The School of Education at the University of Birmingham has a long tradition of delivering teacher training courses. Its teaching has been recently graded as 'outstanding' for the third consecutive time by Ofsted inspectors which reaffirms the University’s status as one of the UK’s leading institutions for excellence in teacher training. The Ofsted report states that “such is the confidence of schools that trainees from the University of Birmingham are of high quality, employment rates for both primary and secondary phases exceed national averages by some margin. Trainees display excellent professional qualities: they are clear that good teaching leads to pupils who are interested in their work, enjoy learning and behave well.”
The Initial Teacher Education course
The Initial Teacher Education (ITE) course is 36 weeks long of which 24 weeks are spent on placement in a partnership school. There are five phases: Preparation (university and some school-based activities); School Placement 1 (seven week placement in school); Development (university and one week in your second school); School Placement 2 (12 week block placement and some university days); Completion (two further weeks in second school and two weeks in university).
The course is essentially one of professional training combined with academic study appropriate to a course at Masters’ level.
Much of the work of the first term is a direct attempt to prepare you for teaching situations that you may face on school placements. It should give you opportunities for developing your own thinking which can be trialled when practising those facets of teaching which are most directly related to the classroom and the laboratory situation. Time will be given to, for example: the preparation of: lesson materials; the organisation of laboratory work; and the use of demonstrations. These are only a sample of the techniques to manage and engage classes. Some are general skills that all teachers must develop regardless of their subject; others will be specific to the sciences.
The curriculum work is also concerned with broader and longer term aims. Students will wish to familiarise themselves with current developments arising from and linked to the National Curriculum and various government initiatives. It is impossible to isolate the teaching of science from broader educational issues such as increasing awareness of the need for education to be connected to the remainder of pupils’ lives, to the concerns of society as a whole and to the world of work and leisure beyond school.
So, on this course you will find that we have tried to integrate the theory and the practice and to ensure that you have a sound theoretical understanding on which your practice is based. We aim then to prepare you to become a science teacher by helping you to develop both personally and professionally. We believe that an education through science should generate a sense of curiosity, promote creative thinking and enable pupils to develop into reflective citizens ready to play a full part in a democratic society.
Download a summary document for the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Science: Biology course (PDF, 58.9KB)
You may also be interested in our other two PGDipEd Science courses:
Information on all our PGDipEd (QTS) secondary subjects may be found on the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS)course page.
All students have to complete six modules, five of which require a written assignments. In addition students will need to complete two teaching placements and meet the Teachers' Standards for the Award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)
School Studies 1:
(20 credits Level M)
This module, which consists of university based seminars and school based practical experience, will offer opportunities for you to develop your understanding and practice of teaching. In particular, the planning and evaluation of learning experiences for small groups, supported by exploration of the place of your subject within national frameworks and initiatives which will include at least one area of cross-curricular concern.
- plan for, teach and evaluate learning experiences for small groups;
- understand the place of your subject within national frameworks and initiatives;
- develop an awareness of a least one area related to whole school issues in the context of your subject;
- develop an awareness of some of the research in the whole school issues field in the context of your subject.
School Studies 2:
(20 credits Level M)
These university based seminars will enable you to develop an understanding of the needs of learners within a subject discipline and in secondary schools. You will also reflect on the teaching placement (School Placement 1) in your school and learn to plan and evaluate teaching experiences which will consider the role of learners.
- plan for, teach and evaluate learning experiences for whole classes and distinguish success and failure in these.
- demonstrate an understanding of the place of the subject within the school context.
- demonstrate awareness of the needs of learners.
- relate theory and practice through mini research in a learning context.
School Studies 3:
(20 credits Level M)
The university based seminars will enbable you to develop an understanding of the needs of learners within a subject discipline and in schools. You will reflect upon your teaching placement (School Placement 2) in school, and continue to learn to plan and evaluate teaching experiences which consider the role of learners.
There will also be university and school based seminars on whole school issues – e.g. equal opportunities, management of the teaching environment.
- plan for and teach whole classes and evaluate learning experiences; distinguish success and failure of learning and offer potential future teaching alternatives.
- demonstrate an understanding of the place of the subject and whole school issues within the school context.
- demonstrate an extended awareness of the needs of learners.
- relate theory and practice of learning through case-study methods.
School Studies 4:
(20 credits Level M)
During these university based seminars, you will develop an understanding of the needs of learners within your main subject discipline or within an alternative subject and schools.
- plan for and teach whole classes, evaluate learning experiences and know how to adapt teaching to respond to success and failure in learning.
- demonstrate a wider knowledge of teaching /learning situations through another subject or extended main subject studies.
- relate theory and practice of subject specific pedagogy through small-scale research in the learning environment.
Teaching Experience 1:
(30 credits Level 3)
You will observe lessons and teach on average half a normal teacher’s timetable, providing relevant documentation for every lesson taught. You will have discussions with tutors, mentors and teachers focus on pupils’ learning and the experience of teaching.
This module is closely linked with the School Studies modules where the theoretical underpinning of the practice is discussed to enable the students to analyse the ideas in practice. Much of the module will depend upon your individual work as a practitioner and reflecting upon practice.
- plan for and teach whole classes and evaluate learning experiences (3-11 or 11-18 age range).
- create a majority of successful experiences.
- demonstrate an understanding of the implications of whole school issues and subject content in relation to teaching
Teaching Experience 2:
(10 credits Level M)
This module will explore your continuing reflective and analytical development as you review your teaching and learning. It is closely linked with the School Studies modules where the theoretical underpinning of the practice is discussed to enable you to analyse the ideas in practice.
The contact time will allow you to develop your theoretical framework and to develop pathways for future personal and professional development.
- plan for and teach whole classes and evaluate learning experiences (primary/secondary schools).
- demonstrate an understanding of the implications of practice to future development as a teacher.
- demonstrate reflective, analytical and evaluative skills
Fees for 2015–16 are: £9,000 (UK/EU full-time), £14,140 (overseas full-time).
Learn more about fees and funding
Scholarships and studentships
Home/EU students will be eligible to apply for statutory support from their relevant funding agency. Government training bursaries of up to £15,000 may be available depending on your subject and degree classification.
For further information contact the School directly or the Student Funding Office via online enquiries.