PGCE Secondary Biology with QTS


The PGCE Biology Secondary course is an exciting and challenging 36 week training programme which will develop your knowledge, confidence and competence.

It is a supportive and carefully structured course, designed to produce excellent teachers of Biology and Science. Professionalism is fostered on the course. Commitment, creativity, innovation, critical reflection and academic rigour are all attributes expected of trainees.

The South West Wales Centre of Teacher Education has excellent graduate employment rates with 99% of graduates going into employment or further study (DLHE 14/15).

PGCE Information Days

Key Facts

UCAS Code: 2X5S
Institution Code: T80
Course Length:
One Year

SWW Centre of Teacher Education
Contact Name:
Hilary Chivers
Contact Email: and
Language Choice:
English   Welsh

  • I too want to get more girls into science and I've worked in a uni where inductions for PhD students every year were 90% are male. I want to get them involved with science, not just learning to pass exams but getting more involved in science. Biology is about you. Everyone can relate to how you work. Understanding biology reduces ignorance by being knowledgeable on the how and why. It’s the basis of medicine.

    Amy Murphy

  • Biology is bits of everything. I find studying animal behaviour and how they adapt and live fascinating. As a teacher, you’re the person in charge of young people’s future. It is a privilege to have that responsibility; to help them achieve the best grades and achieve their potential, whatever that may be.

    Dyfan Havard

  • ECSP6001: Principle of teaching, Learning and Pedagogy in the Secondary sector.
  • ECSP7001: Investigating contemporary issues in Secondary education.
  • ECSP7002: Curriculum Development and Enhancement.
  • ECSP6002: Professional Teaching Experience with QTS.
  • High quality new and well established staff with recent and relevant experience of secondary school provision.
  • English and Welsh medium student provision.
  • Our programme is the largest provider of Secondary PGCE training in Wales.
  • Long established English and Welsh medium partnership schools and very experienced school /college mentors.
  • Excellent subject and ICT resources available for students.
  • The university is particularly well  located and provides access to the beautiful Gower coastline and to a wide range of habitats for study.
  • We are geographically well placed to serve the whole of South Wales.
  • Opportunities are provided for developing both the theoretical and practical aspects of Biology teaching. Opportunities are also incorporated for learning about the teaching of other sciences at key stage 3.
  • Post-course CPD opportunities.

As a postgraduate academic course, the PGCE is assessed through two main components: there are four written assignments and Professional Teaching Experience includes thorough assessment of practical teaching skills.

The written assignments are based around realistic professional teaching tasks which seek to integrate preparation, research and inquiry.

You will need a B grade at GCSE in English and Mathematics and if you intend to follow your course through the medium of Welsh, a C grade in Welsh.

If you hold a C grade in GCSE English Language or Mathematics and are successful in other aspects of the selection process you will be given the opportunity to sit the equivalency test. If you are successful and you accept your place to study with us then you can start your programme as planned. Attendance at the workshops prior to the test is a compulsory part of the equivalency testing programme.

For further information please contact PGCE secondary admin: 01792 482111,

Good GCSE and A level qualifications including science subjects are generally expected. Students are expected to have a degree in Biology or a degree containing an appropriate number of modules showing evidence of degree level studies in biological topics.

The normal minimum entry requirement to the programme is a second class honours degree in Biology or in a strongly cognate discipline.  ‘A Level equivalent' qualifications, such as BTEC Advanced will also be taken into account.  Details of particular subject entry requirements can be obtained by contacting the tutor named below.

If accepted onto our course, you will be required to obtain a clear enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service – formerly known as CRB, Criminal Records Bureau) clearance check as soon as possible.

If you were called to interview, it would be advantageous if you gained some work experience at a secondary school in order that you begin to realise what it means to be a classroom teacher and understand the demands that would face you in your chosen career.

The PGCE Secondary programme has a well-established link with the CANTEACH programme that supports and facilitates Canadian graduates’ application to the PGCE Secondary programme. 

The South West Wales Centre of Teacher Education has excellent graduate employment rates with 99% of graduates going into employment or further study (DLHE 14/15).

Many school and college departments, both locally and nationally, are staffed with several of our teachers and many of our trainees have gone on to forge successful teaching careers at strategic, professional and management levels at home and abroad.

Our PGCE graduates usually remain in close touch with us as they make their careers in the teaching profession and they often become Subject Mentors on the programme.  This creates a very strong, sustainable professional network of teachers which is a rich source of continuing professional development.

Recently our PGCE Biology graduates have gone on to work as Secondary Teachers in many independent and state schools in Wales, England and abroad including (but not limited) to:

Lucton School (Leominster), Chew Valley School (Somerset), Queen Elizabeth High School (Carmarthen), Eastern High (Cardiff), Ysgol Dyffryn Amman (Ammanford), St Teilo's Church in Wales High School (Cardiff), Holyrood Academy (Somerset), Mary Immaculate Catholic High School (Wenvoe), Bedwas High (Caerphilly).  

During the programme you will have access to good library resources, ICT facilities and dedicated laboratories. You will participate in sessions designed to improve your knowledge of lesson planning, practical work, managing pupils' behaviour, as well as the relevant aspects of current science courses in Key stage 3, 4 and 5. Opportunities will be given for you to carry out practical work and to consider safety issues.

The Science curriculum in Key stage 3 is now predominantly skills-based and you will have the opportunity to find out more about the skills framework and the National Curriculum. You will be prepared to teach the literacy and numeracy components of the curriculum as well as the Curriculum Cymreig and other skill areas. You will be introduced to the content of GCSE and ‘A’ level courses as well as to assessment. The importance of assessment for learning will be emphasised. You will find out more about cognitive approaches to teaching and about questioning as well as structuring lessons.

The fundamental aims of the PGCE Biology programme are to develop the skills of trainees, particularly the skill of critical evaluation, so that they can reflect on practice. You will have opportunities to teach during placements in secondary schools. 

Crucially, your development as a teacher will be guided by an experienced teacher who will act as your mentor at your placement school. You will be encouraged to reflect on your teaching experiences in school in the light of discussion with your mentors and your tutor.

You will be encouraged to read widely to familiarise yourself with the factors, issues and educational theories that influence learning. Through reflection and regular evaluation of your own practice you will be expected to show gradual improvement in the standards of your own teaching and of pupils learning. Your success will be measured against criteria leading to the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

If you are called to an interview you would need to undertake 30 minute Literacy and Numeracy tests and if you wanted to follow the course through the medium of Welsh, an additional Welsh Literacy test.  You will be given a formal interview by a subject tutor and will be asked to undertake a presentation related to your subject area. You will also have an extended writing exercise and an opportunity to show subject awareness at school level. This may include a group discussion. You would need to demonstrate a passion and enthusiasm for your subject. An interest in young people and how they learn is essential.