Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Science: Chemistry

Quick links: Fees and Funding | Entry Requirements | How to apply

The PGDipEd (QTS) Science: Chemistry course is noted for the support that it provides, and the quality of the partnership between schools and the University. This high status extends into the early years of teaching, where demand for trainees from Birmingham is high, and trainees stay in the job for longer than average. The course tries to develop an understanding of issues and complexities which surround the teaching and learning of Science and Chemistry. We wish to develop you as a thinking teacher who can be aware of choices in how to teach Science and Chemistry and make informed decisions about how you work with learners. 

Students may be eligible for bursaries of up to £26,000 (depending on qualifications)  in line with the government’s priority to attract more well qualified chemistry teachers or a scholarships of £28,000 in lieu of a bursary from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

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 Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDipEd) rather than a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). 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.

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.

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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 teaching 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 Initial Teacher Education course

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 teaching and learning of science is complex and an effective teacher needs to be able understand how children learn and how a range of approaches enables this to happen. This course aims to equip you to be able to do this through a carefully designed programme of workshops, seminars and practical sessions which will let you experience the methods and resources you can use. You will explore the place of science in the school curriculum, what students are required to learn, the difficulties and misconceptions they have and the strategies that can facilitate their learning. Through this you will learn how to plan effective lessons, assess the success of those lessons and manage the children that you will work with. You will also learn how to critically reflect on your own practice to ensure your own professional development.

As science teachers are required to teach across the sciences at Key Stage 3 there is a 'science' component in addition to your subject specialism. Teaching the science content to PGDipEd students is not the primary aim of the course although the generic and specific requirements are addressed through various scientific phenomena.

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

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:

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.

Find out more about all our teacher training programmes.

Related staff

Fees and funding

This course attracts Government bursaries of up to £26,000 (depending on qualifications) in line with the government’s priorities to increase the number of Chemistry teachers (2018).

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.

Scholarships and studentships

The Royal Society of Chemistry are awarding Teacher Training Scholarships to the most outstanding individuals, worth £28,000 in lieu of a bursary. There are a series of application deadlines throughout the year.

Home/EU students will be eligible to apply for statutory support from their relevant funding agency. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Learn more about fees and funding

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

Entry requirements

All applicants to the Secondary PGDipEd(QTS) Science: Chemistry course must hold a degree from a UK Higher Education Institution or equivalent qualification. We will expect at least of 50% of your degree to be chemistry relevant to the National Curriculum and you will require two science A levels (or equivalent).

All candidates also have to:

  • have a GCSE in Maths and English (grade 4 or above) or an equivalent qualification which must be attained before you make an 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.

Additional information:

New GCSE grades

How to apply

Apply online through the UCAS Teacher Training portal

UCAS code: F1X1

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 an Chemistry 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 assignments, and pass the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) tests in Numeracy, Literacy and Information and Communication Technology. 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 Science: Chemistry 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.

Alumni

Former student Adam Whitaker now works as a science teacher and received a double pay rise after his first year of teaching. Read his full profile