Thank you for applying for a place on the University of Cumbria’s Citizenship PGCE course. We are
looking forward to meeting you and hope that you will find the process rewarding and rigorous.
Please find below some information about the course and the interview process. This information is
designed to give you a clear idea on what to expect and to give you some insight into how you will
The interview process has been constructed to provide you with opportunities to express your ideas,
demonstrate your talents and allow for you to reflect on the course at our University. There will also
be plenty of opportunities for you to ask questions regarding the course and the place of Citizenship
The PGCE in Citizenship course is designed to train specialist teachers in Citizenship. We explore
the rationale for the introduction of Citizenship into the National Curriculum and dissect the different
skills and knowledge areas that this curriculum includes. Our trainees will be expected to take a
curriculum development role in their teaching posts, so we want them to develop a distinctive vision
of what education for citizenship is, and how purposeful, focused, active learning techniques can be
used to engage pupils' interest and make Citizenship education rigorous and meaningful. College
based training includes sessions on generic teaching skills alongside subject specific sessions on
issues such as "How do we plan for Active Citizenship?" There are many different models for the
delivery of Citizenship within schools and we explore with trainees how citizenship education can be
developed across the curriculum.
This is reflected in the school-based training where our trainees will teach both discrete Citizenship
lessons and citizenship through other subjects. We also expect trainees to participate in active
citizenship projects such as the "Local Democracy Young Mayor event.
Morning - Written Task
Please read the information contained in the general PGCE Secondary information for interview document,
and preparation reading material (Mike Blamires) You will be required to complete a 500 word essay on the
supplied article ‘The essay title will be provided on the interview day and you will be given 45 minutes to write
an essay on the given topic. Your essay will be used as one of the pieces evidence that helps tutors decide
whether to offer you a place but it will not be used in isolation, so you don’t have to worry about ‘passing’ or
‘failing’ the essay. Your performance during other parts of the selection day will be taken into account too.
The essay can also help tutors decide how best to support your academic development when you start on the
We will give you an outline of what to expect during the training. We will give you information on
issues such as the structure of the course, the range of teaching approaches used on the course,
assessment and monitoring, school based training placements and expectations. At this stage we
will outline some of the distinctive features of our course that we hope you will find challenging and
enriching. There is an opportunity for you to ask questions about the course at this stage.
Part of the interview process involves you making a presentation. The purpose of this is to allow you
to demonstrate your ability to engage an audience and to show how you would use resources to
illustrate an idea, concept or topic. The purpose of applying for a teaching course is to learn to
teach, so at this stage we do not expect exposition and explanation skills to be perfect.
However, we will be looking at the following points:
• Your ability to engage the interest of an audience
• Your ability to clearly explain your points
• Evidence of careful planning of the presentation and clear thinking behind your selection of
resource and topic
• Your post-presentation analysis of your choices and methods
You will be making a short presentation to the interviewers. You are to assume that the audience is
a class of Year 8 (12-13 year-old) pupils who have no previous knowledge of the topic that you are
You may select any topic/concept or relevant current affairs issue which links to the National
Curriculum Citizenship Programme of Study for Key Stage 3 and plan a 5-minute introduction to that
You may bring ONE resource/visual aid to illustrate your presentation and to engage interest, e.g. a
newspaper article, a picture or photograph, an artefact or household object.
For example, you might want to interest the pupils in the meaning of "Identity". One of our trainees
opened a lesson on this topic, by using a "Russian doll". She explained clearly that identity may, be
made up of several "layers". This was demonstrated by opening up the doll and removing each
smaller doll to represent another "layer" of an individual's identity: gender, regional identity, etc.
The presentation should be no longer than 5 minutes in length. You will have access to a video, an
O.H.T. and whiteboard. Should you need other facilities please contact us ahead of time.
We would like to reassure you that we are looking for the potential to be a good teacher. We
do not expect you to be so at the moment!
This stage of the interview will be of approximately 30 minutes duration and is in two parts:
a) One part of the interview will focus upon your subject knowledge and previous academic study
and life experience. It will explore your views and definition of effective teaching and your
motivation in wanting to become a Citizenship teacher. This part of the interview will also discuss
the planning choices that you made for your presentation. To prepare for your interview you might
find it useful to have consulted the Citizenship learning resources section of the National Grid for
b) The other part of the interview will focus on generic teaching issues. You will be given some
classroom scenarios to consider and think through. We do not expect a "right" answer - rather we
are looking for your ability to think through issues and to reflect critically on alternative options.
This is crucial to effective teaching and helps us to identify the potential of a candidate to improve
through a PGCE year.
We should like to point out that as we generally interview several candidates on each
interview date, the final candidate's interview process can often take until 5pm. We hope that
this information helps you in organising travel arrangements.