X7KB14 PGCE Secondary - Biology PGCE Postgraduate Taught 2020
The PGCE Secondary is the first phase of a career-long process of personal and professional development, which will equip you to become a secondary school teacher. The PGCE Secondary is a course in Initial Teacher Training which is accredited by the DfE, the successful completion of which will accord you Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Our course has recently been inspected by Ofsted which resulted in an “Outstanding” grading for all aspects of our provision.
Students who have successfully completed the PGCE at Durham in the previous academic year have the option to use 90 credits they have accredited towards a part-time MA Education. These students only need to do the core modules, Education Enquiry and the Dissertation over 2 years, to complete the course.
Subject pedagogy (how to teach the subject for understanding) is explored in curriculum groups, examining techniques for making each subject accessible and stimulating in a classroom environment. Biology, physics and chemistry are taught as science classroom teachers often teach all there sciences at Key Stage 3, specialising in their own subject area at Key Stages 4 and 5.
We believe strongly that to be able to teach successfully you must acquire a good understanding of the 'big ideas' of science as well as learning about how to teach science. The university-based time is therefore divided into two main parts:
- Core Science in all disciplines addresses your own understanding of the key concepts underpinning science. Many students approach this theme with excellent qualifications but have never had an opportunity to explore their understanding of these concepts. Students have said that this part of the course is "thought-provoking", "enlightening" and "challenging". You are expected to follow up this work with tutor and peer group support, using the extensive library facilities.
- Science Education Issues looks at pedagogical issues relevant to how science is actually taught.
The course is organised into three modules:
- Professional Issues in school based education
- Teaching and Learning in the Curriculum
- Self-directed Study
The Professional Issues in School Based Education relates to the Teacher Standards and is delivered in two parts, prior to each of the two extended teaching practices. The teaching is related to those classroom-based issues such as the psychology of learning, the law, curriculum groups, examining techniques for making each subject accessible and stimulating in a classroom environment and is followed up in subject groups and during school placements The block practices in the Autumn and Spring allow for practical opportunities for full professional development where there is a progression from observation, structured activities and group work to whole class work.
Teaching and Learning in the Curriculum and Self- directed Study are studied at Masters Level. The Teaching and Learning in the Curriculum Module draws on the international research expertise within the School of Education enabling student teachers to engage critically in issues relevant to the classroom and school, particularly those that impact on the success of children as learners. The Self-directed Study module draws on students’ experience during weekly visits to schools and their own small scale action research, and links this to critical engagement with published educational research.
These Masters modules provide an opportunity to explore, in a more theoretical way, the issues to do with teaching and learning through lectures and mixed subject and phase seminar groups taught as a conference week usually after Christmas. In addition to covering Teacher standards, these modules will enable assessment work to be carried out for the award of PGCE.
On successful completion of the course, student teachers will have 90 credits and QTS.
Course Learning and Teaching
We use various teaching and learning styles to enable you to explore issues such as:
- motivating pupils in science
- questioning strategies
- planning lessons to maximise pupils' active involvement
- planning to allow pupils' understanding to progress
- the value of different types of practical work
- the use of IT to enhance scientific understanding
The science team has an international reputation for its work on teaching pupils the understanding necessary for investigative science. This is often referred to as 'the thinking behind the doing'. The importance we place in this aspect of science is reflected in the course.
You will be based in one of our Partnership schools where you will have the opportunity to develop your skills in a teaching background.
The school-based activities involve structured classroom observations, planning and research projects and practical teaching - the latter starting by teaching individual pupils, eventually leading through group work to full classroom teaching.
The achievement of the standards necessary to be awarded Qualified Teacher Status will be assessed by mentors in school, their judgments moderated by observations carried out by university tutors.
Several members of the science team contribute to the course, and you will be supported throughout by a science tutor who has recent experience in schools.
Subject requirements, level and grade
At UCAS you can apply for this course by using the following code: C1X1
- The equivalent of a UK upper second class honours degree of which approximately 50% is comprised of Biology or a similar subject. If your degree is from an overseas institution you must apply for a Statement of Comparability from NARIC
- A demonstrable an interest and involvement in the lives and development of young people
- GCSE English and Mathematics at Grade 4 (or C) or above (or equivalent) which must be achieved at the time of application. If your equivalent qualifications are from an overseas institution, you must apply for a Statement of Comparability from NARIC
- Applicants with non-standard qualifications, for example, access routes into higher education are welcome to apply
- We welcome applications from mature applicants pursuing a career change
- Pass the QTS Skills Tests by the first day of the course.
Your professional and interpersonal qualities and your commitment to teaching will be considered when making an admissions decision. Candidates who meet the criteria, will be invited to a selection day. Selection days will involve individual interviews with a pre-prepared presentation element and tests to assess written English and other skills.
Successful candidates will receive an offer conditional upon successful medical and criminal record checks. The latter is carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service and full instructions on how to apply for a DBS Disclosure will be provided.
If you have a criminal record of any kind, you may contact the School of Education DBS Manager, Caroline Emery, for further advice and information. All enquiries will be treated in confidence.
We strongly encourage you to register for the DBS Update Service, which lets you take your certificate from one employer to another without having to apply for a new check. Please note, all DBS Enhanced Disclosures for our students must be processed by Durham University unless you have applied to the Update Service.
English Language requirements
Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.
How to apply
Please apply through UCAS.
Fees and Funding
Full Time Fees
|EU Student||£9,250.00 per year|
|Home Student||£9,250.00 per year|
|Island Student||£9,250.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£20,500.00 per year|
The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
Scholarships and funding
School of Education
Career opportunities in education are wide and include classroom teaching, educational leadership and management, administration and policy development.
For further information on career options and employability, including the results of the Destination of Leavers survey, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please view our department web pages.
Open days and visits
Pre-application open day
Overseas Visit Schedule
Postgraduate VisitsPGVI or
School of Education
The School of Education is one of the leading departments of education in the UK. We are a large department, with around 50 academic staff, and around 650 postgraduate students (including our PGCE students, both primary and secondary). We are also supported by a large number of partners from schools and colleges. We have strong international links, welcoming students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scholars from all over the world. We are committed to research which engages with, and has an impact upon, practice and policy as well as influencing the wider research community to develop educational practice, education policy and future educational research.
Ranked joint 5th in the UK for World-Leading research and joint 1st for World-Leading research impact in REF 2014.