Biology is one of the PGCE Science subjects that we offer and there are normally around 15-18 student teachers studying each of those subjects. Within the 50 people on the PGCE Science programmes we find a vast range of diversity of age, experience and background. Some student teachers come straight from undergraduate studies, while others are undergoing a move from successful roles in other professions. There is no one model for learning to teach Science, but all our student teachers do share an enthusiasm for biology, the other sciences and learning.
The nature of degree study means that student teachers often have quite specialised biological knowledge, so our workshops at the University are designed to help you develop their subject knowledge across all the aspects of biology that are relevant to the school curriculum. You will also be developing your knowledge of chemistry and physics, enabling you to teach across the sciences to GCSE level in school. Hence, collaborative learning and teaching with student teachers from the PGCE Chemistry and Physics programmes will be an important feature of your work, with sessions at the University providing the opportunity to work in specialist and mixed subject groups.
Workshop sessions are practical and active in approach, based in our facilities in the School of Education and in “We The Curious”, an internationally renowned hands-on Science Centre in Bristol. Both venues have up-to-date school laboratories and excellent technical support. The laboratory-based sessions will enable you to look at both well-established and new approaches to biology. Topics in applied biology, such as biotechnology, genetics and the associated ethical issues, are given particular emphasis. Bristol Zoo and the local Botanical Gardens provide contexts for ecological work, while you will also collaborate with student teachers from other PGCE subject disciplines to create a project exploring issues that might be controversial or relate to sustainability.
The PGCE Biology programme is demanding and challenging, but our student teachers enjoy and value it. Employment rates are very high with many of our biology student teachers securing jobs in schools within Bristol and the surrounding area. We also take a long-term view of teacher development; enabling trainees to find that science teacher in them that will deliver sustained good practice for a number of years. Excellent practitioners, leaders and innovators emerge from our PGCE Biology programme.