Training at PLS is split into Professional Studies and Subject/Phase Development. Professional Studies is centralised training for all PLS teachers that explores broad and transferable pedagogy. Subject/Phase Development is training specifically for subject/phase groups. Centralised training takes place each week on a Wednesday afternoon. 

Our ambitious professional studies and subject development curriculum aims to provide a solid platform for PLS teachers to become confident and competent early career teachers.  Through our curriculum PLS provides PLS teachers with access to research, strategies and a collegial experience to consider how to best meet the emotional and  intellectual needs of their learners.  

PLS focuses on maximising progress for the PLS teacher and their learners through embedding the core  principles of teaching and learning in our professional studies curriculum. Our core principles of teaching  and learning are focused on planning and teaching, managing behaviour, assessment of pupils,  differentiation of teaching and learning, development of subject and curriculum knowledge for teaching  and an exploration of meta-cognition and critical reflection. 

Our subject development curriculum aims to complement our professional studies curriculum, while  exploring the subject specific principles that are unique to each discipline. It focuses on the  development of the subject knowledge, the expectations of the curriculum and the pedagogical  methods to teach the subject.

All PLS curriculum facilitators have been recruited and selected based on their subject and curriculum  knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and their experience in education and wider influencing institutions. 

Our PLS partner schools are committed to our vision and support the  realisation of our vision through the day to day practices in schools.

Our vision supports PLS teachers to secure employment as early career teachers to inspire today’s learners to be tomorrow’s leaders.

Please see below the titles of Professional Studies sessions for the training year 2020-21.


Primary and Secondary Professional Studies Curriculum 2021-22

Professional Studies Curriculum Calendar
WeekRationaleProfessional Studies Session and Aims
1Fundamentals of Teaching and Learning: containing learner behaviour and portraying the curriculumTitle: Lesson Planning Workshops Part 1: components to a lesson plan and planning for progress - drop down day

2Title: Lesson Planning Workshops Part 1: components to a lesson plan and planning for progress - drop down day
3Lesson Planning Part 2: subject focus
4Safeguarding Workshops - drop down day
5Lesson Planning Part 3: learning activities and opportunities for differentiation
6Lesson Planning Part 4: assessment for learning, mini-plenaries and evidencing progress
7Behaviour for Learning Revisited
8Wellbeing of the PLS Teacher Part 1
9Meeting the Needs of Individual Learners: enlisting learner participationPlanning for Inclusion: supporting the SEND learner and working with a LSA/TA
10PGCE PLS teachers - Turning your Reading into Lesson Strategies and Activities

Planning for Inclusion: supporting EAL learners
11Planning for Inclusion: stretch and challenge, higher attainers
12Planning for Inclusion: differentiation for the lower attainers
13Assessing Learning: enlisting learner participation and exposing learner thinkingProgress and Assessment Workshops - drop down day
14Tracking and Monitoring Learner Progress: use of data
15Effective Intervention Strategies to Maximise Progress
16Theories of Teaching and Learning: portraying the curriculum, enlisting learner participation and exposing learner thinkingSecuring ECT Employment / Making the Most of Placement B / Wellbeing of the PLS Teacher Part 2 / Key Stage Transitions and Milestones - drop down day
17Curriculum Planning: intent, implementation and impact
18The Importance of Literacy / Numeracy Across the Curriculum
19Shallow, Deep and Profound Learning
20Strategies to Promote Interdependence and Independence
21Meta Cognition: how learners learn
22Teaching and Learning Strategies: sharing best practiceWellbeing of the PLS Teacher Part 3: self efficacy training
23Sharing Best Practice: strategies for collaboration and classroom talk
24Sharing Best Practice: resilient learners
25Sharing Best Practice: learners and problem solving
26Sharing Best Practice: promoting independent study via homework
27Curriculum Reading Week
28Wider Role of the TeacherCurriculum Workshops
29Wider Role of the Teacher: form tutor and learner wellbeing
30Wider Role of the Teacher: extra curricular and educational visits
31Wider Role of the Teacher: parent/carer engagement, writing pastoral/subject reports
32Wider of the Role of the Teacher: SMSC & British Values
33Final Assessment Procedures and Preparing for the Early Career Teacher Passport: analysing professional gaps and setting targets for the ECT year
34Reflecting on the ITT year and Preparing to be an Early Career TeacherIndividual Curriculum Tracker Planning

35Reflecting on the Subject Knowledge for Teaching Curriculum

36‘The End’ of the Initial Teacher Training Year

Each subject/phase has its own Handbook which outlines the bespoke curriculum for that discipline. 


Assessment Procedures

PLS teachers are consistently assessed during their training year. PLS uses both formative and summative assessments to support PLS teachers to make and evidence progress to the award of QTS.

Please see below an outline of the methods PLS uses for formative and summative assessment;

PLS Formative Assessment procedures

  • Weekly observations by an expert colleague/PLS mentor
  • Half termly observations by PCM 
  • Half termly observations by PLS tutor 
  • Half termly portfolio progress checks*

PLS Summative Assessment procedures

  • Curriculum strand evidence bundles 
  • Professional learning dialogues  
  • Progress check reports – Autumn Term, Spring HT1 (placement B), Spring Term, Summer Term (final progress check) 
  • Academic assignments

* please see further information on online portfolio below


Online Teacher Portfolio

A PLS teacher’s portfolio will consist of 4 key folders, plus an administration folder.  Within each of the 4 key folders there will be key working documents that will evidence the PLS teacher’s learning journey towards the PLS curriculum assessment strands.  The PLS curriculum strands are:

  • Behaviour management
  • Pedagogy: planning
  • Subject and curriculum knowledge
  • Pedagogy: differentiation
  • Assessment
  • Professional behaviours

Each half term, PLS tutors will formatively assess these strands and provide feedback to the PLS teacher and/or the PLS mentor to aid further progress.

At the end of the teacher training programme, PLS tutors will make a summative assessment of these strands in order to make the recommendation for the award of QTS.

It is important to note that the day to day activities and practices in the PLS teacher’s placement school will contribute to the PLS teacher’s learning journey towards Qualified Teacher Status.

The teacher training programme and curriculum will ensure that the PLS teacher will develop in the curriculum assessment strands throughout the teacher training programme.  The portfolio will be tracked and monitored by the mentor and PCM/ITT lead, as well as the PLS tutor.  It is divided into 5 folders which are labelled:

  1. Pre-Programme and Induction Curriculum: this folder is where the PLS teacher collates documentation from pre-programme tasks and the induction curriculum. This provides evidence of appropriate preparation for beginning the programme. 
    • Induction Curriculum
    • Pre-Programme Engagement
  2. Individual Curriculum Tracker (ICT): this folder includes documentation to track and monitor the PLS teacher’s learning journey throughout the programme. The ICT document will be the document used most frequently by PLS teachers, PLS mentors and PLS tutors to support the PLS teacher to develop their pedagogy and subject pedagogy. 
    • Individual Curriculum Tracker document
    • Weekly ICT Evidence Bundles
    • Final Curriculum Evidence Bundles
    • Early Career Teacher Passport
  3. Developing Knowledge: this folder evidences the research PLS teachers have conducted to develop and refine the knowledge and skills required for effective pedagogy and effective subject pedagogy. 
    • Professional Studies and SKfT Reflections
    • Independent Learning Tasks
    • Focused Observations of Expert Colleagues
    • Fundamental English and Mathematics
    • Pre and Post Phase Experiences and Reflections
    • Academic Assignments
  4. Application and Impact: this folder evidences how PLS teachers have applied their knowledge to the pedagogical practice and the impact this application has had on the PLS teacher and the learners they serve. 
    • Lesson Plans
    • Lesson Observations of the PLS Teacher
  5. Administration: this folder is for a PLS teacher to store personal admin, for example, an annotated/edited version of the PLS handbook.

Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)   

All PLS tuition teachers are automatically opted in for the PGCE, however PLS salaried teachers must make a request to opt in for the PGCE qualification. 

Those PLS teachers who are embarking on the PGCE, as well as the award of QTS, will be completing this through the University of Sussex. PLS aims to merge the PGCE seamlessly into the training programme. The PGCE consists of two assignments, the APK and the RPK.  


Applying Professional Knowledge (APK)

The Applying Professional Knowledge is a 6000 word essay evaluating the impact of pedagogy on the PLS teacher’s professional practice. 


Reflecting on Professional Knowledge (RPK)

The Reflecting on Professional Knowledge assignment is a 45 minute interview in which the PLS teacher shares anecdotes and evidence to discuss the development of their practice in relation to the Teachers’ Standards. The discussions have to be informed by pedagogical reading and show critical insight when reflecting on their individual progress over the course of the training year.  

Lucy Harknett is the PGCE Lead at the University of Sussex and her email is l.harknett@sussex.ac.uk.

For all information on the PGCE please visit the University of Sussex website.