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PGCE Secondary Education, Science with Biology

Course Description

This is a new strand of the PGCE Science where you will specialise in Biology. Students who successfully complete this route will be in a strong position to gain employment as teachers of Biology up to post-18 and general science at least to KS3 and possibly KS4.

The PGCE programme has been designed to train teachers to practice as a subject specialist teacher for the secondary age range (11-16). Trainees are assessed against the standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) across the age range. Trainees will also often gain experience of the 16-18 age range, although they will not be formally assessed in this phase.

Course detail

The course is active and practical allowing trainees to develop professional competence through work undertaken in schools and in the university. Trainees work with young people, develop their expertise in their specialist subject area, share and discuss educational issues and study relevant educational research. The course is just the beginning of what we hope will be a process of continual professional development throughout a challenging and rewarding career.

The course is part of UWE's Department of Education's programme for Initial Teacher Training. Units studied are:

• Subject Knowledge for Teaching
• Professional Development
• Professional Practice
• Classroom Based Enquiry

These units are studied in both the school and the university-based parts of the course, the work on each site being complementary. The course centres on learning about the nature, content and teaching of all aspects of the science curriculum for 11-16 year olds and of specialist Biology for 14-19 year olds.


During your 12 weeks of study at the university, a range of aspects of teaching and learning of the Science curriculum will be addressed, for example:

• Common misconceptions in Science
• Behaviour for learning in the science classroom
• The science curriculum and qualifications
• Use of ICT in science
• Use of assessment to help all learners to make progress
• Safety in Science lessons
• The nature of Science

We will introduce you to a range of teaching styles, classroom management skills, lesson planning and assessment procedures both in the university and through classroom support from teachers in schools. You will consider strategies to support young people in their learning of science. You will also consider the use of a range of teaching styles and resources, including the appropriate use of information and communications technology (ICT).

You will participate in sessions with other biology graduates, and in mixed science groups. You will also work with graduates from other disciplines where cross-curricular issues, such as learning theories and behaviour management are covered.


We recognise that embarking on a new course of study can sometimes be quite a challenging undertaking. You will have support from a number of staff in the university including your group tutor. Additionally any student can get support on a range of issues from a Department Student Adviser.


24 weeks are spent on placement: a total of nine weeks in one placement during the autumn term and 12 weeks in a second placement during the spring and summer, with shorter placements designed to complement your school experiences, including opportunities to spend time in primary or special schools.

As well as teaching, the course includes contact time with a Senior Professional Tutor and a Subject Mentor in school, directed study time and personal study time.

Trainees in some placements also have the opportunity for a third placement during the final weeks of the course.
You will also be provided with opportunities to work collaboratively with young people as a whole subject group or with other scientists.


In order to pass the course, trainees are required to pass each unit. They are assessed on a number of written assignments and also on classroom practise against the standards specified by the Secretary of State for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Before you start the course it is recommended that trainees take the computer-based QTS skills tests in Numeracy, Literacy and ICT.

Careers / Further study

The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) courses now include 60 credits of assessment at Master's Level (Level M). For candidates who opt not to attempt the requisite credit at Level M, a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education will be available as an alternative award.

How to apply

Information on applications can be found at the following link: http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/study/applyingtouwebristol/postgraduateapplications.aspx


- New Postgraduate Master's loans for 2016/17 academic year –

The government are introducing a master’s loan scheme, whereby master’s students under 60 can access a loan of up to £10,000 as a contribution towards the cost of their study. This is part of the government’s long-term commitment to enhance support for postgraduate study.

Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.

More information can be found here: http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/students/feesandfunding/fundingandscholarships/postgraduatefunding.aspx

Visit the PGCE Secondary Education, Science with Biology page on the University of the West of England, Bristol website for more details!

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Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

• An honours degree (normally 2:1 minimum) or equivalent with at least 50% in a related subject (relating to the subject you want to teach).• GCSE grade C or above (or equivalent) in Mathematics and English and/or English Language*• To be able to demonstrate recent experience of observing or supporting teaching in your subject area. This must be conducted in a comprehensive school (minimum of 10 working days or two weeks equivalent within the last three years).

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