The University of Wolverhampton

PGCESecondary Education Chemistry

Why choose this course?

If you have an interest in all aspects of science; but in particular the chemical and material world and enjoy investigating this in a practical setting, then our science (chemistry) course will suit you. Our course looks at the key ideas which underpin the teaching of science in schools today and the way children's understanding of concepts develops.

We offer routes allowing a main specialism from biology, chemistry, physics or science (which includes Earth and environmental science) for key stage 4 teaching each requiring applicants to demonstrate particular capability in that area with relevant post-16 qualifications. However all science teachers need to show a willingness to contribute significantly to subject teaching outside this specialism. You will not necessarily be expected to enter the course with an expert knowledge of all areas; therefore top-up courses are available through the university during the course.

Successful completion of the course will lead to the award Qualified Teacher Status along with 60 credits towards a Masters.

What happens on the course?

  • Over the one year course, you undertake two periods of University-based learning at Walsall Campus, and you spend at least 120 days divided between two different school placements across the 11-16 age range within the secondary age phase.
  • Your University tutor is available to assist you throughout your training, and every effort is made to ensure you have a high-quality school placement, where you can learn from experienced teachers.
  • All course modules provide examples of good practice in teaching which you will reflect upon as you develop your own teaching style. You will be expected to participate actively in your own learning and development.
  • Teaching on the course reflects a variety of methods that will prepare you for life in the classroom including teacher-led debates, pupil-led exploration, peer-group discovery and the provision of individual targets. You will be assessed in a variety of ways including written assignments, school-based project and other school-based activities and appraisal of practical teaching skills. The majority teaching sessions will be alongside trainees from the other science routes, with a small number dedicated specifically to chemistry.
  • All University-based elements of the course take place at the Walsall Campus.
  • Typical modules may include:
    • Observation of teaching, before undertaking ‘sheltered’ teaching activities, for example teaching parts of lessons or groups of pupils within a class
    • Progression to teaching single or short sequences of lessons
    • Further development through planned classroom activities
    • Development of teaching skills as you move to sustained sequences of lessons
    • Research in the University and school on the use of ICT in the teaching of your subject

PGCE: programme structure

  • Starting in September and ending in June the full-time PGCE is the fastest and most condensed way for non-experienced trainees to qualify.
  • The course comprises of two school placements and two periods of University-based teaching September to October; January to February.
  • 24 weeks of the 36 week PGCE course will be spent in schools. You will have one school attachment during the autumn term and another (in a different school) in the spring/summer terms. During the second attachment a proportion of your teaching at key stage 4 will be focussed on your chosen specialist area.
  • We try to take your geographical location into account when placing you in schools but our first concern is to ensure that you have a high quality school placement that can provide a range of experiences. Additional training will therefore take place in partner schools other than your 'attachment' schools. Support is available from your University Tutor throughout your training, plus from experienced teachers accredited by the University as school based tutors.

Why Wolverhampton?

  • We are one of Britain's largest and most established providers of teacher education. A national survey conducted by the Centre for Education and Employment Research has ranked Wolverhampton as the second most successful UK Higher Education Institute for graduate teacher training employment
  • We have a state of the art Education and Teaching building with teaching rooms fitted with interactive whiteboards, two lecture theatres as well as social learning areas and a coffee shop.
  • Access to high quality, bespoke subject knowledge enhancement courses.
  • Access to regular Professional Skills Test Support.

What our students think

Profile of a successful student
Laura completed her PGCE in secondary science last year at University of Wolverhampton. She had always wanted to be a teacher but only after completing the student associate scheme as part of her Forensic Science degree at the University of Wolverhampton did she realise that she would enjoy working in the secondary sector more than with primary children. Having completed A’ levels in chemistry and biology, plus the Wolverhampton 10 day subject knowledge enhancement course she embarked on the programme with a good basis in these parts of the science curriculum. Initially a quiet student the university based sessions provided her with the confidence to tackle all groups of pupils proactively from the start of her placements. Her family and peers all commented on how much the experiences of the programme had developed her presence in all situations.

Early on in her second attachment she was offered a permanent post following the positive manner in which she had embarked on the placement. This she willingly accepted, despite similar offers from her first placement schools and a number of others.

She is thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to organise her own classroom and shape the lives of future scientists.

Career path

  • The PGCE Secondary School Teaching leads to qualified teacher status, and allows you to take up a teaching post within a secondary school
  • In secondary schools you could move up and across the management structure to gain responsibility for:
    • a particular subject as head of department, faculty or curriculum
    • a particular age group as head of year or key stage coordinator
    • a particular area such as special education needs or pastoral care (i.e. personal guidance)
  • Ultimately, you could progress to a senior management position such as a deputy or assistant head and, of course, headteacher - at which point you will have overall responsibility for the management of a school and the education its pupils 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
  • A national survey conducted by the Centre for Education and Employment Research has ranked Wolverhampton as the second most successful UK Higher Education Institute for graduate teacher training employment·
  • 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.

What skills will you gain?

  • If you are successful you will be awarded Qualified Teacher Status 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.
  • The course will provide you with an excellent start to your teaching career as you experience teaching science in two separate secondary schools, working with trained school-based tutors to aid your development. Successful completion of the course will award Qualified Teacher Status along with 60 Masters-level credits.
  • Become a critical reflective teacher with high levels of subject knowledge and a wide understanding of educational theory and practice.

  • Professional skills required to achieve Outstanding results in relation to student progress including data analysis, communication, lesson planning and assessment methods.

  • Access to high quality, bespoke subject knowledge enhancement courses.

Who accredits this course?

  • This course leads to the professional qualification of QTS – Qualified Teacher Status. The University will recommend students who have demonstrated competence in the Professional Standards to the Teaching Agency – who will award QTS.

  • The award of QTS is essential to teach in a school in the United Kingdom and on gaining this award the student becomes a qualified teacher.

Entry requirements

  • A degree in a strand of science or applied science, with 60% of the content in a relevant National Curriculum science area (from life processes and living things; materials and their properties; physical processes)
  • Ability to demonstrate a high level of competence and confidence in your own scientific subject knowledge across the sciences
  • Recent experience of shadowing teachers in a science department in a secondary school
  • GCSE grade C or above (or equivalent) in English and mathematics. Please be aware that not all equivalency tests are accepted, if you unsure please contact our Admissions Department for clarification.

Interview and Selection

  • Once your application has been forwarded to subject staff, your suitability is individually assessed. If you appear suitable, you will be offered an interview where you are required to sit a short subject specific interview/ examination
  • The main purpose of the interview is to:
    • give you an insight into the nature of the course, the teaching profession and to assess your commitments to it
    • explore your subject strengths and areas for development
    • assess your ability to communicate effectively in spoken and written English
    • arrange a partnership school visit as necessary
    • answer all of your questions

Please view for further information regarding interview preparation

Pre-entry Professional Skills Tests

Applicants for initial teacher training (ITT) courses which begin in 2015/16 are required to have passed the skills tests before the start of the course. Further information is available on the Department for Education website.

You will not be eligible to register and take the tests until after you have submitted an application for an ITT programme. Those applicants who satisfy the above entry requirements AND who have passed both tests may be offered an interview before applicants who are still to complete the tests.

Course fees and finance

2016/7 Home/EU International
Full time £9,000 £11,250

These fees are applicable for new entrants in 2016/7. Fees are for the academic year only, any subsequent years may be subject to an annual increase, usually in line with inflation.

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01902 32 22 22



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