About this course
Our PGCE Secondary Science with Biology course prepares you to teach in the 11 – 16 age phase. It may be possible to gain experience of teaching post 16 during your PGCE and the qualification does not preclude you from teaching post 16 once employed. There are two stages to your PGCE Secondary Science with Biology course.
Stage A – Introduction to teaching (September to December)
We use an innovative and supportive model of training which means that not only are you getting school experience from the very early weeks of the course, but that support and tuition from University and subject experts continue until you are a highly-confident new teacher. So, in Stage A, after a short two-week induction programme, you will start a school placement three days a week, which then extends to four days a week. Every Friday however you’ll return to University for subject knowledge and applied pedagogy (SKAP) sessions (see below) and support from your tutor and fellow trainees on the course.
Professional Education Studies
Professional Education Studies is designed to give you an introduction and overview of important topics and issues which will inform your learning, practice and professional values. These sessions give theoretical insights and practical strategies to tackle issues that you will face in your school placements and in the early years of your professional teaching life.
Subject knowledge and applied pedagogy (SKAP)
In these sessions, our subject teacher experts will give you a good understanding of what it means to teach your subject. You will study the school curriculum, and understand how other expert teachers have taught it successfully. You will also learn how to plan sequences of learning that address the needs of your pupils so that you can develop your practice and have a positive impact on their learning.
Whilst you continue to benefit from one day a week of University tuition, you will also start your first school placement, which will last until the end of Stage A. This will give you the chance to put into practice what you’ve learnt so far in a collaborative working environment. You’ll work closely with your subject mentor based in your school. Every Friday you will return to University to benefit from the support and expertise of your subject tutor, and your subject peer group.
Stage B – Developing your knowledge and preparing for your new career (January to June)
Your University-based training will comprise the same elements as Stage A, but you’ll focus on building on the knowledge you’ve already developed to prepare for your next school-based training block. After an initial week at University, you will start your second placement in January. Every second Friday until Easter, you’ll return to University to continue SKAP tuition. These Friday sessions are a great opportunity to find out how different schools approach the issues you are facing in your teaching practice, share your experience with your fellow trainees, and continue to benefit from the expertise of your subject tutor.
In January, you’ll start a second placement in a different school. This will give you the chance to deepen your knowledge of how students learn, and extend your practice in supporting that learning, in a new context. In this placement, you will continue to be supported by your University subject tutor, your school mentor and a link tutor who liaises frequently between school and University. This placement from January until June gives you the chance to develop your practice in a school, and with pupils that you will get to know really well. This gives you a very good opportunity to make a positive impact on progress in that school.
During your second placement, you will be teaching more lessons and ensuring that you’re teaching classes from across the full age range for which you are training. At this point, you’ll become more of an independent practitioner.