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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. 

For Secondary PGCE Candidates, you’ll normally be invited to interview at the University and begin the day with a short welcome talk. You’ll then take part in the following assessed activities: 

  • presentation 
  • interview 
  • written tasks (including literacy assessment and subject specific questions) 
  • written language task (for Modern Foreign Languages applicants only) 

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 further details, including the date, time and location of your Interview Day. 


In exceptional circumstances, such as for overseas applicants, an online selection process can be requested. 

What to bring on the day 

Please bring originals of the following documentation: 

  • passport or driving licence 


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

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

If you're attending in person, please bring a copy of your presentation on a memory stick, and should be emailed at least 24 hours in advance of the interview to Please also email a copy to the admissions team ahead of the interview date. 

In the event that you are attending an online interview, you should be prepared to bring up the presentation on your screen to share. 



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 (literacy assessment & Subject Specific Questions) 

You’ll be given a written task relevant to teaching, and also a number of GCSE level questions within your subject area to complete. These tasks should take no longer than one hour and will be completed as part of the selection event. 

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 an assessment of your comprehension and written communication skills, including spelling, punctuation and grammar. This can also be helpful to identify your strengths and areas for development, signposting relevant support services and skill development sessions for you during your PGCE studies if you are successful and decide to study with us. 

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. 


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: 

  • Quality and clarity of your 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.