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Postgraduate Education (Postgraduate - Professional Graduate Certificate in Education) - Secondary

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  • Entry requirements
    The course is open to those with graduate standing seeking to enter secondary teaching as a first career or as a career change. Normally, graduates are expected to hold a degree involving substantial study of the subject area in which they wish to teach. Applicants will be required to have satisfactory health and criminal record audits. We are fully committed to equal opportunities and welcome applications from all sections of the community, from people at all stages of life, and seek to make all our courses as inclusive as possible.
  • Academic Title
    PGCE / PGCertEd Education (Postgraduate / Professional Graduate Certificate in Education) - Secondary
  • Course description
    Successful completion of the programme, including success in meeting the standards for QTS and the prescribed QTS skills tests, will lead to QTS being confirmed by the General Teaching Council for England.

    This programme is a highly practical initial teacher training programme in secondary education which prepares participants to teach pupils in the 11-18 age-range. This one-year full-time modular course aims to develop trainees’ skills and knowledge of secondary education and in particular to teach their specialist subject with confidence and skill. The course has been designed to meet all current government requirements for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), giving trainees the opportunity to develop their skills in schools for two-thirds of the year.

    The Westminster Institute of Education co-ordinates an extensive training partnership involving a wide range of schools in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire, Berkshire and Northamptonshire. These include comprehensive, selective and upper schools. Training as a teacher at the Institute will appeal to those who enjoy working with young people, who like working both independently and as part of a team, and who welcome opportunities to be creative and to experience variety and challenge.

    All trainees embarking on this programme will be registered on the Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) pathway. During the first term, trainees will have the opportunity to remain on the PGCE pathway, taking all modules at HE level 3, or choose to follow the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCertEd) pathway, which involves taking three modules at level M and the remaining modules at HE level 3. Further guidance will be available at interview and at the start of the programme. The PGCertEd gives 60 M level CATS points.

    During their PGCE year trainees also have access to additional hardship funds administered by the university and subject to means-testing.

    Entry requirements are defined by the DfES and consist of:

        * recognised UK first degree or the equivalent. Usually applicants should have studied the subject in which they wish to specialise as a teacher for a substantial part of their time at university.  Native or bilingual speakers of French, German or Spanish may qualify to teach that language, even if their degree is not in that subject.
        * passes at GCSE grade C or above, or the equivalent, in English and Mathematics
        * satisfactory health and criminal record audits.

    Secondary subject knowledge booster courses are planned for the beginning of the academic year for successful candidates who, while meeting the above entry requirements, may need to work further on their subject knowledge in Mathematics, Modern Foreign Languages, Music and Religious Education. Potential applicants to Modern Foreign Languages may be interested to find out about extension courses.  If you are interested in teaching Science but are unsure of your Physics or Chemistry background contact the course administrator to find out more about opportunities to enhance your subject knowledge through a preparation programme.  There are two-year options in both the Mathematics and Science courses for candidates who require significant support with subject knowledge.
    Course content

    The course is constructed in eight modules that ensure the development of trainees' knowledge and skills across the year. The university-based parts of the course consist of two main strands: Professional Studies and Subject Studies. These two elements are closely interwoven and are followed up through the school-based parts of the programme. The university-based part of the course is taught mainly through seminars and workshops.

    The Professional Studies strand is underpinned by Every Child Matters and introduces trainees to key issues of importance to secondary teachers.  These issues include the new secondary curriculum,
    14 - 19 education, personalised learning and individual needs.

    The Subject Studies strand builds on the generic Professional Studies programme and concentrates on subject-specific issues and methodology.  Trainees study and apply the latest teaching methods within their subject.

    Applicants are recruited to one of the following subject specialisms: Art and Design, English, Mathematics, Modern Foreign Languages, Music, Religious Education and Science.

    Teaching, learning and assessment

    The course provides training in a range of educational settings, including partnership schools and the university, and prepares new teachers for all aspects of the profession, including a pastoral role. Trainees are normally placed for teaching practice in three block placements, one in each term, in two contrasting schools. Trainees' work in the classroom is supervised closely by school staff, known as mentors and professional tutors, and university tutors visit to moderate trainees' work and to support school staff. Assessment is ongoing throughout the course, with progress monitored through a way-staged profile of teaching competencies. Trainees are also required to produce a number of written assignments, to compile portfolios of evidence and to contribute to group presentations.

    Ofsted inspectors have rated all provision as grade 2 or above, namely Good or Very Good.  The most recent report highlights:

        * thorough and systematic procedures to monitor and evaluate the quality of the provision
        * a very high level of support by university tutors
        * good module design, with well-judged content and detailed handbooks
        * comprehensive and coherent subject training.

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