Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Mathematics

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Our Mathematics PGDipEd (QTS) course received the top grade in all areas in the last Ofsted subject inspection. The course tries to develop a deep understanding of issues and complexities which surround the teaching and learning of mathematics. We wish to develop you as a thinking teacher who can be aware of choices in how to teach mathematics and make informed decisions about how you work with students.

For those who are eligible, the course also attracts bursaries of £20,000 in line with the government’s priority to attract more well qualified mathematics teachers with a further £10,000 early-career payment once in teaching. The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) in collaboration with the London Mathematical Society (LMS), the Mathematical Association (MA), Maths in Education and Industry (MEI) and the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) also offer home students a £22,000 scholarship for those who are eligible, in lieu of the bursary. 

At the University of Birmingham we believe we should provide student teachers with the highest level of teacher training possible, and this is why we offer a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDipEd also known as a PGDE) rather than a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). Both qualifications lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) but the PGDipEd also offers the equivalent of 120 credits towards a master (out of 180 credits), which makes it a highly rewarding course by combining both theory and practice. 

Following satisfactory completion of this course, plus a successful induction year in school and references, you can return to complete an MA in Teaching Studies (data collection and a 15,000 word dissertation). Additionally, the School also offers a number of specialised Professional Development programmes which will enable you to further develop your career.

For those who have studied a degree with less than the 50% of mathematical content of an undergraduate mathematical degree as well as career changers we have the Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course, which is a full time, campus-based conversion course for those who wish to teach mathematics in secondary schools. 

Please note that it is important to make an early application as demand is very high and places fill quickly.

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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. 

The PGDipEd course lasts 36 weeks, of which 24 are spent in our partnership schools.

Teaching practice will take several forms: school placements and also team teaching while at the University. You will also get involved in small scale research projects for your assignments so that you can evaluate the theory in practice and integrate this learning into your own teaching.

The course will not pretend that teaching mathematics is straightforward, because it is not! Our sessions will rarely be of the form of a lecture, instead we use activities and discussion as the main way of working.

We will help you become aware of issues relating to planning lessons, assessment, the difference between telling students information and teaching students, standard misconceptions students have about mathematics topics, how different approaches to teaching a topic can change the learning experience for students and how choice of resources and technology can change the sort of mathematics with which students engage. Along the way we will, of course, also introduce you to the National Curriculum and we will also do a lot of mathematics ourselves!

The School of Education collaborates with the University of Birmingham School to offer a number of activities designed to enhance pupil experiences of learning Mathematics and your experience of learning to teach Mathematics.  Examples of these activities include field trips, master classes and small group teaching.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ask our students a question

Eleri and Belen are experienced postgraduates who previously studied at the University of Birmingham, and they will offer help and advice from a student perspective.

Equal Opportunities

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:

Information on all our other PGDipEd secondary subjects may be found on the  Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) course page.  

Find out more about all our teacher training programmes.

Why study this course

Former student Jemma Sherwood shares her passion for teaching Maths on this Get into Teaching video

Related staff

Fees and funding

Fees for 2019-2020 are: £9,250 (UK/EU full-time), £16,995 (overseas full-time).

When you apply for this course, it is important that you also take into account living costs and should ensure that you will have sufficient funds to finance the full duration of your studies. Our PGDipEd programmes include a significant amount of time spent on placements in a variety of schools at different locations, and so when budgeting to study you should also allow for travel to and from placements, as well as textbooks, printing, photocopying and stationery that you may need.

More information about the tuition fee and maintenance loans is available here: https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/funding-and-salary/overview/postgraduate-loans.

This course attracts bursaries of £20,000 in line with the government’s priority to attract more well qualified mathematics teachers along with additional early-career payments of £10,000 once in teaching. 

Scholarships 
Home/EU students will be eligible to apply for statutory support from their relevant funding agency.

The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) in collaboration with the London Mathematical Society (LMS), the Mathematical Association (MA), Maths in Education and Industry (MEI) and the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) offers home students a £22,000 scholarship for those who are eligible, in lieu of the bursary. There will be six application rounds throughout the year. 

For further information contact the School directly or visit the Funding, Graduation & Awards Office via online enquiries. 

Additional course costs

New GCSE grades

Entry requirements

All applicants to the Secondary PGDipEd(QTS) Mathematics course must hold a degree from a of a UK Higher Education Institution or equivalent qualification. This will normally be a minimum 2:2 classification and will be a condition of any offer where the degree has not already been awarded. We will expect your degree to not only have a high mathematics content but it will also have a range and depth of mathematics which might be found in at least 50% of a mathematics degree. Graduates in other degrees who have a good pass in A level Mathematics are also invited to apply and satisfactory completion of a Subject Knowledge Enhancement programme may then be set as a condition of any offer.

All candidates also have to:

  • have a GCSE in Maths and English (grade 4 or above) or an equivalent qualification must be attained before making your application. 
  • have passed Professional Skills Tests in numeracy and literacy by the date stated in any offer; 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. The University of Birmingham has produced a resource list  which you may find helpful.
  • complete an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
  • complete relevant checks to ensure you have the health and physical capacity to teach.
  • agree to abide by the University of Birmingham Code of Professional Conduct and Fitness to Practise.

How to apply

Apply online through the UCAS Teacher Training portal. We recommend you apply as early as possible as the course becomes full well before summer. 

UCAS code: G1X1

The Interview process 

Selection is rigorous and designed to identify candidates with the strongest aptitude. Candidates selected for interview will be invited to the School of Education to:

  • meet course tutors
  • find out more about the course
  • complete a written task
  • have a one to one interview
  • show GCSE and Degree certificates (where these are available).

We work closely with partner schools to select candidates and applicants will often have the opportunity to meet senior colleagues from partner schools when they join us for interview day. 

Course Structure

A variety of teaching styles and approaches to learning are used in the presentation of the themes. These include University-based lectures, small group seminars and workshops, school-based work with pupils and teachers, and work undertaken individually or with other groups of students.

The course includes the following areas of study: 

  • Subject-based teaching methods 
  • School-based work 
  • Whole-school issues

Subject-based teaching methods

You follow your specialist programme, working with your tutor and with peers in your subject, during University days which make up 12 weeks in total across the year. Assessment is based on coursework undertaken during the year.    

School-based work  

School-based work is an important part of the programme, with students normally spending a total of 24 weeks in schools. During the programme you benefit from both carefully supported introductory work in different schools and the experience of spending a significant length of time in two schools.

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.

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, sixth-form colleges and our own University Training School (www.uobschool.org.uk). Many of the schools offer opportunities to work with pupils from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds.  

Whole-school issues

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 Safeguarding, Mental Health, Relationships and Sex education, PSHE, Pastoral Care and Inclusion.

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 placements.

Progression

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

Assessment methods

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).

Many local schools have a high regard for Birmingham mathematics PGDipEd (QTS) students and we have an excellent record of students gaining jobs at the end of the course. Many of our ex-students are now Heads of Departments in our partnership schools.

Read the Alumni Profile of Jemma Sherwood who completed her teacher training in 2005. She has recently won a Pearson Teaching Award.