PgCertSupporting Teacher Learning

Why this course?

The course is aimed at those involved in the support of teaching professional learning at all stages of a teacher’s career including:

  • student and probation mentors
  • continuing professional development (CPD) coordinators
  • professional review and development (PRD) reviewers
  • school leaders
  • local authority officers with responsibility for CPD and/or probationer and leadership development

It recognises a widening conception that the role of the teacher includes not only a central role in supporting pupil learning, but also recognises the important role that teachers can play in supporting each other’s learning. Previously, it was assumed that by virtue of knowing how to teach children teachers had also been equipped to support their colleagues’ learning. However, there is growing recognition (Donaldson, 2011; Kennedy et al., 2008) that this important role requires additional specific knowledge, understanding and skills, which form the basis of this Postgraduate Certificate.

The course can also be taken as three modules within a wider Masters programme.

You’ll study

You'll take three modules:

  • How Teachers Learn
  • Contemporary Contexts for Teacher Learning and Teachers' Work
  • Supporting Professional Learning in the Workplace


The Postgraduate Certificate in Supporting Teacher Learning has been accredited by the General Teaching Scotland for Scotland (GTCS) as enabling registered teachers who gain the award to qualify for automatic Professional Recognition from the GTCS.

A key condition of the award of Professional Recognition is that participants must ensure that their engagement with the course forms an integral part of their PRD process. This will be checked formally though submission of a written statement from the line manager as part of the assessment of the work-based project module. Only when this statement has been received, and the participant has passed all three modules, will their name be forward to GTCS for recommendation of the award of Professional Recognition in Supporting Teacher Learning.

Course content

Year 1, Semester 1

How Teachers Learn

You'll have the opportunity to engage with cutting-edge research on teacher learning and use this knowledge to reflect on practice in your own institutional context. 

Year 1, Semester 2

Contemporary Contexts for Teacher Learning & Teachers' Work

Teachers who are supporting the learning of their colleagues have a duty to be engaged with the wider world of education. This module will support engagement with wider contemporary issues impacting on schools and teachers, to enable you to adopt a wider perspective on your work.

Year 2, Semester 1

Supporting Professional Learning in the Workplace

This module will draw on contemporary literature on coaching, mentoring, learning rounds etc. to develop frameworks for deploying in schools, and you'll gain the practical skills to implement such frameworks. You'll also focus on the evaluation and development of mentoring practice in your own organisational context.

Learning & teaching

The course is delivered as eight x three-hour sessions, timetabled ‘out of hours’ (evenings and weekends). These sessions will be face-to-face and will include workshops, lectures and tutorials. Participants will be expected to share experiences and engage with the thinking introduced. Sessions will be supplemented by MyPlace (the University's vitrual learning environment) to ensure access to peers, tutors and materials between class meetings.

Research into teacher learning (Cordingley et al. 2005) concluded that teacher learning is generally more effective when it is both collaborative and sustained over a period of time. The course is designed to enable students to discuss their own reflections as well as to learn from, and contribute to, the learning of their peers. This integration of theory and practice, supported and challenged by peers and tutors, adheres to the principles of learning built on a social constructivist perspective. While students will be learning about how to support the learning of other teachers, they will also be teacher learners themselves, and it will be important that learning and teaching choices made on the course reflect cutting-edge practice.

A vital component of the course, which will contribute towards the sustainability of learning, will be the engagement of students with the wider community of academics, policy-makers and practitioners involved in developing and supporting teacher learning.


You'll be assessed through a range of coursework activities, including a portfolio of reflective reading and reflective commentary (module 1), a poster and conference presentation (module 2), and a written report on a learning project undertaken in school (module 3).

You'll give and receive feedback in regular face-to-face sessions through sharing and discussing your thinking around assignments with peers and tutors. 

Entry requirements

A teaching qualification and registration (or eligibility for registration) with the General Teaching Council for Scotland, together with at least one year’s professional experience.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?


  • 2017/18 - PgCert - £1,600

Rest of UK

  • 2017/18 - PgCert - £3,000


  • 2017/18 - PgCert - £4,500

How can I fund my course?

Scholarship search

Scottish students

Students living in Scotland can find out more about funding from the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

English students

Students ordinarily resident in England may be eligible to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover their tuition fees and living costs.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


Students embarking on this course are already established in their teaching/education careers.

Previous students have obtained promoted posts in schools, with others taking up secondments in universities and other education-related organisations.

As well as gaining valuable knowledge about supporting teacher learning, students report a general enhancement in their professional confidence and their abilities to articulate their views on professional matters.

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