About the course
We are keen to develop your understanding of English as a creative, arts-based subject. Along with research-based teaching, we use practical classroom strategies from the outset - a real 'hands-on' approach. Together with your colleagues on the course, you will:
- examine the power and potential of literature, language and multimodal texts.
- secure an understanding of literacy, how and why children learn to speak, listen, read and write.
- learn strategies and methods to enable pupils to understand a broad range of oral and textual forms of language and media.
- be prepared to implement the National Curriculum for English and the relevant exam specifications for GCSE and A-Level.
- be encouraged to build your confidence in drama methods and technology-enhanced education.
By the end of the programme, you’ll have become an innovative and flexible teacher who can enable pupils to enjoy their learning and make progress.
The university-based programme includes a broad range of activities, from working with professional Shakespearean actors to creative writing workshops in local places of interest to exploring innovative uses of technology in the classroom. You are then encouraged to apply what you learn in your classrooms whilst on placement!
While both the English tutors lead university-based sessions (sometimes co-teaching), you will work especially closely with one tutor, which enables close supervision of your needs: you will have at least four tutorials with her (e.g. for advice on subject knowledge development) and she will visit you in school to observe you teaching; she is always on hand for advice and support. You will also be well-supported by your mentor in school. Former PGCE student teachers have rated the English tutors and mentors extremely highly.
Assessment is through four assignments spread evenly through the year. These are research-based, and you are encouraged to follow your own interests and areas of expertise. Two are on Educational and Professional Studies themes; two are on an English theme. Full tutorial support is provided. Other English tasks include writing a book review of a young adult/teen novel and contributing some of your own writing to a course anthology.
To develop you as a reflective and reflexive practitioner, you will keep a Weekly Reflection to enable you to reflect on your progress throughout the year, which could be in the form of a blog.
If the potential to be a good English 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 10 applicants at any one time. You will be interviewed by one of the University English tutors and, often, a teacher mentor from a local school.
The English interview includes a discussion about the role of the English teacher that draws on your school experience, a pair-task assessing a piece of student’s work, a time written commentary on an unseen poem and an individual interview. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to find out more about the course and 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’ll get a bursary of £15,000 if you have a degree of 2:2 or above in any subject.
You don’t have to apply for a bursary - 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
The majority of students have a minimum of a 2.1 degree in English or a related subject. However, we also consider you if you have a good English A level, a degree in another area such as History, Philosophy, Media and Ancient or Modern Languages, and can demonstrate a knowledge and expertise in aspects of English covered in the National Curriculum. Some candidates are offered a place conditional on their completion of a free Subject Knowledge Course.SKE
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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