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The award

How long you will study
1 year

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About Secondary Biology at Nottingham Trent University

Secondary teaching at Nottingham Trent University

“Education is the key to success in life, and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students.”
Solomon Ortiz

This teaching degree provides graduates with the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to teach Biology at secondary level. Time is spent in the University and in classroom placements, ensuring that by the end of the course, trainees are confident professionals ready to begin teaching in secondary schools.

The award is offered at two levels. Both are recognised teaching qualifications, but the postgraduate award will allow fast-track entry to Masters courses:

  • Professional Graduate Certificate in Education
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education.

The choice of which qualification to take will be made while on the course, successful completion of which will lead to recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)*.

The course aims to develop an understanding of the specialist subject in the context of the National Curriculum, the principles involved in the teaching and learning of the subject across the full age and ability range and the professional values and practice, subject knowledge and understanding commensurate with the particular subject specialism. This includes how children learn and how they develop cognitively, socially and physically and the understanding, skills and personal qualities necessary for managing the learning environment.

All trainees undertake a module concerned with the wider context of schools and education. This develops the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for your first teaching post in a secondary school. It also builds a foundation for further professional development. Elements of this module include both whole cohort keynote lectures and seminars, many of which are led by mixed groups of trainees supported by tutors. This allows you to meet the Teacher Standards by making secure connections between issues in school and your own professional practice.

* The title of this award is subject to change due to an ongoing government consultation. For the latest information, please visit

How you're taught


University-based modules: Learning and Teaching in the Subject, and Learning and Teaching in the Wider Context, are assessed at the end of the modules with reflection against the Teacher Standards. You will also conduct a piece of research-based, professional enquiry within the classroom, which is assessed by a formal written report and presentation of findings. A separate, formal assessment also takes place in practical teaching.


School or college experience is central to the degree and at least 24 weeks are spent on placement in at least two different secondary schools or colleges. During the first phase, two days of school or college experience each week for three weeks are spent in school leading up to a six-week block placement. Trainee teachers are gradually given more responsibility and increase their contribution in both the classroom and to the corporate life of the school.

The second phase begins with a two day, weekly attachment for the first three weeks of the spring term, leading up to the final assessed 13-week block placement. In both placements the training programme is planned by mentors to allow progressive acquisition of the skills, knowledge and understanding students need to be recommended for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Students are formally observed on a regular basis by their subject mentor as well as receiving a number of visits from the University, to monitor their progress, support their development and undertake their assessment.

Careers and employability

The vocational nature of the PGCE Secondary and the fact that successful completion of the course leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) means that graduates are ideally placed to pursue a career as a teacher in a secondary school or college.

Links with industry

We involve industry experts in our courses in a number of ways:

  • We consult with employers when we design and update our courses.
  • We ensure you are prepared to meet the demands of the workplace by continually checking the currency and validity of our courses with employers.
  • You will have the opportunity to have a work placement (if not already in paid or voluntary employment).
  • Employers may input directly into your course through guest lectures, projects, and other work-related activities.

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