About the course
The Biology PGCE will help you to develop the professional skills and knowledge you need to teach all aspects of science to pupils at least up to age 16, as well as Biology to pupils aged up to 18. The course is committed to creative approaches to teaching science, and you will be encouraged to develop resources during the programme. The experienced tutors at Goldsmiths have previously been classroom teachers and heads of school science departments, and have worked in industry. They are actively involved in science education research, work on national curriculum development, and lead sessions for Science Learning Centre London. You will acquire a critical understanding of current debates and issues relating to science education, particularly physics, and the tutors will guide and support you in developing your subject knowledge. You are expected to engage with reading and research in science education and to regularly reflect upon your own progress.
The course covers health and safety, management of teaching and learning in laboratories and outdoors, the use of ICT, facilitating small group discussion, meeting pupils' special needs, and assessment. The facilities at Goldsmiths include a suite of laboratories. You will also have the opportunity to teach outside the classroom in a variety of London venues such as the Science Museum and Kew Gardens.
The placement schools you will be attending during your PGCE will be two from across our alliance of excellent schools.Including: Alexandra Park School, Fortismere School, Woodside High School, Friern Barnet School, Park View School, Greig City Academy,Highgate Wood School and Duke's Aldridge.
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Alexandra Park School is the lead school in the partnership and will be co-ordinating the recruitment process. This will involve attending a morning or afternoon at one of the schools in the alliance and performing a variety of tasks, including some or all of the following: a short presentation, a lesson observation activity, a written feedback exercise, a group discussion activity and a panel interview. You will also have an opportunity to tour Alexandra Park School to gauge how our students and staff operate on an average day.
If you are successful at the school interview, our university partner Goldsmiths will also invite you to an interview and review your academic credentials. This day will also serve as an opportunity to learn more about the PGCE course, the tutors and the facilities at Goldsmiths. If the placement is at another school in the partnership, staff from that school will also be involved in processing your application and determining the outcome.
How school placements work
You will be trained in a highly supportive and aspirational environment and will develop the rigour, professional knowledge, understanding and skills necessary for the delivery of creative, purposeful and challenging teaching and learning. The placement schools you will be attending during your PGCE will be from across our alliance of good and outstanding schools. Prior to each of your two teaching placements you will have several weeks of intensive preparation at Goldsmiths where you will study the theory and pedagogy behind becoming an outstanding teacher.
You can express a preference for a placement at a specific school in the partnership and we shall endeavour to match school placements with a particular student teacher's strengths. We do, however, have to take into consideration the ever-changing nature of the schools and work around curriculum and staffing changes. The aim of Schools Direct is to allow participants to train in schools which are local to them to increase recruitment opportunities upon completion of the course.
We aim to give all participants two contrasting experiences within their placements; whether that be with regards to student intake, uniform/non-uniform, post-16 education or a faith-based curriculum. You will be assigned a subject mentor from within your department at both of your placement schools and will attend regular Professional Studies sessions to equip you with the skills to plan and teach your lessons. Our mentors are excellent teachers who are required to undertake a rigorous training programme to develop their mentoring skills. You will also have ample opportunity to observe and learn from other teachers throughout both placements.
You will also return to Goldsmiths are regular intervals throughout the year to continue your academic studies and discuss your experiences with your fellow participants. Successful completion of all aspects of the course will gain you the award of Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) which also carries 60 masters level credits that may be used towards a subsequent masters degree. The course also leads to the award of QTS (Qualified Teacher Status).
The course fees for 2019/2020 are as follows:
The PGCE (Secondary) is open to you if you have GCSE Grade C or above (or recognised equivalents) in English Language, Mathematics, and a science subject (including Combined Science) and passes in the Literacy and Numeracy Skills tests.
You should also have an undergraduate honours degree eg. BA (Hons) or BSc (Hons), of 2:2 or above, from a university in the UK. In addition, we accept many equivalent overseas qualifications. To check to see if your qualifications are of an equivalent standard to the UK academic entry requirements for the PGCE programme, we recommend that you contact UK NARIC.
About the training provider
The New River Teaching Alliance is a fantastic collaboration, where participants can benefit from a unique school-based learning opportunity in partnership with world-class universities. The Alliance is a partnership of ten schools; all of which have achieved either Good or Outstanding Ofsted ratings. Our mission statement is simple: 'Recruiting, supporting and developing the very best teachers’.
We aim to create an environment in which staff, pupils and trainee teachers all feel valued and supported. We have worked with trainee teachers for 15 years and fully recognise how much vibrancy, enthusiasm and drive they bring to a school community. Previous participants have commented that the training they received with us “reflects a positive, supportive whole school ethos and a high level of expertise among staff”.
Our partnership is led by Alexandra Park School and comprises nine other comprehensive schools. All our schools are conveniently located in North London, allowing trainees to engage with more than one school during the course. We provide a unique opportunity to experience a diverse and contrasting range of teaching and learning styles.
Our staff are our most valuable resource and have a proven track record in training and professional development. They are excellent practitioners with exemplary behaviour management skills who are “experienced, calm and professional.” All of the schools in our alliance have successfully proven their ability to both train and develop new teachers; with a growing proportion of trainees choosing to embark on their new careers at these institutions upon completion of the course.
Training with disabilities and other needs
Our partners UCL IOE and Goldsmiths have full disabled access as do the following schools in the partnership: Alexandra Park School, Fortismere School, Woodside High School, Highgate Wood School, and Greig City Academy.
Applicants who would benefit from disabled access should let us know on their application so that they can be considered for placements at the appropriate schools.
Goldsmiths has full disabled access and is committed to admitting and supporting students with disabilities. The Institute also has a well-established Disability and Wellbeing team who provide support for students with a range of conditions. Every person is treated as an individual, and both institutions invite you to contact them as early as possible so that they can consider your needs and tailor their support to meet them.
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Support and advice
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