About the course
The University of Oxford provides an exceptional setting in terms of its academic resources and colleges. The Department of Education is small enough to make it possible for you to get to know your university tutors well, and every effort is made to provide you with strong social, academic and pastoral support. The PGCE course provides academic and professional supervision that aims to ensure you receive substantial and expert support.
You will spend about a third of the course in subject teaching sessions, professional studies lectures, and tutorials in the University. This programme is fully integrated with your school experience over the two placements (totalling 120 days), providing opportunities both to develop your subject teaching and to take on wider professional responsibilities as a teacher. The taught programme addresses subject-specific and general pedagogy as well as broader issues in schools such as safeguarding, diversity and special educational needs. Most teaching sessions are held in Oxford's Department of Education, although we occasionally make use of some of Oxford’s other teaching spaces. Depending on your subject area, you might also make use of local facilities such as the Ashmolean Museum and the Museum of Natural History, or occasionally go further afield such as a weekend residential trip to Somerset.
There are both academic and professional assessments throughout the course. There are two assessed assignments of 5,000 words each that relate to your subject teaching and one professional studies assignment also of 5,000 words. You will have tutorials in advance of the submission dates of these assignments to help you plan and structure your writing. There are also milestone assessments at the end of each term that focus on your teaching and work in school. Detailed assessment criteria for each milestone are set out in the course handbook, and these criteria relate to the Standards for Qualified Teacher Status. These criteria need to be met in order to pass the practical teaching component of the PGCE by the end of the course.
If your UCAS application meets our criteria for selection, you will be invited to interview. We have a large number of these across the year, but we encourage you to apply as early as possible. We anticipate that prior to interview you will have been able to complete at least one day of observation in a non-selective, state funded UK secondary school. However if you cannot complete this observation then you are still encouraged to attend. You must complete an interview as part of your PGCE application.
We normally aim to gather applicants across several subjects for each interview session, which are typically held in an afternoon. The interviews are an opportunity for you to find out about Oxford, the Department, and our PGCE. We will try to give you a clear impression of what it is like to be a student on the course. We also want to find out about you, and you will be asked to complete a subject-specific written task. Afterwards you will participate in a group task alongside other applicants in your PGCE subject. Finally you will have an individual interview normally with a relevant subject tutor from the University and a subject mentor from one of our partnership schools.
Skype interviews are used in exceptional circumstances and strictly at the assessing subject tutor’s discretion.
How school placements work
There will be two school placements during the course totalling at least 120 days in school, representing approximately two-thirds of the course. All schools in our partnership are secondary comprehensive schools, and your two placements will cover the full secondary school age range (11-18).
The longer first placement normally runs from September until April and the shorter second placement from April until the end of June. This long first placement allows you to become thoroughly established in this school and experience what it means to be a teacher. You will be in school two days a week and in University for three days. We call these joint (J) weeks, and these allow school experiences and university sessions to be fully integrated. From November your time in school increases to three days a week as you begin to take on more teaching responsibilities.
From January you will be in school full time and we call these school (S) weeks. Just over half of your time in school each week will be spent teaching, with the rest of the time being available to meet your subject mentor, to plan lessons, to observe experienced teachers, and to carry out other investigations to develop your teaching. You will also be in school full-time for the second placement, and this will be an opportunity to enhance the teaching approaches you have developed in a new and often quite different context. There is a week in February and another in April/May when you return full time to the University.
Our 36 partnership schools are located throughout Oxfordshire, with a few over the county borders, and the average distance from the department to a school is 15 miles. You are asked to budget £720 for the PGCE year for placement travel costs.
We take account of your prior experiences and logistical requirements, such as where you are living and any childcare or caring responsibilities, when deciding on your first placement school. We add in to these considerations your experience so far on the course and the developmental priorities that have emerged when deciding on your second placement.
The course fees for 2020/2021 are as follows:
Up to and including the academic year 2018/19, separate figures have been published on the university website for university fees and for college fees: the total payable is the sum of these two figures. From the academic year 2019/20, course fees are published as a single figure. This change is intended to ensure that the total level of fees payable is in all cases completely clear.
Home/EU PGCE students can access a tuition fee loan from the UK government to cover their course fee in full. Home/EU PGCE students may also be eligible for tax-free teacher training bursaries or scholarships, which are paid whilst you study.
You could be eligible for either:
- a scholarship of £28,000
- a bursary of £26,000
With a scholarship or bursary, you'll also get early career payments of £2,000 each in your second, third and fourth years of teaching (£3,000 in some areas of England).
To qualify for a scholarship you’ll need a degree of 2:1 or above in Chemistry 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.
Financial support from the training provider
Home/EU PGCE students can access a tuition fee loan from the UK government to cover their course fee in full. For more information please click here.
Home/EU PGCE students may also be eligible for tax-free teacher training bursaries or scholarships, which are paid whilst you study. For more information please click here.
If you are a Home or EU student from a lower-income household, you may be eligible to receive an annual non-repayable Oxford Bursary to help with living costs. The amount of bursary you get will depend on your household income, including the total value of any tax-free teacher training bursary or scholarship.
You must hold, or be in the final year of, an undergraduate degree, usually in the PGCE subject area or a related subject with 50% in the PGCE subject area. The science course recruits Biologists, Chemists and Physicists, and graduates in related areas such as Engineering, Environmental Science and Geology.
Science teaching in schools is normally organised within a single department to which teachers from the different sciences contribute their respective expertise. This structure is reflected at Oxford which, while actively recruiting for trainee teachers of the separate sciences, works as a co-ordinated team of scientists.
We seek graduates who enjoy their subject and see its relevance to everyday life. It is also highly valuable that you have a commitment to working with young people, show an interest in school teaching and know you will enjoy the environment of state-funded UK secondary schools. For example, you may have previous experience of working with young people, either on a voluntary or paid basis. You might also have spent time in a UK secondary comprehensive school, observing lessons, and talking with students and teachers.
All offers will be conditional upon:
• A GCSE pass in Mathematics and English Language (grades 4-9 or A*-C)
• Evidence of undergraduate degree graduation
• Completion of a Health Questionnaire
• A satisfactory background check with the UK’s Disclosure and Barring Service and any other appropriate international bodies
• Completion of a Financial Declaration form
During your PGCE interview you will have the opportunity to discuss additional conditions to any PGCE offer, such as a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course.
All conditions must be met before the course starts and your offer will lapse if these are not met.
About the training provider
The PGCE course at the University of Oxford’s Department of Education offers you the opportunity to train to teach the secondary age group in one of the leading educational establishments in the country. The Department has a long history in initial teacher education, dating back to 1892, with the current Internship Scheme operating for over a quarter of a century.
The Oxford Internship Scheme was rated Outstanding in its last Ofsted inspection. Oxford’s Department of Education is committed to providing high quality teacher education as well as being a centre for educational research. The University of Oxford has been named the world’s number one university for the fourth successive year in the 2020 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
We pride ourselves on the intensive, flexible and personalised experience that we are able to offer. Our well-established partnership with local schools is recognised as a particular strength and there is joint responsibility for the planning, delivery and assessment of the programme. We recognise the different roles of university and schools in offering trainee teachers opportunities to learn and encourage the use of theory to interrogate practice and vice versa.
Trainee teachers awarded the PGCE qualification are recommended for Qualified Teacher Status. In addition, successful completion of the PGCE at Oxford comes with 60 Master’s level credit points.
Training with disabilities and other needs
The University as a whole supports over 3,000 students who have declared a disability, including specific learning difficulties (such as dyslexia and dyspraxia), long-term health conditions, mental health difficulties, mobility difficulties, sensory impairments and autism spectrum disorders. All of these services are available to interns on the PGCE course both when in the University and in school.
A range of support and reasonable adjustments are available to those with a declared disability or health condition on the PGCE course. This includes: finding appropriate college accommodation, considering travel times to placement schools and ease of movement around the school site, and having more regular tutor support meetings. Support with academic writing is also available if you have a specific learning difficulty.
More information is available from the University’s Disability Advisory Service
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Department of Education (University of Oxford)
Department of Education, University of Oxford, 15 Norham Gardens, Oxford OX2 6PY
Support and advice
For questions about this course you should contact the training provider using the contact details above.
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