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Postgraduate taught

Secondary Education Biology PGCE

What is Secondary Education Biology PGCE?

We offer our students an exceptional training experience – if you’re looking for a lifelong, challenging and exciting career, teaching may be for you. As well as Biology (Sciences), the PGCE Secondary award, with QTS, is also available in Art and Design, Computing, English, Geography, History, Mathematics and Physical Education.

In your subject knowledge days, you will explore how to teach the key concepts of Biology through exploring and experimenting the ways in which each curriculum can be taught. You’ll discover how young people meet each concept across the curriculum and how their knowledge is expected to evolve over time.

Starting with direct instruction to give you the fundamentals of teaching, we then evolve our practice to incorporate a range of evidence-led teaching methods, such as dialogic inquiry, metacognition and cognitive acceleration. Over time, with inclusion at the heart of our programme, you will find yourself becoming increasingly adaptive to a range of student needs.

A lot of time is committed to rigorous practice: how to explain, model and assess different topics, how to use practical’s effectively and how to design schemes of work that impact on pupil progress. You will also delve into Physics and Chemistry, so that you are prepared to teach Science across the curriculum.

You’ll be supported by a range of experienced professionals, both during school placements and by academic staff at the university. The programme aims to help you become an engaging and effective teacher within the 11–16 age range, and provides the input and opportunities that could enable you to teach post-16. Successfully completing this PGCE course will enable you to teach at Secondary age, as well as Primary and A Level.

We were founded as a teaching college 175 years ago, and following the introduction of new quality requirements, our Initial Teacher Training (ITT) courses leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), have successfully achieved reaccreditation in 2022 by the Department of Education.

Our ITT courses have also recently been rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, with inspectors highlighting their ‘unique’ emphasis on sustainability and the University’s strong partnership with schools.

Study style

You’ll spend a minimum of 24 weeks in at least 2 schools, returning to central provision throughout the year for professional development and subject training. During the training year, you will engage in professional study and knowledge days where you will work with colleagues across the different subject areas to share good practice.

Employment rates have been consistently high for our graduates and we offer you the opportunity to undertake Master’s-level modules to gain Master’s credits. These can be used subsequently to take your career to the next level. If you pass all elements of the course at Master’s level, the award title will carry 60 master’s credits and qualified teacher status (QTS).

The course is assessed via summative written assignments, school placements and your individual portfolio which records progress in relation to the QTS standards. All elements must be completed satisfactorily.

There are a wide range of placements available which have been arranged with key considerations in mind: experience of different age-ranges and schools, accessibility/travel time, previous experience and so on. The tuition and school placements are organised in blocks throughout the year. The normal working week is approximately 35 hours and normal school hours apply when students are on placement (8am-5pm), with additional independent study.

What we offer

• High graduate employment
• Deliberate practice in every session – we take what we learn about teaching and we apply to practice, straight away
• Inclusion at the heart of the programme – we reflect on what challenges students might face from across the ability range within each topic
• Detailed, deep dives into the curriculum – we study each topic in depth and reflect on how to teach the teach and design curriculum to meet student needs. We stretch into the key topics in chemistry and physics too
• Specialist facilities at FCH
• A level Teaching input


Entry requirements

    • An honours degree, normally at 2.2 or above (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.

      If you do not hold a 2.2 or above, we may be able to consider your application but will require additional information.

      If you do not hold a degree in a relevant subject we will be able to consider your application if you have other qualifications, such as A Levels or postgraduate qualifications in the subject.

    • GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade 4 (C) or above, or an equivalent qualification.

      If you don’t have a traditional GCSE, get in touch with our admissions team who will be able to advise you.

    • If you are offered a place on the programme you will be required to complete a health declaration, which will be assessed by the University Doctor.

    • The University of Gloucestershire is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and expects all our trainees to share this commitment.

      If you are offered a place it will be subject to:

      • Satisfactory Safeguarding checks including the receipt of a ‘satisfactory’ Enhanced DBS return including children’s barred list information
      • Satisfactory completion of suitability form
      • Verification of two references
      • Satisfactory Certificate of Good conduct, where applicable, for those who have lived or worked abroad

Course modules


Fees and costs

A bursary of £20,000 is available for trainees studying this course in 2023 and 2024. To find out more, including other bursaries available, please visit the website.
Start date Location Course code Total Fee (UK) Total Fee (international)
Aug 2023 Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham 3DMF £9,250 £15,450
Sep 2024 Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham 3DMF TBC TBC
Sep 2025 Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham 3DMF TBC TBC

Ready to apply?

Possible careers

Graduates from this course can go on to work in secondary school teaching.

Industry links

Our vision is for all of our students to become graduate ambassadors for education, leaders of learning, outstanding teachers and subject experts.

Employment rates have been consistently high for graduates and we offer you the opportunity to gain Master’s credits which count towards a full Master’s degree. This can be used to take your career to the next level at a subsequent time. All students undertake Master’s level modules in addition to other compulsory modules. If you pass all elements of the course at Master’s level, the award title will carry Master’s credits and QTS.

Choose from eight subject specialisms

You can potentially combine Physical Education with Mathematics, English, History, Geography and a Science (subject to DfE approval) – however a minimum grade C in A Level for the EBacc subjects is required in addition to the general PGCE entry requirements. Although you’ll be equipped to teach the above subjects, the award gained will be in Physical Education. You’ll have weekly subject sessions with your Subject Leader throughout the programme.

Experience teaching in a minimum of two schools

Through our long-established networks, we can offer you a wide variety of placement opportunities. You’ll spend 26 weeks in at least two schools where you’ll receive valuable support from experienced, dedicated teachers.

Endless possibilities with a master’s degree

Increase your pay potential, specialise in the subject you love, or pursue your passion and switch careers.

UoG students can benefit from an alumni discount. Receive 20% discount on your postgraduate tuition fees as a 2021 UoG graduate.

Discover your next step.

Education for sustainability - Green Gown Award nomination

Our ambitious curriculum includes Education for Sustainability – this is an aspect of our curriculum we champion and celebrate.

Our trainers were recently involved in a ChangeMakers Summit that was delivered to 120 young people from the Cheltenham Education Partnership, where they engaged in a range of workshops focusing on sustainability. The project was nominated for a UK Green Gown Award.