About the course
There are many visions of Geography debated by Geographers and Geography Educators. During the programme you will be engaging with these debates and developing your own clear vision of Geography which is an essential element in establishing a sound basis of competence. The course is structured to support your progression in becoming a confident and creative geography teacher able to teach geography to 11-19 year olds. The programme will also prepare you for playing an active and innovative leadership role in a Geography department.
Our university subject sessions we combine the practical application of skills and knowledge in schools with the consideration of contemporary issues in geography education. Specific topics covered in these sessions include planning over a range of scales from individual lessons to the curriculum; development of resources and their use in helping pupils to ‘think geographically’; supporting progress of all learners; assessment at GCSE and A-level; consideration of the place and value of information technology and of fieldwork. There is a residential field trip in which you will engage fully with the practical aspects of running a school trip as well as further strengthening your subject knowledge base.
Alongside the sessions you will have guided lesson observations in schools underpinned by the variety of effective classroom practices modelled in the University subject sessions. There are many opportunities for collaborative working with experienced practitioners in schools and your fellow student teachers. Within the geography cohort there will be a varied range of expertise in aspects of subject knowledge and there are opportunities, across the year, to learn from each other. In the autumn term the focus is on becoming familiar with how geography is taught in schools, gaining experience through structured observations and supported teaching. The spring term allows the use of these ‘building blocks’ within the extended school placement, enabling the deepening of your understanding of issues of learning including: meeting the needs of different learners and developing a meaningful geography curriculum. During the summer term, there are opportunities for you to develop wider perspectives on your work as a geography teacher and to explore more deeply geography’s role in education and its place on the school curriculum. You’ll consider how the subject plays an important part in educational debates and developments, enabling you to develop your own geographical interests in more depth.
If the potential to be a good Geography teacher is evident in your application, we will invite you for a half day interview session at the University. These sessions take place every 3-4 weeks and in line with our commitment to collaborative learning we typically invite up to 6 applicants at any one time. You will be interviewed by at least one of the University Geography tutors and possibly a teacher mentor from a local school. The interview is subject-specific in nature and the following activities will take place as part of the selection process:
Three pre-interview tasks each involving writing a report (approx one side of A4 per task) to be brought to interview. These cover i) reflections on any time you have recently spent in school; ii) review of your subject knowledge related to the Geography National Curriculum; iii) how studying geography contributes to a young person’s education.
At the interview there is a group activity to explore aspects of subject knowledge, justify their inclusion in the curriculum and begin to consider how the teaching/learning of them might be approached in the classroom. There then follows group discussion of questions about education in general and geography education in particular enabling you to demonstrate both engagement with educational issues and the ability to talk with/listen to colleagues. The final stage is an one-to-one interview with one of the university tutors. During the interview process input is provided about programme details and there are opportunities for you to ask questions.
How school placements work
Our stable and well-established Partnership compromises approximately 65 schools. Some are in the City of Bristol itself, and others are typically within a day’s commute of Bristol (up to one hour travelling) - in North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset as well as a small number in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Somerset. We work with some schools in South Wales (e.g. Chepstow). The Partnership comprises a diverse range of schools and we are therefore able to offer opportunities to experience different contexts across the year including schools with high numbers of BAME and/or EAL pupils. Where appropriate, we are also able to offer experience in a special school.
You will be placed in a minimum of two schools and when making placement decisions we take account of where you live as well as doing our best to accommodate personal circumstances. We know our Partnership schools well, however, and our priority is to place you in schools where your needs will be met, where you will be well-supported and that will offer you the opportunity to thrive. The majority of student teachers are required to travel for at least one placement and we offer some assistance with the cost of travel where appropriate.
Our programme comprises three distinct phases. During the Induction Phase (Autumn Term), you will complete a short teaching placement (5 weeks). During the Assimilation Phase (Spring Term) you will complete your main placement (typically 12 weeks) in a second school. In the Summer Term, you will complete a final, shorter placement (5 weeks) as part of the Extension Phase. Typically, this is based in the main placement school, but also often involves additional experiences in other schools, gaining additional experience such as teaching pupils with EAL, focusing on Key Stage 5 teaching or experience in a special school. Whilst the majority of our Partnership schools teach pupils 11-18, some teach 11-16 or 16-19. Therefore a priority when selecting placement schools is to ensure that everyone has experience of teaching across the age ranges including A level/BTEC classes.
The course fees for 2019/2020 are as follows:
You could be eligible for either:
- a scholarship of £28,000
- a bursary of £26,000
To qualify for a scholarship you’ll need a degree of 2:1 or above in Geography 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 how you’ll be paid.
Financial support if you’re from outside the UK.
Financial support from the training provider
In addition to teacher-training bursaries, the University of Bristol offers a small contribution to travel expenses during placements.
We have a dedicated department who can offer support and guidance on finances throughout your training year. Further information on additional sources of financial support can be found here: Financial support
If you are curious about the world, interested in the people within it and the processes that shape it, and want to inspire young people then this is the course for you. A minimum of a 2.2 in a Geography or Geography-related degree is needed, the content of which must be at least 50% geographical significant, plus you need a strong grade in A-level Geography. A Subject Knowledge Enhancement course may be needed to help ‘fill in the gaps’.
Skills Tests and GCSE Grade C/4 in Maths and English must be in place for the start of the course.
We look for applicants with passion who want to inspire the next generation. The PGCE is demanding but we'll support and guide you to become an excellent qualified teacher.
As our aim is for you to thrive and become a confident and successful teacher; we look for:
- good subject skills
- good understanding of the secondary curriculum
- awareness of current effective teaching and learning in your subject
- interest and awareness of what working with young people involves
- commitment to the state sector
- communication skills
- critical analysis
- good organisation
In addition to the academic entry requirements, all applicants will be subject to suitability checks. This includes a full enhanced disclosure and barring check for child and adult workforce, as well as clearance by our Occupational Health department.
If there any concerns with either of the above, applicants will be referred to the University’s suitability panel.
About the training provider
Our Partnership offers subject-specialist training in 8 secondary subjects. We are currently rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted and our programme was ranked in the Top 5 of the Good Teacher Training Guide 2017. As a designated 11-19 provider you are guaranteed training and direct experience of A level/BTEC teaching as part of your programme. We also offer comprehensive training in generic elements such as behaviour management, pastoral care and working with pupils with SEND.
Throughout the year, you will be supported by a subject specialist university tutor, as well as dedicated mentors in Partnership schools. The support that we offer is highly praised by our student teachers, and in the last two years, 99% of student teachers rated the quality of their training with us as either good or very good.
You are also able to take advantage of being part of a research-intensive university which offers the opportunity to benefit from cutting edge research in areas such as neuroscience and education. As part of the University’s Green Apple Project, we encourage our student teachers to focus on ‘sustainable education’ for the future.
Typically, over 50% of those qualifying with us choose to remain in the Bristol area and have successfully secured teaching posts within our partnership schools by the end of the PGCE year. Many of our student teachers progress quickly in their careers, taking on roles such as subject leader and head of year. A number have gone beyond this, joining senior leadership teams.
Training with disabilities and other needs
We welcome applications from candidates with disabilities and other needs and, within the context of University of Bristol support structures, we make reasonable adjustments to ensure that the programme is accessible to all. When a specific need is declared, offer holders are assessed by the University’s Occupational Health department and recommended to liaise with our Disability Service to ensure a Learning Support Plan can be put in place.
Many lectures are audio-recorded and are made available via our VLE. When possible, lecture slides and handouts are made available to the whole cohort at least 24 hours in advance of the session. All University buildings are accessible including ramp/lift access. In cases where student teachers are required to move around the University campus to attend lectures, provision is made to support them, as appropriate. The University works closely with placement schools to ensure that needs are met whilst on teaching practice. For example, a student teacher with hearing disabilities was placed in a school that could provide carpeted classrooms.
The University has a comprehensive support structure to support students with a wide range of medical conditions, including mental health. This includes support from the Personal Tutor, the Senior Tutor and Programme Director, Professional Services staff as well asdepartment-based Student Welfare Advisors. If appropriate, student teachers can be referred to the University’s specialist Counselling Service or Occupational Health team. Further information on student wellbeing can be found here:
Student health and wellbeing
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Support and advice
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