PGCE Science with Biology Secondary Education PGCE - University of Sunderland

Course overview

This Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course prepares you for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which is an essential qualification for teaching in state-maintained schools. It will open up a satisfying and rewarding career with excellent job security.

The course has two strands. The first strand is based at the University and provides a solid grounding in theory and practical issues. The second strand is based in partner schools where you will undertake practical teaching experience.

This programme is also offered as part of our School Direct route.

Biology teachers are in high demand, and the Government is offering bursaries to encourage graduates to train as Biology teachers in 2016-17.

In addition to Government bursaries, students on this course are also eligible for many of the University of Sunderland scholarships. Full details of the Sunderland scholarships available to you can be found on the Entry requirements tab of this course.

The University of Sunderland has a heritage of teacher training which dates back to 1908 so you can be confident that our courses are excellent preparation for a teaching career in which you can inspire young people to realise their potential.

If you require additional support with your subject knowledge, for example if you have not completed a Biology degree, then we offer Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses.

What to expect from the programme

PGCE trainees work with a committed team of highly experienced and nationally recognised University tutors along with mentors in schools and colleges in the North East and surrounding areas. 

As a trainee teacher, you'll spend two-thirds of the PGCE course in schools and/or colleges and one-third of your time in University-based study. The close working relationship between the University and our partner establishments ensures the highest quality of training is maintained at all times.

Partnerships with schools and colleges

Close contact is maintained with partnership establishments at every stage of the programme.
Placements are offered at a range of schools involved in the education of 11-19-year-old and include:

  • Both 11-18 and 11-16 Comprehensives
  • Sixth Form Colleges
  • City Academies
  • Both 11-18 and 11-16 Independent Schools
  • Specialist Schools (e.g. Technology Colleges, Arts Colleges)
  • Further Education Colleges

Graduates Melanie and Emma discuss their experience on the PGCE Science with Biology course at the University of Sunderland and their employment as teachers.

Course content

PGCE Course content* 

September – January

  • Full-time teaching practice placement (school or college)
  • Master's Module 1: Development of Learning: A Case Study – you will identify an educational intervention and explore its use, impact and influence upon the learning of one or more pupils
  • Subject Studies related module

January – June

  • Full-time teaching practice placement (school or college)
  • Master's Module 2: Negotiated Individual Study in Education – you will undertake a piece of action research into an educational issue
  • Subject Studies related module

*subject to validation

120 Credits 

The MA suite may include the following modules:

Development of Learning: A Case Study (30 Credits)

You will identify an intervention employed in the classroom or in the wider school and explore its use, impact and influence upon the learning of one or more pupils.

Negotiated Individual Study in Education (30 Credits)

You will undertake a piece of action research in school based on an area of interest in a subject or phase.

Advanced Pedagogical Practice (30 Credits)

You will critically examine a subject in which you are a specialist, relating current practice to educational theory and appropriate literature.

Leading Organisational Effectiveness in Education and Training (30 Credits)

You will study topics that include principles of leadership, responsibilities of leadership in an educational establishment, tackling under-performance and auditing performance.

Assessment Theory into Pedagogical Practice (30 Credits)

You will examine educational assessment theory in relation to the current practice in your own educational setting.

Teaching and assessment

We use a variety of teaching and learning methods which include lectures, seminars, tutorials, project work and group work as well as placements and work-based learning.

Assessment methods include written work, evidence profiles and assessment of your teaching practice.

Information about our policies relating to student experience and quality assurance processes can be found on the Academic Services website.

Facilities & location

Course location

The course is based at the Forster Building on City Campus, just a few minutes from the main Murray Library and close to Sunderland city centre. It’s a very vibrant and supportive environment with excellent resources for teaching and learning.

Secondary partnership

The University of Sunderland forms part of a secondary partnership that includes more than 200 schools and colleges. This means that there are wide opportunities for placements during the professional year.

University Library Services

We’ve got thousands of books and e-books on education topics, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals. Resources include the EBSCO Professional Development Collection, which is a specialised collection of over 500 education journals.

Location


Forster Building

City Campus, Chester Road, Sunderland, SR1 3SD

Entry requirements

We welcome applications from holders of an honours degree (at least a 2:2) in biology. We will also consider other equivalent qualifications.

You should have at least grade C in GCSE mathematics and English (or equivalent). We will only accept equivalencies from Equivalency Testing.

Completion of the Teaching Agency skills tests prior to the course starting is an additional requirement, please see details below.

Applicants whose first language is not English must achieve a minimum IELTS band score of 6.5, with 6.5 in writing, no sub section below 6.

After 6 April 2015 you must take your IELTS exams at one of the test centres listed on the UKVI website. If you took your IELTS exam before 6 April 2015 this does not apply, and your qualification is still valid regardless of which test centre you used.

Additional requirements:

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

If you feel you already know some of the topics covered in this course, either due to previous learning or from experience of work, then you may not need to study all of the course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the name given to the process of gaining credit towards a qualification because of something you have learnt in the past. If you are eligible for APL you won't have to learn the same topic again, and so you can be exempt from a module, set of modules or year of a course. 

Read more about APL in the Quality Handbook (.pdf). If you think you may be eligible for APL, please contact the course leader.

Fees & finance

2017/18

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £10,750 if you are an International student

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or International student, please see the International section of this website.

Government scholarships

The UK Government is keen to encourage high-quality graduates to train as teachers, and so offers bursaries to attract more people into teaching.

For more information and to check the eligibility criteria, please see Education.gov.uk.   

Funding for teacher training maybe available for eligible graduates who are starting their training in the 2016/17 academic year on postgraduate routes including the non-salaried School Direct programme.

Funding amounts will vary depending on the subject you intend to teach and your degree classification or highest relevant academic qualification.

University of Sunderland scholarships

Students on this course are entitled to a Get There Scholarship. Full details and eligibility criteria can be found on the University of Sunderland Scholarships page.

If you have any questions about your eligibility for any of the above scholarships, please contact:

The Scholarships Team
Tel: 0191 515 2865
Email: scholarships@sunderland.ac.uk

Employment & careers

Everyone who wants to teach in a state-maintained school in England and Wales needs Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This course leads to QTS and, on successful completion, you will become a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT).

According to recent research, twice as many teachers find their work extremely enjoyable when compared to professionals with careers in marketing, IT and accountancy. Almost half say they regularly experience a ‘natural high’ at work.

The starting salary of an NQT is over £22,000 – or over £27,000 in inner London. Teachers see their salaries rise by an average of 30 per cent after their first four years in the job. 

For more information please contact the Department for Education.

For jobs directly related to a biology degree please click here.

University Language Scheme

It is usually possible to take a module from the free University Language Scheme. This can be studied on top of your 120 credits or in some cases, can earn credits towards your degree.

Language skills increase your international mobility and you can choose between French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese and Arabic at a range of levels. If your first language is not English, please check with your tutor about entry requirements.

Staff and students talk about the benefits of the University Language Scheme:

The Enterprise Place

If you have a good idea for a new business and have the dedication and motivation to make it happen, then we want to hear from you. The Enterprise Place, based on-campus at St Peter's Gate Business Centre, is the perfect environment for entrepreneurial students and graduates to turn their business ideas into reality. You will have access to free hot desk space, IT facilities, specialist advice and support and business mentors and networking opportunities.

To find out more about how we can help you start a business, please contact the University's Enterprise Team:

Tel: 0191 515 3751
Email: enterprise@sunderland.ac.uk

Support

Support for your learning

From the start of the course you will be allocated a Personal Tutor who will meet with you at agreed times throughout your course. Personal Tutors encourage your personal development and are a useful point of contact for any queries about your course, extracurricular activities and issues where they can point you towards specialist services at the University. These include student counselling, financial advice and chaplaincy support.

Support for your development

To help ensure the course is meeting aspirations for personal development, we invite students to fill in questionnaires at the end of modules. This provides a structured way for you to keep us up-to-date with your views.

During your course, and particularly towards the end of it, we encourage you to make full use of the resources at our Careers & Employability Service. The Service helps you explore your options, clarify your ideas, develop a career focus and make effective applications.

Extracurricular activities

The University supports student-led initiatives that enhance the extracurricular activities available to you. Some of these are related to particular subjects while others allow you to pursue interests and social activities. It’s all part of the vibrant and life-changing atmosphere at the University of Sunderland.

For more information about all the support services you will have access to as a Sunderland student, please see Student support and guidance.

Apply for this course

Applications for entry must be submitted through UCAS Teacher Training (UTT).

    Next Open Day

  • Date: Thursday 16th February 2017
  • Time: 2:00pm-7:00pm
  • Type: University Open Day
  • Location: Gateway, City Campus, University of Sunderland

Contact Sunderland

Programme Leader:
Rob Hughes

Contact the recruitment team for further information about studying at the University of Sunderland:

Recruitment Team
Telephone: 0191 515 3000 
Email: student.helpline@sunderland.ac.uk

The details

Course Name PGCE Science with Biology Secondary Education
UCAS Code
C1X1
Classification PGCE
Course Mode Full-time
Course Level Postgraduate
Duration 1 year
Study Location On-campus (Sunderland)
Starting 18 September 2017
UK/EU Fee £9,250
Intl Fee £10,750

Entry requirements

Honours degree (2:2 or above) or relevant qualification

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