The Aspirations Academies Trust
Biology (AK42)

PGCE with QTS full time

Accredited body
Roehampton University
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
30 October 2019
Date course starts
September 2020


About the course

The programme is designed to support trainees in developing a range of skills that are required to become a successful secondary school teacher. Trainees will: -Become effective classroom practitioners; planning and delivering engaging and stimulating lessons -Learn to recognise the similarities and differences in pupils, particularly in terms of their needs, their behaviour and attainment and how to plan for this in lessons -Develop a critical understanding of the curriculum and pedagogy - develop an understanding of project based learning, as well as more traditional pedagogies -Begin to understand the complex range of whole school issues, the values and assumptions that underpin them and their application to school and classroom practice.

Qualification Outcome: Successfully completing all aspects of the course, both in school and university based learning, will lead to the award of Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), which also carries 60 Masters level credits that may be used towards a subsequent Masters degree. The PGCE (M) component is an academic qualification awarded by the university. It is recognised abroad.

The course also leads to the award of QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). QTS is a professional qualification awarded by the Department for Education. The key aim of this programme is to enable trainees to become confident, knowledgeable and enthusiastic teachers. The programme provides opportunities for trainees to explore the theory and practice of teaching the subject through a range of lectures, workshops and tutorials, and to develop their expertise in the classroom through two contrasting school placements.

The course will provide trainees with an awareness of the theoretical foundations of the subject, of strategies for teaching and learning in biology and of current issues surrounding biological sciences education. Workshops will enable students to explore a range of practical processes. These will cover strategies to teach young people to develop skills in reasoning and problem solving, misconceptions in biology and how to identify and debunk them as well as developing strategies for altering long term memory to build on apply knowledge. Regular tutorials enable trainees to receive individual support from tutors. Lecturers on the programme are experienced teachers of biology and active researchers in the field of biology education.

Interview process

There are four Schools operating on behalf of Aspirations for secondary recruitment across our 15 schools: Rivers Academy West London in Feltham Wykham Park Academy in Banbury Magna Academy in Poole Park Academy West London in Uxbridge

Candidates should apply via UCAS to their preferred school, which will then coordinate the recruitment process. If your application is shortlisted, you will be invited for a first stage interview at the lead school. The application and interview process for each school is identical and is quality assured by Aspirations.

Stage 1 will consist of a panel interview, delivery of a short presentation, and some written tasks. If successful at this stage, you will be invited to visit your potential main placement school to be observed leading a teaching activity with a small group of students (Stage 2). You will be told in advance about the content of the lesson you will need to plan, and the age group you will be teaching.

How school placements work

You will train for the 1st and 3rd term within your ‘host’ school and then experience another school within the Aspirations Teaching School Alliance in the 2nd term.

Our lead mentor will visit you within your second setting to ensure you are supported throughout this time along with a mentor being provided every step of the way at the school.

This provides a chance to experience a different setting and perfect your practice whilst working towards the teaching standards. You will then return to your host school to complete your training.

We endeavour to match the right trainee to the right partner school for their main placement based on their initial preference, geography / distance from home, and areas of specific interest. You will be given the opportunity to express your placement preference once you have submitted your application.

Trainees will also be expected to attend an induction day with their main placement school ahead of the September course start. During the first half of the Spring term, all trainees complete a second, 5-6 week placement in another school (eg a primary school or another secondary school in the Aspirations or partner schools). There is also an Enrichment period for all bursary-led/unsalaried trainees in May/June for two weeks which will focus on subject knowledge development as well as other current educational priorities.

PGCE studies take place with the Roehampton University every Wednesday, with the other four days per week being spent in school (minimum of 120 days across the year).

Aspirations school supply dedicated and high quality one-to-one Mentor support and in-school Professional Studies to complement the core PGCE programme offered by the University each week. Trainees will also be expected to attend events such as parents’ evening and contribute to report writing during the year. While there is no guarantee of permanent employment with placement schools, a considerable number of our trainees do go on to secure NQTs positions within our academies.


The course fees for 2020 to 2021 are as follows:
Student type Fees to pay
UK students £9,250
EU students £9,250
International students £9,250

Financial support

You’ll get a bursary of £26,000 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.



Candidates should have at minimum a second class degree with 50% of the content being in Biology or a science.

Students must have achieved at least a grade C or above in both Mathematics and English Language GCSEs (or approved equivalents), applicants without one or both of these GCSEs (or approved equivalents) will be considered for interview. If you do not currently hold a GCSE grade C or above in Mathematics and English Language, we accept the equivalency tests offered by Equivalency Testing.

Personal qualities

We are looking for applicants who are passionate about teaching their subject and have the potential to become outstanding teachers.

Applicants need to show evidence of time management skills, commitment and personal resilience needed to undertake school based teacher training. Ability to work effectively with young people and understand the urban state school environment is essential. Confident self-presentation, good communication skills and the ability to inspire and enthuse young people are also important.

Other requirements

UK enhanced DBS check is required prior to enrolment and a suitability declaration will be requested when accepting a place. If you have lived outside of the UK for a period of a year over the age of 18 then you will also be required to provide an overseas criminal records check clearance prior to starting the course.

A declaration of health questionnaire is required to assess if you are fit to teach.

About the training provider

Aspirations Academies are a great place to teach. We are looking for teachers who want to work in a vibrant learning organisation that provides young people with an authentic education preparing them for success on today’s world. These are the benefits:

  • Vibrant, positive work environments
  • The ‘Teacher Roadmap’ providing career based teacher professional development opportunities and a personal coach
  • Leadership training and opportunities
  • School improvement opportunities
  • Involvement in national educational developments through the Aspirations Education Innovation Centre
  • Generous lesson planning and marking time provided in the working week.
  • Planning alongside other teachers
  • Generous annual leave: 70 days including Bank Holidays
  • Excellent teacher pension schemes
  • Clear salary progression on the Trust’s leadership spine

About the accredited body

The University of Roehampton has been at the forefront of teacher education for over 100 years and has a long-established, international reputation as one of the principal providers of teacher education in the UK. Many members of the academic staff are at the cutting edge of research in teacher education, which has a positive impact on the quality of provision for all of our students; and all tutors have extensive teaching experience in schools.

Training with disabilities and other needs

All our training programmes are bespoke and tailored to meet individual needs, reflecting applicants’ skills and experience and any health or disability requirements. Where possible we collaborate with our training providers to adapt training provision to support trainees with disabilities and other needs.

Feedback from previous trainees suggests high levels of satisfaction with the support we offer them, carefully co-ordinated between school and training provider. We recognise that teaching is a rewarding but demanding career and that there are times when even the best trainees will face challenges. We promote trainee well-being and resilience to enable them to make a long-term commitment to the teaching profession and this is at the heart of our training provision.

The University of Roehampton offers an extensive range of student support and well-being services. There is a strong tutorial support system in the School of Education and during school placements. Trainees can apply for a Statement of Adjustment to ensure their needs are met. Dyslexia Services offer support for specific learning difference (SpLDs) such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

University of Roehampton

Contact details

World Business Centre 3
Newall Road


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Support and advice

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