Secondary Science: Biology - PGCE

  • Course Code: 32XS
  • Level: Postgraduate Taught
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Study mode: Full Time
  • Location: City South

Are you passionate about inspiring young people to learn about the human body to the natural world? Then our PGCE Secondary Biology is the course for you. With so many important careers in healthcare and science dependent on people with skills and knowledge in this area, your ability to get your students excited about Biology is vital.

What's covered in the course?

Our aim is to help you become a committed, confident and creative teacher so we’ll train you in the essential tools you need to kick-start your career in education. As you progress, you’ll increase your ability to handle the ever-evolving teaching environment, and by the time your course is complete, you’ll be in a position to continue developing your understanding, knowledge and skills throughout your professional life.

After interview you may be advised you need to take a funded Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course, which we offer over 16 weeks, before you start your PGCE.

Assignments and school-centred activities are structured around the development of your School Experience Progress Journal (SEPJ) which demonstrates your progress against the nationally agreed competences (the Teachers’ Standards), which all teachers must meet throughout their career. A system of continuous review and assessment of progress in the SEPJ will support your growing ability to take responsibility for your own development. 

Why Choose Us?

  • At least 120 days across a minimum of two placements, in line with Department for Education (DfE) requirements, supported by a subject mentor in your school and a personal development tutor at the University.

  • If you have a PhD, Master's or at least a 2:2 in your undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, you may be eligible for a bursary

  • We’re proud of our high employability rates, with 99% of the PGCE Secondary Education students in employment or further study six months after completing their course (DLHE survey results 2016/17).

  • You'll gain Master's level credits gained as part of this course that you can then use towards a full Master's degree.

This course is open to International students

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Holte School
  • Q3 Academy
  • Heath Park School

And in jobs such as:

  • Head of Science
  • Science Teacher and Key Stage Coordinator

Postgraduate lunch drop in

Visit us to find out more

Come along to one of our upcoming events where our staff will be on hand to answer all your questions.

Drop in event: Wed 29 Jan 4-7pm

Speak to an expert

If you’ve got any questions about the course, we’d love to hear from you. Please email the Course Director: Helen Thomas.

Email Course Director

Alternatively, you can register for our next postgraduate open day.

Entry Requirements

UK students

Please note: If you are a graduate and wish to train as a Science with Biology teacher but your degree did not provide any or enough biology content for you to gain automatic entry on to a secondary Science with Biology teacher training course, you may be required to complete an appropriate Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course.

Essential

You must have a good degree (minimum 2:2) in a relevant subject from a UK higher education institution or equivalent.

You must have a GCSE grade C or above (or equivalent) in both English language and mathematics prior to enrolment and if you are offered an interview you will take a written test to assess your standard of English.

Download the GCSE equivalencies for this course  

If you do not already have GCSEs in English language and mathematics, or their equivalent, and are not registered to take them, you should visit Equivalency Testing.

It should be noted that applicants taking the equivalency tests need to have passed prior to enrolment.

Selection Interview

The selection interview will assess your subject knowledge and personal qualities such as the potential to relate well to secondary age students, enthusiasm, sensitivity, communication skills and robustness and resilience for teaching.

You will also take a written test to assess your standard of English.

Applicants must meet Department for Education requirements for Initial Teacher Training, which means being medically fit and successfully completing an enhanced disclosure via the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

International Students

Entry requirements here

International Students

Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.

Apply now

  • UK/EU students
  • International students

Award: PGCE

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £9,250 per year
  • Apply

Award: PGCE

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £12,800 per year
  • Apply

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Course code: 32XS

All applications need to be made via the UCAS Teacher Training website. For more information on how to apply for a teacher training course please visit the UCAS how-it-all-works information page. 

We also offer the full-time programme through School Direct with the following schools:

Visit the UCAS Teacher Training website for details on how to apply.

We would like all applicants to make a fully informed decision about joining the teaching profession. As part of that decision making process, spending sometime in a school and considering the role of the teacher will prove to be invaluable.

Financial support

You may be able to obtain financial support to help you during your studies. For more information visit the Department for Education's Get into Teaching website.

There are a range of reading materials and literature that you may wish to purchase to support your studies. A large range of relevant literature is available through our library website such as e-books, e-journals and other online materials.

The link below provides our estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs to you could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course. We set out where we can, based on experience, where these indicative costs are for activities that are optional or compulsory.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

 

Applicants must meet Department for Education requirements for Initial Teacher Training, which means being medically fit and successfully completing an enhanced disclosure via the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Learn more about completing your DBS

Financial Support

Although this is a postgraduate course, current PGCE students are eligible for the finance support package available to full-time undergraduates. You may also receive a Teacher Training Bursary for most Secondary teacher training courses and Primary Mathematics.

Find out more

Modules

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 60 credits):

Secondary Professional Studies
20 credits

This module, Professional Studies, provides opportunities for you as a trainee teacher to explore and understand in practical terms the meaning of professionalism in the context of education and being a teacher. It is well known that education is an ever-changing environment and the desire for improvement is strong from all stakeholders. This module helps you to understand that the best teachers are those who continue to learn themselves and that your continual development can positively impact the learning experience of your students.

Secondary Subject Pedagogy: Science: Biology
20 credits

This module, Subject Pedagogy, provides opportunities for you as a trainee teacher to explore the nature of your specialist subject in the context of learning and teaching in the secondary school. The module provides substantial support for your professional practice in school, assessed through the School Experience modules. This module provides a strong philosophical underpinning to your awareness of the importance of your specialist subject in the secondary school curriculum. By undertaking this module you will be shaping your own rationale for your approach to the teaching of your specialist subject, and to meeting the needs of the learners as they move through the secondary school phase.

Professional Enquiry
20 credits

This module, Professional Enquiry, forms an introduction to active examination of professional practice in the workplace and a reflective approach to personal development. It provides a foundation for future study modules and enables you to develop practice-based enquiry skills. Increasing importance is placed on evidence-based enquiry to inform professional development in education, most recently in The Carter Review of Initial Teacher Training (ITT).

School Experience 1
0 credits

This module, School Experience 1, provides opportunities for you as a trainee teacher to meet the professional standards and expectations of teaching through practical, school-based experience. You will have the opportunity to work alongside experienced teachers and other education professionals to develop your knowledge, understanding and skill in the classroom and the wider school environment. You will be able to implement theory and evidence-based understanding on an on-going and development basis into your teaching into the classroom. You will be assessed against the current statements of professional competence.

School Experience 2*
0 credits

This module, School Experience 2, follows School Experience 1 and provides opportunities for you as a trainee teacher to enhance your achievement of the professional standards and expectations of teaching through practical, school-based experience. You will have the opportunity to work independently supported by experienced teachers and other education professionals to further develop your knowledge, understanding and skill in the classroom and the wider school environment. You will be able to implement theory and evidence-based understanding on an on-going and development basis into your teaching into the classroom. You will be assessed against the current statements of professional competence.

* School Experience 2 is dependent upon the successful completion of School Experience 1.

Course structure

Your PGCE Secondary Biology aims to explore, test and develop the links between Science and Biology in education theory and its practice. The University workshops and seminars facilitate a space for learners to conduct this, which is then supported by school placements.

This relationship, between theory and practice, alongside a variety of contrasting school experiences, ensures that you are offered a well-rounded teacher education. We believe that we are training Biology teachers to work in any school setting.  Your course will feature a range of modules and the opportunity to get plenty of hands-on practice in local schools with support from colleagues in the school partnership and experienced University tutors.

Number of hours in the classroom per week

You will be expected to spend two thirds of the course in schools with the other third taking place in a University setting. 

Accreditation or professional associations

As a provider of Initial Teacher Education, you can be reassured that we are regularly inspected by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted).

Ofsted reports directly to Parliament and is independent and impartial. It inspects and regulates services which care for children and young people, and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages.

Ofsted inspections of ITE providers provide an expert and independent assessment of how well a university is performing and the quality of teacher training offered. Information in the inspection report can help you to decide which university best suits your career needs.

Further Study

You can expect outstanding support from your University tutors, all of whom have worked as exceptional classroom teachers, and from the Secondary Schools which we have signed a Partnership Agreement with. There are more than 200 across the Midlands. 

We encourage our trainees to consider developing their teaching and learning skills further by continuing their studies with a Master's in Teaching and Learning (MTL) also offered at Birmingham City University. The PGCE Secondary course provides 60 credits towards the MTL. Birmingham City University also offer a Master's in Educational Leadership (MEL) for aspiring leaders in education (the PGCE Secondary course also provides 60 credits towards the MEL).

Find out more 

Placements

Two-thirds of your course takes place in school and we ensure that you are offered a number of placements in a wide range of educational establishments.

You will do work placements in at least two different schools and also visit others – including a primary school and or a post-16 setting where appropriate.  This all helps you to see how teachers are working in practice and gives you a wealth of experience.

You will have subject and professional mentors in school who will guide and support your studies and provide you with feedback.

More about our placement opportunities...

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Postgraduate Jobs

PGCE Secondary Biology teachers find employment as teachers in a variety of school settings. 

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 million on new learning facilities.

As part of these plans, the University's Education provision will join the rest of the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences at our City South Campus in Edgbaston during 2018.

This is the third phase of the University's project to move all teaching and learning to two campuses, City Centre and City South. By moving our Education provision, we are creating a hub for the provision of public service contracts and professional development at City South Campus and improving the student experience with a stronger sense of community and more consistent support services and facilities.

Campus

In addition to classrooms, a lecture theatre, social learning spaces, an open access IT suite and cafe facilities, the new £41 million extension to our City South Campus offers a range of specialist teaching and learning facilities for specific subjects including science, design and technology, drama and physical education.  

Departments

All our departmental facilities replicate the school learning environment.

  • Art and Design
  • Design and Technology
  • History
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Religious Education
  • Music
  • Drama

Not only are we investing £41 million in a new building to house the laboratories and teaching spaces needed, but we also plan to open up these facilities to benefit all students and the wider community. This will complement our existing sports facilities, which already provide a base for students to compete in activities ranging from rugby to.

Mary Seacole Library

The Seacole library, based at City South Campus, is one of the UK's largest specialist health education libraries. The facility offers an extensive range of range of information and reference materials set out in a relaxing environment, conducive to studying. There are comfortable seating areas, group study areas, a silent study area and private study rooms.

Computer Facilities

The Seacole building houses a large open access IT Suite which comprises of 96 PCs, printers, photocopiers and scanners. Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:

  • Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
  • Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Research and statistical software
  • Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home

Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.

The IT Suite offers extended opening hours and is supported by a specialist Open Access Assistant during term time. In addition to the open access PCs within the IT Suite, there are 12 networked student PCs available within Seacole library.

Staff Introduction

With a vast amount of experience in a variety of school settings, our university Science tutor, Helen, offers exceptional education and training. Helen’s shared ethos and rationale for Science in schools is evident in all she does as she encourages trainee Science teachers to develop their own practice, pedagogy and beliefs.

Simon Tresidder

Simon Tresidder

Course Leader Undergraduate Secondary Education with QTS / Senior Lecturer in Education (Science)

Simon is currently the course lead for our undergraduate secondary education with QTS provision; he is also part of the science team and teaches across a range of both undergraduate and post-graduate teacher training routes at Birmingham City University.

Read Simon's full profile

Kerry Taylor staff profile

Kerry Taylor

Senior Lecturer

Kerry is currently leading the PGCE Science routes teaching on both the Professional Studies module and Subject Pedagogy module where she specialises in biology education.

Read Kerry's full profile