About the course
The Sussex Schools Partnership PGCE Biology course is offered as either a 1 year full-time programme or for 2 years part time.
Successful candidates will be awarded Qualified
Teacher Status (QTS) and a PGCE of 90 Masters Level Credits allowing progress onto our Part-time Masters in Education for newly qualified teachers.
Teachers of Science have chosen a profession that is exciting, dynamic and rewarding. At Sussex we recognise that effective Science teaching is about enabling pupils to learn, think and question. The central aim of the course is to develop committed, thoughtful and effective Science teachers who will encourage their pupils to think for themselves and enjoy their learning experience.
The course enables you to teach the broad, balanced science courses offered in schools up to GCSE, in addition to developing particular teaching expertise in your specialist subject, Biology. Teaching at the University is modelled on the most successful, creative and active methods of learning that trainees need to develop in schools.
Science courses at Sussex are among the most established within Initial Teacher Education in the UK, and have a well-deserved reputation for developing successful specialist teachers. The commitment of many local Science teachers to our course has enhanced the quality over the years.
The Sussex course brings together education theory and practice encouraging you to critically reflect on approaches to learning and teaching. Excellent teachers from our partnership schools are seconded to the tutor team and contribute additional currency to teaching and trainee support.
You will attend a full-time three week induction course on our campus during September in preparation for starting your school placement.
Full-time candidates spend Mondays to Thursdays training in one of our partnership schools and attending the University Campus on Fridays for lectures, workshops and seminars with our team of experienced subject tutors. Part-time candidates also attend the university on Fridays and train for two days a week in school in year 1 and three days in year 2.
Over the year you will be placed in two different schools and will be required to pass both placements. Additional assessments are via a Masters level essay submitted in late February and an innovative Viva style Masters level exit interview at the end of the course.
Subject knowledge Enhancement Courses are available prior to the PGCE for those with related degrees and/or who need to develop specialist knowledge.
Further course information
Applicants who meet the entry requirements will be invited to a selection day either on the University campus or in one of our partnership schools.
At a Sussex selection day candidates would usually expect to;
- Listen to a talk giving further information about the course with an opportunity to ask questions
- Have an individual interview with a Sussex tutor and an experienced teacher from a partner school
- Deliver a short pre-prepared classroom type teaching task or presentation
- Present your degree, GCSE Maths and English certificates (and Science for Primary and KS2/3) and Photo ID for checking
- Complete some paperwork including our Suitability for Teaching Declaration
Showing an awareness the curriculum and school life is part of the selection process so candidates may wish to prepare themselves by spending some time in an appropriate school setting for the subject/phase they intend to teach beforehand.
How school placements work
Our Full-time Course
You will undertake two periods of Professional Practice in two contrasting schools over the academic year September to June, training to teach in Key Stage 3 (11-14) and Key Stage 4 (14-16) with enhancement opportunities at Key Stage 5 (16-18).
Placement 1: End of September to February halfterm. Trainees benefit from a serial placement where the working week is divided between four days in school and a day of reflection and training at the University on Fridays. This ensures a weekly focus on theory and pedagogy as well as practice.
Placement 2: February Halfterm to May halfterm in a contrasting school. There are fewer University days to give you experience of working a 5 day school week.
Our Part-time Course
Year One: 2 days* a week in school and Fridays at the University
Year Two 3 days* a week in a second contrasting school and occasional University days. Towards the end of your course you will undertake a full-time 5 week teaching block.
- Days of the week individually negociated to suit both school and trainee.
Our longstanding and historic partnership with around 300 schools across East and West Sussex, Brighton and Hove, Surrey, Kent, Hampshire and South London Fringes helps us secure placements where our trainees will thrive and be well exceptionally supported. We invest a lot of time in carefully arranging the most appropriate school for each individual in our cohorts.
Your Sussex tutor will personally select your two school placements based on a combination of factors; the practicalities such as living location and transport needs but also on personality, subject knowledge level and previous experiences and using our in depth knowledge of the features of schools within our partnership.
We are also proud to offer an innovative optional training strand in Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) which includes enhanced training opportunities and a bespoke Placement 2 in a local partnership special school. This strand would suit any trainee interested in working in a SEND environment.
The course fees for 2019/2020 are as follows:
Undergraduate degree 2:2 or above in science or technology with content related to one of; Biology, Chemistry, Geology or Physics and at least 50 per cent directly relevant to your Biology specialism.
Supporting qualification in at least one other Science subject at A/A2 level or above
Related degrees are considered with a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course taken prior to the PGCE
Membership of many professional science and engineering institutions is recognised as a degree equivalent.
English and Maths GCSE at grade C or above (pre-2017), Grade 5 or above (post-2017), or equivalent qualifications.
At Sussex we are looking for;
- A passion for science and an interest in the subject beyond your degree
- Knowledge and understanding of current issues in science education and an awareness of how the subject is taught in UK secondary schools.
- Effective communication skills and good organisational skills
- Experience with young people and commitment to developing individuals
- The ability to evaluate practice and to address your weaknesses
- Initiative, flexibility and responsiveness to change
- A sense of responsibility
- The ability to work in a team.
We also require the following
- Working with children: You must not be excluded from working with children, as a result of a criminal record or other reason. The Disclosure and Barring Service provides access to records held nationwide through its disclosure
service. All trainees must obtain successful DBS clearance before starting an initial teacher-training programme.
- Health requirements: All trainees must be screened for mental and physical fitness to teach by the University's Occupational Health Department before admission to the programme.
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