University of Bristol Physics (F3X1)

PGCE with QTS full time

Financial support
Scholarships or bursaries, as well as 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.

Age range
11 to 18
Course length
1 year
Date you can apply from
12 October 2021
Date course starts
September 2022


About the course

Physics 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 cohort on the PGCE Science programme we find a 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 physics, the other sciences, and learning.

Our workshops at the University are designed to help you develop their subject knowledge across all the aspects of physics that are relevant to the school curriculum. You will also be developing your knowledge of biology and chemistry, enabling you to teach across the sciences to GCSE level in school. Hence, collaborative learning and teaching with student teachers from the other 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. Underpinning much of the work will be the development of concepts and pedagogy in key curriculum areas such as forces, energy, and electricity. Tackling the challenging areas of physics is a key component of the programme, along with thinking about how to help young people engage with difficult topics.

We are aware that some physics applicants may have an interest in teaching mathematics. There is scope within the programme for linking up with the PGCE Mathematics programme to take part in school-based projects and to examine some of the key issues involved in effective teaching and learning of mathematics.

The PGCE Physics programme is demanding and challenging, but our student teachers enjoy and value it. Employment rates are very high with many of our physics 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 Physics programme.

School placements

Our stable and well-established Partnership compromises approximately 65 schools. Some are in the City of Bristol itself, and others are typically within a day’s commute of Bristol (around one hour travelling) - in North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset as well as a small number in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Somerset. We work with some schools in South Wales (e.g., Chepstow). The Partnership comprises a diverse range of schools and we are therefore able to offer opportunities to experience different contexts across the year, for example including schools with higher numbers of BAME and/or EAL pupils. Where appropriate, we are also able to offer experience in a special school.

You will be placed in a minimum of two schools and when making placement decisions we take account of where you live as well as doing our best to accommodate personal circumstances. We know our Partnership schools well, however, and our priority is to place you in schools where your needs will be met, where you will be well-supported and have the opportunity to thrive. The majority of student teachers are required to travel for around one hour for at least one placement.

Our programme comprises three distinct phases. During the Induction Phase (Autumn Term), you will complete a short teaching placement (5 weeks). During the Assimilation Phase (Spring Term) you will complete your main placement (typically 12 weeks) in a second school. During the Extension Phase (Summer Term), you will complete a final, shorter placement (5 weeks). Typically, this is based in the main placement school, but can often involve tailored experiences in other schools, gaining additional experience such as teaching pupils with EAL, focusing on Key Stage 5 teaching or experience in a special school. Whilst the majority of our Partnership schools teach pupils 11-18, some teach 11-16 or 16-19. Therefore, a priority when selecting placement schools is to ensure that everyone has experience of teaching across the age ranges including A level/BTEC classes.

Entry requirements

Qualifications needed

An undergraduate degree at class 2:2 or above, or equivalent.

Grade 4 (C) or above in English and maths, or equivalent qualification.

We’ll consider candidates with pending GCSEs.

We’ll consider candidates who need to take a GCSE equivalency test in English or maths.

We will accept equivalency tests but only from certain providers. Please contact us for more details.

Personal qualities

We look for applicants with passion and who want to inspire the next generation. The PGCE is demanding but we’ll support you to become a confident and successful qualified teacher. As our aim is for you to thrive and become a confident and successful teacher; we look for:

  • good subject skills
  • good understanding of the secondary curriculum
  • awareness of current effective teaching and learning in your subject
  • interest and awareness of what working with young people involves
  • commitment to the state sector
  • communication skills
  • critical analysis
  • good organisation
  • reflection
  • resilience

Other requirements

In addition to the academic entry requirements, all applicants will be subject to suitability checks. This includes a full enhanced disclosure and barring check for child workforce, as well as clearance by our Occupational Health department.

If there are any concerns with either of the above, applicants will be referred to the University’s suitability panel.

As well as the statutory requirements, we also refer potential applicants to our competence standards, which are available on our website: School of Education Application guidance

Fees and financial support

The course fees for 2022 to 2023 are as follows:
Student type Fees to pay
UK students £9,250
International students £21,100

Fees for EU students will be £21100

Financial support from the training provider

You may be eligible for a bursary. Visit the ‘Get into teaching’ website to find out more:

Bursaries and Scholarships

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 also 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.

In addition to teacher-training bursaries, the University of Bristol offers a small contribution to travel expenses during placements.

We have a dedicated department who can offer support and guidance on finances throughout your training year. Further information on additional sources of financial support can be found here: Financial support

About the training provider

Our Partnership offers subject-specialist training in 8 secondary subjects. We are currently rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted and our programme was ranked in the Top 5 of the Good Teacher Training Guide 2017. As a designated 11-19 provider you are guaranteed experience of A level teaching as part of your programme. Our curriculum is ambitious, research-informed and carefully planned to ensure that you develop an excellent understanding of how to teach your specialist subject as well as of generic areas such as behaviour management and working with pupils with SEND.

Throughout the year, you will be supported by a subject specialist university tutor, as well as dedicated mentors in partnership schools. The support that we offer is highly praised by our student teachers, and last year, 98% of student teachers rated the quality of their training with us as good or very good.

You are also able to take advantage of being part of a research-intensive university with access to cutting edge research in areas such as neuroscience and education. As part of the University’s Green Apple Project, we encourage our student teachers to focus on ‘sustainable education’ for the future.

Typically, over 50% of those qualifying with us choose to remain in the Bristol area and many secure teaching posts within our partnership schools. Our student teachers often progress quickly in their careers, taking on roles such as subject leader and head of year. A number have gone beyond this, joining senior leadership teams.

Interview process

If the potential to be a good physics teacher is evident in your application, we will invite you for a half day interview session at the University, or to an online interview. Interviews take place every 3-4 weeks and in line with our commitment to collaborative learning, for face to face interviews, we typically invite up to 10 applicants at any one time. You will be interviewed by one of the University Science tutors and, where possible, a teacher mentor from a local school. The interview is subject-specific in nature and the following activities will take place as part of the selection process:

  • you will receive detailed information about the content and ethos of the PGCE Physics and Science programme so that you can sense whether the course is right for you;
  • you will take part in a task that will explore conceptual understanding in a science topic and pupils’ misconceptions;
  • you will give a short presentation explaining how you will teach a particular physics topic;
  • have a short individual interview with the course tutor and school mentor;
  • carry out a written task that focuses on assessment of pupils’ work and subsequent planning.

International students

We can sponsor Student visas, but this is not guaranteed.

You do not need a visa if you already have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or if you’re an Irish citizen.

Candidates with qualifications from non-UK institutions may need to provide evidence of comparability by applying for a UK ENIC statement.

Training with disabilities and other needs

We welcome applications from candidates with disabilities and other needs and, within the context of University of Bristol support structures, we make reasonable adjustments to ensure that the programme is accessible to all. When a specific need is declared, offer holders are assessed by the University’s Occupational Health department and recommended to liaise with our Disability Service to ensure a Learning Support Plan can be put in place

Many lectures are audio-recorded and are made available via our VLE. When possible, lecture slides and handouts are made available to the whole cohort at least 24 hours in advance of the session. All University buildings are accessible including ramp/lift access. In cases where student teachers are required to move around the University campus to attend lectures, provision is made to support them, as appropriate. The University works closely with placement schools to ensure that needs are met whilst on teaching practice. For example, a student teacher with hearing disabilities was placed in a school that could provide carpeted classrooms

The University has a comprehensive support structure to support students with a wide range of medical conditions, including mental health. This includes support from the University Tutor, the Senior Tutor and Programme Director, Professional Services staff as well as department-based Student Welfare Advisors. If appropriate, student teachers can be referred to the University’s specialist Counselling Service or Occupational Health team. Further information on student wellbeing can be found here: Student health and wellbeing

Contact this training provider

0117 3314492
University of Bristol
School of Education, 35 Berkeley Square

Support and advice

For support and advice, you can speak to a Get Into Teaching adviser for free. They’re all experienced teachers who can help you to prepare your application, book school experience, and access exclusive teaching events.

You can also call Get Into Teaching free of charge on 0800 389 2500, or speak to an adviser using their online chat service Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm (except public holidays).

Find out about the different ways to train if you do not have a degree, or are already an experienced teacher.

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