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PGCE - Secondary Biology with QTS (11-16)

Inspire the next generation of scientists by sharing your passion for Biology with young people. In this specialised PGCE pathway, you can instil a love of the fast-moving world of Biology within the children you teach.

Our well-respected PGCE Secondary with QTS supports you through your journey from student to Early Career Teacher (ECT). Moreover, as the PGCE programme includes QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) you'll apply for your first teaching position whilst studying with us.

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OFSTED Rated 'Good' 2023:

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Course Overview

Grounded in the learning of our PGCE Secondary programme, this Biology pathway allows you to develop the skills to teach in the secondary school setting, delivering engaging Biology lessons. This unique specialism gives you the opportunity to inspire the next generation of ecologists, doctors and microbiologists.

You’ll learn through a blend of theory and hands-on experience, working within the National Curriculum Framework. You'll explore the key concepts and themes of the PGCE curriculum, confidently devising and delivering engaging lessons to children and young people, aged 11-16 years old.

Over half the course will be spent working in the classroom on assessed placement, with school-based enrichment activities alongside your university-based study. You'll take two placements across a variety of schools and settings, building a wealth of experience to help advance your future career.

On this course you will...

  • Inspire young people to explore the world of biology.
  • Benefit from high-quality support from our academics and staff on a programme designed around you.
  • Learn from an experienced, highly qualified programme team, working at the forefront of the academic field.
  • Enjoy the intimate feel of our course delivery, with small class sizes and your own personal tutor.
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Course Structure

What you will learn

Our course ensures that you learn all the skills you need for effective teaching, from the basics of structuring and planning lessons to developing personal skills and confidence. Our school-based programme is delivered through dedicated sessions with trainees and school mentors, and allows you to learn from working alongside experienced school colleagues. Working with individual groups of pupils in school, you will gradually build up to teach whole classes about topics such as particle theory, acids and alkalis, the reactivity series and many other exciting topics. You will learn how to organise practical work and also carry out many of the practical activities that are common in schools. You will also receive training in key stage 3 Physics and Chemistry, reflecting the fact that in most schools you will be expected to teach all three sciences at key stage 3.


There are two distinct phases to teaching on this course; September-December and January-June. In the September-December phase, you will develop your understanding and implementation of key teaching strategies. During this phase you will take your first teaching steps by working with individual groups of pupils in school, gradually building up to the teaching of whole classes. The key focus in this initial phase is that of helping students to understand the needs of individual learners. In the January-June phase, you will hone your whole-class teaching experience, fostering achievement and a love of learning in students, in correspondence to the requirements of the Teachers’ Standards.

Year one
  • PGSC7011 Investigating Teaching and Learning in Biology
    Explore concepts and structures within Biology in-depth, along with the connections between key subject themes.
  • PGSC7012 Investigating Teaching and Learning Across and Beyond the School Curriculum
    Develop a secure understanding of the curriculum and the ways in which as practitioners you can contribute to the school community.
  • PGSC9011 Developing Professional Skills, Knowledge and Practice
    Draw together your school-based experiences and achieve your QTS.

Attend an Open Day at Cumbria

An Open Day is your opportunity to explore one of 5 campuses, meet your lecturers, and find out how the University of Cumbria could become your new home.

Take the next step towards achieving your dreams.
A student stands in front of a wall splattered with paint.