Whitley Bay Teaching School Alliance
Biology (2K87)

PGCE with QTS full time

Accredited body
University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Financial support
Bursary or student finance if you’re eligible

A postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) with qualified teacher status (QTS) allows you to teach in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It’s also recognised internationally.

Many PGCE courses include credits that count toward a Master’s degree.

Course length
1 year
Date you can apply from
8 October 2019
Date course starts
September 2020

About the course

The majority of your training will be based in school, although some time will be spent in either Newcastle or Northumbria Universities, where part of professional studies aspect of the course will be delivered.

Over the course of the School Direct training year, you will be placed in two schools where you will undertake the actual classroom practice. These placements are chosen to offer you a high-quality, diverse training experience. From the beginning, you will be treated like a member of staff and will attend staff meetings and CPD training programmes in both training schools.

In each school, you will be allocated an experienced subject mentor who will oversee and monitor your progress and development. They will help introduce you to school life, give you support with lesson planning and preparation, and look at effective classroom practices. Furthermore, you will have weekly meetings with them to reflect on your teaching, with your mentor tailoring their support so that you have a training programme that meets your needs.

During two teaching placements, your progress will be monitored and supported through weekly observations by your mentor or the staff within your department. In addition, you will receive observations from Whitey Bay’s Director of Initial Teacher Training, your school’s Professional Tutor and your University Tutor.

To further support you in becoming an outstanding practitioner, you will participate in a training programme with your School Direct peers. Training will be delivered by highly skilled teachers, from within our alliance of schools, and will cover areas such as: Safeguarding, Literacy, Meeting the needs of different learners, Questioning, Lesson Planning, Behaviour for Learning, Progress and Assessment for Learning, Stretching the most able and Preparing for Interview. In addition, you will receive rigorous support to develop your understanding of subject specific pedagogy.

Interview process

Whitley Bay High is the lead school in our alliance and we will co-ordinate the recruitment process.

If you are applying to the Secondary programme, you will be asked to prepare a ten-minute presentation to the Director of ITT and a Deputy Headteacher on a topic relating to your subject, explaining how you would teach the lesson and make it engaging and challenging. You will also meet with a subject specialist to discuss developments within your subject and your understanding of your subject within a school context.

If you are applying to the Primary programme, interviews will take place in one of the Primary schools within the alliance. The process will involve spending time at the school, interacting with the children and being involved in a number of activities followed by an interview. The interview panel will consist of representative/s from the Primary schools and the Director of ITT.

Our interviews are a rigorous and thorough process, designed to get the best match of applicant to the places available.

All offers to train within WBTSA are conditional. Conditions may include: a DBS; Fitness to Teach; as well as original documentary evidence of degree and GCSE qualifications. You may be required to complete a subject enhancement course (SKE) before your training begins. We also strongly recommend you spend time in school to gain insight into current educational organisations.

How school placements work

If you train with us, you will have two teaching placements in our Partnership of schools, which are conveniently located across the North Tyneside, Newcastle and Northumberland area. Given our locality, we are proud to offer a great diversity of age-ranges in our placement schools: we have First, Primary, Middle, Secondary and High Schools all within our alliance.

Your two placement schools are selected in order to provide you a unique opportunity to experience a diverse and varied range of teaching and learning opportunities and be immersed in schools with very different ethea. Your previous experiences are also taken into account when allocating placement schools. Regardless of where you are placed, highly experienced and inspirational practitioners will design a bespoke training programme, which will allow you to evolve into an outstanding and reflective teacher.

In additional to the alliance led training, Primary trainees have three teaching placements (lasting a total of 20 weeks) across two schools. You will also have 10 weeks of training at the University over the course of the year.

In additional to the alliance led training , Secondary trainees will spend a term in one school and one and a half terms in the other. Secondary trainees will be trained for Key Stage 3 and 4 and you will also be offered Sixth Form experiences in order to develop your teaching skillset and employability. During this time, you will also attend University for approximately a day a week.

Applicants must be aware that they may be placed in any of our excellent partner schools throughout the training year. We aim to provide a varied teaching experience in a range of different school contexts. All of our schools can be accessed via public transport.

Please visit https://www.whitleybayhighschool.org/teaching-school/school-direct-primary-secondary for the list of schools within our alliance.


The course fees for 2020/2021 are as follows:
Student type Fees to pay
UK students £9,250
EU students £9,250

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.

You may also be eligible for a loan while you study.

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



You will be a graduate, preferably with a 1st or a 2:1. We are willing to consider applicants who have a 2:2 who can demonstrate a real aptitude for teaching and learning.

For Secondary, you must have a degree in which the majority of the content (60%) is in the subject you wish to teach. It must be from a United Kingdom Higher Education Institution or equivalent qualification.

You need at least a grade C in both GCSE English and Maths (and Science for Primary applicants) and a good A level grade in the subject you wish to teach (Secondary).

Personal qualities

We are looking for dynamic, committed and ambitious trainees with a passion for teaching and learning. You must have a desire to inspire young people and an ability to share and communicate your enthusiasm for your subject. We would expect you to be well-organised, hard-working, empathetic, approachable and resilient. You need to be willing to evaluate your practice and be able to respond to feedback given.

It is desirable that you will have experience of working with children in either a paid or voluntary capacity. It would be advantageous if you have had some school experience.

Other requirements

It is desirable that you are able to tell us about recent experience in a relevant school setting. Your references should be able to tell us about your skills, experience and the contribution you have made within a range of contexts for example: academic, business, educational.

About the training provider

Whitley Bay High School is the lead school in a Cohort 1 Teaching School Alliance (TSA). We were awarded the status in July 2011 in recognition of the outstanding teaching, learning and training in the school.

You can complete your Primary or Secondary Initial Teacher Training through the WBTSA. Our Alliance is comprised of an inspirational partnership of schools that educate young people from Year 1 to Year 13.

Our School Direct programme means you will be in the classroom from day 1, learning first-hand the knowledge and skills needed to become an outstanding teacher. We work in conjunction with both Newcastle and Northumbria Universities and on successful completion of the training year you will be awarded either a Professional Graduate Certificate (Level 6) in Education or a PGCE (Level 7) with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Our alliance that has a national reputation for the quality of its: Teaching and Learning; innovative and rigorous training; and the exceptional levels of support offered for emerging teachers, as captured in the comments below, taken from our latest cohort of newly qualified trainees:

‘The most supportive, insightful group of professionals behind you’

‘Great range of creative and interesting training in a variety of schools’

‘Quality of training is phenomenal’

‘Outstanding - the programme is superb as it is delivered by very experienced and approachable staff who genuinely care about you’

‘This alliance is at the forefront of teaching and learning’

‘Employers are keen when they know you’ve trained with Whitley’

Training with disabilities and other needs

All schools within the Whitley Bay Teaching School Alliance are fully accessible. Provision for additional support where needed is provided on site.

Applicants who would benefit from disabled access should let us know on their application so that they can be considered for placements at the most appropriate schools

Please contact Sharon Armstrong on sharon.armstrong@whitleybayhighschool.org with any specific disability access requirements.

Contact details

Whitley Bay
Tyne & Wear
NE25 9AS


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: 1HM
  • Training programme code: 2K87

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
Whitley Bay High School, Deneholm, Whitley Bay NE25 9AS
Yes -

Support and advice

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

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