The course seeks to promote biology specialism at 16+ but recognises the need for all science teachers to be able to teach outside their specialism to at least Key Stage 3.
All science trainees study a jointly taught course of which covers areas of concern common to the teaching of all the sciences such as laboratory safety, new developments in science courses and the implementation of science education research in the classroom, to enable them to teach National Curriculum science to Key Stage 4 (11-16). They also follow a chosen specialism of either Biology, Chemistry or Physics to enable them to teach this to Key Stage 5 (16-18).
The Biology course puts a strong emphasis on trainees collaborating together. It has a strong practical and fieldwork focus. There are opportunities to learn about organising fieldwork in the outdoors, and using molecular biological techniques within the classroom. There is also a key focus on plant biology, to develop and enhance students’ teaching and learning strategies when teaching plant science.
Trainees will also learn about risk assessment, and will work in many laboratory-based practical sessions, and reflect upon and evaluate the effectiveness of widely used school science courses. As the course continues, trainees will have the opportunity to learn about the use of new technologies in education, such as blogs and wikis, and consider how to approach controversial and ethical issues with school students.
Trainees spend at least 120 days of the course in Partnership schools, undertaking four block placements (in a minimum of three different schools), across the entire 11-18 age range.
Trainees have the opportunity to work together with experienced mentors to develop their own practical teaching skills and competence. Trainees initially work together in the classroom with other trainees and their subject mentor, before gradually taking on more responsibility for planning and teaching as the year progresses, and to gain experience of many of the important tasks and responsibilities teachers take on outside the classroom, such as pastoral care and parents’ evenings.
In the final placement there is also the opportunity for trainee involvement in a wider range of school activities: for instance, curriculum development and evaluation within their specialist subject(s); work experience and other activities related to careers education and economic and industrial understanding; fieldwork related to environmental education; and other similar activities which seek to extend the experience and education of pupils beyond the conventional classroom context.
An undergraduate degree at class 2:1 or above, or equivalent.
Your degree subject should be in biology or a similar subject. Otherwise you’ll need to prove your subject knowledge in some other way.
Grade 4 (C) or above in English and maths, or equivalent qualification.
We will not consider candidates with pending GCSEs.
We will not consider candidates who need to take a GCSE equivalency test.
A desire to teach and enthuse young people
Commitment to state education
Strong subject-based academic background
Good communication skills
Experience working with young people
Flexibility and humour
Energy, perseverance and stamina
Ability to work collaboratively
Ability to learn and act on advice
Applicants are not required to have prior school experience as long as they have relevant experience with children in other capacities.
However, we do recommend that you spend some time in school to help you decide if teaching is right for you. We look for evidence of commitment to, and enthusiasm for, working with children and young people. You should consider how you might demonstrate this in your personal statement and be prepared to discuss during an interview.
If you are unable to arrange school observation in the current circumstances, please reflect very carefully on your own schooling instead.
Fees and financial support
The course fees for UK students in 2023 to 2024 are £9,250.
The Faculty of Education provides high quality courses in both the Primary and Secondary age-range. Our trainees are always in demand from headteachers and many of our ex-trainees go on to positions of school leadership very quickly.
We consistently receive outstanding feedback from our trainees on course evaluations. We are delighted to be ranked as the number one teacher training provider in England in the 2017 Good Teacher Training Guide.
School colleagues are involved in all aspects of the course from interviewing through to Faculty course teaching.
Our outstanding benefits are:
Well-established and diverse school partnerships
Exceptional employment rates
The stimulation of being a part of a group of high-attaining future leaders in education
Expert staff - experienced teachers and research active subject specialists in the Faculty
An intellectual and social hub to live in, comprising College life in the dynamic city of Cambridge
The PGCE courses are assessed at Masters level and trainees who successfully complete all examined elements of the Cambridge PGCE course can apply to undertake the part-time Master of Education (MEd) in just one year.
We expect most interviews to take place in person at the Faculty of Education. Interviews last approximately half a day.
There are generally 4-6 candidates on each panel, with two interviewers, and the interview is a mixture of group activities/discussion and individual tasks. There are no tests but candidates will be expected to demonstrate their subject knowledge and language capabilities both verbally and in writing.
You’ll need the right to study in the UK. You already have this if, for example, you:
guidance on the UK equivalents of your qualifications
a free statement of comparability once you’ve submitted your application (if we ask you for this)
Training with disabilities and other needs
The Faculty is committed to equal opportunities for all and to the provision of support for students with a disability and aims to ensure that no present or prospective student receives less favourable treatment than another on grounds of any condition or status not directly affecting study or work.
The University’s Disability Resource Centre works with the Faculty to provide support to trainees throughout the PGCE course.
Faculty of Education 184 Hills Road Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB2 8PQ
Support and advice
You can speak to a teacher training adviser
for free, dedicated advice. They are all experienced teachers who can give you one-to-one support with your application. They can also help you
get school experience, and find events where you can speak to training providers and teachers.
Call Get Into Teaching free of charge on 0800 389 2500, or
Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm (except public holidays).