of your Interview Day.

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about our course, visit the Primary PGCE course page or watch the video below.

Learn more about the course