About the course
The Biology PGCE prepares students to develop the professional knowledge and skills they need to teach all aspects of science to pupils up to age 16, as well as teaching Biology to pupils aged 11-16. We are committed to creative and interactive approaches to teaching science to promote student learning. This PGCE is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted (2013).
Students will acquire a critical understanding of current debates and issues relating to science education, and will be guided and supported in developing their subject knowledge. We expect students to engage with reading and research into science education and to regularly reflect upon their own progress, towards meeting the Teachers’ Standards across the 11–16 age range.
Students undertaking this rigorous PGCE will work with a team of expert subject tutors who have all previously been classroom teachers and are actively involved with science education research, curriculum development and consultancy. During teaching practice, student teachers benefit from the support of subject specialist mentors within our network of over 200 schools throughout Greater London and beyond, ensuring each has the opportunity to become a skilled and confident teacher.
The Biology PGCE is delivered via keynote lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and directed study days at the IOE, as well as time spent in placement schools or colleges. Assessment is by the observation of practical teaching, assignments and a portfolio (which links with continuing professional development in the induction year). This PGCE also offers unique opportunities such as teaching sessions at museums and Kew Gardens, and residential trips, developing students’ understanding of learning science outside the classroom.
This programme consists of three core modules: two subject-related Master’s-level (level 7) modules, which are assessed through written assignments, and the Professional Practice module, which is assessed by the observation of practical teaching in placement schools.
Student teachers undertake at least two placements (totalling 120 days) at a school or college, during which time their teaching practice will be supported by a school subject tutor and mentor. The Professional Practice module is assessed through these placements, associated tasks and a portfolio. During their placement students may teach:
- Key Stage 3: Science (including elements of Physics, Chemistry and Biology)
- Key Stage 4: Science (all areas) and/or Biology (depending on school placement)
- Key Stage 5: AS/A2 level Biology
Candidates whose applications meet the entry criteria will be invited to interview at our central London location. At your interview day, you will take part in a combination of group and individual interviews with members of the programme team, and may also be asked to undertake written or presentation tasks, depending on your subject or phase. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and take a self-guided campus tour.
How school placements work
Our 500 placement schools are chosen for their quality, excellence in supporting teacher education and to provide comprehensive geographical coverage across a wide range of phases, subjects and specialisms. You will take a minimum of two placements in different schools (120 days in total), each with a dedicated placement co-ordinating mentor, with both schools carefully matched to your needs in terms of location, stage and subject, taking any mobility needs into account. London has more 'good' and 'outstanding' schools than any other region in England and is a world leader in narrowing the gap between the performance of children from a range of different backgrounds. Training in London will provide you with an ideal platform to launch your career in teaching.
The course fees for 2019/2020 are as follows:
- A minimum of a lower second-class UK Bachelor’s degree or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard in Biology or a Biology-related subject.
- GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C/ 5 or above. Applicants who do not offer a GCSE in English Language or Mathematics may demonstrate an equivalent standard by completing either the Mathematics Foundation, Mathematics Higher or English from www.equivalencytesting.com and achieving at least a grade 5. We do not accept "applied" or "additional" GCSE subjects.
Great teachers are as diverse as the communities they serve. We look for candidates who have a real enthusiasm for engaging with young people, who are as excited about the process of learning as they are about teaching, and who understand that they will learn as much from their students as their students will from them. Sound subject knowledge is important, as well as students’ ability to break down their knowledge and see it through the eyes of someone for whom it is new. We particularly welcome a commitment to improving the lives of individuals and communities through education.
For information about all UCL's statutory requirements linked to Teacher Training programmes please visit our website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/teacher-training/entry-requirements
About the training provider
The UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is a global leader in teacher education. Our programmes are recognised by Ofsted as 'outstanding' in every criterion across Primary, Secondary and Post-Compulsory education (FE).
- We'll support you with the skills and knowledge you'll need from the moment you step into a classroom, but we know that learning to teach is much more than that we'll prepare you to build a rewarding and fulfilling long-term career in education.
- Our focus on quality means that whatever route you select, you will be taught by experts in your subject and education phase, many of whom are world leaders in their field.
- We are committed to supporting education in London, where schools lead the country in performance and pupil progress. We work with around 500 London schools, including long-term partners who work with us to harness our wider research and expertise.
- When you walk into the UCL Institute of Education, you'll join a lively, friendly and diverse community of 8,000 students and more than 600 distinguished academics, committed to improving lives through education and promoting social participation to address local and global challenges.
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