Secondary Physical Education with Biology - PGCE
This course will enable you to use your degree level skills in the teaching of Physical Education (PE) and Biology so that you can promote knowledge, understanding, skill and a wider love of learning for all pupils through the teaching of both PE and Biology as curriculum subjects in the secondary school sector....
Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23
The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.
Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
- Level Postgraduate Taught
- Study mode Full Time
- Location City South
- Award PGCE
- Start date September 2022
- School School of Education and Social Work
- Faculty Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences
This course will enable you to use your degree level skills in the teaching of Physical Education (PE) and Biology so that you can promote knowledge, understanding, skill and a wider love of learning for all pupils through the teaching of both PE and Biology as curriculum subjects in the secondary school sector.
We believe that both PE and Biology are crucial elements in the education of all pupils both in terms of their academic progress but also for the contribution that they make to health and well-being, lifestyle, environment and the natural world. We will work with you to enable you to become the inspirational secondary school teacher that today’s young people deserve.
What's covered in this course?
Our course provides you with the knowledge and understanding that will enable your current creative skills to grow into exciting and engaging teaching for the classroom. The course is a practice-based programme that will fully support you in becoming a confident, dynamic and creative teacher committed to making learning of many types accessible for all.
Central to the curriculum is the study of the subject-specific pedagogies and professional practice required for the teaching of PE and Biology which you will access through a synthesis of practical workshops, lectures, seminar groups and individual study.
Curriculum workshops are a key element of your course. In PE, dedicated lecturers and teachers deliver these in our specialist education classrooms and lecture theatres. The workshops enable you to experience and develop your understanding of subject pedagogy through topics such as: Physical literacy, growth mindset through PE, dance in the curriculum, gymnastics, invasion games, net and wall games, target games and athletics, health and safety, as well as Key Stage 3 National Curriculum topics, GCSE and A Level PE topics.
Similarly in Biology, specialist lecturers and teachers deliver sessions in purpose built facilities that replicate the best on offer in schools. As a proven specialist in PE, you will recognise and develop your skills regarding your second subject knowledge, creating and applying signature pedagogies that link subject philosophies, educational theory in the subject, and classroom practice. Through additional practical workshops you will understand the nature of learning in Biology, and the most effective methods to allow your students to access that learning.
At least two thirds of the course take place within the school. You will be placed in a minimum of two PE departments.
Taught modules, assignments and School Based Training are structured around the development of your Progress Journal which demonstrates your progress against our ITE Core Curriculum. Our ambitious curriculum incorporates the ITT Core Content Framework (DfE, 2019) and the nationally agreed competences - the Teachers’ Standards, which all teachers must meet throughout their career.
The Progress Journal also maps your development as a subject specialist with reference to identified subject priorities appropriate to the needs of secondary teachers entering the profession. A system of continuous review and assessment of progress within the Progress Journal will support your growing ability to take responsibility for your own professional development and ensure that you approach QTS with a sound understanding of research-informed pedagogies and practices.
Why Choose Us?
- At least 120 days across a minimum of two placements, in line with the Department for Education (DfE) requirements, supported by a subject mentor in your school and a personal development tutor at the University.
- You'll gain Master's level credits gained as part of this course that you can then use towards a full Master's degree
- We meet the Department for Education's (DfE) Criteria for Initial Teacher Training and successful candidates on our Initial Teacher Training courses will be recommended to the DfE for Qualified Teacher Status.
You must have a good degree (normally a 2:2 or above) in a relevant subject from a UK higher education institution or equivalent.
You must have a GCSE grade 4 (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.
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. We also offer our own in-house equivalency tests. If you are successful at interview and need to pass an equivalency test to meet the entry requirements, our Admissions team will refer you to the details of our test.
It should be noted that applicants taking the equivalency tests need to have passed prior to enrolment.
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).
A minimum IELTS score of 7.0 is required with no individual component less than 6.5. Candidates who have undertaken IELTS will also need to successfully pass our GCSE English equivalency test.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
You will require a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for this course. Your first DBS check is included in your fees.
Project materials (mandatory)
This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected.
Placement expenses (mandatory)
Placements are a compulsory element of teacher training courses. You'll need to budget for any travel costs you may incur whilst undertaking your placement.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.
Field trips (optional)
This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.
You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.
You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course.
Accommodation and living costs
The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.
Applications for teacher training courses are through the Department for Education’s application service, Apply for Teacher Training.
Using the red ‘Apply’ button above will take you to the Department for Education website to complete your application. For more information on how to apply for a teacher training course, please visit Apply for Teacher Training.
Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.
Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Your passion and motivations
Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?
Why this course?
Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.
What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?
Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.
Relevant academic or work experience
Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?
You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
Course in Depth
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 60 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
You’ll find that the Secondary PE with Biology PGCE is an intensive and demanding course which challenges people who are highly committed to teaching young people. It is an excellent way to prepare for a career within the profession.
We’ll deliver the course using a combination of workshops, lectures and seminar groups, and by encouraging individual study.
You’ll also complete a profile of evidence towards the achievement of the Teachers’ Standards required by the Department for Education for the award of Qualified Teacher Status.
The main thrust of the curriculum involves the study of education, pedagogy and professional practice, from both generic professional educational and subject-specific perspectives.
At least two-thirds of this course takes place off campus within schools. This means you have the opportunity to gain valuable ‘hands on’ experience in at least two different schools. In most cases you’ll also have the chance to visit other schools, including a primary school.
Trainee teachers are expected to take significant responsibility for their own progress and development. This type of professional development encourages the development of independent, creative practitioners who will be able to take the lead in the future.
120 days across a minimum of two school placements. Placement 1: September to December. Placement 2: January to June.
In September a three week block of daily University based sessions in preparation for school placement 1.
In January a two week block of daily University based sessions in preparation for school placement 2.
Every Monday Subject pedagogy sessions take place from September to January.
Ofsted inspections have confirmed that our trainees “leave their courses with a wide range of knowledge and skills that make them highly employable. Their career progression is swift and they make a real difference to the quality of teaching and learning in their schools.” (Ofsted 2014)
This is an 11-16 years course, with post-16 enhancement, which offers a high degree of employability within secondary teaching.
The high demand for our trained Geography teachers and our consistently high employability scores mean that trainees who successfully complete the course to a high standard have very good employment prospects.
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. This all helps you to see how teachers are working in practice and gives you a wealth of experience.
You will have the opportunity to do serial and block placements and you will also have trained mentors, who will guide and support your studies and provide you with feedback.
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:
Facilities and Staff
Our School of Education and Social Work is based at our City South campus in leafy Edgbaston.
We’ve spent £41million expanding the education facilities at City South. These facilities offer hands-on practical experience, replicating the spaces you will come across in professional practice. Alongside classrooms and lecture theatres, we also have a range of specialist teaching and learning spaces for specific subjects including science, design and technology, drama and physical education.
As well as subject-specific rooms, our facilities include the Primary Innovation Lab, which houses £24,000 worth of LEGO. This room is a special resource for our education students, offering an innovative and creative way to approach subjects across the curriculum – from computing to English, mathematics to art. The lab responds to research that children and young people learn best from practical experience.
Our Social Work students have access to a home environment room and mock hospital wards which offer an opportunity to gain experience of working with service users in different situations.
The Seacole building has two open-access IT Suites which offer PCs, printers, photocopiers and scanners. There is also an IT Helpdesk for quick and easy help with your computing or internet issues.
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.
In addition to desktop PCs, we also offer a laptop loan facility, allowing students to borrow a laptop for up to six hours while on campus.
Kelly Davey Nicklin
PGCE Secondary Course Leader and Senior Lecturer in Music Education
Kelly has previously been a Head of Faculty for Performing Arts and taught music across three key stages in a secondary school where she was judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted for Key Stage 3 music teaching. During her time as a secondary school teacher, Kelly was also an international links coordinator and she organised a partnership with Mungu Basic School in Zambia over a period of 6 years with several visits to the school working with pupils and teachers in the village of Kafue, Zambia.More about Kelly
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.More about Kerry