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Secondary Subject and Curriculum Studies (School Direct)

Module titleSecondary Subject and Curriculum Studies (School Direct)
Module codeEDUM064
Academic year2022/3
Module staff

Dr Annabel Watson (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module supports your academic learning in your chosen Secondary Subject. It introduces you to pedagogical frameworks relevant to your classroom practice and supports you in developing your subject and curriculum knowledge for teaching. Resources for the module, including recorded lectures and reading, are available online using the University of Exeter’s virtual learning environment, ELE.  Directed tasks will enable you to relate your developing professional practice in school to scholarly and professional literature and theoretical frameworks to deepen your understanding of teaching and learning. The content of the module is strongly inter-dependent with the Secondary Education and Professional Studies module in the PGCE School Direct programme.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The principal aims of the module are to:

  • enable you to gain a comprehensive understanding of the background theory, issues and practice relating to current teaching of your chosen subject;
  • support your development as a reflective and autonomous professional practitioner who is able to identify strengths and areas for development in your subject and curriculum knowledge;  
  • enable you to evaluate current professional practice in the context of developments in research and curriculum theory; and
  • support you to meet the standards for Qualified Teacher Status as required by the National College for Teaching and Learning.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. identify and evaluate educational concepts and issues related to the teaching of your chosen subject;
  • 2. engage in critical debate about current educational issues drawing on evidence from theory, research and practice;
  • 3. recognise pupils’ learning needs and interpret these learning needs in order to plan, teach, assess and evaluate lessons and schemes of work;
  • 4. demonstrate confident academic and pedagogic subject knowledge to teach your chosen subject;
  • 5. demonstrate secure understanding of the statutory requirements for teaching in schools in England.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. critically evaluate the relevance of educational theory to practice;
  • 7. synthesise relevant educational literature in support of an argument;
  • 8. use appropriate technologies for data handling and writing in education;
  • 9. use research data in support of an argument in education.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. manage your own learning development;
  • 11. learn effectively and be aware of your own learning strategies;
  • 12. express ideas and opinions, with confidence and clarity, to a variety of audiences for a variety of purposes;
  • 13. work productively in different kinds of teams (formal, informal, project-based, etc); and
  • 14. think creatively about the main features of a given problem and develop strategies for its resolution.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The module introduces you to current thinking in Subject and Curriculum Studies in the context of teaching in your chosen Secondary subject in a school in England. Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that key elements of the module will include:

  • A subject knowledge audit at the start of the course linked to action planning for development of your subject and curriculum knowledge;
  • Online learning resources including recorded lectures that will introduce you to topics relevant to your developing practice in the classroom, for example: behaviour management; pedagogy for teaching English as an Additional Language; working with Teaching Assistants; out of school learning; and working with other agencies.
  • Directed tasks related to the content of the module and linked to your professional practice in school; and
  • Seminars which create opportunities for you to explore, consolidate and deepen your understanding of these topics.

On the PGCE School Direct, you will learn and reflect on the skills and knowledge required by the programme’s credit-bearing and non-credit bearing modules throughout the year. You will need to think about the modules in relation to each other. To facilitate this, the learning and teaching activities and guided independent study described below are scheduled to occur across all three terms both in the context of your university taught course and in the context of your applied professional experience in schools.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities10Completion of subject knowledge audits and writing action plans for development of subject and curriculum knowledge
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities48Interaction with online resources posted for the module in ELE that will include reading selected literature, accessing video clips and listening to recorded lectures
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities30Online seminars and follow up seminar activities
Guided Independent Study40Completion of directed tasks related to module content
Guided Independent Study172Independent reading and reflection, classroom observation and teaching experience while on placement in school


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written subject knowledge audits and action plans10 hours4,10,14Verbal and online feedback
Completion of directed tasks36 weeks1-14Verbal and online feedback
Written assignment related to literature1,500 words6-8, 12Written feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1004,000 words1, 2, 6-9, 12, 14Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayResubmission of essay (4,000 words) 1, 2, 6-9, 12, 14See reassessment notes below

Re-assessment notes

If an assignment is deemed to be a Fail by the Exam Board, the mark obtained on resubmission will be capped at 50%.  You will be given feedback outlining what needs to be done to bring the assignment to a pass standard and one opportunity for resubmission will be allowed.

You can choose to resubmit a failed assignment ‘in year’ (i.e. before the final Examination Board in July). The resubmission would normally be made 4 weeks after receiving feedback on the first submission. Alternatively, you may opt to go to the Examination Board with the fail mark. You will then be referred to the Consequences Board who will confirm the conditions for resubmission of the work. Normally the resubmission should be by 1st September. You should discuss these options with your University Link Tutor.

Note: if you choose the second option, the award of PGCE will be delayed until the Examination Board following any successful resubmission (this is normally held in December).


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Allen J, et al (2012) Primary ICT: Knowledge, Understanding and Practice. 5th edition. Exeter, Learning Matters/Sage.

Arthur J, Grainger T. & Wray D (2010) Learning to Teach in the Primary School. 2nd edition. London, Routledge.

Capel, Leask and Turner (2016) Learning to Teach in the Secondary School. 7th edition. London, Routledge.

Dymoke, S. (ed) (2013) Reflective Teaching and Learning in the Secondary School. 2nd Edition. London. Sage.

Ellis, V. (ed) (2013) Learning and Teaching in Secondary Schools. 5th edition. London. Sage/Learning Matters.

Fautley, M. and Savage, J. (2007) Creativity in Secondary Education. Exeter. Learning Matters.

Hayes D (2009) Learning and Teaching in Primary Schools. Exeter, Learning Matters/Sage.

Littledyke M, Ross K and Lakin L (2013) Science Knowledge and Environment. 2nd edition. London, David Fulton/Routledge.

Medwell J, et al (2012) Primary English: Knowledge and Understanding (6th Edition). Exeter, Learning Matters/Sage.

Mooney C, et al (2012) Primary Mathematics: Teaching Theory and Practice. 6th edition. Exeter, Learning Matters/Sage.

Petty, G. (2009) Teaching Today A Practical Guide. 4th edition. Cheltenham. Nelson Thornes.

Pritchard, A. (Nov. 2013) Ways of Learning: Learning Theories and Learning Styles in the Classroom. 3rd edition London. Routledge/David Fulton.

Proctor A, et al (2012) Learning to Teach in the Primary Classroom. London, Routledge.

Skinner, D. (2010) Effective Teaching and Learning in Practice. London. Continuum                                                           

Wallace B (2012) Teaching Thinking Skills across the Primary Curriculum. London, Routledge.

Wilson A (2009) Creativity in Primary Education. 2nd edition. Exeter, Learning Matters/Sage.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

See School Direct Subject & Curriculum Studies course in ELE (

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

PGCE, subject studies, curriculum studies, pedagogy, critical reflection, theoretical frameworks

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites

EDUM066 Secondary Education & Professional Studies (School Direct)
EDUM030 Professional Learning (School Direct)

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date