University of Bristol Geography (F8X1)

PGCE with QTS full time

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.

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

There are many visions of Geography debated by geographers and geography educators. During the programme you will be engaging with these debates and developing your own clear vision of Geography which is an essential element in establishing a sound basis of competence. The course is structured to support your progression in becoming a confident and creative geography teacher able to teach geography to 11-19 year olds. The programme will also prepare you for playing an active and innovative leadership role in a geography department.

Our university subject sessions draw upon research evidence and professional knowledge, critically examining ideas for engaging young people in a geography education that really matters. Specific topics covered in these sessions include planning over a range of scales from individual lessons to the curriculum; development of teaching resources and their use in helping pupils to ‘think geographically’; supporting progress of all learners; assessment at GCSE and A-level; consideration of the place and value of information technology and of fieldwork. There is a residential field trip in which you will engage fully with the practical aspects of running a school trip as well as further strengthening your subject knowledge base.

Alongside the subject sessions you will have guided lesson observations in schools underpinned by the variety of effective classroom practices modelled in the University subject sessions. There are many opportunities for collaborative working with experienced practitioners in schools and your fellow student teachers. Within the geography cohort there will be a varied range of expertise in aspects of subject knowledge and there are opportunities, across the year, to learn from each other. In the autumn term the focus is on becoming familiar with the major issues in geography education, how geography is taught in schools and gaining experience through structured observations and supported teaching. The spring term allows the use of these ‘building blocks’ within the extended school placement, enabling the deepening of your understanding of issues of learning, including: meeting the needs of different learners and developing a meaningful geography curriculum. During the summer term, there are opportunities for you to widen your pedagogical approach to teaching geography, build autonomy in your teaching and to research your practice in order to confidently continue your own professional development. You’ll consider how the geographical community can support you, be a source of inspiration, and career development as you enter your ECT year.

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 geography teacher is evident in your application, we will invite you for an online interview. Interviews take place every 3-4 weeks. You will be interviewed by at least one of the University geography tutors and possibly a teacher mentor from a local school. We will keep the online interview process to within a maximum of one hour. The interview is subject-specific in nature and the following activities will take place as part of the selection process:

i) A written review of your subject knowledge related to the Geography National Curriculum, to be sent through prior to your interview; ii) a presentation revolving around one aspect of geography, selected from a range offered, during which you will describe potential methods of teaching about this aspect in a secondary classroom; iii) interview questions exploring your ideas on geography and education more broadly.

Further details of all three aspects of the interview process are sent through with the invitation to interview.

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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