Balcarras School
Biology (F299)

QTS, full time or part time

Accredited body
Gloucestershire Initial Teacher Education Partnership (GITEP)
Financial support
Bursary or student finance if you’re eligible

QTS (qualified teacher status) allows you to teach in state schools in England.

It may also allow you to teach in the EU, the EEA and Switzerland. You should check with the institution you’d like to teach in for confirmation. The status of QTS in these countries may change after the UK leaves the EU. Please check GOV.UK for updates.

To teach in the rest of the UK or internationally, you may wish to consider a ‘PGCE (or PGDE) with QTS’ qualification instead.

Course length
Up to 2 years
Date you can apply from
8 October 2019
Date course starts
September 2020

About the course

As a trainee teacher you will be taught about the best ways to teach your subject including the specific pedagogy of your subject and how to plan a lesson in order to meet your objectives so that the pupils make progress. You will also be taught the wider professional aspects of being a teacher such as; safeguarding of pupils, tutoring, behaviour management, SEND, how to make the most of your teaching assistant, how to use data to check the progress of your pupils, marking for progress and about applying for jobs.

Once the placement starts you will be in school Monday to Friday but every Thursday afternoon will be spent at the subject pathway session. This is where you will spend with your subject leader and the other trainees learning to teach the same subject. You may need to travel to another school for this session as subject leaders are all teachers within the county and the sessions may be held at their school.

The assessment for the course is via a few different aspects. There are 3 written assignment that are completed over the year. The first has to be done by the beginning of January, the second by the end of March and the third by mid-June. The first assignment focuses on SEND, the second on A level teaching and the last one on a teaching resource for your subject. You will be given plenty of advice and guidance to ensure you can complete them for the deadlines. Your teaching will also be assessed by you subject mentor and training manager as they come in to observe your lessons. You will also need to complete a teaching file, which will demonstrate the progress that you and you classes have made.

The teaching load does increase over the year in the different placements, please see the information on how placements work. In parent 1 you are expected to teach 9-11 hours per week, in the twin this increases to 11-13 hours per week and in parent 2 the teaching expected is 13-15 hours per week. Initially in parent 1 placement you might be team teaching with the class teacher or starting with smaller activities but then you would be moving on to plan and deliver the entire lesson. You will be guided through this process and given the support necessary to ensure success at each stage of this process.

Interview process

The interview process at Balcarras is:

  • Meet our head teacher, Mr Dominic Burke, on arrival
  • You will be given a tour of the school by pupils

*You are expected to teach a 15 minute lesson on a particular aspect of your subject – which you would be given at least a week before the interview – this would be observed by one of our 3 training managers and someone from the relevant department

  • One interview–with a training manager, the head of the relevant department and the course leader for School Direct in order to ascertain your commitment and motivation to want to teach
  • There are a number of written tasks; a short literacy and numeracy test and a task to check your subject knowledge.

This is a rigorous process but we want to choose the best candidates to train at Balcarras. We want prospective teachers who are enthusiastic and passionate about their subject, committed to a career in teaching and ready to face the challenges of the training year.

There will of course be opportunity to ask questions regarding the course during the interview process.

How school placements work

The training year is split into 3 placements; parent 1 , twin and parent 2. For school direct trainees at Balcarras they will spend the parent 1 and parent 2 placement at Balcarras. The twin placement will be at a different school. The twin placement is organised and determined by GITEP, as they will oversee where all the trainees are placed in Gloucestershire. To enable the placement we do take into account where the trainee lives, whether they drive and any other commitments and constraints they have for example having childcare or elderly parents. The average distance a trainee will have to travel from home to school would be about 30 minutes.

The parent placement starts in the first week of term as the term starts for the school and finishes in mid-December. The twin placement is about 9 weeks from early January until mid-March and then parent 2 placement starts after about one week’s break and finishes before the end of June. Before and between placements there will be professional studies where the entire cohort of trainees meets together for further central training.

You would be teaching an 11-18 age range. This means in each placement you would have a range of year group and abilities of pupils.


The course fees for 2020/2021 are as follows:
Student type Fees to pay
UK students £8,000
EU students £8,000

Financial support

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.

Find out about financial support if you’re from outside the UK.



A 2:1 in biology, zoology or biochemistry or related subject at degree level and GCSEs Grade C/Level 4 (or equivalent) in English and maths.

Personal qualities

There is no profile of "the perfect teacher". However, our trainees do share enthusiasm for their subjects, a genuine interest in how children learn and a commitment to doing their best for every child.

It is a training year and there will be times when things don't go according to plan. We want trainees who are happy to take risks, seek feedback and reflect constantly on their practice and how it could improve.

Other requirements

All applicants will require an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) certificate before commencing training.

Time in schools is not a requirement of the programme and should not hold up your application. It is, however, useful and we may be able to help organise this.

About the training provider

Balcarras is an outstanding 11-18 mixed comprehensive school on the out skirts of Cheltenham. We pride ourselves that this is a school where every individual is valued and feels safe, where all students are inspired not only to do their best but to expand their horizons, and where everyone involved in school life feels a great sense of pride and enjoyment at being part of this community. We are a Teaching School which enables an exciting and vibrant commitment to continued professional development and an emphasis on the importance of good teacher training. We are also a maths hub school and run the GLOW Maths Hub. Three of the GITEP subject leaders are teachers at the school in maths, history and PE. We have been working as a School Direct provider since 2012, where we were one of the pilot schools for the School Direct programme. We have successfully enabled training of 30 teachers across a range of subjects.

You will be able to choose between a QTS only and a PGCE qualification. The GITEP PGCE is awarded by the University of Bristol.

Training with disabilities and other needs

We welcome applications from trainees with disabilities and particular needs. A conversation with you, by telephone or at one of our taster days, may help us clarify how we can best support you. For dyslexic trainees we would be able to offer extended deadlines for written assignments if necessary. For any other disabilities we would of course endeavour to make all reasonable adjustments to enable a successful training year. This would be done on an individual basis and has been our approach as we have trained teachers at Balcarras. For previous trainees this has included ensuring that all of their lessons are downstairs where they were not able to access the upper floor via a lift. Liaison between Balcarras school and the GITEP leadership is very strong and we are used to making reasonable adjustments to help trainees, both short term and over the whole course.

All GITEP PGCE trainees are registered as students with the University of Bristol and this gives access to the full range of student services offered by the University. This includes support with academic assignments for trainees with dyslexia and all the University counselling and student support services. Trainees with disabilities and other needs are strongly encouraged to register with the University Library Support service.

Contact details

East End Road
Charlton Kings
GL53 8QF


Apply on the UCAS website. You’ll need to register with UCAS before you can apply.

Visit Get into Teaching for guidance on applying for teacher training.

When you apply you’ll need these codes for the Choices section of your application form:

  • Training provider code: 14B
  • Training programme code: F299

Choose a training location

You’ll also need to choose a training location – select the relevant location name on the application form.

Location Vacancies Code
Main Site
East End Road, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham GL53 8QF
Yes -

Support and advice

For questions about this course you should contact the training provider using the contact details above.

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