University of Cambridge Geography (F8X1)

Postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) with qualified teacher status (QTS)

Financial support
Bursaries and student finance are available if you’re eligible
Qualification
PGCE with QTS

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
11 October 2022
Date course starts
September 2023
Website
http://www.educ.cam.ac.uk/pgce/

Contents

Course summary

The Geography PGCE course is ‘high challenge: high support’ and aims not only to help trainees to develop teaching strategies and skills so that they can use their enthusiasm about Geography to interest and motivate pupils, but also develop them as geographers. We run a series of subject knowledge workshops, including meteorology training run by the Royal Meteorological Society and a workshop on geology run by colleagues in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University. In addition, a selection of experienced mentors and guest speakers contribute to the course throughout the year; for example, David Lambert, Professor at the London Institute of Education and former Chief Executive of the Geographical Association has visited for several years to work with our trainees.

The first term concentrates primarily on preparation for the basic elements of classroom teaching, and introduces trainees to the wide range of resources and teaching strategies available to geography teachers.

Later we explore a range of subjects including:

  • Urbanisation and the moving image
  • The changing geography curriculum: concepts, processes and knowledge
  • Landforms & processes: focus on explanations and modelling
  • Globalisation & interdependence: fashion, sport and sustainability
  • Citizenship, global citizenship and controversial issues – what is the role of geography?
  • Place and identity: What shape is the world anyway?

Across the course, there is also a focus on new technologies, fieldwork and wider curriculum issues. We look at how GIS can be used to improve geographical learning, and consider the role of emerging technologies, such as blogging and podcasts, in teaching geography.

The Geography course consists of sessions organised in a practical, workshop atmosphere; some sessions are taught by serving teachers from partnership schools.

The training programme has been developed so each week conceptual thinking in Subject Studies sessions in the Faculty is moved forward with discussion and practical activities in school. Trainees are provided with a range of opportunities to engage with geographical field work, both with the Geography subject studies group and with partnership schools.

School placements

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.

Entry requirements

Qualifications needed

An undergraduate degree at class 2:1 or above, or equivalent.

Your degree subject should be in geography 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.

Personal qualities

  • 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

Other requirements

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.

About the training provider

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.

Interview process

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.

International candidates

You’ll need the right to study in the UK. You already have this if, for example, you:

  • are an Irish citizen
  • have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (you may still be able to apply)
  • have indefinite leave to remain in the UK

If you do not already have the right to study in the UK for the duration of this course, you may need to apply for a Student visa.

To do this, you’ll need to be sponsored by your training provider.

Before you apply for this course, contact us to check Student visa sponsorship is available. If it is, and you get a place on this course, we’ll help you apply for your visa.

Alternatively, check if you’re eligible for a different type of visa, such as a Graduate or Family visa, that allows you to train to be a teacher without being sponsored.

Find out more about training to teach in England.

International qualifications

If your qualifications come from a non-UK institution, we may want to see a ‘statement of comparability’ from UK ENIC. This will show us how they compare to UK qualifications.

You can call Get Into Teaching on 0800 389 2500 for:

  • 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.

Contact this training provider

Email
pgce-admissions@educ.cam.ac.uk
Telephone
01223 767674
Website
http://www.educ.cam.ac.uk/pgce/
Address
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 chat online Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm (except public holidays).

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