North London New River Teaching Alliance
Biology (2ZD6)

PGCE with QTS full time

Accredited body
UCL, University College London (University of London)
Financial support
Bursaries and student finance are available if you’re eligible

A postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) with qualified teacher status (QTS) will allow you to teach in state schools in England and may allow you to teach in other parts of the UK.

It may also allow you to teach overseas, though you should always check what qualifications are needed in the country you’d like to teach in.

Many PGCE courses include credits that count toward a Master’s degree.

Course length
1 year
Date you can apply from
13 October 2020
Date course starts
September 2021


About the course

Please note: Information in the sections below may be subject to amendments / adjustments to meet Covid-19 requirements.

The Biology PGCE will help you develop the professional skills and knowledge to teach all aspects of science to pupils up to age 16, as well as biology to pupils aged up to 18. We are committed to creative approaches and you will be encouraged to develop resources during the programme. The experienced tutors have previously been classroom teachers, heads of school science departments and worked in industry. They are actively involved in science education research, work on the national curriculum and leading sessions for Science Learning Centre London.

You will acquire critical understanding of current debates and issues relating to science education, and we will support you in developing your subject knowledge. You are expected to engage with reading and research in science education and to regularly reflect upon your own progress.

The course covers health and safety, management of teaching and learning in laboratories and outdoors, the use of ICT, facilitating small group discussion, meeting pupils’ special needs and assessment.

You will develop knowledge and understanding of the national curriculum, its targets and content, together with an understanding of wider statutory requirements. You will advance your teaching and classroom management skills to a high level, and enhance your capacity for self-reflection and further professional development.

You will undertake two school placements during your PGCE training and these will be at two of our excellent alliance schools. Including: Alexandra Park School, Fortismere School, Woodside High School, Friern Barnet School, Park View School, Duke’s Aldridge Academy, Highgate Wood School, Mill Hill County High and Christ’s College Finchley.

UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is a global leader in teacher education. Their programmes are recognised by Ofsted as “outstanding” in every criterion across Primary and Secondary Education. All UCL School Direct students have full access to UCL student support services/facilities.

This programme follows the same structure as the PGCE route and awards the PGCE and QTS. The only difference is students apply directly via UCAS to the school or alliance. Candidates will still attend the same university lectures.

Click here to see full details of the Biology course

Interview process

Alexandra Park School is the lead school in the partnership and will be coordinating the recruitment process. This will involve performing a variety of tasks, including: a short presentation, a lesson activity, a written feedback exercise, a group discussion activity and an interview. If the placement is at another school in the partnership, staff from that school will also be involved.

If you are successful at the school interview, our university partner will also invite you to an interview. This will also serve as an opportunity to learn more about the PGCE course, the tutors and the facilities at the Institute.

How school placements work

You will be trained in a supportive and aspirational environment and will develop the rigour, professional knowledge, understanding and skills necessary for the delivery of creative, purposeful and challenging teaching and learning.

Most of the training will be delivered by expert teachers in the partnership schools. This will be enhanced by studies at the university.

You will be assigned to one of the schools in the partnership to do a teaching placement in the autumn term. In the spring term, you will do a second teaching placement at another of our partner schools. All schools have comprehensive intakes and you will get experience of working with young people of all abilities. At least one of your placements will give you access to post-16 learners.

You can express a preference for a placement at a specific school in the partnership and we will endeavour to meet your request. You will have full access to the Institute of Education. The course is identical to the PGCE so you will attend the exact same lectures. Prior to each of your two teaching placements you will have two weeks’ intensive preparation at the university. As with the PGCE, much of your training will take place within the school itself.

You will be assigned two mentors from the staff of your assigned school, one from your subject area and one from the senior leadership team. From the beginning, you will be treated like a member of staff and will attend staff meetings and development days. Our mentors are outstanding teachers but they are required to undertake a rigorous training programme to develop their mentoring skills.

Successfully completing all aspects of the course will gain you the award of Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), which also carries 60 master level credits that may be used towards a subsequent Masters degree. The course also leads to the award of QTS (Qualified Teacher Status).


The course fees for UK students in 2021 to 2022 are £9,250

Financial support

You’ll get a bursary of £7,000 if you have a degree of 2:2 or above in any subject.

You don’t have to apply for a bursary - if you’re eligible, you’ll automatically start receiving it once you begin your course. Find out about eligibility and how you’ll be paid.

You may be eligible for a loan while you study – note that you’ll have to apply for undergraduate student finance.

Find out about financial support if you’re from outside the UK.



UCL requires a minimum of a 2:2 honours degree in a related subject and GCSEs in English Language and Maths at grade C/5 or above.

  • UCL does accept iGCSE in English Language or Maths.

  • UCL does NOT accept ‘additional’ or ‘applied’ GCSE subjects.

The equivalence of all overseas degrees is verified by UCL according to their requirements and is in addition to any assessments by NARIC.

For GCSE equivalency testing, UCL will only accept tests from:

Click here for full details of the the entry requirements for the Biology course

Personal qualities

We are looking for ambitious trainee teachers who are passionate and enthusiastic about their subject and have a desire to share that with young people of all abilities in the secondary age range. This will be demonstrated by meaningful experience of working with young people of this age. This does not need to be paid work but might be helping with a sports team, drama group or youth club. We would like you to have done some observation in a classroom or you may even have worked in a school.

About the training provider

The New River Teaching Alliance is a fantastic collaboration, where participants can benefit from a unique school-based learning opportunity in partnership with world-class universities. The Alliance is a partnership of ten schools; all of which have achieved either Good or Outstanding Ofsted ratings. Our mission statement is simple: ‘Recruiting, supporting and developing the very best teachers’.

We aim to create an environment in which staff, pupils and trainee teachers all feel valued and supported. We have worked with trainee teachers for 15 years and fully recognise how much vibrancy, enthusiasm and drive they bring to a school community. Previous participants have commented that the training they received with us “reflects a positive, supportive whole school ethos and a high level of expertise among staff”.

Our partnership is led by Alexandra Park School and comprises nine other comprehensive schools. All our schools are conveniently located in North London, allowing trainees to engage with more than one school during the course. We provide a unique opportunity to experience a diverse and contrasting range of teaching and learning styles.

Our staff are our most valuable resource and have a proven track record in training and professional development. They are excellent practitioners with exemplary behaviour management skills who are “experienced, calm and professional.” All of the schools in our alliance have successfully proven their ability to both train and develop new teachers; with a growing proportion of trainees choosing to embark on their new careers at these institutions upon completion of the course.

About the accredited body

We work in partnership with UCL Institute of Education. The Institute (IOE) has been providing first-class teacher training, in partnership with schools and colleges for over 100 years.

Founded in 1902, as a teacher training college in London, the IOE is a world-class research and teaching institution. IOE graduates are highly sought after in schools and colleges throughout London and the UK.

Centrally located in historic Bloomsbury means that you are in the heart of London. The London Underground station at Russell Square is minutes from the main building and King’s Cross, St Pancras and Euston stations are close by.

Training with disabilities and other needs

Our partners UCL IOE and Goldsmiths have full disabled access as do the following schools in the partnership: Alexandra Park School, Fortismere School, Woodside High School and Highgate Wood School.

Applicants who would benefit from disabled access should let us know on their application so that they can be considered for placements at the appropriate schools.

Goldsmiths has full disabled access and is committed to admitting and supporting students with disabilities. The Institute also has a well-established Disability and Wellbeing team who provide support for students with a range of conditions. Every person is treated as an individual, and both institutions invite you to contact them as early as possible so that they can consider your needs and tailor their support to meet them.

Contact details

0208 826 4914
Bidwell Gardens
N11 2AZ


Apply for this course

Choose a training location

You’ll also need to choose a training location – select the relevant location name on the application form.

Choose a training location - List of locations, vacancies and codes
Location Vacancies Code
Main Site - Alexandra Park School
Bidwell Gardens, London, N11 2AZ
Yes -

Support and advice

For questions about this course you should contact the training provider using the contact details above.

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