About the course
The Geography PGCE course is 'high challenge: high support' and aims not only to help trainees to develop teaching strategies and skills so that they can use their enthusiasm about Geography to interest and motivate pupils, but also develop them as geographers. We run a series of subject knowledge workshops, including meteorology training run by the Royal Meteorological Society and a workshop on geology run by colleagues in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University. In addition, a selection of experienced mentors and guest speakers contribute to the course throughout the year; for example, David Lambert, Professor at the London Institute of Education and former Chief Executive of the Geographical Association has visited for several years to work with our trainees.
The first term concentrates primarily on preparation for the basic elements of classroom teaching, and introduces trainees to the wide range of resources and teaching strategies available to geography teachers.
Later we explore a range of subjects including:
- Urbanisation and the moving image
- The changing geography curriculum: concepts, processes and knowledge
- Landforms & processes: focus on explanations and modelling
- Globalisation & interdependence: fashion, sport and sustainability
- Citizenship, global citizenship and controversial issues – what is the role of geography?
- Place and identity: What shape is the world anyway?
Across the course, there is also a focus on new technologies, fieldwork and wider curriculum issues. We look at how GIS can be used to improve geographical learning, and consider the role of emerging technologies, such as blogging and podcasts, in teaching geography.
The Geography course consists of sessions organised in a practical, workshop atmosphere; some sessions are taught by serving teachers from partnership schools.
The training programme has been developed so each week conceptual thinking in Subject Studies sessions in the Faculty is moved forward with discussion and practical activities in school. Trainees are provided with a range of opportunities to engage with geographical field work, both with the Geography subject studies group and with partnership schools.
All interviews take place at the Faculty of Education and last approximately half a day. There are generally 4-6 candidates on each panel, with two interviewers, and the interview is a mixture of group activities/discussion and individual tasks. There are no tests but candidates will be expected to demonstrate their language capabilities both verbally and in writing.
How school placements work
Trainees spend at least 120 days of the course in Partnership schools, undertaking four block placements (in a minimum of three different schools), across the entire 11-18 age range.
Trainees have the opportunity to work together with experienced mentors to develop their own practical teaching skills and competence. Trainees initially work together in the classroom with other trainees and their subject mentor, before gradually taking on more responsibility for planning and teaching as the year progresses, and to gain experience of many of the important tasks and responsibilities teachers take on outside the classroom, such as pastoral care and parents' evenings.
In the final placement there is also the opportunity for trainee involvement in a wider range of school activities: for instance, curriculum development and evaluation within their specialist subject(s); work experience and other activities related to careers education and economic and industrial understanding; fieldwork related to environmental education; and other similar activities which seek to extend the experience and education of pupils beyond the conventional classroom context.
The course fees for 2020/2021 are as follows:
You could be eligible for either:
- a scholarship of £17,000
- a bursary of £15,000
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 about eligibility for bursaries 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 minimum of a 2.1 (upper second) class honours degree in Geography or in a relevant subject eg. Environmental Sustainability, Geology or International Development.
GCSE English Language and Mathematics (minimum grade C)
We will consider applicants holding overseas qualifications that are equivalent to those described above. We may consider applicants with a 2.2 if they have an otherwise strong academic background but please contact the PGCE Admissions Office for advice before you apply.
- A desire to teach and enthuse young people
- Commitment to state education
- Strong subject-based academic background
- Good communication skills
- Experience working with young people
- Flexibility and humour
- Energy, perseverance and stamina
- Ability to work collaboratively
- Ability to learn and act on advice
We do not require applicants to have prior experience in a school as long as they have experience with children of the relevant age phase in other capacities.
However, we do recommend that you spend some time in school if possible to help you decide if teaching is right for you. Those considering your application will be looking for evidence of commitment to, and enthusiasm for, working with children and young people. You should consider how you might demonstrate this in your personal statement and be prepared to discuss during an interview.
About the training provider
The Faculty of Education provides high quality courses in both the Primary and Secondary age-range. Our trainees are always in demand from headteachers and many of our ex-trainees go on to positions of school leadership very quickly.
We consistently receive outstanding feedback from our trainees on course evaluations. We are delighted to be ranked as the number one teacher training provider in England in the 2017 Good Teacher Training Guide.
School colleagues are involved in all aspects of the course from interviewing through to Faculty course teaching.
Our outstanding benefits are:
- Well-established and diverse school partnerships
- Exceptional employment rates
- The stimulation of being a part of a group of high-attaining future leaders in education
- Expert staff - experienced teachers and research active subject specialists in the Faculty
- An intellectual and social hub to live in, comprising College life in the dynamic city of Cambridge
The PGCE courses are assessed at Masters level and trainees who successfully complete all examined elements of the Cambridge PGCE course can apply to undertake the part-time Master of Education (MEd) in just one year.
Training with disabilities and other needs
The Faculty is committed to equal opportunities for all and to the provision of support for students with a disability and aims to ensure that no present or prospective student receives less favourable treatment than another on grounds of any condition or status not directly affecting study or work.
The University's Disability Resource Centre works with the Faculty to provide support to trainees throughout the PGCE course.
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.
Faculty of Education, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 8PQ
Support and advice
For questions about this course you should contact the training provider using the contact details above.
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