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PGCE Science with Biology (QTS)

Learn about the course below
Code
CX11
Start
September 2022
Duration
1 year full-time
Attendance
Full-time
Fees
£9,250 (UK) *
£14,000 (EU/INT) *
Course leader
Karen Parks

This course is no longer accepting applications for September 2021 entry. The next start date will be 2022.

Biology is a subject which can fascinate and inspire children. It feeds their natural curiosity and supports them in developing their understanding of the natural world. Science teachers are in great demand and this course appeals to graduates who are passionate about biology but want to develop the skills and understanding to teach science across the curriculum.

This one-year full-time course, enables you to meet the national standards for the award of qualified teacher status (QTS).

Why study PGCE Science with Biology (QTS) at Middlesex University?

Our PGCE Science with Biology course begins with a stimulating mix of biology, chemistry and physics education. You will then focus fully on biology, allowing you to specialise in the teaching of biology at Key Stage 4. Teaching science at Key Stages 3 requires competence across the entire range of the National Curriculum Programme of Study for Science.

Through this PGCE, you will gain the understanding and skills necessary to operate as a critically reflective biology teacher in a secondary school setting. You will also develop the awareness and ability to transfer these skills and teach in subject areas across the science curriculum (such as chemistry and physics at KS3).

We have a range of specialist science and teaching facilities, providing you with a solid foundation on which to develop your skills and experience. We have excellent relationships with schools in and outside London and during your studies, you also will undertake teaching placements in at least two secondary schools and have the chance to acquire skills in the application of new technologies in teaching and learning. Schools are carefully selected to suit each individual and expose them to a variety of imaginative and thought provoking learning strategies. Key experts from our partner schools are on hand to offer invaluable mentoring and support.

The course gives you a strong understanding of how and why to teach biology in secondary schools whilst also enabling you to appreciate the unique aspects of other science specialisms in order to develop your confidence in teaching across the science curriculum. Middlesex University also has dedicated subject tutors who have established strong relations with external specialists and partnership schools who will deliver contemporary and subject specific training sessions.

Course highlights

  • You will learn from experienced and personalised tutors who are subject specialists in their field
  • You will be in close contact with your tutors, allowing continual mentoring and mutual knowledge exchange
  • The teaching placements enable you to experience and respond to the needs of children in multicultural, multilingual and multi-faith settings and schools in an international, urban environment
  • Many of our graduates gain their first teaching appointment at their placement school
  • Middlesex University provides links with wider educational providers to give you an experience of leading learning outside the classroom
  • As a student of this course you'll receive a free electronic textbook for every module.

Find out more

Sign up now to receive more information about studying at Middlesex University London.

What will you study on PGCE Science with Biology (QTS)?

At the start of the course you will be shown how to audit your science subject and pedagogical knowledge and you will develop an action plan to address gaps in subject knowledge. The course begins with developing your understanding of the purpose and rationale for teaching science in schools, and engages you with research and literature about the pedagogy of science teaching and how to teach your subject effectively.

For the major curriculum assignment you will develop original teaching resources and creative ideas in order to revise an existing scheme of learning in the placement school. You will be required to analyse the planning of a sequence of lessons, showing how they draw on reading and study to develop effective teaching and assessment in biology and how the school context affected your decisions.

In addition to developing the knowledge and skills required to teach your chosen subject, you will be able to identify and evaluate effective strategies for assessing children's learning through formative and summative assessment strategies. You will critically evaluate the effectiveness of a wide range of resources and your own lesson plans. You will also understand the importance of literacy, numeracy and ICT in delivering an effective, all round curriculum. At the end of the course you will be able to provide evidence that you have developed the appropriate subject knowledge and pedagogy to meet the required teaching standards.

This programme has an overarching science focus, which will allow you to develop a common pedagogical approach to teaching science across all subject areas, whilst also appreciating the unique and particular aspects of each science discipline. This will enable you to teach across the science curriculum at KS3 whilst also being able to teach Biology confidently up to and beyond KS4.

You will have many opportunities both individually and in groups to apply learning within your specialist subject, and for most of the course you will work in parallel with science students from other specialist subjects. There will also be breakout sessions where you will be working in your specialist subject.

Modules

We’ve made sure that the skills and knowledge that you’ll gain on your course will not change during the coronavirus outbreak. Your module information is below.

  • Modules

    • Secondary Professional Development 1 (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to introduce the professional secondary school environment. You will demonstrate your progress in developing your understanding and skills necessary to operate as an effective teacher in a secondary school. As such, it supports you to progress towards the achievement of current requirements for the award of Qualified Teacher Status.

    • Secondary Professional Development 2 (30 Credits) – Compulsory

      This module aims to consolidate your professional practice in a second secondary school environment. It aims to ensure you can demonstrate the understanding and skills necessary to operate as an effective teacher in a secondary school. As such, it supports you in the achievement of statutory requirements for the award of Qualified Teacher Status.

    • Professional Knowledge and Pedagogy (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to develop your understanding and skills necessary to operate as a critically reflective teacher in a secondary school. You will be assessed by undertaking a small scale research assignment that compares theoretical perspectives in education with the reality found in school.

    • Science with Biology Education (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module builds on the learning and skills developed in the Professional Knowledge and Pedagogy and the Secondary Professional Development 1 modules and aims to deepen your understanding and skills necessary to operate as a critically reflective science with Biology teacher in a secondary school setting. You are assessed through a Monitoring and Assessment coursework assignment. Here you design, resource, teach and evaluate a scheme of work that reflects best practice in science education and assessment.

More information about this course

See the course specification for more information:

Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

How is the PGCE Science with Biology (QTS) taught?

The programme is designed to provide 120 days in two different schools where you will gradually build up to teaching approximately 60% of a normal teaching timetable. The rest of the programme (60 days) is university-based, where lectures, seminars and practical workshops will be provided in a blended learning environment.

This course is comprised of a range of presentations, discussions and practical workshops where exemplar material can be selected from biology contexts. There will also be break-out sessions where you will be working both in mixed groups and with other biology specialists. Outside specialists are also invited to deliver sessions that cover topics in teaching biology at KS4.

Assessment

The two school experiences are assessed against the professional requirements under the Teachers’ Standards:

  • Professional Knowledge and Pedagogy is assessed through coursework by undertaking a small-scale, school-based research assignment
  • Science with Biology Education is assessed through coursework, by undertaking an assignment about Monitoring and Assessment.

Teaching and learning

Changes for students in 2021

We are back on campus for the majority of teaching in Autumn 2021, as long as restrictions allow. Your timetable will be built around on campus sessions using our professional facilities, with online sessions for some activities where we know being virtual will add value. We’ll use technology to enhance all of your learning and give you access to online resources to use in your own time.

In case of any changes to government guidance, we‘ll be ready to move to teaching with more restrictions in place and continue to give you an excellent learning experience. In this scenario, on campus teaching should continue although more of your course will take place online.

The table below gives you an idea of what your learning will look like across a typical week. Some weeks might be different due to how we schedule classes and arrange on campus sessions.

This information may change slightly as we receive further guidance from the government. You’ll receive final arrangements for your teaching and a full course timetable before you start.

Scenario A: Without social distancing

Live in-person on campus learning

Contact hours per week, per level:

2 hours

Live online learning

Average hours per week, per level:

1 hour

Tutor set learning activities

Average hours per week, per level:

2 hours

Scenario B: With social distancing and/or with restrictions on travel to campus

Live in-person on campus learning

Contact hours per week, per level:

1.5 hours

Live online learning

Average hours per week, per level:

1 hour

Tutor set learning activities

Average hours per week, per level:

2.5 hours

The programme usually features university teaching on Mondays while are usually on placement Tues-Fri. There will be is block delivery of campus teaching in September (2 weeks) and in January (1 week).

Outside of these hours, you’ll be expected to do independent study where you read, listen and reflect on other learning activities. This can include preparation for future classes. In a year, you’ll typically be expected to commit 1800 hours to your course across all styles of learning. If you are taking a placement, you might have some additional hours.

Read more about our scenarios for returning to campus and what they might mean for your teaching and learning experience, and how you’ll be able to access student support.

Future plans for teaching

We’re developing our plans for in-person on campus teaching following government advice to keep you safe. If more restrictions are put in place in the future, or there is another lockdown, we’ll deliver your learning and support fully online for a temporary period. We’ll make alternative arrangements for any required placements if they can’t go ahead as planned. We’ll always give you notice of any changes that we make.

Definitions of terms

  • Live in-person on campus learning – This will focus on active and experiential sessions that are both:
    • Led by your tutors including seminars, lab sessions and demonstrations We’ll schedule all of this for you
    • Student-led by you and other students, like small group work and presentations.
  • Live online learning – This will include lectures, tutorials and supervision sessions led by your tutor and timetabled by us. It also includes student-led group work that takes place online

  • Tutor set learning activities – This covers activities which will be set for you by your tutor, but which you will undertake in your own time. Examples of this include watching online materials, participating in an online discussion forum, completing a virtual laboratory or reading specific texts. You may be doing this by yourself of with your course mates depending on your course and assignments. Outside of these hours, you’ll also be expected to do further independent study where you’ll be expected to learn, prepare, revise and reflect in your own time.

Support

You’ll have a strong support network available to you to make sure you develop all the necessary academic skills you need to do well on your course.

Our support services will be delivered online and on campus and you’ll have access to a range of different resources so you can get the help you need, whether you’re studying at home or have the opportunity to come to campus.

You’ll have access to one to one and group sessions for personal learning and academic support from our library and IT teams, and our network of learning experts. Our teams will also be here to offer financial advice, and personal wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

More on teaching for your subject in 2021/22

Read our guide to what you can look forward to when you study your subject with us including more information about your teaching experience this autumn.

  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU fees from October 2021
  3. EU/International
  4. Additional costs

How can the PGCE Science with Biology (QTS) support your career?

Our course gives you Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Teaching is a profession with excellent progression and benefits and our graduates have an excellent reputation within the profession. Our employment rates are extremely high with around 97% of our PGCE graduates in employment or further study six months after graduation. The starting salary of a qualified teacher in inner London is £30,480.

Teachers can find career progression in both the classroom and the school's management structure. You might aspire to become the head of a department, age group or curriculum. And through developing your leadership skills and experience, you could progress to a senior management position, such as deputy head or head teacher.

For more information on salary and career progression, visit the Department for Education's website.


We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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