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Interview Days - Secondary PGCE

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.

You’ll begin the day with a short welcome talk and tour of our facilities. You’ll then take part in the following assessed activities:

  • presentation
  • interview
  • written task (including baseline literacy assessment)
  • written language task (for Modern Foreign Languages applicants only)
  • baseline mathematics assessment

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.

What to bring on the day

Please bring originals of the following documentation:

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


We'll give you a presentation task to prepare before the day. This task will be related to the teaching and learning of your specific subject area.

You'll deliver your presentation to your assessors and other applicants attending the Interview Day.

If you're attending online interviews, you should be prepared to bring up the presentation on your screen to share.

If you're attending in person, please bring a copy of your presentation on a memory stick. Please also email a copy to the admissions team ahead of the interview date.


Your interview will last approximately 30 minutes. We’ll ask you questions which allow us to assess your:

  • understanding of educational and professional issues
  • commitment to the teaching profession
  • enthusiasm for your subject area

If you're applying for a Modern Foreign Languages PGCE, part of your interview will be conducted in the relevant language(s).

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

Written task (baseline literacy assessment)

You’ll be given a written task relevant to your specific subject area and a few GCSE level questions to complete.

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

Your response to this task helps us make a baseline assessment of your written communication skills, including spelling, punctuation and grammar. We'll identify your strengths and areas for development. We can signpost relevant support services and skill development sessions for you during your PGCE studies.

Written language task (Modern Foreign Languages only)

We’ll provide you with two questions to answer on the day. You’ll have 30 minutes to work on these.

You don’t need prior preparation for this task, but you may find it useful to brush up on your writing skills in your chosen languages in advance.

Baseline mathematical assessment

You’ll be given a short exercise to complete, including some basic mathematical calculations and data analysis. We'll identify your strengths and areas for development. We can signpost relevant support services and skill development sessions for you during your PGCE studies.

Assessment criteria

Decisions following the Interview Day are reached through consultation between local 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 secondary 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.