West Country Teaching School Alliance
Biology (32BC)

PGCE with QTS full time

Accredited body
University of Exeter
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

School Direct@Exeter features all of the elements of a traditional University based PGCE but has the additional benefit of providing trainees with more time in school.

Trainees following this programme become part of the school community from day 1. They join their lead placement school at the start of term and are inducted into the school alongside other new members of staff. This time in school provides trainees with an invaluable experience. They get inducted into the culture and ethos of the school and get to know the schools’ routines and expectations ensuring that they hit the ground running when they start their main school based learning in the Spring Term.

During this initial phase trainees also undertake their cross phase placements and have taught sessions alongside other School Direct trainees.

Autumn Term:

Trainees are based in their lead school for the first week before joining other School Direct trainees at Uffculme School for taught sessions aimed at familiarising them with both the Teachers’ Standards and the Exeter Model for ITE. They then join the University PGCE programme when it starts, normally the third week in September. Trainees return to their lead school for a two week placement in November.

Spring Term:

Trainees are based in their lead school where they are supported by both experienced and dedicated teachers and their University Visiting Tutor (UVT). During this time they will also attend three seminar days at the University.

Summer Term:

Whereas most course offer a 6 week contrasting placement, our 10 week placement provides the trainee with a fantastic opportunity to compare and contrast different approaches to all aspects of teaching and other wider areas of work that teachers are involved in. Trainees will also have the opportunity to attend two further seminar days at the University.

Whilst on placement trainees will have twelve contact hours a week of classroom-based work.



Masters level (30 credits) 6000 summative assignment (Autumn Term)


Masters level (30 credits) 6000 summative assignment (Spring Term)


The aim of this non-credit bearing module is to enable students to provide reflection on their professional development. Trainees complete an Individual Development Portfolio (IDP) that contains evidence of achieving the Teachers' Standards.

Successful completion of all three modules leads to the award of Secondary PGCE with QTS.

Interview process

All applications are screened initially by the University of Exeter Admissions department to check suitability for the programme. Suitable applicants will then be contacted by the West Country Teaching School Alliance and invited to attend an interview.

At interview applicants will have an opportunity to have a tour of the school and meet with the key individuals who will be involved in training them. As part of the interview process applicants will be ask to deliver a short activity to a group of students and will also undertake a formal interview. Interviews will be conducted by the School Direct programme lead and a subject specialist. In some instances a member of the University Graduate School of Education may also be invited to the interview.

How school placements work

Trainees following the School Direct route into teaching are able to express a preference as to which of our partner schools they would like to be based in. This provides trainees with the opportunity to train close to home. Whilst most of our trainees are placed at Uffculme School, the lead school within the alliance, we also offering placements in either our Exeter, Wellington or Taunton based schools. Our diverse and extensive partnership of schools ensures that we can tailor our placements to meet the needs of our trainees. This can also include offering trainees an enriched experience of post 16 teaching or an opportunity to teach in the independent sector.

The length of the placements may vary but typically trainees spend 12 weeks in the lead school and 10 weeks in their contrasting placement school. In addition to this they will also have a one week cross phase placement. Trainees who are not based in an 11- 18 setting for one of their placements will also be provided with a one week post 16 experience.

All placements, including cross phase and post 16 are organised for trainees.


The course fees for 2020/2021 are as follows:
Student type Fees to pay
UK students £9,250
EU students £9,250
International students £18,500

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.



A typical student will have obtained good GCSE grades in ‘double science’ or in each of the three separate science subjects. You will have a good ‘A’ level grade in biology and ideally in another science subject and a good degree (first or upper second class Honours) with at least 50% of the content related to biology. Equivalent or alternative qualifications are always considered. Where necessary you may be required to complete some subject enhancement before joining the course.

Passes at GCSE in English and Mathematics at Grade C/4 are required.

Full guidance: https://www.exeter.ac.uk/teachertraining/apply/entry/#h85omsgJsrcIycA4.99

Personal qualities

We are looking for applicants who are passionate about teaching young people and who are driven by a desire to see every child succeed. Applicants should have a genuine love of their subject, they must be willing to learn and have the confidence to take risks. All trainees will need to possess resilience and above all they must be prepared to be reflective and learn from their experiences.

Our trainees need to demonstrate that they have the potential to become outstanding teachers who are committed to teaching and to developing their own careers.

Other requirements

In addition to the academic requirements listed, selection is based on performance at interview, a satisfactory fitness to teach assessment and a satisfactory DBS enhanced disclosure. Note: the DfE entry requirement to pass professional skills tests in literacy and numeracy has been removed for 2020/21 entry onwards. Instead PGCE trainees will be benchmarked during their training against a Government-defined set of fundamental mathematics and English skills.

Although not essential it would be an advantage to be able to reflect on any school-based experience or experience working with young people in another context at interview.

About the training provider

Our diverse partnership of schools & sixth form colleges across Devon and Somerset make us a great choice for Teacher Training in the South West.

  • Outstanding schools and contrasting placements:

Most of our School Direct trainees are based at Uffculme School, which is regularly among the top performing non-selective state schools in the South West. Uffculme School has been judged Outstanding by Ofsted in every inspection since 2007, and in 2017 was ranked 11th nationally for Progress 8. Our diverse partnership of schools and sixth form colleges provide trainees with the opportunity to experience a variety of contexts, giving them the tools, skills and expertise they need to build highly successful careers.

  • Outstanding partnerships:

The West Country Teaching School Alliance works in partnership with the University of Exeter, which is itself rated Outstanding as a Teacher Training provider. Trainees who successfully complete the course receive their PGCE qualification from the University.

  • Outstanding provision:

We offer trainees a bespoke programme combining the expertise of classroom practitioners with academic theory. Trainees can choose either a school or university based programme. 72%of our 2018/19 trainees were rated as Outstanding.

  • Outstanding employment opportunities:

Our reputation for delivering high quality teacher training has resulted in local schools seeking to appoint our trainees. In 2019, all of our trainees who sought employment secured a teaching post.

Training with disabilities and other needs

As all of our programmes are accredited by the University of Exeter if you declared a disability, specific learning difficulty or mental health difficulties on your UCAS application form, the University’s AccessAbility team will contact you before the start of your course to ask you to complete a prospective student questionnaire.

Once registered with AccessAbility/Wellbeing Services the University will, where appropriate, draw up an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) to ensure that any required adjustments are made.

You can find out more about Individual Learning Plans here: Physical Health, Disability or Learning Difficulty: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/wellbeing/accessability/ Mental Health Condition: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/wellbeing/mental_health/

Contact details

01884 842908
Uffculme School
EX15 3AG


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: 1TK
  • Training programme code: 32BC

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
Chapel Hill, Uffculme, Cullompton EX15 3AG
Yes -

Support and advice

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

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