About the course
Our Primary and Secondary PGCEs are "Outstanding" (Ofsted, 2015).
All our Education courses have been developed in collaboration with Partnership schools and the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). This ensures not only the highest possible quality of provision, but also relevance in reflecting national and school-level priorities in Education.
School and Local Authorities are increasingly seeking to employ teachers with not only high levels of competence and skill in classroom practice, but practitioners who have advanced subject knowledge for teaching and enhanced knowledge of systems and theories relevant to education. Therefore, the aims of this program are:
to enable student teachers to develop a critical understanding of issues and theories that impact upon classroom practice in teaching, learning and assessment in secondary schools;
to support student teachers in their exploration and critical reflection on their own and others practice in relation to national and regional priorities and policies and current research relevant to the Key Stages for this programme;
to promote student teachers' practical teaching skills and subject knowledge for teaching across the relevant Key Stages for this programme, making links with relevant theory to inform practice.
The programme aims to further develop students' existing transferable skills in communication, literacy, numeracy and critical reasoning. It is suitable for those who wish to gain employment as teachers and who aspire to progress to leadership and management roles in schools or in the wider world of education. It will provide an excellent foundation for progression to either higher academic or advanced professional qualifications.
Generic Course Structure and Content
The PGCE is an intensive programme, which combines an exploration of principles and methods of teaching and learning with practical school-based teaching placements. It lasts for 36 weeks from early September to late June.
The Secondary programme prepares you to work with pupils aged 11-16. At the heart of our programmes is a vision that our student teachers’ teaching will impact positively on pupil progress over time in schools and that our Partnership activities with schools will contribute to school improvement. We aspire for all our students to be outstanding teachers.
The PGCE Secondary courses are structured around three modules, which share a generic General Professional Education (GPE) component. The GPE programme involves an enquiry based learning approach, which combines taught sessions with independent professional learning activities (PLAs). These PLAs require independent research, which is either school-related or school-based. The three PGCE modules are:
1. Education Studies I
This module covers the following GPE themes:
Professionalism, values and reflective practice;
Safeguarding, child protection and e-safety;
Understanding curriculum and the National Curriculum;
Supporting learners, learning and effective behaviour management;
Inclusive education, with a specific focus on supporting pupils with SEND and SEBD;
Effective planning and teaching to promote pupil progress;
Assessment and its role in promoting effective learning.
You will also focus on teaching and learning issues of particular concern to your phase or subject specialism.
2. Education Studies II
This module covers the following GPE themes:
Applying for your first post;
Understanding data analysis to support effective teaching and learning;
Behaviour for learning and the wider professional responsibilities of the subject teacher;
Inclusive education, with a specific focus on supporting pupils with English as an Additional Language, pupils receiving the Pupil Premium and able pupils;
Safeguarding with a focus on the Prevent and Channel national strategy and bullying and homophobic bullying.
You will also continue to focus on teaching and learning issues of particular concern to your phase or subject specialism.
3. Education Studies III
This module focuses specifically on supporting student teachers to make an effective transition into their first post and examines the following themes in GPE:
Preparing for induction and the professional learning action plan for your first post;
Pathways into leadership in education;
Learning outside the classroom;
Contributing to the wider aspects of the formal and informal curriculum and your wider professional role as a teacher.
Subject Specific Course Content
Mathematics is one of the three core subjects in the National Curriculum along with English and Science. As such, it is accorded a high status and there are ample opportunities for the promotion of good teachers.
Attitudes among pupils to the subject are extremely varied. The challenge for you is to bring Mathematics to life and inspire pupils of all abilities to explore the subject's potential at an appropriate level.
You have to be able to encourage and support pupils who struggle with Mathematics or lack enthusiasm for the subject, and learn how to make it accessible to them. You also have to be able to extend those who enjoy and are successful in the subject.
The PGCE Secondary Mathematics Education course is very popular, drawing on outstanding expertise and experience in Education to
build upon your commitment to the teaching profession and the subject area.
The intensive programme combines courses in principles and methods of teaching with practical school-based teaching placements and students are assessed on both elements.
Throughout the course, theory and practice are integrated in both the University and school contexts. The course is planned and delivered in partnership with Mathematics colleagues in local schools.
The Teachers’ Standards are mapped to every aspect of course provision to facilitate the best possible opportunities to support the process of your professional learning.
School-based professional learning is a compulsory element of all programmes leading to a recommendation for QTS. The course involves the statutory requirement of at least 120 days of school experience in the form of block school placements undertaken in at least two different contexts.
Our current partnership schools are mainly located in the West London area and adjoining Home Counties. We have developed close links with a number of very good schools over a number of years, and offer placements within carefully chosen schools that provide an appropriate professional learning experience. The ethnic and cultural diversity of the schools we work with is a distinctive aspect of our provision and we are equally proud of the diversity of our student teacher cohort, who reflect the communities in which many of them go on to work as teachers.
We also offer student teachers the opportunity to experience placements in alternative settings, which include special schools, Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), young offenders institutions. This further demonstrates our commitment to preparing teachers to work with young people in a diverse range of educational contexts.
You will be allocated a school-based mentor, selected for their experience and expertise, who is there to help you develop and learn while you are on placement. The importance of this person should not be underestimated. Teaching is a very challenging profession and with the help of your school-based mentor and your University tutor we aim to make sure that you have support every step of the way, encouraging reflection and development.
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), Childcare Disqualification and Prohibition Orders
As an accredited provider of Initial Teacher Education we have to have regard to the Department for Education’s statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education, when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
We ensure that all student teachers have been subject to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) criminal records checks, including a check of the children’s barred list. The Department for Education has published statutory guidance on the application to schools of the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009 and related obligations under the Childcare Act 2006.
We undertake our responsibility to ensure that the student teachers are not, therefore, disqualified from childcare or that the student teacher has obtained a childcare disqualification waiver from Ofsted. We also check that candidates are not subject to a prohibition order for teaching issued by the Secretary of State.
Learning and Teaching
We adopt an enquiry-based learning approach in our PGCE Secondary courses where students are encouraged to research and investigate a range of broad and subject specific educational themes and issues and bring their findings back for discussion in interactive lectures, workshops and seminars. These themes and issues address national, regional and partnership priorities as well as specific areas for investigation with the subject area.
Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
The PGCE Secondary programme carries 60 Master’s Level credits and requires you to successfully complete three formally assessed pieces of academic work during the year.
All of these assessments also require an accompanying portfolio of evidence.
The Master’s Level credits provide an excellent foundation for future academic and professional study.
Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)
Alongside the PGCE academic award for your programme, you will also be assessed for the recommendation of Qualified Teacher Status. In order to be recommended for QTS you are required to demonstrate that you have met the Teachers’ Standards (DfE, 2013) in both the University and in school and alternative education settings. All aspects of the programme are designed around you being able to demonstrate that you are meeting the Teachers’ Standards.
Part 1 of the Teachers’ Standards require you to:
Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils
Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils
Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge
Plan and teach well structured lessons
Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils
Make accurate and productive use of assessment
Manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment
Fulfil wider professional responsibilities
(Teachers’ Standards, DfE, 2013)
Part 2 of the Teachers’ Standards require students to demonstrate the highest standards of personal and professional conduct.
As the PGCE is a professional course, 100% attendance is an expectation.
Recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status will be made by the Secondary PGCE Examination Board for all those who successfully demonstrate the Teachers’ Standards as shown in the requirements for University and school-based work.
As a leading centre of education and with roots in teacher education dating back to 1798, we are able to provide first class teacher education that is internationally recognised.
A Brunel PGCE is a recognised symbol of quality teacher education which accounts for our high employment rates.
At the heart of our programmes is a vision that our student teachers’ teaching will impact positively on pupil progress over time in schools and that our partnership activities with schools will contribute to school improvement. We aspire for all our students to be outstanding teachers.
You will benefit from an established partnership between Brunel and a variety of educational institutions and local schools. Brunel education degrees offer multicultural placement learning opportunities. For example, our location in West London and our diverse and well-established schools network means you will gain highly-valued placement learning experiences in vibrant multicultural schools.
Beyond ITE, for early career teachers we offer the Masters in Teaching (MAT), where students can utilise their 60 PGCE Masters level credits to continue their postgraduate studies part-time, whilst also meeting the requirements outlined for Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) and early career development. Where schools have qualified for Enhanced Partnership status with Brunel University London, NQTs in those schools have access to the first year MAT module for free, illustrating our commitment to supporting NQTs into and through their first year of teaching. We also offer a Masters in Education (MAEd), a Doctorate in Education (EdDoc) and PhD postgraduate routes through the Department of Education. This continuum of provision ensures a commitment to teacher education and professional learning at all stages and the growing community of professional practice strengthens our Partnership.
Staff are nationally and internationally recognised for their research, and liaise with government and other agencies on education policy issues. The Department of Education is host to a number of research centres, including the Brunel Able Children’s Centre. The process of learning is informed by cutting-edge research by staff in the strands of: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Pedagogy and Professional Practice (PPP).
You can take advantage of free access to our excellent University Academic Skills service, ASK.
We have an award winning Professional Development Centre.
Our library has been nominated for national awards for its outstanding provision.
We have on-site volunteering opportunities through our Brunel Volunteers provision.
Our Disability and Dyslexia Service team have an excellent track record of support for students.
Our Union of Brunel Students provides you with a range of additional support and a broad range of extra-curricular opportunities and social events.
There is excellent University-wide access to PCs and the Internet, as well as free loan of media equipment and music/recording studios, and web space on the University server.