The Rural Schools Alliance
Biology (326P)

PGCE with QTS full time

Accredited body
University of Winchester
Financial support
Bursary or student finance 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

This secondary Biology training programme is being offered at one campus within a partnership of six schools.

Trainees who follow this School Direct Training Programme are based in a host school but are not directly employed by that institution. Course fees are paid by the trainee and funding may be available through tuition fee loans, bursaries or scholarships.

The training programme is designed to support academic-based assignments and practical teaching experience. It will consist of: subject-specific sessions taught throughout the year at both the university and partnership schools; training within a host school; classroom teaching in two contrasting schools and lesson observations.

Successful completion of the course leads to Qualified Teacher Status, a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and students are also able to accrue credits towards a Master’s Level Degree.

The Rural Schools Alliance also offers salaried places for Biology without a tuition fee charge.

See our website for more information (

Interview process

All shortlisted applicants are interviewed prior to the formal offer of a training place with the Rural Schools Alliance.

Interviews for a placement with the Rural Schools Alliance may include any combination of the following:

  • A tour of the school to meet pupils and staff
  • Small group or whole class teaching
  • A group discussion with an educational focus
  • A written task to show that you are able to write English clearly without errors of spelling, grammar or punctuation
  • A subject-specific verbal presentation
  • A formal interview (the panel will normally contain the Director of the Rural Schools Alliance, a Professional Mentor, a Subject Leader and a representative from the University of Winchester)

How school placements work

The Rural Schools Alliance is a partnership of six rural secondary schools all based within Hampshire. Training is divided into 4 parts: Core Training Days, University Days, Placement 1 and Placement 2.

Core Training Days - At the start of the programme, you will experience an intensive, immersive induction into the world of teaching and learning with Core Training Days. Both by developing your existing knowledge, and introducing you to practical concepts and applications in the classroom, you will be encouraged to establish and develop solid foundations in readiness for your school placements.

University Days - University days provide a valuable opportunity to study and learn your craft – both subject specific and pedagogy – through collaboration with trainees within and beyond the Alliance.

Placement 1 - You will begin with collaborative work and observation, and teaching will range from 25% to 50% by the end of the first placement, combining collaborative and solo training.

Placement 2 - During this placement, collaborative and solo teaching will increase to up to 60% by the end of your placement. This placement generally takes place during the first half of the Spring term.


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

The tuition fees for September 2020 entry are £9,250 for UK, EU and Islands (Channel Islands and Isle of Man) students, however the tuition fee for students outside the EU are yet to be confirmed for 2020 entry. Please contact in the autumn for confirmation of the fee.

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.



The minimum requirements you will be expected to meet are as follows: an honours degree, usually a 2:2 or above; GCSE English language and mathematics at grade C or 4 or above. Equivalencies to academic qualifications are considered on an individual basis, so if you hold qualifications from a number of years ago or from outside the UK, please contact us for confirmation of their suitability.

Personal qualities

We will look for evidence of a commitment to the teaching profession, an understanding of professional requirements, and an awareness of current educational issues in an application. Prior experience in a school is not required, however prospective students may find experience in a school useful for obtaining insights into the primary education classroom. Experience in a school or similar setting may also provide reassurance to prospective students that teaching is the right choice for their career.

Other requirements

If you accept an offer of a place you will be required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) criminal records check and Prohibition Order check. If you have spent time overseas in the last 5 years you may also be required to obtain criminal records checks from each of the countries you visited. You will also be required to complete an occupational health check to confirm that you are fit to teach. The University of Winchester will send you more information about when and how you need to complete each of these checks if you accept our offer.

About the training provider

The Rural Schools Alliance is a Teaching School Partnership comprising six Hampshire secondary Schools, all Ofsted rated “Good” schools who have been recognised for our drive and determination to deliver high quality comprehensive education, whilst observing, celebrating and actively promoting traditional values.

Our partnership covers vasts belts of rural communities across the county of Hampshire, whilst remaining accessible to the key urban areas of Andover, Fareham, Waterlooville, Winchester, Southampton and Portsmouth.

We offer two pathways into School Direct – Salaried and Tuition Fee. All student teachers are initially registered for the Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). This is a course of 120 credits at Level 6. In December, student teachers may apply to be registered on the Postgraduate Certificate In Education (PGCE-M) where up to 60 M-level credits can be gained from subsequent work. Therefore the PGCE-M will result in 60 credits at Level 6 and 60 at Level M. All students completing the School Direct course will also gain NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) status.

Our accredited provider is the University of Winchester which is recognised by Ofsted as an ‘Outstanding’ provider of teacher education at both primary and secondary level and has a long history of training teachers.

Education should be fun, awe-inspiring, life-changing and life-enhancing: it should be borrowed and nurtured by a generation to pass on boldly and proudly to the next.

This is the ethos that underpins the Rural Schools.

About the accredited body

The University of Winchester delivers and designs the initial teacher training provision (ITT).

Our passion is to provide you with a university experience that helps you reach your full potential and make a real difference in the world. We can offer you a stimulating and supportive learning environment that challenges and inspires, in a beautiful, historic cathedral city, located an hour from London by train.

The city of Winchester has a rich heritage and vibrant contemporary culture, and is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the UK (Halifax Quality of Life Survey).

Training with disabilities and other needs

We are committed to supporting pupils and staff with specific needs and are committed to creating a community that recognises and celebrates difference within a culture of respect and cooperation. We are a wheelchair friendly site.

Your well-being is a top priority and we will do all we can to give you the chance to flourish and maximise your potential. In partnership with the University of Winchester there is a dedicated student support team to help with any questions or challenges you might experience during your studies. We work with you to support your well-being and mental health, provide confidential advice and offer workshops to boost your academic skills. If you have a disability or learning difference, we encourage you to get in touch before you apply so we can discuss tailored support for your individual needs.

Contact details

New Road
SO32 2RB


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
New Road, Swanmore, Southampton, SO32 2RB
Yes -

Support and advice

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

Get support and advice about teaching

Register with Get Into Teaching, the Department for Education’s free support and advice service, for personalised guidance from teaching experts. They can help you to prepare your application, book school experience, and access exclusive teaching events. You can also call them free of charge on 0800 389 2500, or speak to an adviser using their online chat service, from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday.

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