About the course
The PGCE French is an 11-16 programme designed by the Waverley School Direct and Birmingham City University teams to develop your skills and confidence as a teacher in our schools. You will develop understanding of techniques used by experienced teachers and how they are used to help children of all abilities and needs grasp the more complex ideas in the secondary national curriculum. You will explore planning and assessing the four language skills; teaching grammar, vocabulary, literature and translation; building real contexts, content and intercultural understanding into your lessons; and teaching through the medium of French.
We have designed our PGCE course to maximise your experience in classrooms, but also to take advantage of the depth and breadth of experience of university tutors, underpinned by educational theory. We start with a three day induction in July, with sessions at Waverley School and time visiting your host school where you will train for the academic year. You will benefit from the full university PGCE provision, plus an additional school-led programme delivered jointly by practising primary and secondary teachers. This equates to approximately 40 days' training at BCU, focused on subject pedagogy, professional studies and support with academic writing, plus 14 twilight training sessions at Waverley School, addressing practical skills in the context of our schools. In addition there is the daily support and guidance provided by your mentor and subject colleagues in your host school.
Following an initial two weeks in school in September, you will attend university for two and a half weeks. You then rejoin your school on a four day per week basis; the fifth day is spent training at BCU. Another two-week BCU block starts January and then, after February half-term, we place you in a second school for about six weeks until Easter. You then return to your main host school until the end of the summer term.
You are assessed against the Teacher Standards through regular lesson observation with supportive feedback and ongoing self-reflection on your progress. You will also complete three Master’s Level assignments, including a ‘Professional Enquiry’ based on your own teaching. After your assessment for QTS and PGCE is completed at the end of June, you will be supported until the end of term to extend your experience through your choice of focus, aimed at enhancing your early career prospects and enabling you to be the best teacher you can be.
We review all applications to assess eligibility and potential suitability for the programme to which a candidate is applying. We recruit and fill places from when UCAS opens in October, so do not delay in submitting your application. We close courses as they are filled; and at the latest by 28 June 2020.
We work with our university partners to co-ordinate the recruitment process and hold interviews on a regular basis. You will be asked to attend one interview day, usually at Waverley School. A senior Waverley School Direct colleague and a subject expert will sit on every panel and sometimes partner schools are also represented.
The interview consists of an observed teaching activity, involving a small group of students, where we gauge your ability to interact with the young people you wish to teach. You will be given information about this in advance. There is also a set of formal interview questions where we evaluate your experience of working with young people to date, your subject knowledge, and your commitment to, and understanding of, the role of a trainee and teacher.
You will be given the opportunity to observe part of a lesson in our secondary school and reflect on what you've seen. You will complete diagnostic exercises so we can gauge what additional support you might need, if any, to undertake professional tasks and to work at PGCE Master's level. You will also answer some questions in your target language, along with producing a short written piece.
How school placements work
We actively recruit for the trainees we want and need for our core partnership of secondary schools, many of which are within a five mile radius of Waverley School in the east and centre of Birmingham. We all share the common goal of making a real difference through the power of education to the areas of socio-economic disadvantage within which we are located.
We also work with a wider network of schools to offer both main and second placements, numbering over 20 schools we have worked with over the last three years. Sometimes a new school approaches us as they already know a potential applicant; and sometimes an applicant introduces a potential new host school to us. We are always happy to consider new partners. Some trainees travel long distances from outside the area to come and work with us so we really value this wider network of partners.
We take many factors into account when selecting main and second placements for our trainees, with home location and candidate's second language being key considerations. We also invite successful applicants to express a preference should they wish following interview and we will take reasons given into account when making decisions.
Our secondary programmes are focused on the 11-16 age range, but we will ensure that you have access to post-16 teaching at your main or second school or as an additional short placement. You will also spend two days visiting other secondary schools in our partnership, such as Waverley Studio College offering alternative post-14 provision and Shenley Academy tackling socio-economic disadvantage in a different area of the city. Finally you will undertake a two day placement at a primary school, including a focus on transition from KS2 to KS3.
Our course is designed so that you benefit from the best that Birmingham City University and 'on-the-job' learning can offer. You can expect to spend over 150 days in classrooms working with children, about 30 days of which will be in your second school.
The course fees for 2020/2021 are as follows:
You could be eligible for either:
- a scholarship of £28,000
- a bursary of £26,000
With a scholarship or bursary, you'll also get early career payments of £2,000 each in your second, third and fourth years of teaching (£3,000 in some areas of England).
To qualify for a scholarship you’ll need a degree of 2:1 or above in French or a related subject. For a bursary you’ll need a 2:2 or above in any subject.
You can’t claim both a bursary and a scholarship - you can only claim one.
Find out how to apply for a scholarship. You don’t need to apply for a bursary - if you’re eligible, you’ll automatically start receiving it once you begin your course. Find out about eligibility for bursaries 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.
- An honours degree from a UK Higher Education Institution, or equivalent qualification. At least 50% of the degree content will usually be in the subject that you wish to teach, unless you are a native speaker of this language. We consider applicants on a case by case basis.
- GCSE in English language and Maths at grade C/4 or above, or equivalent qualifications.
You must meet academic requirements by the start of the course, not necessarily before application. At interview your subject knowledge will be discussed and a Subject Knowledge Enhancement programme may be a condition of any offer.
You need a passion for teaching and developing young people. You will want to make a difference in some of the most socio-economically deprived areas of Birmingham. You will have excellent communication skills and be reflective, able to respond positively to feedback and learn from your mistakes. We are looking for resilience, trainees who can both work hard and keep trying when things do not go to plan. We need team players, willing to support others – and to be supported. You need to be organised and highly professional at all times. And you need to enjoy learning yourself!
The requirements below need to be met by successful applicants following acceptance of our offer:
- Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance.
- Fitness to Teach process.
About the training provider
Our partnership of schools work in areas of significant socio-economic disadvantage and, together with our university partners, we are passionate about providing high-quality teaching and learning opportunities to all the children in our care. We really make a difference and we work hard to recruit, train and retain talented new colleagues in our schools. We are now recruiting for our seventh cohort of aspiring teachers.
Key features of our programme include:
- A range of courses for Foundation/KS1, Primary and Secondary;
- Full postgraduate PGCE award including 60 credits at Master's level;
- A three year commitment to supporting your early career;
- School-led sessions delivered jointly by primary and secondary teachers;
- Extensive support provided by high-quality tutors, subject colleagues and School Direct staff;
- 100% employment rate for our trainees in 2016, 2017 and 2018;
- The option to develop a SEND focus or other area of interest;
- Starting your teaching career in Birmingham: great diversity, social life and affordability!
When designing our training programme we draw on some of the unique features of Waverley School, an all-through school housed in modern award-winning facilities. Please come and visit us to find out more!
About the accredited body
Birmingham City University (BCU) trains more teachers than anyone else in the region (HESA, 2016) and never gives up in its aspirations for tomorrow’s teachers. BCU graduates are very employable - 99% of all PGCE students were in employment or further study six months after graduating (DLHE 2016/17). The courses are taught by staff who are experienced professionals and maintain links with their sector to ensure the most up-to-date learning during your course. The School of Education is located at the City South Campus in Edgbaston, which has recently had a £41 million extension giving trainees excellent specialist facilities.
Training with disabilities and other needs
Trainees are encouraged to declare any additional needs that they might have through the initial application process and the Fitness to Teach process for successful applicants. Needs are also addressed through the nature of our individualised training programmes. Our aim is to enable trainees to participate fully in all aspects of their training. All trainees attend Waverley School for school-led sessions plus the relevant university/college provider for their course. Please see more information about each site below.
Waverley School provides lift access to all floors and numerous accessible toilet facilities. There is also step-free access to the Training facility via the car park should lifts not be in service.
Newman University has accessibility arrangements across its site and offers a full Disability and Mental Health Service for its students. Please see their website.
Birmingham City University (Modern Foreign Languages, Design and Technology, Art and Design and Music Programmes only) is based at City South campus where all areas which require student access are accessible to wheelchair users. There is a full Disability Support Team available. Please see their website.
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Waverley School, 311 Yardley Green Road, Birmingham, West Midlands B9 5QA
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