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School of Environment, Education and Development

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PGCE Secondary Physics with Maths
Train to teach secondary level Physics with Maths and gain Qualified Teacher Status.

PGCE Secondary Physics with Maths / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course description

Secondary PGCE courses - The University of Manchester
This course will train you to become a physics and mathematics teacher across the 11-16 or 11-18 age range. It will prepare you to teach the National Curriculum and related national strategies, GCSE and A level. Completion of this 10 month course leads to both a postgraduate qualification and qualified teacher status (QTS).

The physics with mathematics combination is now firmly established as an alternative to the traditional combination of physics, biology and chemistry in a teacher training course. Physics with mathematics trainees focus on the two highly valued subjects of physics and mathematics and being qualified to teach both these shortage subjects will increase your employability.

The course combines master's level academic study of physics and mathematics education with a range of school experiences. Approximately two-thirds of your time will be spent in our partnership schools and colleges developing your practical teaching skills with the support of trained mentors and experienced teachers. When on placement, you will observe and teach classes under the guidance of an experienced science teacher mentor, improving your skills in planning, teaching and assessment.

Throughout the course you will learn:

  • How to develop the confidence and competence of all pupils in thinking scientifically.
  • How to teach and assess pupils' understanding of the different branches of science.
  • How to help pupils to develop as independent and collaborative learners.
  • How to use practical exercises, ICT and `the real world' in the teaching of science.

What our students say:

'The course has been fantastic, the experience and most importantly the confidence I have developed whilst being on the PGCE is beyond anything I could have imagined. Yes it has been tough, but it has been completely worth it!'


We will prepare you to help your pupils develop their capabilities in all aspects of scientific practice, such as: observing; experimenting; measuring; testing; creative thinking; reasoning; calculating; planning; arguing; and critiquing.

The University part of the course will enable you to reflect on teaching learning and pedagogy as well as encouraging you to observe how children learn. University sessions will include:

  • science subject knowledge and pedagogy;
  • misconceptions in science;
  • the role of group work and classroom talk in the science classroom;
  • the national curriculum and current debates in science education;
  • planning lessons;
  • assessment for learning;
  • differentiation;
  • managing pupil behavior; and
  • keeping records and using data to support pupils' progress.

What our students say:

'I particularly appreciated the opportunity to go to University to talk with other trainees about their experiences. I have also found the assignments to also be a huge benefit as it gives me time to pick an area I want to develop but I have little knowledge of.'

Special features

  • Top university to study a PGCE in the North of England (Good Teacher Training Guide 2017).
  • Rated as 'outstanding' by Ofsted.
  • Extensive classroom experience supported by experienced science tutors and mentors.
  • 92% of our graduates in a teaching post within six months of completing the course - consistently better than the North West average (The University of Manchester 2013-2016).

Additional course information


Your University tutors will provide excellent support for your academic work and personal needs. We operate an `open door' tutor policy where appointments are seldom necessary for one-to-one meetings. These meetings can be used to facilitate success sharing or to raise any personal or professional needs or concerns. Each school has a designated science mentor, trained by the University who will provide advice and guidance whilst you are on placement. The culture of team working and best practice sharing amongst students will provide you with a support network available when you need it the most.

Teaching and learning

The structure of our PGCEs includes both school-based and University-based learning. On our secondary PGCEs, around two thirds of your time will be spent in secondary schools, academies or colleges on placements. You will also need to undertake self-directed study in the evenings and weekends, such as background reading, creating lesson plans and completing written assignments.

A wide range of teaching methods are incorporated into the course, including: seminars; lectures; group discussion; practical workshops; trainee-led presentations; and peer review. Peer observations of lessons will enable you to participate actively in your own and your fellow students' development as teachers. You will be encouraged to use similarly active and well-principled approaches in your own science labs and classrooms. You will be provided with a significant amount of responsibility to develop your own teaching style, set targets, take your own initiatives and evaluate your own work in planning, teaching and assessing. You will also need to undertake self-directed study in the evenings and weekends, such as background reading, creating lesson plans and completing written assignments.

Teaching on our secondary science PGCEs is enhanced by the contribution of a small team of experienced teachers who work alongside PGCE tutors on school visits and in University sessions, plus visitors from exam boards and from the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics and the Society of Biology. Some sessions are run jointly with the University's science departments to benefit fully from the resources of the University, and with Manchester Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

The course is a partnership between the University and schools and colleges drawn from a wide area, including Bolton, Bury, Cheshire, Deeside, Lancashire, Manchester, Merseyside, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Staffordshire, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Warrington and Wigan. In your placement schools and colleges, you will observe and teach classes under the guidance of experienced subject mentors.

Coursework and assessment

Your school and University experiences are formally assessed. Both your mentors and tutors will help you to record your achievements and set targets. During each placement, a University tutor will observe you teach and at the end of each school experience you will receive a report from your mentor. The report will grade you in the following areas:   teaching; planning, differentiation and assessment; learning environment and wider professional responsibilities. The grades are awarded by your mentor in conjunction your University tutor.  These reports, together with your record of achievement and development facilitate your progression as a teacher.

You are also required to complete a number of written assignments, which will allow you to gain a maximum of 60 master's level credits. On-going guidance and support to complete these assignments will be available from your University tutors.

Scholarships and bursaries

Generous, tax-free funding is available to the best graduates training in a range of subjects. You could get a £26,000 bursary or be awarded a prestigious scholarship - which provides additional support and benefits throughout your training year.

Information about additional funding options for September 2018 can be found on the Department for Education website

Home/EU students may be eligible for a repayable tuition fee loan. Home students in England may also be eligible for a repayable student maintenance loan. The loans support available to PGCE students is similar to what is available for undergraduate students and information about government financial support for undergraduate students is available here

If you have graduated in the last three years from The University of Manchester with a 1st class honours degree, you may also be eligible for our Alumni Scholarship .


Your University-based learning will take place at The University of Manchester's Oxford Road campus, adjacent to Manchester's city centre. The campus is easily accessible by road or by an extensive network of public transport including trains, trams and buses.

Our Oxford Road campus is home to The University of Manchester Library and the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons. The University's library is one of the best-resourced academic libraries in the UK.  Studying with us will open up a wealth of learning resources to you, including over four million printed books, more than 500,000 ebooks and access to over 40,000 electronic journals and hundreds of online databases. The Alan Gilbert Learning Commons offers you a stimulating 24/7 environment for study. It is the UK's first digital library and home to the most up-to-date IT facilities, a range of versatile learning spaces and a relaxing cafe area for breaks or meeting friends.                  

Our PGCE science laboratories are stocked with examples of the science apparatus currently used in schools and colleges. The John Rylands Library has online resources and an education section which, together with our state of the art reprographics and audio visual facilities, will provide you with excellent opportunities to develop your practical and theoretical teaching skills. You will also be given access to a large amount of high quality resources via the University's virtual learning environment - Blackboard.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: