CPD: Trinity Cert PT in EAP

The Trinity Cert PT

I’d never heard of a Cert PT before finding this course. It is the Trinity Certificate for Practising Teachers. It’s a level 6 qualification, which places it between the CELTA (level 5) and DELTA (level 7). As I understand it, it is possible to take a Cert PT in different specialisations e.g. Young Learners, Online Teaching, Business English etc. However, I am told that the certificates awarded don’t actually name the specialism, which seems odd.

You can find more about the Cert PT and various specialist courses here.

The course I took was the first iteration of the Cert PT in EAP offered by the University of Manchester and Goldsmiths, University of London, and was recommended by BALEAP.


The cost is quite substantial but BALEAP membership (£70) ensures you receive a 20% reduction in fees (approx. £200). I would say that given the planning, care and attention which has gone into the course, the price is justified. However, I’m yet to discover how well the certificate is regarded by universities and how useful it will prove in helping to gain employment in EAP.


We had 8 participants on our course, all very experienced, practising EFL teachers, most of whom were DELTA qualified, many had completed MAs in TEFL or Applied Linguistics, and most had some experience teaching EAP in pre-sessional and/or in-sessional contexts. A couple of the participants were non-native speaking English teachers, and several joined from abroad. The variety of personal and professional knowledge and experience made for interesting discussion and I learned much from other students.


The course was led by four main tutors, two from Manchester, two from Goldsmiths, with occasional input from Manchester and Goldsmith’s course directors. The combination of the two universities really helped highlight the differences in EAP across the sector. All tutors were experienced in EFL and EAP, very knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and generous in sharing their particular interests and their time.


It’s a ten-week course which includes 4 essay-style assignments, so you have to hit the ground running with a large amount of reading to prepare for each session. However, the reading is helpfully clearly flagged as ‘essential’ and ‘optional’. We all ended the course with much of the optional further reading we wanted to complete. In addition to the given texts, we had access to Manchester’s online library.

For me, the hardest thing about the assignments was trying to meet the criteria within the (very limited) word count of 1,000 words. This is unusual for me as I normally tend to struggle to meet minimum word count in essays. I spent more time editing than writing, and was pleased if a final draft was not reduced to pidgin English by the time I achieved the word limit. I’m still not convinced that top marks can be achieved in 1,000 words!

The Sessions

9 – 11am twice a week for ten weeks for online meetings is quite a commitment for working teachers. I’m lucky as, being self-employed, I have some flexibility in choosing my hours, but for most people I think this will be the biggest hurdle. It is important though to be present for the sessions as each was packed with useful information, practice and discussion.

Study Groups

It was very useful to be divided into study groups early on in the course. Aside from the tasks assigned for group discussion, our group proved invaluable support throughout the course, and have continued to share materials and ideas since the course ended.


I loved the whole course. For me it updated many topics explored in my degrees (such as using corpora and discourse analysis). However, the course doesn’t assume too much knowledge and provides a good grounding in the basics as well as useful tools you can access freely online.

I thought the course was a perfect mix of theory and practicality, and much of it is applicable to many EFL contexts outside of EAP.

I was particulary impressed with the number and quality of online sites available to teachers now such as Vocab Kitchen, Lex Tutor, Ant Conc and various AI applications.


  1. My first issue is not with the course itself but with EAP in general. EAP appears to regard itself as a breed apart from EFL, in much the same way as the first child of a family who has gone to university might feel that adopting a different mode of speech and behaviour has made it somehow superior to its origins. I should say, this was certainly not the attitude expressed by the course trainers, who in fact took pains to acknowledge the experience of the participants, but it is an attitude that comes across in much of the literature. In my experience, EFL encompasses such a range of subjects and students that any teacher attempting to meet the needs and interests of the learner will understand the challenges of specific discourse communities and be practiced in being flexible and adaptable within, and in preparation for, different classes. While EAP does call for knowledge of diverse academic discourses and a certain amount of background knowledge of academic disciplines, preparing for teaching EAP is much the same process as preparing courses for specific professions or businesses, or adapting your approaches for different exams, levels or age groups. There is a focus on study skills in EAP, but then Learner Autonomy has also gained traction in EFL in general. EAP does seem to be leading the way in EAL research, but much of the research is applicable to many EFL contexts. The essentials remain the same: the ability to relate to and motivate learners, to provide opportunities for interesting and engaging practice, to assess progress and achievement and give useful feedback, and being invested in the learner’s journey.
  2. That 1,000 word count! I really hope to see someone write a perfect 4-4-4-4 scoring essay. If you do, I would love to see it (and I know 7 other people who’d be interested!).
  3. Many of us had problems accessing the main coursebook and ended up buying a physical copy (this is was not the fault of either university but issues with the online book provided by the publishers).


I really loved this course. I learned a lot, and there is much that I’m still processing and hoping to put to use. I really enjoyed talking to the trainers and other participants. I would recommend this course even if you are not planning to work full time in EAP. Just be aware that it does require a significant time commitment for ten weeks and that word count will make you crazy!