Steps, Tips, and Insights for Writing a Perfect PGCE Essay

Last Updated: 11 February 2024

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We share tips, steps, and important insights to make you write a perfect PGCE essay that your assessor won’t get tired of reading.

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What is PGCE, and why is it important?

PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) is a recognized academic qualification with 60 credits at the Master's level, accounting for a third of Master's degree credits. The credits are spread across three assignments, totaling 12,000 words. The essays can each be 4000 words long.

Since they are scheduled after half terms, you generally have ample time to prepare and work on them. The deadlines are usually November, February, and May. The first assignment entails exploring a key aspect of teaching; it is the broadest.

The second assignment comes when you have spent much time in school placement. It, therefore, mostly dwells on reflecting on your developing professional practice.

Finally, the last assignment, which is the most specialized, highlights areas such as special education needs, behavior management, pedagogy, subject knowledge, classroom management strategies, planning, differentiation, and inclusion. You could also be required to write a case study of a specific child.

To achieve the coveted Master's credits, you must attain a 70% score. If you fail, there are chances of re-writing the assignment. Expect adequate support from your course provider through your studies since they want you to succeed.

Steps For Writing an Outstanding PGCE Essay

Writing a PGCE essay requires careful planning, research, analysis, and organization to address the topic and demonstrate your grasp of the subject matter.

The assignments can be a learning curve if you transition from other industries into teaching to become a trainee teacher. However, here are the steps for tackling your PGCE essay assignments since they are mostly essays.

Step #1: Understand the Assignment

During the early stages of the course, spend time understanding what is expected in the written assignments. Read the essay prompt or instructions carefully to understand the requirements. You need to identify the keywords and key points you must address in the essay. Also, note the specific instructions regarding the word count, formatting, citation style, or structure.

Step #2: Select a Topic

Instead of second-guessing the essay titles, take it easy on yourself. Research a good PGCE essay topic at your own pace, mostly drawing from your training and classroom experience. When selecting the topic, ensure it is interesting, researchable, manageable, and relevant to your practice. You will explore the topic in at least 4000 words; let it be something you are interested in and passionate about. We will look at some examples of the topics you can select.

Step #3: Research Widely

A PGCE assignment pass targets 70%, and you cannot achieve that via shallow research or just reading a single text. You need to search for journal articles relating to your essay title deliberately. Also, look at the bibliography of the respective sources to snowball your sources. As you research, consider the perspectives of the authors. Look at how the authors have criticized or cross-examined a concept or issue. Remember, instead of reporting, your work has to be critical. For example, you must say, "While author X reported that …. He could be wrong, and this is because …"

As you research, take notes; many notes. Find the specific viewpoints of the different authors and group those that relate together. Also, find means of identifying contrast. 

If you establish conflicting views, use them to structure and validate your arguments. Do not just copy and paste ideas randomly. You are engaging in an academic discourse and must show maturity.

Since most sources are online, ensure that you download the PDF formats and highlight the salient points, quotes, or ideas. Write the sections in your own words; interpret what the author said in your own words and include relevant citations, including the page number within the notes. The notes will be a gem when it comes to writing your assignment.

Gather relevant sources of information such as academic journals, publications, website articles from credible websites, textbooks, and other scholarly materials.

Related Reading: How to find scholarly sources online.

Step #4: Plan your Essay

With the notes and research, you are now sure what direction your essay will take. Create an outline that includes an introduction (hook, background, thesis, signpost of ideas to come), body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Decide on the order for your main arguments and highlight them in your topic sentences.

Consider the logical flow of ideas and how to support the arguments to make a coherent, competent, and clear essay.

The outline is your essay's blueprint or roadmap. The notes will help you carve out a structure that will work best.

Related Read: How many paragraphs make a good essay?

Step #5: Write the First Draft

Write your essay beginning with the introduction. Your PGCE essay should start with an attention-grabbing opening sentence or a hook to engage the readers. It can be a statistic, statement, fact, quote, or anecdote. Provide some background information on the topic, telling your readers why they should care to read about it in your essay. Finally, state your thesis statement, outlining your essay's main argument or purpose.

Develop the body paragraphs, ensuring each focuses on a main idea or argument. Each paragraph must have a topic sentence to introduce the main point. The body paragraphs should also contain a critical analysis, including interpreting the research evidence, such as examples, case studies, or data. Analyze and interpret evidence to demonstrate that you understand the topic.

Instead of being descriptive, you must be reflective, comparative, or critical when developing the body paragraphs.

When conducting a critical analysis, you must dig deeper into an experience and establish a renewed perspective. The comparative approach entails reframing the matter you are exploring in light of alternative perspectives, findings, or viewpoints. Finally, reflection entails a vivid description of the incident and subsequent critical analysis using a reflective model.

Remember to include transition words and phrases in your essay for a great flow within your paragraphs and to knit ideas together in your essay. You are writing at Master's level; everything has to be perfect!

Finally, the conclusion of the PGCE essay should conclude the main points discussed in the essay. Don't be tempted to introduce new facts or ideas. You should also restate your thesis statement, highlighting its significance. Finally, offer a call-to-action or final thoughts or implications of your findings.

Your writing has to be level 7 or Master's level

Step #6: Revise, Edit, and Proofread

Review your PGCE essay for clarity, coherence, competence, and logical progression of ideas. Check and correct any spelling, punctuation, and grammatical mistakes. Reconsider your organization of ideas and ensure that your essay adheres to the required formatting and citation style requirements. You can ask your peer, instructor, or mentor to critique your essay. Make the changes.

You must also carefully read the essay multiple times to catch any errors, omissions, or inconsistencies. Polish your essay's sentence structure, choice of words, and readability. Do not fear overhauling the entire essay as long as you end up with a paper that ticks all the checkboxes of the rubric that the PGCE assessor will use.

When you are sure your essay meets all the requirements, submit it on time.

Phrases to use when writing the PGCE Essay

When writing a PGCE essay, using language that shows your understanding of educational theories, teaching strategies and practices, and academic discourse is critical. Your choice of words must be deliberate enough to bring out level 7 writing characteristics. Here are some phrases you can use to enhance the clarity, organization, and quality of your written piece:


Stating the thesis:

Developing Arguments:

Providing Evidence:

Analyzing Evidence:

Counterarguments and Rebuttal:

Concluding and Summarizing:

Implications and Recommendations:

Apart from the phrases we've indicated above, review our list of phrases and words to use in academic papers to write a paper that a professor would love to read to grade and appreciate your writing prowess. Remember to use disciplinary-specific terminology to show that you understand concepts within the education field. Familiarity with the field is one area that is assessed in PGCE essays. The academic phrasebank by the University of Manchester can also help you when writing your essay paragraphs.

Tips for a Great PGCE Essay

  1. When writing a PGCE essay, you must be critical. Don't confuse this with criticizing. Instead, you must demonstrate critical analysis. You need to be a detective! One way to do this is by (1) Questioning the materials you read during research, (2) Looking at the strengths and limitations of text, (3) Determining the reliability of sources, and (4) Synthesizing ideas to formulate new ones or gain a deeper understanding.
  2. You should also engage in current research to have cutting-edge or up-to-date information on policy, framework, conceptual models, and theories. Stick to scholarly sources published in the last 5 years.
  3. When presenting ideas, ensure that you use facts. The same should be done when challenging conventions. It should demonstrate that you have considered alternative points. Strive to demonstrate the depth of research and analysis.
  4. Use theory to critique and reflect on your skills development and improve your approaches. Remember, theory and practice are intertwined.
  5. Your essay should be evidence-based, focused on real-life situations, and founded on reflective practice.
  6. Document your findings. As you research, ensure that you take notes, including your sources' in-text citations and full bibliographic data.
  7. Capture the reader's attention in your opening sentence.
  8. Write a short, clear, and coherent essay title. It should not be more than 7-9 words long.
  9. Signpost ideas in your essay's paragraphs so the reader is not surprised.
  10. Construct the body using the PEEL paragraph approach. Ensure that your paragraphs are between 100 and 300 words long for flexibility.
  11. Paraphrase well by (1) reading the text several times to fully understand, (2) making notes of the key concepts, (3) writing down your own version of the text without referring to the original, (4) comparing your paraphrased text with the original and making changes, and (5) citing the original source correctly.
  12. Most Importantly! Do not be afraid to ask for help. Although your provider will offer support to some extent, there is always an alternative. If you feel like a PGCE essay or assignment is bogging you down, you can get writing help from We have first-class writers whom you can work with to realize your goals. The writers will do the research, consult you, and write a paper that fits the description of a good-grade PGCE essay. The key difference between us and other writing services is that we offer personalized services where you engage with the writer in real time. No AI, plagiarism, or mediocre quality.

Hopefully, these tips will help you. Below are some topics to consider.

PGCE Essay Topics and Ideas

One of the major hurdles when writing a PGCE essay or paper is finding the right topic. Most students select a topic they either find little information or develop a lack of interest in as the writing journey proceeds. We have put together some potential topics you can consider, which can also be the start of your brainstorming for potential topics.

Our writers are very flexible when writing essays; they can perfectly handle any topic. They can also help you develop a perfect topic, given your preferences, background, and career prospects.

Educational Policy and Reform

  1. Analyzing the impact of high-stakes testing on teaching and learning.
  2. Exploring the implications of educational privatization on equity and access.
  3. Investigating the effectiveness of inclusive education policies in promoting student diversity.
  4. Addressing disparities in educational funding: challenges and solutions.
  5. The role of technology in educational policy development and implementation.

Critical Pedagogy

  1. Applying critical literacy strategies to promote social justice in the classroom.
  2. Examining the role of multicultural literature in challenging stereotypes and biases.
  3. Fostering critical thinking skills through media literacy education.
  4. Promoting civic engagement through service-learning initiatives.
  5. Decolonizing the curriculum: strategies for incorporating Indigenous perspectives.
  6. To what extent can PSHE and Citizenship contribute to the ethos of a school?

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

  1. Implementing mindfulness practices in the classroom: benefits and challenges.
  2. Examining the relationship between SEL competencies and academic achievement.
  3. Promoting social-emotional skills through literature-based activities.
  4. Supporting students' mental health and well-being in the classroom.
  5. Cultivating empathy and compassion in education: strategies for SEL integration.

Early Childhood Education

  1. Exploring the impact of play-based learning on early childhood development.
  2. Investigating the role of outdoor education in early childhood curriculum.
  3. Addressing the challenges and opportunities of bilingual education in early childhood settings.
  4. Promoting social-emotional learning in preschool classrooms: strategies and interventions.
  5. Examining the benefits of nature-based learning environments for young children.
  6. Supporting play-based learning in early childhood classrooms.
  7. The importance of parental involvement in early childhood education.
  8. Strategies for promoting social-emotional development in preschoolers.
  9. Investigating the role of early childhood education in closing the achievement gap.
  10. Enhancing emergent literacy skills through interactive read-alouds.

Language and Literacy

  1. Strategies for promoting vocabulary development in English Language Learners (ELLs).
  2. Investigating the impact of bilingual education on academic achievement.
  3. Enhancing reading comprehension skills through reciprocal teaching strategies.
  4. Incorporating digital storytelling into literacy instruction.
  5. Supporting emergent literacy skills in early childhood education.

Classroom Management

  1. Culturally responsive classroom management strategies for diverse student populations.
  2. Addressing bullying and cyberbullying in schools: prevention and intervention strategies.
  3. The effectiveness of using whiteboards in classrooms.
  4. Promoting positive behavior management techniques in early childhood education.
  5. Restorative justice practices in school discipline: implementation and outcomes.
  6. Supporting students with ADHD in the classroom: effective management strategies.

Primary Education

  1. Investigating the effectiveness of cooperative learning strategies in primary classrooms.
  2. Enhancing numeracy skills through real-world problem-solving activities in primary education.
  3. Addressing language barriers in multicultural primary classrooms: supporting English Language Learners.
  4. Promoting inquiry-based science education in primary schools: approaches and outcomes.
  5. Integrating arts education into the primary curriculum to foster creativity and expression.
  6. Exploring innovative approaches to teaching mathematics in primary schools.
  7. Promoting environmental sustainability education in primary classrooms.
  8. Strategies for integrating arts education into primary school curricula.
  9. Supporting the transition from early years to primary education: continuity and coherence.
  10. Addressing literacy challenges in diverse primary classrooms: interventions and strategies.

Secondary Education

  1. Exploring the role of project-based learning in promoting deeper understanding in secondary science education.
  2. Investigating the impact of teacher-student relationships on academic achievement in secondary schools.
  3. Addressing mental health issues among adolescents: the role of schools in prevention and support.
  4. Promoting digital citizenship education in secondary classrooms: strategies for responsible technology use.
  5. Examining the effectiveness of career guidance programs in secondary education.
  6. Exploring innovative approaches to teaching mathematics in primary schools.
  7. Promoting environmental sustainability education in primary classrooms.
  8. Strategies for integrating arts education into primary school curricula.
  9. Supporting the transition from early years to primary education: continuity and coherence.
  10. Addressing literacy challenges in diverse primary classrooms: interventions and strategies.

Higher Education

  1. Investigating the impact of active learning strategies on student engagement and retention in higher education.
  2. Addressing academic integrity issues in higher education: promoting ethical behavior and honesty.
  3. Exploring the challenges and benefits of online learning in higher education.
  4. Supporting non-traditional students in higher education: strategies for success.
  5. Examining the role of experiential learning in undergraduate education: internships, service-learning, and study abroad programs.

Special Education

  1. Investigating the effectiveness of inclusive education practices for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
  2. Addressing the needs of gifted and talented students in special education: challenges and opportunities.
  3. Promoting self-advocacy skills in students with disabilities: empowering learners for independence.
  4. Exploring the impact of sensory integration therapy on students with sensory processing disorders.
  5. Supporting transition planning for students with disabilities: preparing for life after school.
  6. The primary teacher and the impact of their role on teaching dyslexic children.

Multicultural Education

  1. Strategies for promoting intercultural competence in multicultural classrooms.
  2. Examining the impact of culturally responsive teaching on student achievement.
  3. Implementing Indigenous perspectives in the curriculum: challenges and opportunities.
  4. Addressing Islamophobia and religious discrimination in schools: strategies for creating inclusive environments.
  5. Cultivating global citizenship through multicultural education: curriculum integration and pedagogical approaches.

STEM Education

  1. Enhancing girls' participation and achievement in STEM education: challenges and strategies.
  2. Strategies for integrating engineering design processes into STEM education.
  3. Investigating the impact of informal STEM learning experiences on student interest and motivation.
  4. Promoting computational thinking skills in K-12 education: approaches and resources.
  5. Addressing equity and access in STEM education: interventions for underrepresented populations.

Language Education

  1. Exploring bilingualism and biliteracy development in language education.
  2. Strategies for promoting oral proficiency in second language acquisition.
  3. Investigating the role of language ideologies in language education policy and practice.
  4. Supporting heritage language learners in language education programs.
  5. The impact of study abroad experiences on language learning and intercultural competence.

Teacher Education and Professional Development

  1. The role of reflective practice in teacher education and professional development.
  2. Examining pre-service teacher preparation programs: alignment with teaching standards and competencies.
  3. Strategies for supporting the induction and mentoring of early career teachers.
  4. The impact of teacher burnout on instructional quality and student outcomes.
  5. Promoting teacher leadership in schools: opportunities and challenges.

Parent and Community Involvement

  1. Strategies for promoting family engagement in children's education: partnerships between schools and communities.
  2. Exploring the role of parent education programs in supporting children's academic success.
  3. Addressing cultural and linguistic barriers to parent involvement in education.
  4. The impact of community-based organizations on student achievement and well-being.
  5. Promoting school-home partnerships for supporting student learning and development.

Technology in Education

  1. Exploring the effectiveness of online learning platforms in K-12 education.
  2. Investigating the impact of educational apps on student engagement and learning outcomes.
  3. Addressing digital divide issues: strategies for ensuring equitable access to technology in schools.
  4. The role of social media in education: opportunities and challenges for teaching and learning.
  5. Promoting digital citizenship skills through technology integration in the curriculum.

Educational Leadership and Administration

  1. Examining effective leadership styles in educational settings: transformational vs. transactional leadership.
  2. Strategies for fostering a positive school culture and climate.
  3. Addressing the challenges of educational leadership in times of crisis or change.
  4. Promoting distributed leadership models for shared decision-making and collaboration.
  5. Investigating the role of educational leaders in promoting teacher professional development and growth.

Teacher Well-being and Resilience

  1. Exploring the impact of stress and burnout on teacher well-being and job satisfaction.
  2. Strategies for promoting teacher resilience and self-care in demanding educational environments.
  3. The role of supportive school policies and practices in teacher retention and job satisfaction.
  4. Addressing work-life balance issues for educators: challenges and solutions.
  5. Promoting a culture of wellness in schools: holistic approaches to supporting teacher health and well-being.

Educational Psychology Topics

  1. Investigating the role of motivation in student learning and achievement.
  2. Exploring theories of cognitive development and their implications for teaching and learning.
  3. Addressing individual differences in learning styles and preferences: implications for instructional practice.
  4. The impact of socio-emotional factors on student behavior and academic performance.
  5. Promoting positive classroom environments through effective classroom management strategies.
  6. Impacts of cognitive, social, emotional or cultural on child development.

Global and Comparative Education

  1. Examining educational policies and practices in different countries: lessons for global education reform.
  2. Addressing educational inequalities and disparities on a global scale.
  3. Exploring international perspectives on curriculum development and implementation.
  4. Investigating the impact of globalization on education: opportunities and challenges.
  5. Promoting cross-cultural understanding and collaboration in education: strategies for fostering global citizenship.

Educational Research and Methodology

  1. Exploring qualitative research methods in educational research: case studies, interviews, and observations.
  2. Investigating quantitative research methods in educational research: surveys, experiments, and statistical analysis.
  3. Addressing ethical considerations in educational research: principles and guidelines.
  4. Promoting evidence-based practice in education: translating research into effective teaching strategies.
  5. The role of action research in teacher professional development and school improvement.

Learning Environments and School Design

  1. Designing inclusive learning environments for students with diverse needs and abilities.
  2. Investigating the impact of classroom design on student engagement and learning outcomes.
  3. Addressing sustainability and environmental education in school design and operations.
  4. Promoting flexible learning spaces and innovative classroom designs.
  5. Exploring the role of outdoor and experiential learning environments in education.

Assessment and Grading Practices

  1. Examining alternative assessment methods in education: portfolios, performance assessments, and authentic tasks.
  2. Investigating the impact of high-stakes testing on teaching and learning.
  3. Addressing bias and fairness in assessment and grading practices.
  4. Promoting formative assessment strategies for enhancing student learning and understanding.
  5. Exploring competency-based grading models and standards-based assessment practices.

Pedagogical Approaches

  1. A comparative analysis of traditional vs. progressive teaching methods.
  2. Exploring the efficacy of project-based learning in primary education.
  3. Investigating the impact of flipped classroom models on student engagement.
  4. Examining the role of experiential learning in promoting STEM education.
  5. Implementing inquiry-based approaches in teaching science: challenges and strategies.
  6. Effectiveness of plenaries in a lesson.

Curriculum Development

  1. Designing a culturally responsive curriculum for diverse classrooms.
  2. Integrating environmental education across the curriculum.
  3. Enhancing critical thinking skills through interdisciplinary curriculum design.
  4. Promoting global citizenship education in the curriculum.
  5. Developing a curriculum framework for promoting digital literacy skills.
  6. How can we ensure pupils make progress in a sequence of lessons?

Assessment and Feedback

  1. Assessing the effectiveness of peer assessment in enhancing student learning outcomes.
  2. Exploring alternative forms of assessment in arts education.
  3. Investigating the impact of self-assessment on student motivation and achievement.
  4. Implementing formative assessment strategies in language learning classrooms.
  5. Designing authentic assessment tasks for real-world application of knowledge and skills.

Inclusive Education

  1. Supporting the social and emotional needs of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
  2. Strategies for creating inclusive learning environments for students with learning disabilities.
  3. Promoting gender equity in STEM education: challenges and opportunities.
  4. Addressing unconscious bias in the classroom: implications for inclusive teaching.
  5. Implementing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles to support diverse learners.

Professional Development

  1. The role of mentorship in supporting early career teachers.
  2. Examining the impact of teacher collaboration on instructional practice and student achievement.
  3. Strategies for fostering a culture of continuous professional learning in schools.
  4. Exploring the use of action research as a tool for teacher professional development.
  5. The challenges and benefits of teacher induction programs: a comparative analysis.

From Beginner to Pro!

The tips above will land you into the 70% plus PGCE score category, which sets you far ahead of everyone else.  Writing a PGCE essay is challenging; even those with specialized master's level training find it hard to manage on the first attempt. If you read the instructions, pick a great essay topic, draft an outline, write the first draft, and polish it, you are already ahead of everyone else. Think of it as getting to the desirable grade in style!

Before you go, check out our other articles to help you write your essay better. Although general, they are loaded with vital insights and tips.

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