Great Sankey Teaching School Alliance
Biology (2K26)

PGCE with QTS full time

Accredited provider
University of Cumbria
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
9 October 2018
Date course starts
September 2019

About the course

On successful completion of this programme you will be awarded a PGCE in Secondary Education with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and 60 Masters Level credits by University of Cumbria.

Our School Direct PGCE programme enables you to spend the vast majority of your year in a highly supportive school environment. Working with a school mentor who is a Science specialist you will be supported to gradually develop professional knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to become a teacher.

You will start your first school placement at the beginning of September with a two week induction and will feel part of the staff team. Working alongside department colleagues on Inset day and seeing the new Year 7 intake arrive on their first day are valuable experiences which shape relationships for the coming year.

Weekly partnership conferences will take place in our training room at Great Sankey High School, Warrington. These are led by expert teachers and Specialist Leaders of Education. These days are enhanced by 12 days at University of Cumbria (Lancaster Campus) for subject specific tutorials led by University experts.

This course blends theories about learning with the wide range of skills that a teacher needs. We give you opportunities to carry out research into the aspects of teaching that capture your imagination. This helps you develop a reflective and analytical view of your work in the classroom, which sustains the high levels of progress we expect.

You learn about the curriculum, from the framework provided by the National Curriculum through to the individual lesson plans that teachers use to support learning in their classrooms.

You will learn about the teacher's role in establishing an effective climate for learning and practical strategies for managing the behaviour of students.

Sessions in University support you in finding out how to use ICT effectively in your lessons, how to mark books and assess work, and how the new Key Stage 4 curriculum is structured.

We use a variety of methods and group sizes in our teaching, including subject methodology sessions where practical work is completed, small tutorial groups for discussing issues, mixed-subject research training activities, and other opportunities to share ideas and work with your peers in small and large teams.

Assessment takes the form of three pieces of written coursework and a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate that you have met the standards for Qualified Teacher Status .

Interview process

Great Sankey High School is the lead school in the partnership and will be co-ordinating the recruitment process. We work in partnership with University of Cumbria to ensure that the selection and recruitment process is transparent and rigorous.

Senior colleagues from schools in the partnership will be involved in the selection process.

You will need to attend 1 interview which will take place at Great Sankey High School. The process is likely to take between 2 - 3 hours and will involve:

  • teaching a 10-15 minute observed activity to a group of twelve year 7 or 8 pupils
  • a written task
  • the opportunity to meet and talk with a group of pupils who will ask some questions
  • a short presentation based on a title which we will give you
  • a formal interview

We believe that interviews are a two-way process and you are welcome to visit the schools in our partnership prior to application or interview - please email

How school placements work

You will have two main school placements during the year with opportunities for enhanced placements in a primary school and Green Lane Special School. Placement 1 will take place from September to December and Placement 2 will take place from January to June.

One of your placements will be at Great Sankey High School and the other at one of the secondary schools we work with, currently either Birchwood High School or The Prescot School.

You can express a preference about which school you will be placed in but we cannot promise to meet your request.

The idea of gradualism will inform the amount of teaching you undertake at different stages of your training. For example, in the first few weeks of your placement it is likely that you will be observing and supporting small groups of students under the guidance of the class teacher. This will develop into teaching parts of the lesson, team teaching and eventually planning and teaching whole lessons under the supervision of your mentor.

Your mentor will carefully monitor your progress and will meet with you regularly to help you to plan, evaluate and set appropriate targets for your development.

This highly supportive and personalised process will enable you to develop the professional knowledge, understanding and skills necessary for the delivery of creative, purposeful and challenging teaching and learning.

Your teaching will focus mainly on KS3 & KS4, however, you will have the opportunity to enhance your practice by observing and team teaching post-16 students in KS5.


The course fees for 2019/2020 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 - you’ll automatically start receiving it once you begin your course. Find out how you’ll be paid.

Financial support if you’re from outside the UK.



2:2 or above honours degree is required.

We will consider applicants whose degree is not in Biology but in a related subject area if they posses good A levels in Science.

GCSE grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics or recognised equivalent qualification.

Don't hold back from applying for our programme because of your subject knowledge. You may still be able to train to teach by building up or refreshing your existing knowledge with a Subject Knowledge Enhancement programme.

Personal qualities

We are looking to recruit talented individuals who have the qualities and attributes suited to a career in teaching and the drive and ambition to make it happen.

The sorts of personal qualities we are looking for are;

  • Excellent interpersonal skills - friendly and approachable
  • Organisation and time management skills
  • Passion for your subject
  • Resilience and a positive outlook
  • A creative and innovative approach
  • The ability to reflect on and improve practice
  • Leadership capabilities and an understanding of the importance of teamwork

Other requirements

Successful completion of the QTS skills test in literacy and numeracy by the start of the programme

You will be required to have a DBS (criminal record check) prior to the start of the programme which will be organised by the University.

It will be beneficial if you can gain recent school experience prior to starting your course and, ideally, prior to application. Great Sankey High School participates in the School Experience Programme which gives graduates relevant school experience. More details of this can be found on the school website.

About the training provider

Join Great Sankey Teaching School Alliance (Warrington) and be welcomed to our learning community, supported to train as either a Primary or Secondary teacher from day one.

Located in Warrington with excellent access to Manchester and Liverpool, our partnership is led by a National Teaching School and consists of 3 secondary schools, 14 primary schools and a special school.

Why complete your PGCE with us?

  • Supportive mentoring; experienced and trained mentors who are committed to developing the next generation of outstanding teachers
  • High employment; schools in our partnership want to recruit outstanding teachers from our programme
  • Excellent facilities and opportunities; dedicated training room and innovative programme design supports professional and leadership development with enrichment opportunities in a local special school
  • School-based training programme with University tutors travelling to support professional conferences

Our School Direct programme enables you to spend the vast majority of your year in a highly supportive school environment where you will train alongside dedicated professionals. Their expertise will help you to develop the rigour, professional knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to become a teacher, able to plan and deliver creative, purposeful and challenging lessons.

Training with disabilities and other needs

We are an inclusive provider and all of our Alliance Schools are welcoming to trainees with disabilities and other needs. Our trainees have access to the full range of University of Cumbria support as well as that offered within our School Direct Alliance. Much of the university-based support is available online and electronically and so accessible at a distance.

Contact details

Great Sankey High School
Barrow Hall Lane
Great Sankey


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: 1L2
  • Training programme code: 2K26

Choose a training location

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

Name Address Code
Main Site Great Sankey High School, Barrow Hall Lane, Great Sankey, Warrington WA5 3AA -

Advice and support

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

For advice about teaching

For advice about teaching or teacher training you can call Get into Teaching on Freephone 0800 389 2500 or chat to an adviser using their online chat service between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday.

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