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Secondary Education (Biology) PGCE

This teaching degree provides graduates with the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to teach Biology at secondary level. Time is spent in the University and in classroom placements, ensuring that by the end of the course, trainees are confident professionals ready to begin teaching in secondary schools.

The award is offered at two levels. Both are recognised teaching qualifications, but the postgraduate award will allow fast-track entry to Masters courses:

  • Professional Graduate Certificate in Education
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education.

The choice of which qualification to take will be made while on the course, successful completion of which will lead to recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

The course aims to develop an understanding of the specialist subject in the context of the National Curriculum, the principles involved in the teaching and learning of the subject across the full age and ability range and the professional values and practice, subject knowledge and understanding commensurate with the particular subject specialism. This includes how children learn and how they develop cognitively, socially and physically and the understanding, skills and personal qualities necessary for managing the learning environment.

All trainees undertake a module concerned with the wider context of schools and education. This develops the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for your first teaching post in a secondary school. It also builds a foundation for further professional development. Elements of this module include both whole cohort keynote lectures and seminars, many of which are led by mixed groups of trainees supported by tutors. This allows you to meet the Teacher Standards by making secure connections between issues in school and your own professional practice.

You will cover the specialist issues concerning science education including the place of practical work; the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) and Health and Safety. The University-based work is divided into four areas: Core Science - which considers generic issues concerned with science education and the methodologies of Biology; Chemistry and Physics. You will study the methodology of all three subjects in sufficient depth to teach Key Stage Three and at least two, preferably all three of them to Key Stage Four. In addition, you will receive tutorial support and small group seminar support in the three subject areas.

Entry requirements

You will need:

  • a good UK honours degree or equivalent, at a minimum 2:2 with at least 50% focused on subject areas that are very closely related to the subject that you wish to teach; and
  • GCSE English and Mathematics at minimum grade C or equivalent. These must have been gained prior to application

Other requirements:

  • an interview; and
  • a Disclosure and Barring Service check; and
  • a Prohibition Order check; and
  • Professional ITT Skills Tests in Numeracy and Literacy (pass); and
  • two references - one academic and one vocational; and
  • applicants must evidence a minimum of ten days mainstream UK secondary school experience (paid or voluntary) in their application. If already completed, this experience must have been gained within the last two years. You may be working towards gaining the relevant experience required at the time of application but this must be completed before the start of the course and you should reference this in your application.

In exceptional circumstances applicants may be considered who do not have a strong degree match, but who have other relevant qualifications, including an A-level in the subject and extensive professional experience. We do not accept Ordinary degrees. The key consideration is if you are able to demonstrate knowledge of the subject that is commensurate with graduate level understanding.

After interview, strong candidates who are not able to demonstrate graduate level subject knowledge may be offered a place on the course, dependent on successfully completing a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course in that subject prior to commencing their teacher training year.

If necessary, you can take a relevant GCSE as a private candidate.

Course modules

You will need:

  •     a good UK honours degree or equivalent, at a minimum 2:2 with at least 50% focused on subject areas that are very closely related to the subject that you wish to teach; and
  •     GCSE English and Mathematics at minimum grade C or equivalent. These must have been gained prior to application

Other requirements:

  •     an interview; and
  •     a Disclosure and Barring Service check; and
  •     a Prohibition Order check; and
  •     Professional ITT Skills Tests in Numeracy and Literacy (pass); and
  •     two references - one academic and one vocational; and
  •     applicants must evidence a minimum of ten days mainstream UK secondary school experience (paid or voluntary) in their application. If already completed, this experience must have been gained within the last two years. You may be working towards gaining the relevant experience required at the time of application but this must be completed before the start of the course and you should reference this in your application.

In exceptional circumstances applicants may be considered who do not have a strong degree match, but who have other relevant qualifications, including an A-level in the subject and extensive professional experience. We do not accept Ordinary degrees. The key consideration is if you are able to demonstrate knowledge of the subject that is commensurate with graduate level understanding.

After interview, strong candidates who are not able to demonstrate graduate level subject knowledge may be offered a place on the course, dependent on successfully completing a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course in that subject prior to commencing their teacher training year.

If necessary, you can take a relevant GCSE as a private candidate.

Sponsorship information

Bursaries up to £15,000 are available to train to teach Biology.

Your eligibility for financial support, and the amount you can expect to receive, will depend on the subject in which you train and your degree classification, or highest relevant academic qualification.

Home students can apply for a student loan for tuition and maintenance fees.

Qualifications

Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Fee locale Course duration
PGCE Full-time £ 9,250 (Whole course) Home/EU 1 Years
PGCE Full-time £ 12,900 (Whole course) International 1 Years

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