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 2020-21

Autumn Term

Wk 1Induction Curriculum 2
Wk 2
Lesson Planning Workshops / Components to a Lesson Plan planning for progress - drop down day
Wk 3
PGCE: Introduction to the PGCE and Using Educational research
Professional Conduct: Teacher and the Law / Wellbeing part one
Wk 4 Creating a Conducive Learning Environment: Establishing Routines / Behaviour Management Creating a Conducive Learning Environment: Establishing routines / Behaviour Management
Wk 5 Safeguarding Workshops / Prevent Online Training - drop down day
Wk 6 PGCE: Writing the Literature Review
Assessment for Learning: Mini-Plenaries and Evidencing ProgressAssessment for Learning: Mini-Plenaries and Evidencing Progress
Wk 7 Behaviour for Learning Strategies: ‘Teach Like A Champion’
Wk 8
Planning for Inclusion: Supporting the SEND Student
Planning for Inclusion: Working with a LSA / TA
Planning for Inclusion: Supporting the SEND Student
Planning for Inclusion: Working with a LSA / TA
Wk 9
Planning for Inclusion: Supporting EAL Learners Planning for Inclusion: Supporting EAL Learners
Wk 10PGCE: Turning your Reading into Lesson Strategies and Activities
Planning for Inclusion: Stretch and ChallengePlanning for Inclusion: Stretch and Challenge
Wk 11Planning for Inclusion: Differentiation for the Less AblePlanning for Inclusion: Differentiation for the Less Able
Wk 12 Progress and Assessment Workshops - drop down day:
Learner Progress and Development
Questioning for Deep Thinking

Assessment for Learning: Marking & Feedback and Feed-Forward
Wk 13Use of Data: Tracking and Monitoring Learner Progress Use of Data: Tracking and Monitoring Learner Progress
Wk 14 Effective Intervention Strategies to Maximise ProgressEffective Intervention Strategies to Maximise Progress
Wk 15 Planning Ahead: Securing NQT Employment Planning Ahead: Securing NQT Employment

Spring Term

Wk 16 Making the Most of Placement B / Managing the Teacher’s Workload & Wellbeing part two
Wk 17PGCE: Writing Evaluations and Introduction to the RPK
The Importance of Literacy / Numeracy Across the Curriculum / Early Reading and Systematic Synthetic Phonics / Early MathematicsThe Importance of Literacy / Numeracy Across the Curriculum
Wk 18Curriculum Workshops Curriculum Workshops
Wk 19Meta Cognition / How Learners Learn? Meta Cognition / How Learners Learn?
Wk 20Shallow, Deep and Profound Learning Shallow, Deep and Profound Learning
Wk 21Building Learning Power / Growth MindsetBuilding Learning Power / Growth Mindset
Wk 22Over to You: Sharing Best Practice;
Teaching & Learning strategies, Behaviour Management strategies, Differentiation strategies
Over to You: Sharing Best Practice;
Teaching & Learning strategies, Behaviour Management strategies, Differentiation strategies
Wk 23Wellbeing: self efficacy training part three (Tai Chi)
Wk 24PGCE: How to Prepare for the RPK and How to Submit your APK
Strategies for Collaboration in the ClassroomStrategies for Collaboration in the Classroom
Wk 25Learners and Problem SolvingLearners and Problem Solving
Wk 26Key Stage Transitions and MilestonesKey Stage Transitions and Milestones
Wk 27Curriculum Reading Week

Summer Term

Wk 28Curriculum Workshops Curriculum Workshops
Wk 29PGCE: Completing your RPK Preparation
Wider Role of the Teacher: Form Tutor, Extra Curricular and Parent/Carer EngagementWider Role of the Teacher: Pastoral Responsibility, Extra Curricular and Parent/Carer Engagement
Wk 30Strategies to Promote Independence and InterdependenceStrategies to Promote Independence and Interdependence
Wk 31SMSC & British ValuesSMSC & British Values
Wk 32Final Assessment Procedures and Preparing for the NQT Career Entry Passport Analysing professional gaps and setting targets for the NQT year
Wk 33Over to You: Sharing Best Practice; Teaching & Learning strategies, Assessment strategies (AFL/Feedback/Marking)Over to You: Sharing Best Practice; Teaching & Learning strategies, Assessment strategies (AFL/Feedback/Marking)
Wk 34Curriculum Reading Week
Wk 35Reflecting on the Training YearReflecting on the Training Year
Wk 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 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

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