About the course
This Post Graduate Certificate Education (PGCE) Secondary Biology course leads to the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), qualifying you to teach the 11-18 age group in secondary schools in England and Wales.
You will be supported, taught and guided by an experienced school mentor as well as academics, allowing you to benefit from the breadth of their expertise and understanding of education.
There will be plenty of opportunities, throughout your course, for you to apply your developing skills in real settings. In schools, you will be involved in:
- observation of other teachers
- planning and teaching parts of lessons/small groups
- planning and teaching lessons and sequences of lessons
- reflecting on and evaluating your teaching
- receiving feedback on your teaching
- gaining experience of the range of responsibilities of classroom teachers
University-based teaching is through a series of lectures, practical seminars and workshops, where interactive and discussion-based techniques will encourage you to engage, reflect and challenge. Sessions may include:
- participating in workshop style sessions with your peers
- attending presentations by subject experts
- working on tasks in groups
- having individual tutorials
- visits to schools or other education settings
- visits to museums or sites of educational interest
- writing assignments on aspects of subject teaching and Professional Studies
These learning activities will help you to develop a toolkit of knowledge and skills, ensuring you are well prepared to tackle challenges and opportunities throughout your training and your career.
You will be given assignments that are designed to help you plan your teaching effectively and imaginatively and to evaluate your skills, particularly in terms of the quality of learning achieved by pupils. There are also three assessment opportunities that monitor your progress against the Teaching Standards. These reports will highlight your strengths and help identify the areas that need further development.
The selection process has the following stages:
- Short listing for interview
- Interview day at the partnership school selected as the main placement school
- Attendance to the University Induction and Needs Assessment day for checking of the eligibility criteria
The interview day will include:
- Discussion of a pre interview task
- Opportunity for classroom observation and interaction with pupils
- A formal interview involving the school mentor and ITT coordinator
- A written task
- A short presentation to pupils
How school placements work
Our five schools are located in or close to Reading giving you the benefits of a vibrant town with the convenience of excellent transport connections.
On this course you are required to carry out three placements in two different age groups - ensuring you receive a broad range of experiences. Two placements must be undertaken in a secondary school setting but the third can be in a different setting - allowing you to sample teaching in an alternative environment. You will also have the opportunity to observe teaching in a primary school.
The majority of your training will be in the main placement school. This school is selected by you when you apply to us and discussed in the interviewed. The second school placement (5/6 weeks) will be selected on geographical considerations to minimise the commute to school, but also on ensuring you have a range of experience. You will also have the opportunity to gain experience in a different educational setting at the end of the course. These placements will help you to develop the skills and knowledge to build your confidence in the classroom and gain practical teaching experience. They also provide you with the opportunity to connect with potential employers and build your professional network.
The course fees for 2019/2020 are as follows:
The course fees covers the cost of your tuition. This course may require additional payments for trips and extra resources.
You are normally required to have a good undergraduate honours degree (or equivalent from a university outside the UK) plus grade C or above in GCSE mathematics and English or equivalent.
We are looking to recruit talented candidates who have the qualities and attributes suited to a career in teaching and the drive and ambition to make it happen.
The main personal qualities we are looking for are:
- Good interpersonal skills
- Organisation and time management skills
- A passion for your subject
- A positive outlook
- Comfortable working in a team and independently
- Highly motivated
- Willingness to play a part in the wider life of a school
You will need to demonstrate sufficient understanding of and insight into the role of the teacher, the classroom environment and the processes involved in learning and teaching. In order to show such understanding and insight it may be beneficial to undertake a visit to a maintained secondary school.
You will be required to pass the QTS skills tests and undertake a criminal record and occupational health check.
About the training provider
The Two Counties Teacher Training Partnership is made up of neighbouring secondary schools in the Berkshire and Hampshire area. We have recently been awarded Teaching School designation due to our proven track record in providing high quality teacher training and collaborative CPD opportunities.
We offer secondary PGCE courses that are all planned and delivered in collaboration with the University of Reading's Institute of Education.
At the very heart of our model of Initial Teacher Training (ITT) is the drive to produce outstanding teachers who become reflective professionals able to secure the very best outcomes for all children.
The partnership schools are:
Little Heath School – Tilehurst, Reading
Prospect School - Reading
The Hurst Community College - Baughurst, Hampshire
Theale Green School - Theale, West Berkshire
The Willink School – Burghfield Common, West Berkshire
The purposes of this Teaching School partnership:
- To share the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to be a good teacher
- To develop resilient, independent, reflective and over time, consistently outstanding teachers
- To collaboratively design and deliver a training programme that uses the expertise of experienced and successful teachers
- To recruit and develop the next generation of inspirational teachers for the partnership schools
- To provide a continued professional development programme for teachers as Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs)
About the accredited body
Our School Direct programmes enable you to gain a school-led teaching qualification from the University of Reading Institute of Education.
Outstanding support and pastoral care, as recognised by Ofsted, alongside award-wining tutors and consistently high employment rates makes the Institute of Education a first-class teacher training facility. The University is ranked 8th in the UK for Education (The Guardian University League Table 2019) and has been consistently in the top 10 for over a decade.
Training with disabilities and other needs
In partnership with the Institute of Education, we have created an open and inclusive environment, one which promotes a sense of well-being and belonging. A community where we recognise and treat all our trainees as individuals. You will enjoy high levels of personal attention and strong individualised support throughout your studies.
The University of Reading has a dedicated Disability Advisory Service that you can access. The service offers advice and guidance to students with any disability, mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty (SpLD).
Accessibility varies between the different training locations: further details can be provided upon request.
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.
The Hurst Community College
Brimpton Road, Baughurst, Tadley, Berkshire RG26 5NL
Theale Green School
Church Street, Theale, Berkshire RG7 5DA
Support and advice
For questions about this course you should contact the training provider using the contact details above.
Get support and advice about teaching
Register with Get into Teaching, the Department for Education’s free support and advice service, for personalised guidance from teaching experts. They can help you to prepare your application, book school experience, and access exclusive teaching events. You can also call them free on 0800 389 2500, or speak to an adviser using their online chat service, from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday.
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