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What makes PGCE - Secondary - Science: Biology at Worcester special?

Age phase: 11-16 with post-16 enhancement

Our Postgraduate Certificate in Education in Secondary Biology has an emphasis on experiential learning. We focus on teaching you the skills to inspire young people to fall in love with Biology through practical work within the laboratory and interactive approaches in classroom environments.

We prepare our trainees to become thoughtful and engaging teachers and develop their confidence by ensuring all course activity and key skills are directly transferable to secondary teaching.

The course is enhanced by continued support from the scientific professional bodies; Royal Society of Biology, the Institute of Physics, The Royal Society of Chemistry as well as the Association for Science Education.

Bursaries of up to £25,000 are available for trainee Biology teachers if you’re eligible and starting your course between September 2024 and July 2025. Please see the DfE website for more details.

We are proud that our Secondary PGCE was rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in March 2023. Ofsted identified that:

Trainees benefit from an exceptional learning experience at the University of Worcester. This experience instils in them a deep-rooted commitment to making a difference to the lives of the children and young adults in the communities they serve.’

Placements, university sessions and mentors will support your development and our trainees are ‘exceptionally well-prepared for their first teaching post’ (Ofsted, 2023)

Overview

Overview

Key features

  • A carefully developed, research-informed science PGCE curriculum
  • A focus on building relationships with pupils in the science classroom
  • Exploring pedagogy of the GCSE subject content
  • Practical and experiential based learning
  • Planning for pupil safety during investigations
  • Develop subject-specific digital technology skills including data logging  
Ofsted Outstanding logo

Ofsted has rated us as "Outstanding" in training Primary and Secondary Teachers 2023.

The University of Worcester’s education of future primary and secondary teachers has been given the highest possible grade with inspectors stating that, along with its partners, the University creates “a learning community that places children at the heart of everyone’s endeavours”.  

Read our full news story

Subject Knowledge Enhancement

Not sure about your subject knowledge?

Build up or refresh your existing knowledge with a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) programme before the course.

Subjects offered at the University of Worcester:

English, biology, chemistry, physics, design technology (food), religious education.

Find out about the bursary.

"I really enjoyed my PGCE year at Worcester; it gave me a very supportive start to my teaching career."

Victoria Honeybourne, PGCE Secondary graduate

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

  • Honours degree normally (2:2) or higher from a United Kingdom higher education institution or equivalent qualification, in a relevant subject area. Applicants with a 3rd class degree will be considered on an individual basis.
  • All entrants have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade 4 (formerly grade C) in the GCSE examinations in English Language or English Literature and Mathematics (applicants must have these qualifications by the start of the course). Alternatively, we offer an equivalency test if you don’t have the required GCSE grade to apply for our courses. Trainees who begin courses before providing evidence of the required GCSE standard (or equivalent) will not be eligible for financial incentives, such as bursaries or grants until they achieve the required standard.

Qualifications not listed? Contact the Admissions Office for advice by email: AdmissionsB@worc.ac.uk 

Additional requirements

  • An Enhanced DBS check. You will be sent details of how to apply for your DBS in the summer term. You will need to pay for this.  You may already be part of the DBS update service. Find out about the update service here. As part of the DBS process you will be checked against the Children’s Barred List.
  • A check against the Prohibition List.
  • If you have lived, studied or worked overseas for three months or more in the last five years a Certificate of Good Conduct from the country of residence will be required. Further information and guidance associated with additional costs are available from the Home Office.
  • An online occupational health check. All those on a teacher training programme must be certified as meeting national requirements for physical and mental fitness to teach, as set by the Department for Education.
  • International students: IELTS 6.5 or equivalent

Other information

To help you prepare for your interview you can expect questions covering the following:

  • the subject knowledge required for teaching the subject curriculum in school
  • your ability to critically reflect on your prior experiences in relation to your future development as a teacher
  • your understanding of the UK education system and the wider role of a teacher
  • how you have overcome challenges in your life and shown resilience
  • how you plan to meet the academic and teaching demands of the course.

In addition, we are looking for enthusiasm, commitment, and potential. Clear verbal and written communication skills are integral to this which you will have an opportunity to demonstrate throughout the interview.

  • School experience is desirable, but not essential.
  • Interviews will be conducted online. Applicants will be contacted directly with more details.

All applications for PGCE should be made via the Government's Find Postgraduate Teacher Training website.

Additional useful information is available on the Government's Get Into Teaching website.

A student teacher is working with a group of older children in a classroom

PGCE Secondary (and Further Education) at Worcester event

Find out more about our PGCE Secondary and Further Education courses at our in-person taster event on Thursday 18 January, 4.30-5.30pm, at our St John’s Campus.

Book your place
Course content

Course content

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative. 

Subject Knowledge with a Deep Understanding

  • Enrich your subject knowledge drawing on the expertise of tutors with national and international research profiles in partnership with school mentors with excellent current practice in your specialist area.
  • An excellent teacher requires confident subject knowledge and an understanding about how pupils learn. The majority of your time in university is in subject workshops.

Specialist Subject Opportunities

  • Present to peers within and beyond the University.
  • Opportunity to join the Association of Science in Education.
  • Begin networking and start the publishing side of your career.
  • Links to subject associations 

Pedagogy

  • Understand and apply theory and research on how children learn and develop.
  • Explore a range of learning and teaching styles, and classroom organisation.
  • Discover how to promote progress through observing, planning, teaching and assessing learning.

Professional Studies

  • Develop adaptive teaching strategies to respond to the unique needs in a range of contexts, leveraging the diversity inherent in schools.
  • Be informed by the research and evidence about effective teaching at a general level before applying this knowledge to subject-specific approaches
  • Learn the expectations, standards and behaviours which are appropriate to the profession and the wider responsibilities of a teacher.

Enhancement Activities

  • Gain expertise through one of our unique Enhancement Activities: PSHE and Citizenship, Careers Education, Education in Climate Emergency, Teenage Mental Health, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities or Technology Enhanced Learning.  In addition, we also offer an Aspiring Leaders programme.

Your career

  • Become a reflective self-evaluating practitioner.
  • Enjoy great employment prospects; our support takes you from trainee to ECT (Early Career Teacher) and beyond
  • Prepare for leadership and your Masters with 60 credits and a strong research foundation.

Register your interest

Enter your details below and we will keep you up to date with useful information about studying at the University of Worcester.


Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment

PGCE trainees wearing white coats and goggles doing practical work in laboratory

Teaching approach

  • School experience in a range of settings.
  • Professional Studies sessions in school and at University.
  • University-led workshops, lectures, seminars, fieldwork and guest lectures.
  • Study of key texts and supplementary reading.
  • Participation in high level professional discussion, peer presentations and debate.
  • Directed studies, case studies and problem solving tasks; development of practice-based competence and skills of critical reflection through guided individual mentoring during placements.
  • One-to-one academic and personal tutorial support including access to our first class Firstpoint services
Group of students in teaching laboratory

Assessment

  • Assignments are carefully designed to develop your skills as a teacher.
  • Assessments that move from highly structured to more open briefs as you develop your professional skills.
  • The opportunity to develop skills as a research informed practitioner.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.

A female teacher training student in a classroom working on placement as part of her degree to get into teaching.

PGCE Alumni Scholarship

If you are a University of Worcester graduate starting a full-time PGCE in September 2024 then you may be eligible for a £500 Cash Scholarship.

See our scholarships page for more details.

Meet the team

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.

You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.

Janinne

Janinne Delorenzo

Janinne joined the university in 2015 and is the PGCE co-subject lead for Science. Janinne is particularly interested in evidence-based practice in Science Education and in supporting and encouraging aspiring teachers.

Janinne spent her career in Secondary education working in a range of teaching and management roles in secondary schools in the West Midlands before moving into Higher Education. 

In her work with the Ogden Trust, Janinne supports the development of Science (with an emphasis on Physics) in Primary and Secondary schools across Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Janinne advises the Ogden Trust about Enrichment and is currently developing strategies to engage underrepresented groups in Physics education.

Careers

Careers

Students conducting experiments with squirting drinks bottles outside

 

  • Great employment prospects
  • Prepare for leadership and your Masters with 60 credits and a strong research foundation
  • Many University of Worcester trainees gain promotion within the first few years of teaching
Two students are walking next to each other and smiling

Careers and Employability

Our Graduates pursue exciting and diverse careers in a wide variety of employment sectors.

Find out how we can support you to achieve your potential
A female teacher training student in a classroom working on placement as part of her degree to get into teaching.

PGCE Alumni Scholarship

If you are a University of Worcester graduate starting a full-time PGCE in September 2024 then you may be eligible for a £500 Cash Scholarship.

See our scholarships page for more details.
Costs

Fees and funding

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fee for full-time UK and EU students enrolling on a PGCE in the academic year 2024/25 will be £9,250 per year.*

* Please note that for EU students training as Physics or Languages teachers and in receipt of the UK government bursary/relocation package the fee is £17,400 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international students enrolling on a PGCE in the academic year 2024/25 will be £17,400 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Teacher training funding

You can get help with the costs of teacher training. A student finance package will include a Tuition Fee Loan and a Maintenance Loan. You may also be eligible for extra help if you have children or have a disability.

Some courses are also eligible for a tax-free bursary or scholarship depending on your subject, degree classification or highest academic qualification.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for essential books, trips, stationery, printing and photocopying.

Travel costs for placements vary depending on the location of schools and your mode of transport and sometimes, these may be reclaimed depending on your individual circumstances.

You may be given the opportunity to visit a museum related to computer science.  Personal travel and entry fees are at your expense.

You may wish to buy your own Raspberry Pi computer or BBC Micro:bit to experiment with at home.  This will further develop your skills and interest in physical computing projects.  A range of kits are available commercially. 

The DfE requires all trainee teachers to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check, which you will need to pay for.

Accommodation

Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £131 per week to 'En-suite Premium' at £221 per week (2024/25 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply