EMC English PGCE Course with drama/media studies - all you need to know

Details about EMC's innovative and highly-praised English PGCE course with drama/media studies

Emma Barker, EMC English PGCE Course Leader, introduces the course

Are you thinking of a career in English teaching? We feel that EMC's PGCE course, which also has training for drama and media studies specialists, offers the perfect introduction to the profession.

The course was everything I hoped for and so much more. It offers a really humane approach to teaching English, which allows us as teachers to find the potential in our students and develop it, work with it and help them become confident users of English who have not just the skill, but also the passion to explore this subject.
Gabi, English with media studies, 2020-21

The English and Media Centre’s PGCE is unique among courses in London. It combines the Centre’s 50 years’ experience in supporting the development of English teachers and English teaching in schools across the UK, with full participation in the professional lecture series at London Metropolitan University, and personalised, supported routes through the two school placements.

The course supports you to teach English in its broadest and best sense and encourages you to bring your personality and experience to teaching. Our tutors made all the difference – they are experienced, knowledgeable, wonderfully supportive, and most importantly they were genuinely invested in our progress.

The focused tutor support, alongside the size of the cohort, meant the course quickly fostered a sense of community and support between students. During my PGCE, I accepted a job as a Secondary English and Drama Teacher in my placement school, and I get to work with brilliant young people every day. I am incredibly grateful to this course!

Ross, English with drama, 2020-21

What makes it distinctive?

Our English with media/drama group is small – with a maximum of 18 students.  All of the curriculum studies input happens in this group with your tutor, who then visits you during school placement and with whom you communicate weekly in your digital diary.  Sessions are workshop style, inviting you to connect your experience and your reading to classroom activities, as you collaborate with peers in creative and critical practice. In this way it provides a model for the approach you will take into your own classroom.

The course was academically rigorous and also practical. It prepared me to enter the classroom and also inspired me to think about delivering the English subject in the most meaningful and inspiring way. 

I received individual support whenever it was needed. This course expertly created a learning space which allowed me to step back, reflect and feel calm and capable amidst the fast-paced, exciting environment of teaching.

Shannon, English with media studies, 2020-21


At the university, our small group is integrated into the wider secondary PGCE cohort for an introduction to aspects of education focusing on professional and inclusive practices in schools (for example Teaching in the London context, classroom management, supporting pupils who have English as an additional language - and so on). These sessions are a mixture of lectures and seminars and culminate in the return to your tutorial group, where you have the chance to apply this broader thinking to our subject area and consider these aspects in relation to English teaching.

The course has more than delivered on what I hoped for. We’ve covered an enormous amount in a lively and practical way. The guidance, support, and feedback we’ve had from our tutor, Emma, has been amazing – there simply aren’t enough superlatives. On top of that we’ve had access to the fantastic resources at the EMC, a series of workshops with a variety of different experts, and a series of professional sessions run by the long-standing and brilliant education faculty at the London Met. 

Cassian, English with media studies, 2015-16

Your career in teaching

Subject knowledge development is one of the key strengths of our course, so as well as applications from those with English degrees or with a degree background in drama/theatre studies and media studies, we are also very keen to welcome applications from those with A Level English who may have different degree subjects but maintain a real enthusiasm for literature and language – in their own personal engagement with the Arts or through working in the sector.  We value the diversity of experience our PGCE students bring and actively draw on this to enrich the course.  

EMC resources and professional training sessions act as a model for teacher knowledge and pedagogy, there is an active and ambitious KS3 book club and students are also encouraged - and do - work together sharing expertise on planning texts for teaching and on academic readings. One student from a Drama background said she was amazed and surprised at how much she had grown in her subject knowledge and love of English and English teaching through the course.                                  

External Examiner from Institute of Education/UCL, 2021

We place high value on the knowledge we create as a group and which you continue to develop in dialogue with your mentor and other teachers in your placement schools; the thinking and experiences you have with our EMC group contribute to your subject knowledge development, just as your reading and classroom practice do, and are fundamental to the success of our course in developing teachers for long and fulfilling careers in teaching.

In London, 34% of secondary teachers leave the profession within 4 years of entering the profession [1].  By contrast 100% of teachers who trained with us and qualified in 2016 are still teaching. 

The students I met and those whose work I sampled stood out for: their enthusiasm for the course; their ability to reflect critically, creatively and productively on their own experience in school, their own professional development and the way their understanding of pedagogy has developed through the well- integrated and designed course with a strong sense of 'EMC' English (which includes media and drama as well as treating those subjects as disciplines in their own right).

External Examiner from Institute of Education/UCL, 2021

We are successful in maintaining the strong relationships forged on our course and continue to offer EMC support to our teachers as they progress in their careers.  Browsing our website will give you a sense of the huge range of resources and opportunities we create for students and English teachers, all of which you can draw on during your PGCE course and beyond.

Applying for the course

Applications are made centrally through the DFE Apply for Teacher Training Site and our courses are listed as London Metropolitan University English with drama and London Metropolitan University English with media studies.  For further information or to discuss any aspect of your application, please contact Emma Barker.


[1] Teacher Supply, Retention and Mobility in London, NFER report, 2018