This article investigates the experiences and training needs of student teachers as they learn to teach post-16 English on a secondary Post Graduate Certificate in Education. A case-study was conducted on a sample of Open University PGCE English students and mentors over a six-month period. Five research instruments were developed and used iteratively to generate qualitative data. The study reveals significant problems, resulting in students feeling underprepared at the end of their 11-18 PGCE for the demands of post-16 English teaching. The results illuminate the need for more effective models of learning to teach post-16 English.