Secondary Science: Biology - PGCE

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.

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

Overview

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.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this 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.

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 Department for Education (DfE) requirements, supported by a subject mentor in your school and a personal development tutor at the University

  • 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.

  • 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.

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 (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.

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. 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.

International qualifications

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.

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).

Fees & How to Apply

  • International students

Award: PGCE

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • TBC
  • Apply

Award: PGCE

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • TBC
  • Apply

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.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

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.

Key Software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

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.

DBS check

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.

Books (optional)

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.

Subscriptions (optional)

You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.

Memberships (optional)

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.

The way you apply for postgraduate teacher training has changed. The Department for Education (DfE) has developed a GOV.UK application service  called ‘Apply for teacher training’, which you must use to submit your application.

Course code: 32XS
We also offer the full-time programme through School Direct with the following schools:

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

Course in Depth

Modules

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.

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.

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.

Employability

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.

International Students

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 facilities

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.

Computer facilities

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.

Our staff

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.

More about Simon

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.

More about Kerry