About the course
The Biology PGCE is an 11-16 programme designed by the Waverley School Direct and Newman University teams to develop your skills and confidence as a teacher in our schools. You will develop an understanding of effective techniques used by experienced teachers, including the use of ICT, and how they can be used to help children of all abilities grasp the more complex ideas in the secondary national curriculum.
We have designed our PGCE course to maximise your experience in classrooms, but also to take full advantage of the depth and breadth of experience of university tutors, underpinned by educational theory. Our programme starts with a three day induction at Waverley School and your host school in July; you then rejoin your host school for the full academic year at the start of September. We organise a second school placement for you, which usually takes place during the six weeks before Easter.
You will benefit from the full university core PGCE provision, plus an additional school-led programme delivered jointly by practising primary and secondary teachers. You will receive approximately 27 days' training at Newman University, focused on subject pedagogy, professional studies and support with academic writing, plus 14 twilight training sessions at Waverley School. There is also the daily support and guidance offered by your mentor and subject colleagues at your school. The university input is front-loaded in September (and then January), so you are there for two days a week until early October, from when you are in school full-time, with an occasional day at Newman for academic writing support. This pattern is repeated in January and after February half-term we place you in a second school for a placement of 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 two Master’s Level assignments of 4000 words each, plus two case studies of learning and progress based on your own teaching. After your assessment for QTS and PGCE is completed around the end of June, you will be supported until the end of the summer 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 university representative join the interview panel alongside a subject and/or phase expert(s). 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 also complete short 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.
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 another 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 being a key consideration. 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 spend up to five days 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 Newman University and 'on-the-job' learning can offer. You can expect to spend about 165 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’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.
- 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, but we consider applicants on a case by case basis.
- GCSE in English language, Maths and a Science at grade C/4 or above, or equivalent qualifications.
You must meet these 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 made 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. 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
Newman University is one of the largest Accredited Provider of School Based Initial Teacher Training in the West Midlands. It has established an excellent reputation for producing high-quality teachers, who understand the needs of the children they teach, and develop creative and effective practice. Newman’s experienced tutors and strong supportive relationships with our partnership and schools throughout the West Midlands will support your learning and ensure high quality education through whichever School Direct PGCE subject/phase you choose. In the latest National Student Satisfaction Survey, the university was ranked Number 1 (overall) in Birmingham for student satisfaction.
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.
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:
Training programme code:
Choose a training location
You’ll also need to choose a training location – select the relevant location name on the application form.
Waverley School, 311 Yardley Green Road, Birmingham, West Midlands B9 5QA
Support and advice
For questions about this course you should contact the training provider using the contact details above.
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