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PGCE (Secondary): Science Education: Biology, Chemistry or Physics

  • UCAS Teacher Training code
    Biology C1X1 (full-time); CX11 (part-time)
    Chemistry F1X1 (full-time); FX11 (part-time)
    Physics F3X1 (full-time); FX31 (part-time)
  • Length
    1 year full-time

Course overview

We aim to model how you might engage pupils in the science classroom

Classrooms are complex and dynamic places. Becoming an effective teacher is more than just ‘transmitting knowledge’ or `telling pupils how to do it' or about numerical outcomes. Education encompasses a whole range of attributes and requires teachers to be at the cutting edge of their practice. Through dynamic and innovative teaching, we will support and encourage you on your journey to becoming an effective science teacher to inspire a new generation of world-changers.

Our secondary science PGCE programme is grounded in the view that the process of gaining qualified teacher status with a PGCE must essentially be an educational one. We encourage you to form your own opinions on education through first-hand experience and reflective thinking. We anticipate that you will develop qualities that will enable you to become teachers who will not only be outstanding classroom practitioners, but will also be in a position to participate in and influence the development of science education for the future.

At University 

The pedagogy within a science classroom is perhaps somewhat different to what you might see within an English or maths lesson. Our programme focuses on modelling the science classroom in workshops; we will raise lots of questions and encourage you to think critically about what you see and experience in our workshops. We will encourage you to reflect on “what works for you” and incorporate some of these ‘active’ teaching and learning strategies into your own practice. Once in school we hope you will try them out, evaluate and reflect on them to develop your own teacher identity.

As teachers you will help to shape future education policy and practice. We will set out to enable you to make informed decisions. To this end we will promote discussion and get you to question your thoughts on a range of issues central to science teaching; what is science, what is subject knowledge, what knowledge do we need to teach a scientific idea well, do theories link with our own personal viewpoints? These are questions to which there are no set answers. Through our sessions we aim to encourage students to search for their own order and understanding from within. Secure, reflective and questioning science teachers are those who are likely to become true educators of young people – teachers who encourage pupils to think, question and understand.

During the science subject studies sessions, we will focus on the ideas and principles underlying effective teaching. Two broad themes are identifiable through our subject sessions; learning and practical work. Each of these has a key place within the science classroom but what does rigorous learning and effective practical work look like? We will revisit these key areas throughout the programme both at University and in school; taking into account that lessons should be engaging and relevant to every pupils’ needs.

Our programme is an 11-18 programme (science teachers need to be able to teach at least two sciences up to and including GCSE level), so our subject sessions cover pedagogical subject knowledge in aspects of chemistry, biology and physics.

At School

During the first term, you observe, participate in and take responsibility for lessons in one of our partnership schools. You will be allocated a school mentor who will be your “go to” person on a daily basis to facilitate your learning and progress within the classroom. Following an induction period, during which you find out about the school, its pupils and surrounding area, you will take increasing responsibility for the teaching and learning work of particular classes under the supervision of the regular class teacher. Your University tutor will monitor your progress using our virtual learning environment (learn.gold) and visit you during your first school placement.

A professional network of school and University based colleagues will support you throughout the entire programme at University and on your school placements.

We might sum up our programme as having its feet firmly rooted in school science, with its head in theory and with a strong body connecting the two, combined with the realisation that there are many places in which the figure can stand.

Institute of Physics Scholarships

The Institute of Physics (IOP) offers scholarships for students studying for a PGCE in physics. To be an IOP Scholar you will need to have outstanding knowledge of school-level physics and the potential to become an inspirational physics teacher. Each scholarship also includes a package of benefits including membership and early career mentoring. 

Royal Society of Chemistry Scholarships

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) offers scholarships for students studying for a PGCE in chemistry. Applicants are expected to have an excellent understanding of chemistry at school level, a passion for chemistry and teaching as well as an excellent ability to explain complex chemistry ideas at school level. The scholarship package includes mentoring by a chemistry expert, meetings with other scholars, free online CPD and opportunities to represent the Royal Society of Chemistry at meetings and conferences on chemistry and chemistry education. 

School Direct

It is also possible to study this course via our School Direct programme. Please visit our School Direct page to see which schools offer this subject.

Additional costs

As well as your PGCE fees, you will have to cover your travel costs to your school placements.

Part-time study 

It is possible to study for the PGCE in science on a part-time basis. You can find out more on the page for our part-time programme. 

 

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact David Dennis

Structure

 

 

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Department

We have been training teachers since 1904, and have established
a reputation for excellence in this field

Educational Studies

We see education as a window through which to view the world, and as something with the power to define who we are and how we live

As a department we’re interested in seeing what education can tell us about the social, political and economic forces of our times. And what these forces mean for the everyday lives of individuals and groups. 

We place a strong emphasis on active and collaborative learning, and we'll train you to become a reflective and socially conscious teacher. 

Teaching placements

We have partnerships with many London schools, offering you the chance to gain teaching practice in socially mixed, multi-ethnic urban classrooms. 

Support

We offer a high level of support through a system of school and personal tutoring. 

Research

Staff in the department carry out world-leading research – we're ranked 8th in the UK for the quality of this research.*

It delves into areas including culture and identity, gender, multilingualism, and youth cultures, and why we maintain a commitment to social justice and inclusion.

Find out more about the Department of Educational Studies.

*Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings

Learning & teaching

A range of teaching methods are employed across the PGCE programmes, including:

• Taught subject sessions
• Taught General Professional Study sessions
• Practical workshops
• Core lectures
• Group tutorials/seminars
• Individual tutorials
• Individual and group presentations
• Supported self-study

As with the other PGCE courses, you’ll be given the opportunity to work with children in a wide range of contexts. These might include focused interventions with individuals or groups, or larger scale events for the community.

How to apply

You apply for this PGCE through the UCAS Teacher Training website. Our institution code is G56 GOLD.

Please take a look at the information on applying, including the specific qualifications or experience you need for this course.

There's no closing date for primary or secondary applications, but we advise you to apply early to avoid disappointment.