About the course
Located in the heart of London, PGCE courses at King’s are rated Outstanding by Ofsted with excellent tutors on hand to support you through your training. In the last research assessment exercise, the department was rated second in the UK (REF, 2014). You will have the opportunity to work with experienced tutors who are actively engaged in research in their subject and in pedagogy more widely. 94% of 2018 graduates who sought teaching posts were employed within 6 months of qualifying. In our 2019 student survey, 92% of trainees rated the quality of their training as very good or good.
This course aims to prepare students to:
- become effective secondary school teachers
- become knowledgeable subject specialists who can progress to take on responsibilities in curriculum development
- become good classroom managers
- become successful form tutors and collaborative colleagues.
The course encourages learning through critical reflection, making connections between the theory and practice of teaching, and continuing to self-evaluate and improve throughout a teaching career.
We work to enable students to teach pupils to think, and to interpret pupils' understanding, building their subsequent teaching on this.
The special features of the PGCE science programmes at King’s are:
- Separate groups for each of the four science specialisms: Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Physics with Mathematics. These focus on how to teach your specialist subject to the age range 11-18.
- Sessions designed to help you teach science topics which are outside your science subject specialism. These are designed to help you contribute to science programmes at Key Stage 3 and 4.
- 'Science Pedagogy' sessions where you work in mixed groups of science students on topics like scientific enquiry, formative assessment, use of discussion in science lessons and cognitive acceleration through science education. These classes are often taught by people who are at the forefront of research about innovative teaching strategies. The Science Education research group at King's is the largest in the UK and has a strong national and international reputation. This allows us to feed new ideas into the PGCE programme and creates a dynamic and forward-looking course.
*The course is set in the context of a friendly department with a strong commitment to our students.
KCL Biology Course Information
The King’s process includes an interview, a group task and a short piece of writing.
In the interview and group task we will be looking for:
- evidence that you have a commitment to working with young people;
- ability to explain clearly and to think on your feet;
- evidence of good interpersonal skills;
- knowledge of school level science in each of biology, chemistry and physics;
- familiarity with the realities of teaching science in secondary schools;
- awareness of current educational issues;
- commitment to equal opportunities;
- ability to work well in a group dynamic.
In your writing we will be looking for:
- ability to express yourself clearly;
- accurate grammar and spelling.
How school placements work
School Direct trainees start at their chosen school during the first week of the autumn term. Term dates will be confirmed upon acceptance of an offer.
The university course starts in the second week of September and is full-time until late June. Sessions are usually from 9:30 to 4:30 but much of the time is spent in schools and you are usually expected to be in school by 8:00 or 8:30. The course is very intensive and most students find that they are not able to do part-time work during this time.
Around half of the 38 schools within the Catholic Teaching Alliance offer training placements. Those who are able to support the main placement are listed for each respective course.
Candidates usually apply to schools that are located close to where they live and we are happy to arrange tours and an observation day in your preferred school prior to application.
When applying please select your preferred school. Once your application passes our vetting process you will be invited to interview at KCL followed by an interview at the school.
We offer an ABA placement route, this includes a 6-week placement at another school within the CTA in the spring term before you return to your original school for the remainder of the course.
At the start of the academic year we will contact all registered trainees to confirm where you are living and to ask about the type of school that you would like to be placed in for your second placement. Where possible, we will try to accommodate your request and placements are arranged with a maximum commuting distance of 1 hour 15 minutes based upon the address provided. Travel time is usually significantly less than this.
We are able to offer contrasting placements in single-sex or mixed schools and in schools with sixth forms where your main placement school is 11-16. Where you have completed a placement in a single-sex school your second placement will be in a mixed school or a school with students of the opposite sex.
The course fees for 2020/2021 are as follows:
Tuition fee loans are available for those who meet the Government’s criteria for this scheme. Further information is available at GOV.UK
Government Training Bursaries:
Please note training bursaries are only available to students who have been classified as Home/EU for fee purposes.
You’ll get a bursary of £26,000 if you have a degree of 2:2 or above in any subject.
You don’t have to apply for a bursary - if you’re eligible, you’ll automatically start receiving it once you begin your course. Find out about eligibility and how you’ll be paid.
You may also be eligible for a loan while you study.
Find out about financial support if you’re from outside the UK.
A UK honours degree or international equivalent, preferably 2:2 honours or above, in Science relevant to the subject specialism chosen for the PGCE.
Grade C/4 in GCSE English and Maths. Qualifications classified as equivalent by UK NARIC will be accepted.
Written Expression - Clear expression with a good standard of spelling and grammar.
Referees should be people in a position of authority (e.g. course or personal tutor, line manager) and must be independent of you (not friends or relatives)
We are looking for:
- commitment to teaching;
- good communication skills (both oral and written);
- good interpersonal skills;
- a good knowledge of science in the specialist science chosen and potential to teach this up to A level;
- a good knowledge of science in most of the areas of the National Curriculum for Science and potential to develop competence to contribute to a science programme up to age 16 (Key Stage 4);
- an ability to explain science clearly;
- potential to manage young people effectively;
- awareness of current educational issues;
- commitment to equal opportunities.
You should provide:
- a reference which identifies your academic strengths and personal qualities required for teaching
- a reference with no reservations about suitability e.g. relating to academic achievement, effort, health, commitment, consistency, group working skills, communication skills
Candidates offered a place will be asked to complete an enhanced check with the DBS to ensure they do not have a criminal background which might prevent them from working as a teacher. Trainees who have lived or worked outside of the UK in the last five years are required to provide a certificate of good conduct from abroad.
About the training provider
The Catholic Teaching Alliance (CTA) is a strong and growing alliance of 38 schools. It is a cross-phase partnership from primary, through to secondary and sixth form colleges. Our partner schools are based throughout South-East London and Kent covering Southwark, Lewisham, Bromley, Bexleyheath and Chatham. This diversity in type of school and location gives a richness to our shared work. Our shared vision is Growing Teachers, Growing Learners, Growing Schools.
Our schools have a long history of Initial Teacher Education and have offered School Direct places since the initiative began. We have selected several universities that match our ethos. By carefully selecting the right universities to work with we are able to offer you an excellent start to your career in education.
We offer both Primary Salaried and Tuition Fee School Direct places and are able to provide training in a range of secondary subjects. Some subjects are available with a choice of provider.
We run an extensive CPD programme for trainees and most secure an NQT position within the group of schools. We also provide flexibility as your career progresses, with opportunities to move between schools.
We would encourage applicants to contact us to arrange a school tour prior to application and we are happy to answer any questions that you may have. Please contact the CTA Co-ordinator, Clare Barclay for more information or visit our website here to find out more about our schools and the career opportunities that we are able to offer.
About the accredited body
Experience: King’s has been training teachers for over 120 years and has developed a reputation for excellence in its training methods. The PGCE academics are qualified teachers themselves and are highly experienced in teacher training.
Reputation: King’s has developed a reputation for excellence in both training methods and the standards of new teachers we train. At the most recent Ofsted inspection King’s was graded 'Outstanding'.
Location: Based in the heart of London, King’s is surrounded by landmarks and cultural institutions that we incorporate into our training. Transport links are extensive as the campus is only minutes from Waterloo station.
Training with disabilities and other needs
All School Direct trainees must meet the Secretary of State's requirements for physical and mental health, but few health problems past or present preclude applicants from teaching.
The activities that a teacher must be able to perform are set out in the Education (Health Standards) (England) Regulations 2003.
We welcome applications from people with additional needs and disabilities. Successful applicants will be asked to complete a fitness questionnaire prior to commencing the programme.
Within our group of 38 schools, we are able to provide support for a range of disabilities and other needs and are usually able to arrange appropriate school placements and additional support as required. We have trained applicants with dyslexia, physical, hearing and visual impairments, as well as students with mental health issues. If you have any questions about health, disability, or the support provided or wish to discuss your own requirements further, please contact the CTA Co-ordinator, Clare Barclay, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information on the support provided by our university partners please see the links below.
King's College London
St Mary's University
University College London
School Direct students can access the services provided by UCL’s Student Support and Wellbeing team. You can find more information here
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Choose a training location
You’ll also need to choose a training location – select the relevant location name on the application form.
Bonus Pastor Catholic College
Winlaton Road, Bromley BR1 5PZ
St Michael's Catholic College
Llewellyn Street, Bermondsey, London SE16 4UN
Support and advice
For questions about this course you should contact the training provider using the contact details above.
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