The Science: Physics one-year PGDipEd (QTS) course is structured to develop a deep understanding of the pedagogy and didactics of Physics, grounded in practical competence in classrooms. You will be challenged to develop informed and justified decisions about how you approach your teaching, in order to enable you to continue to develop over your career. You will be expected to develop these insights, although in less depth, across all facets of the sciences. This science: physics teacher training course attracts bursaries of up to £30,000 (depending on qualifications) in line with the government’s priorities to increase the number of Physics teachers.
We offer a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDipEd) rather than a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at the University of Birmingham, as we believe we should provide student teachers with the highest level of teacher training possible. Both qualifications lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) but the PGDipEd also offers the equivalent of 120 credits at Master’s level (out of 180), which makes it a highly rewarding course by combining both theory and practice.
Once you have completed your PGDipEd and successfully passed your induction year, you may return to study with us on a part-time basis to complete your Masters in Teaching Studies. Additionally, the School also offers a number of specialised Professional Development programmes which will enable you to further develop your career.
If you are a graduate Engineer or Physicist who would prefer to teach Physics with Mathematics, our Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Physics with Mathematics course offers this opportunity.
Download a summary flier for the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Science: Physics course (PDF, 64.5KB)
The 2013 Ofsted report
“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.”
The School of Education at the University of Birmingham has a long tradition of delivering teacher training courses. Its teaching has been 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.
There is currently high demand for teachers of Science who have expertise in Physics and there are substantial bursaries associated with training in the subject.
The Initial Teacher Education course
The Science: Physics 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).
Activity is central to learning how to teach physics and science as you need to learn how to act for yourself. This activity will include a good deal of exemplification of teaching, personal practice and collaborative hard thinking. Through this you will become better at planning lessons, assessing the success of your lessons and managing children within those lessons. You will also find out what children find hard about certain topics, how to vary your approach to minimise these difficulties, and so develop a range of teaching strategies, deploying many different technologies. As an essential part of this you will find yourself coming to grips with the national requirements and strategies, as well as engaging in the pleasure of doing some physics.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may also be interested in our other two PGDipEd science courses:
The School of Education is committed to equal opportunities in the access to and provision of education. For more information please see the following documents:
School Mission Statement (PDF 23KB, opens new window)
Disability and Disability Equality Scheme
Information on all our PGDipEd(QTS) secondary subjects may be found on the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) course page.
This course attracts Scholarships and Government bursaries of up to £30,000 (depending on qualifications) in line with the government’s priorities to increase the number of Physics teachers.
Fees for 2016-2017 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.
The Institute of Physics are awarding Teacher Training Scholarships to the most outstanding individuals, worth £30,000. There are a series of application deadlines throughout the year.
For further information contact the School directly or the Student Funding Office via online enquiries.
A degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject is required. Your honours degree should have significant physics content. If this is not the case then you might consider an subject knowledge enhancement course before starting at Birmingham. You will also need to demonstrate a breadth of commitment to sciences, to enable competence across the entire curriculum for 11-14 year old children.
All candidates also have to:
have a GCSE in English (grade C or above) or an equivalent qualification; alternatively you might be advised to take an Equivalency Test
pass Professional Skills Tests in numeracy and literacy; please see the Professional Skills Tests section
of the Department for Education web site for more information on the core skills required by trainee teachers
provide a satisfactory medical form
complete an enhanced DBS/police check
complete a Declaration of Suitability to Teach
adhere to a Code of Professional Conduct and Fitness to Practise
The PGDipEd is divided into five phases:
- Preparation (university-based with some activities in school)
- School Placement 1 (seven week placement in school with tutor visit and one day at the university)
- Development (university-based with some activities in school)
- School Placement 2 (twelve week block placement with tutor visits and two university days);
- Completion (two further weeks in your second school and two weeks at the university).
The course includes the following areas of study:
- Subject-based teaching methods
- School-based work
- Whole-school issues
Subject-based teaching methods
You follow one main method programme, each of which occupies at least three half-days a week for five weeks in each of the autumn and spring terms and two weeks in the summer term. In some subjects a field course, involving work with children, may replace a number of single days in the year. Assessment is based on coursework undertaken during the year.
School-based work is an important part of the programme, with students normally spending 24 weeks in schools. The combination of block practice and other periods of work in schools enables you to benefit from both carefully supported introductory work in different schools and the experience of spending a significant length of time in one school.
The final assessment of teaching is based on the spring/summer term school placement. Assessment is shared between University tutors, staff responsible for students in schools, and external examiners. All aspects of your contribution to the life of the school are taken into account, in particular the teaching of your main subject.
Prior to the start of the autumn term you are expected to undertake a preliminary period of observation in a primary/middle school near your home or lodgings. During the course supervised experience and practice are arranged in schools of various kinds across the 11–18 age range. We are fortunate in being able to work with a wide range of partnership schools, including mixed comprehensives, single-sex schools and sixth-form colleges. Many of the schools offer opportunities to work with pupils from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds.
This area of study is concerned with aspects of education that are of importance to all intending teachers, irrespective of their particular teaching subjects. It is designed to provide you with a breadth of awareness, depth of insight and development of skills through a range of themes studied by all students. Themes currently include Managing Inclusion, Monitoring and Assessment, and Pastoral Care and Citizenship.
Tutoring and support
You will personally be allocated a university tutor who will guide and support you throughout your PGDipEd (QTS), along with a dedicated school mentor when on placement.
Once you have completed your PGDipEd (QTS) and successfully passed your induction year you may return to study with us on a part-time basis to complete a 60 credit dissertation and obtain an MA in Teaching Studies.
All students have to complete six modules, five of which require a written assignment. In addition all students complete two teaching placements and have to meet the Teachers' Standards for the Award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
Extensive career support is available to and the majority of students obtain employement before they have completed their course. Many schools have a high regard for Birmingham Science: Physics PGDipEd (QTS) students and we have an excellent record of students gaining jobs at the end of the course. For 2013-2014 the employabilty rate was 100% and all graduates obtained employment in a teaching role. Many of our ex-students have been promoted to positions of responsibility, including Advanced Skills Teachers within the first 2 or 3 years.
Comments from former students
"In a constantly changing educational environment, my PGDipEd course has proved invaluable. In addition to enabling me to teach lessons to engage a wide range of students, I also completed the course with a solid foundation of pedagogy which enables me to adapt to the rapidly evolving educational landscape. The opportunity to explore wider educational issues with trainees and teachers from a broad background has also developed my interest and understanding of many of the issues within education. A strong esprit de corps along with personalised and accessible support made a tough and rigorous training year enjoyable. I strongly recommend the MEd too!"
"I thought we were assessed very well, our school mentors were dedicated and were able to comment on us holistically - where colleagues from other universities had to spend half their time in paperwork."
"With almost complete certainty, I would have struggled immeasurably without my undergraduate degree; the vast workload taught me to prioritise and trial different coping strategies in order to meet deadlines – my postgraduate course then tailored this to teaching." Read his full profile