If you are looking for a career where you can inspire, motivate and make a difference to the lives of young people, teaching is for you.
At UEA, we don’t believe in a prescribed method of teaching. Instead, we will support you in exploring a range of pedagogical approaches and strategies, so that you can meet the needs of pupils and develop your own style of teaching.
As you will be learning from a variety of experts from our extensive partnership (more than 80 schools), you’ll need to be open minded, trying a range of different methods and finding out what works for you and your pupils.
With a gradual progression in solo teaching hours, our PGCE programme is carefully sequenced to allow you to succeed in the classroom and become a reflective practitioner, whilst supporting you in making learning biology an engaging, challenging yet fully inclusive experience for pupils.
Our one-year, full-time Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) Secondary Science- Biology programme will equip you with the skills, experience and knowledge you need to teach science to pupils aged 11 to 16- with Sixth Form enhancement. This gives you the opportunity to develop post-16 teaching skills if this is something you are interested in.
Upon successful completion of your PGCE, you will graduate with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and 90 Master’s credits. QTS will qualify you to teach children up to 18 years old.
Our PGCE Master’s programme closely interweaves school (minimum 120 days) and university-based training to provide a solid foundation for the rest of your career. As well as providing a structured introduction to the core body of knowledge, skills and behaviours that define great teaching, our course will provide you with the opportunity to research and evaluate the latest thinking in good teaching practice, helping you understand the optimum ways pupils learn.
By the end of the course, you will evolve your own style of teaching, not only to meet the differing needs of pupils but so that it matches your personality. You will be supported by your tutor in starting your career in a school that works for you.
You’ll be taught in our purpose-built laboratories that model secondary school science labs. You’ll learn how to use practical work and demonstrations to inspire your pupils. Science-specific workshops will focus on subject knowledge, practical skills and effective teaching strategies across all secondary Key Stages. You’ll join us on a biology fieldtrip to the North Norfolk coast to explore sand dune and saltmarsh ecology. We’ll take a boat trip to visit the seal and seabird colonies on Blakeney point and throughout the course we’ll explore a variety of outdoor activities.
Study and Modules
You’ll be learning in a variety of settings – both at UEA and in two placement schools. Over 38 weeks, you will spend a minimum of 120 days on school placement and 60 study days in structured learning at UEA.
You’ll begin the first few weeks of the course being taught on our Norwich campus where you’ll be engaging in hands-on workshops, seminars, and lectures. These will enable you to develop a repertoire of skills so that you feel comfortable and confident when teaching your first classes.
You’ll have opportunities to work with trainees from other subject areas, but you’ll spend most of your time at university in your science group, reflecting on subject specific pedagogy with people who share your enthusiasm for your subject. In addition, you’ll be supported by a subject specialist tutor with considerable secondary school teaching experience, who is an expert in their field.
Within your science group, you’ll take part in small group seminars and practical workshops, which place an emphasis on collaboration and discussion.
You’ll be given support for teaching outside your main science specialism, with extra sessions in chemistry and physics.
You’ll also learn how to promote equal opportunity, understand special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and address controversial issues.
In your specialist subject group, you’ll develop skills to teach Biology to KS4 and KS5 with an emphasis on inspirational practical work to promote awe and wonder in your biology lessons.
You’ll gain experience working in two different schools whilst on placement. This will enable you to gain a broad range of experience and greater insight into different types of schools; this will prove invaluable when it is time to make an informed choice regarding your first teaching position. Our school partnership extends across East Anglia, so we’ll consider your home address when deciding on your placement schools. We take great care in deciding where to place you, taking into account your individual circumstances and ensuring excellent training opportunities, such as contrasting placements. You will be able to explore different approaches while finding out what works for you.
You will also learn how to make an effective contribution to the work of schools beyond your subject specialism and to establish yourself as part of a community of practice.
Between placements, you’ll discuss and reflect on your school experiences with your fellow students, while learning more about the theory and practice of learning.
Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, the University will endeavour to consult with students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will inform students.
Teaching and Learning
We draw on expertise from across our school partnership to offer you a rich and rewarding range of learning opportunities throughout the PGCE within and beyond UEA.
In Curriculum sessions, you will work with specialist science teacher educators, who are academics, experienced teachers and leaders in their field. The focus here will be on the application of science pedagogy in the classroom, drawing on current subject-specific research.
You will be expected to prepare for Curriculum and Professional Development sessions. The emphasis is on collaborative working, as you will learn with and from your peers, so prepare to be engaged! You will also study independently throughout the course, researching and writing your Master’s-level assignments, and developing your subject knowledge, under the guidance of your UEA tutor and your school mentors.
Throughout the year, you’ll be encouraged to reflect on your teaching practice, taking every opportunity to put theory into practice. You will work closely with your UEA tutor and your mentors in your placement schools to ensure you meet the Teachers’ Standards by the end of the year.
Your course will include experiences designed to help you to develop a rich repertoire of teaching approaches, including the effective use of practical work and new technology. You will learn about the production and evaluation of teaching materials, how to use demonstrations to inspire your class, and the importance of laboratory safety. You’ll learn how to prepare for and evaluate your lessons, integrating strategies to support pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and for whom English is an Additional Language (EAL).
You’ll put theory into practice by planning and identifying strategies to encourage positive pupil participation and achievement, for instance in anti-racist education, supporting LGBTQ+ pupils and sustainability in the curriculum.
You will complete three Master’s level assignments that are carefully designed to help you become an effective teacher. Your assignments will relate directly to your professional knowledge and understanding, as well as your practical teaching experience within your school placements.
Throughout your time in schools, you will benefit from the support and mentoring of expert colleagues. You will have your own subject specific mentor who will provide feedback on your teaching and through regular professional dialogue, will help you to progress towards meeting the Teachers’ Standards by the end of the course.
- Degree Classification
- 2:2 or above
- Degree Subject
- Biology or related subject
Before making your application you must have a GCSE pass at Grade C/4 or its equivalent* in English Language and in Mathematics.
*Please note: It is up to the discretion of the individual Initial Teacher Training provider as to whether an appropriate level has been satisfactorily achieved. We therefore strongly urge candidates with equivalent qualifications to check with us that these are acceptable before making their application.
We are able to consider GCSE equivalency tests taken via equivalencytesting.com only, with grades of A*-C or 4-9.
- English Foreign Language
We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:
IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all components)
PTE (Pearson): 67 (minimum 64 in all components)
Test dates should be within two years of the course start date. Other tests such as the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English are also accepted by the university. Please check with the Admissions Office for further details including the scores or grades required.
- Interview required; please be aware that we cannot guarantee that all candidates who apply will be shortlisted for interview.
- This course is open to UK, EU and International applicants. The annual intake for this course is in September each year.
Additional Information or Requirements
Applicants are required to have achieved a degree or its equivalent* by the beginning of the PGCE programme in September. A first degree or a higher degree in biology or a closely related subject is recommended, however other subjects may be appropriate. As a general guideline, approximately 50 per cent of the degree should be relevant to the subject you will teach.
PRE-APPLICATION CLASSROOM EXPERIENCE
From February 2018, applicants are not required to have gained any prior experience within a school.
Although not a requirement, time spent in a school could help you to gain valuable insight into the role of a teacher, how teaching and learning takes place within the classroom, and help you to decide whether teaching is the right profession for you. It is recommended, that where possible, you gain some school experience prior to application.
It would be most useful if experience could be gained across the Secondary age range in your chosen subject area.
If you are able to gain classroom experience prior to submitting your application there are a number of ways in which this can be achieved:
Contact Your Local School:
Try contacting local schools where you live to see if you are able to arrange a time to observe some lessons, or register with the DfE School Experience Programme to help book school experience through their online portal.
University Career Schemes:
If you are an undergraduate student at UEA, you can apply for a digital school via our A Glimpse of Teaching programme and/or the IntoUniversity Mentoring Scheme.
The IntoUniversity Mentoring Scheme pairs a university student or an individual who has graduated within the past 2 years with one of IntoUniversity’s young people (aged 10-17) giving them the opportunity to receive tailored, one-to-one support for their academic attainment, social skills and future planning. Find out more about what IntoUniversity does and how to apply to be a Mentor.
KNOWLEDGE OF THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM, KEY CONTACTS AND USEFUL LINKS
Applications are considered on an individual basis and being able to demonstrate a strong level of knowledge about the National Curriculum and current issues affecting teaching is advantageous. These educational links will provide you with some useful points of contact to help to get you started.
DISCLOSURE AND BARRING SERVICE CHECK (DBS)
Disclosure of Criminal Background for Those with Access to Children:
All applicants for the PGCE course will be required to obtain an Enhanced Criminal Records check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The enhanced disclosure will be used to assess suitability for the programme and information provided may be discussed with the external members of the School's Safeguarding Sub-Committees. Candidates are responsible for payment of the DBS fee. General information about this process can be obtained from the Disclosure and Barring Service Website.
SATISFACTORY HEALTH CHECK
You will need to demonstrate your fitness to teach by completing an Occupational Health Assessment. This will give us information about any special needs you may have, and enable us to assess whether the University and placement areas will be able to provide support. It is therefore, in your interest to provide full answers to the questions.
Fees and Funding
Tuition fees for the Academic Year 2023/24 are:
UK Students: £9,250 (full time)
International Students: £19,800 (full time)
If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for Home students).
We estimate living expenses at £1,023 per month.
Further Information on tuition fees can be found here.
Scholarships and Bursaries
A range of funding options are available to help you Train to Teach, including Postgraduate Teaching Bursaries worth up to £20,000. Search UEA’s Scholarship Finder to check your eligibility, details of how to apply and closing dates.
Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loans
You can also apply for a tuition fee and a maintenance loan if you already have a student loan, and regardless of whether you get a teaching bursary or scholarship. You can apply for a:
- Tuition fee loan of up to £9,250 to cover your teacher training, so you do not need to pay course fees upfront
- Maintenance loan of up to £12,667 to help with living costs
Course Related Costs
How to Apply
MAKING YOUR APPLICATION
Candidates can submit their application by using the GOV.UK service called Apply for teacher training. Please note, UEA is not responsible for content on external websites linked from this page.
PREPARING YOUR APPLICATION
Candidates are encouraged to prepare thoroughly. Application forms should be able to demonstrate not only your depth of subject knowledge but also your enthusiasm and commitment to a career in teaching. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the information available from the Department for Education. These sources will help you to gain knowledge of the current issues facing teaching, specifically in the subject area for which you are applying. During interview you will be expected to be able to answer questions about these issues, and what has prompted your desire to choose teaching as a career.
Candidates are selected on the basis of their application form, interview and references.
The University of East Anglia operates an equal opportunities admissions policy. We aim to ensure that no applicant receives less favourable consideration on the grounds of gender, marital status, race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin or religious belief. More on equal opportunities.
Students with a Disability (including Dyslexia):
The University welcomes students with disabilities and is working towards the provision of an inclusive environment for all its students, staff and visitors. More on disability support.
If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:
PGCE Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 592855
EU and International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.
After the Course
Alongside your PGCE, you will gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and 90 Master’s credits.
You will be supported by your tutor in making an informed choice regarding your first teaching position, as well as throughout the application and interview process.
The support will continue beyond your training year, as we work closely with schools and Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) induction bodies to identify and provide support in case it is needed.
Within a few years of joining the profession, you could find yourself being promoted into a role with leadership and/or pastoral responsibilities.
Head of Department/ Head of Year
UK and overseas teaching opportunities