View full details in the curriculum handbook
September 2024 arrangements: the university has been accredited to deliver the Qualified Teacher Status course by the UK government.
Becoming a Secondary school teacher
Teaching is still regarded as one of the most rewarding careers you can embark on. This is a career where you can have an incredible impact on the next generation of learners. This course is for those graduates who want to achieve Qualified Teacher Status to be able to teach in a Secondary School in England. This qualification enables teachers to teach in independent, state-maintained and special schools in England.
When asked, 98% of students felt that the course had made them a better teacher. You will learn about all aspects of working as a teacher including teaching strategies, child development, policies and processes and ways to ensure that effective learning takes place. We will work with you to strengthen your subject knowledge so that you are able to deliver across all Secondary age groups as well as have an awareness of what knowledge your pupils will bring when they arrive from Primary and Prep Schools.
On our PGCE programme, all teachers are encouraged to be inclusive practitioners for example to know about SEND and ways of promoting and maintaining good behaviour with an awareness of the importance of emotional regulation. We want to help you develop your confidence and resilience in order to be able to assuredly teach different Key Stages and across different age ranges.
“The course introduced me to teaching techniques and classroom strategies that I was able to implement immediately.” – Patrick Shacklady, PGCE
This is an employment-based route where you can work as a teacher and train to be a qualified teacher at the same time. In order to apply you must have a post secured in a Secondary setting. The course lasts for 37 weeks and covers a full and demanding curriculum. Our curriculum covers all aspects of the Core Content Framework (CCF). On our course, you learn whilst working in the classroom, fully supported by a Mentor in your own setting along with participating in blended learning programme provided by a team of experienced practitioners working with the University. You will be assigned a Tutor employed by the University who will visit you in your setting and work with you throughout the year. This course will support you as you develop your identity as a teacher and help you to find and refine your own teaching style.
Training is delivered through a weekly programme based in school alongside a core programme delivered by the University. This begins with induction in August online, followed by twilight lectures that are recorded and available throughout the course, along with three residentials. The residentials are a significant strength of this course as you are able to network with other Secondary colleagues from across the country as well as participate in a rigorous and challenging programme of lectures, seminars and workshops.
Different school subjects demand different teaching methods and resources, so part of the course will be taught by a subject specialist. We can teach all school subjects including Art, Music, Design Technology, Food Technology, Business Studies & Economics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Computing, English, Drama, Classics, Modern Languages, Arabic, Geography, History, Politics, Citizenship and PSHE, Religious Studies, Psychology, PE and Mandarin.
“Trainees find the programme both demanding and rewarding. They praise the pastoral support offered and describe leaders as open, responsive, and flexible. Trainees like the predominantly school-based design of the training and take pride in the academic rigour underpinning it. Trainees show commitment to course reading, reflecting carefully about the impact of research on their teaching. The dovetailing of theory and practice deepens their understanding of why certain strategies in teaching work, rather than just learning a random repertoire of techniques which teachers use.” – Ofsted, 2022
If you work in a Prep school you should normally apply for the Prep PGCE with QTS.
2024/2025 Residentials draft dates
Secondary PE dates
PE residential 1: Monday 21 October 2024, Tuesday 22 October
PE residential 2: Monday 18 February 2025, Tuesday 19 February 2025
PE residential 3: Tuesday 28 May 2025, Wednesday 29 2025
Secondary dates (not PE)
Residential 1: Thursday 24 October 2024, Friday 25 October 2024
Residential 2: Thursday 21 February 2025, Friday 22 February 2025
Residential 3: Wednesday 29 May 2025, Thursday 20 May 2025
You need to be available to attend these residential courses.
What do I need to know to gain QTS?
Your school will provide a suitable Mentor for you who will work with you on the course requirements. The Mentor will need to be trained by the University as the course provider.
You will need to ensure that your timetable is compliant with Department of Education requirements:
- You will need to teach across two adjacent Key Stages – Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 or you could teach across all three – Key Stage 3, 4 and 5.
- Trainees will be teaching for a minimum of 13 hours per week.
- Teaching time will increase to 80% of the timetable in the final term.
- Trainees will also undertake a teaching placement in a contrasting second school. The duration of this placement is determined upon interview but is usually a minimum of 30 solo teaching hours over a minimum period of three weeks (15 days). The placement may be longer depending on your existing timetable and setting.
- We train teachers from Special Schools. If you teach children a curriculum which is normally accessed by older children (e.g., you teach pupils aged 11-14 a Key Stage 2 curriculum) you will need to do a second school placement in a mainstream school where you can teach an age-appropriate curriculum.
You will cover five key topics using Intensive Training and Practice. As a part of this you will be required to attend a live but online talk on twenty Thursdays, 8.30am to 9.30am.
What is involved in taking the PGCE?
If you choose to take the Post Graduate Certificate in Education, alongside QTS, you will undertake a Level 7 (Masters) qualification that, if you complete successfully, will award you 60 credits. The PGCE is an academic qualification that allows you to reflect on your personal and professional development and respond positively to feedback. The qualification is assessed by three assignments that collectively enable students to:
- Research their own practice and reflect on effective strategies for effective teaching and learning.
- Critically analyse, engage in and reflect on educational issues, philosophies and initiatives.
- Take responsibility for their own learning and study independently.
- Function as independently-minded professionals capable of contributing to wider educational debate.
The PGCE module consists of 3 modules.
Module 1: Educational Principles –The Fundamentals of Teaching and Learning (20 credits)
Trainees will be required to demonstrate awareness of how children learn, basic philosophical principles underlying educational theory and teaching practice. All students will study a core of educational topics that are central to the work of a critically reflective practitioner. These topics will be delivered across the course and assessed through a written assignment at the end of the course.
Module 2: Development of Effective Practice (20 credits)
Trainees will be required to demonstrate understanding of the complexities and diversity required in teaching and assessment for learning. There will be a choice of topics offered. The assessment will be through a written assignment.
Module 3: Consolidating and Reflection (20 credits)
Trainees will be required to reflect on their learning as well as professional development and show how educational theory is linked to teaching practice. To build upon work completed in Module 2 there will be the opportunity to choose their areas of focus from a selection of titles.
If your school setting is eligible you may also consider the Postgraduate Teacher Apprenticeship with QTS and PGCE course instead.
A particular strength of our course is the support that we are able to offer through what can be a challenging year. As students of the University of Buckingham you are able to access all the student support services that we offer, with specialists who are used to working with Distance Learners. As well as this support, you are also led by the Head of Secondary who will work with you, meet with you at residentials and monitor your progress through the course. You will also be assigned your own Tutor who will work with you throughout the course.
“The vast range of support in place ensures you grow throughout the course.” – Philip Pitcher, PGCE
For teachers undertaking their first year of teaching we highly recommend your participation in the Ab Initio course as an addition to the PGCE. This will provide you with some basic knowledge and skills to start teaching.