If you have an interest in all aspects of science; but in particular life processes and living things and enjoy investigating this in a practical setting, then our biology course will suit you.
Our Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Secondary Education provides a high standard of training for those preparing to take up a teaching post in the secondary school sector. The course complies with the statutory guidance from the National College for Teaching and Leadership for Initial Teacher Training courses.
This course looks at the key ideas which underpin the teaching of science in schools today and the way children's understanding of concepts develops. As a trainee you will learn how to teach biology to pupils in the 11-16 age range within the secondary age phase, with additional primary and post-16 enhancements. You will learn how to develop skills, knowledge and understanding for teaching biology through a combination of university-led and school-led training.
This course is designed to meet the NCTL Teaching Standards which assesses all trainees working towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
This postgraduate qualification offers 60 Masters-level credits that can be used towards our Masters degrees in the field of education.
This Biology route sits within an exciting range of Secondary Education subjects we offer within the Institute of Education.
This is NOT an appropriate training course for applicants who wish to teach in Primary schools or Post Compulsory Education establishments.
Over the one year course, you will undertake learning at University and other educational settings. You will spend 120 days divided between at least two different school placements across the 11-16 age range within the Secondary age phase.
Your University tutor team is available to assist you throughout your training, supporting development of reflection. Every effort is made to ensure that high-quality school placements are provided to you, facilitating learning through observing, co-teaching and being observed by experienced teachers in the classroom.
All course modules provide examples of good practice in pedagogy which you will reflect upon as you develop your own teaching style - you will be expected to actively participate in your own learning and development.
Teaching on the course comprises a variety of methodologies that will prepare you for life in the classroom including teacher-led discussions, pupil-led exploration, peer-group discovery, problem based learning, e-learning and the provision of individual targets.
You will be assessed in a variety of ways including written assignments; classroom based investigation and other school-based activities, and appraisal of practical teaching skills.
Typical activities may include:
PGCE: Programme Structure
The PGCE course takes place over 180 days, and 120 of those days are spent in a school. You will have one school attachment during the autumn term and another (in a different school) in the spring/summer terms.
One of our strengths is that we have a vast network of high quality partnership schools in which to place you for the extended school placements. We ensure that you receive high quality school-based training by selecting schools with highly trained mentors and a proven track record of excellent trainee outcomes. We will also take other factors into consideration when placing you, such as your geographical location and transportation, to provide you with the best possible experience in a convenient and suitable setting.
The University-led elements of the course take place at our Walsall Campus. Our PGCE starts in early September and ends in June, and it is an intensive academic and professional training course that effectively prepares you for your first teaching post and beyond.
The course comprises of a two day professional placement in mixed subject groups, two extended school placements in your subject specialism and two periods of University-based teaching – September to October and January to February. The programme also includes a short Primary school placement and additional opportunities for a range of enhancements to your course; for example, experience of teaching pupils with special educational needs, teaching pupils at post-16 level or teaching pupils for whom English is an additional language.
The University of Wolverhampton is one of the West Midlands’ largest providers of teacher education, with many of our graduates going on to work within the conurbation. Our tutors are all experienced teachers who have worked with our partnership and family schools for many years.
We are proud of our long-standing tradition of training teachers of Early Years, Primary, Secondary and Post Compulsory Education.
What do Ofsted say?
The University of Wolverhampton provision is particularly effective in developing highly professional teachers with the skills to reflect critically on the quality of their teaching in order to improve it. They are valued highly by the schools, colleges and other settings where they secure employment in the region. The university has an excellent reputation that enables it to build strong partnerships across the region to support high-quality teacher training and educational improvement. Employment rates in all phases are high, with many former trainees working in the region.
Ofsted (2013), Initial Teacher Education Inspection Report, London: Ofsted
You will be taught in our state-of-the-art teaching buildings at Walsall Campus, just a short walk from the heart of the town. We have high quality learning facilities, including well equipped teaching rooms, cutting edge learning spaces, lecture theatres and a social learning environment.
A clear progression to Master’s degree study, with opportunities to use PGCE credits to embark upon further study following successful completion of the course, including a fully tailored Newly Qualified Teacher module that can be completed during your induction year.
The Institute of Education at the University of Wolverhampton has a strong focus on research and the part it plays in your study experience. All our lecturers are research active (see our profiles on the University web pages) and working on latest developments.
Who will teach you on this course?
All of the staff that teaches you on this course have experience within the field having worked in Secondary Education and now work in teacher education. You will benefit from the team’s expertise, as they all actively engage in research.
We are committed to student support, from enrolment to graduation. You will have a personal tutor to support your progression through your award.
Profile of a successful student
Iian completed his PGCE in secondary science last year at the University of Wolverhampton, so becoming the teacher he had always wanted to become. His A' level course in biology motivated him so much that he studied for a BSc in Microbiology and Genetics at Wolverhampton. Following this he started a PGCE with the University of Wolverhampton. The PGCE motivated him immediately, with time to discuss his needs and development while given the independence to feel like a proper teacher. He feels though that the most important thing the PGCE taught him was how to manage his time, an invaluable skill when teaching a full timetable.
Iian was offered a teaching post at his first attachment school, which he accepted. He felt that he wanted to start teaching where he could make a difference:
'It's great to see how you can brighten a child's day simply by giving them a merit mark!' There are some difficulties with the occasional pupil but says 'I enjoy every day, there is always one character in the room who makes me smile'.
The head of science at the schools feels it is good to have someone who is so enthusiastic 'he is a breath of fresh air!'
Successful completion of the PGCE Secondary Education course leads to recommendation to NCTL for qualified teacher status (QTS) and will then allow you to take up a teaching post within a secondary school.
In secondary schools you could be considered for a Teaching and Learning Responsibility (TLR), which may comprise any of the following:
Later, you could progress to a senior leadership position such as a deputy or assistant head and head teacher - at which point you will have overall responsibility for the leadership and management of a school and the education its students receive.
Following successful completion of this award, you could also use your 60 Masters-level credits towards any of our Masters degrees in the field of education which can be continued within your NQT year.
If you are successful you will be recommended to NCTL for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and you will be prepared to teach pupils in the 11-16 age range within the secondary age phase with primary and post-16 enhancement. You will also gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) which includes 60 Master’s level credits.
The University will award students with the PGCE in Secondary Education with 60 credits at Master’s level.
All students who have fully met the Teachers’ Standards as set by the National College for Teaching & Leadership will be recommended for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
The award of QTS is essential to teach in a maintained school in the United Kingdom and, upon gaining this award, the student becomes a qualified teacher.
You will have interest in all aspects of science along with a particular aptitude for biology, along with an ability to think creatively about presenting the subject to others in original and practical ways. Candidates will be expected to teach the whole science curriculum, but with a particular focus on life processes and living things. Above all, you will need a real commitment to the education of young people. Also you will need:
A first honours degree of a United Kingdom higher education institution or equivalent qualification (a 2:1 classification or above is expected).
If successful at interview you may be required to undertake a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course which is designed for ITT (Initial Teacher Training) candidates to gain the depth of knowledge needed to train to teach in this subject.
Please note we do not accept GCSE Equivalent Tests from other institutions or organisations and be aware that not all equivalency tests are accepted, if you unsure please contact our Admissions Department email@example.com for clarification. You will be required to provide evidence of your original GCSE qualifications.
It is desirable that candidates would also have recently undertaken, or be in the process of arranging, suitable experience in a United Kingdom secondary school.
You will be required to provide evidence of your original qualifications.
Interview and Selection
Once your application has been received, your suitability is individually assessed. If you meet the entry requirements, you will be offered an interview where you will be required to sit a short subject specific interview / examination to audit your subject knowledge.
The interview has both verbal and written components and is designed to identify your strengths and areas for development. It will contain a mixture of key stage 3 and GCSE content that covers both biology and chemistry & physics. You will be sent information on how to prepare when you are notified of your interview.
The main purpose of the interview is to:
answer any of your questions about the course.
Pre-entry Professional Skills Tests
Applicants for initial teacher education (ITE) courses are required to have passed the professional skills tests before the start of the course. Further information is available on the Department for Education website.
You must take the tests after you have applied and you will need to provide evidence of your application through UCAS Teacher Training when you attend the test centre. If you are offered a place following interview, you will have to pass both the Numeracy and Literacy skills tests as one of your conditions of acceptance before the course starts.
Please note that:
Application forms should be able to demonstrate not only your depth of subject knowledge but also your enthusiasm and commitment to a career in teaching.
If you have been successful at interview and been given a conditional offer, you will need to complete a current enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, a medical declaration clearance and a prohibition check prior to starting the course.
We wish you every success with your application.