Content of programme
The Biology course cover aspects of teaching and learning that are generic across the sciences such as how children learn, practical work, safety in the lab, How Science Works and science enquiry, as well as considering potential barriers to learning such as special educational needs and numeracy and literacy issues.
Trainees will be encouraged to become experts in teaching their subject specialism and challenged to recognise their needs in their non-specialist areas. This will be encouraged through activities including peer teaching, microteaching and leading a seminar for their peers. It is likely that they will be teaching all three sciences at KS3 and at least two sciences to KS4. The course is 11-18 so we ensure that there is the opportunity to teach your specialist subject at an Advanced level in at least one of the two placement schools.
The Biology course at Reading:
1. is taught by a team of staff with national and international reputations as being experts in the field of Science Education
2. is taught through a series of practical seminars and workshops and are taught in purpose-built science laboratories
3. have activities which are designed to help you to plan your teaching effectively and imaginatively and to evaluate your skills, particularly in terms of the quality of learning achieved by pupils
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This conceptual knowledge is related to the secondary education curriculum, before trainees undertake their first teaching experience at the main placement school in Maidenhead. Trainees will have the opportunity to teach all ability and all age ranges, from 11-18. Trainees later undertake a second placement at a secondary school in Maidenhead, before returning to complete their training at their main placement school. Towards the end of the course, trainees build on their own practice by initiating a curriculum development project. During their teaching practice experiences, trainees will have mentoring and support from school based tutors, and from experts at Reading University. Trainees also benefit from the University's lecture programme, featuring nationally and internationally renowned speakers who address contemporary issues in education.
Subject entry requirements
Applicants must possess or be likely to achieve preferably a 2:1 degree or better however applicants with a 2:2 will be considered. The degree must be in a cognate subject (e.g. Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mechanical and Chemical Engineering). It is expected that you will have studied two science subjects to A level and have a science degree.
We also expect you to have observed science lessons in secondary schools before your interview. Applicants are very strongly encouraged to undertake up to a week’s practical work experience in a school (preferably a Teach Maidenhead school), prior to interview.
The course is structured broadly as follows:
Phase 1: An introductory visit to the main teaching practice school.
Phase 2: A combination of Subject Method and Professional Studies sessions at Reading University and time spent at the main teaching practice school in Maidenhead mid-September to end October 2021.
Phase 3: Continuation of placement at main teaching practice school in Maidenhead, beginning November 2021 to beginning December 2021.
Phase 4: Placement at second teaching practice school in Maidenhead, beginning of January 2022 until middle of February 2022.
Phase 5: Return to main teaching practice in Maidenhead until middle May 2022 to complete the course. Attend an enrichment programme end May to beginning June 2022.
You will be assessed against the eight Teachers’ Standards, based on the evidence of your teaching, your wider contribution to school life and your ability to reflect on and evaluate these experiences. Assessment will be carried out in school and moderated by your University tutor.
You will also write three assignments. These are designed to deepen your reflection on your school experience in the light of educational research, and to develop your ability to research your own practice. As well as being assessed in their own right, the assignments will contribute evidence towards your assessment against the Teachers’ Standards.
Trainees undertake placements in two of the five partnership schools, one of which will be their main teaching practice school.
The five Teach Maidenhead schools (Furze Platt Senior School, Desborough College, Altwood School, Cox Green School and Holyport College) are all located in Maidenhead which is halfway between London and Reading, one mile from the M4 and six miles from the M40. The five main Teach Maidenhead schools are located in the four corners of the town, a few miles away from each other. Maidenhead benefits from excellent rail and road connections which will improve still further when Crossrail opens. Maidenhead is 15 minutes from Reading University by train and 20 minutes from London on a non-stop train.
The training course consists of two placements, one main placement and a second lasting six weeks which takes place half way through the main placement. All five schools are able to offer trainees the opportunity to teach a secondary school age range of 11 to 18.
The course itself is structured broadly as follows (and based on the 2020-21 secondary programme structure):
· Enrolment at The University of Reading during the first week of September
· An intensive week of subject matter study during the second week of September
· Six weeks where the trainee spends two days at the university and three in school
· A week focusing on the PGCE and tutorials
· A further six weeks spending five days in school
· A week shared between the university and an induction at the second placement school
· Christmas break
· Six weeks at the second placement school (beginning of January to mid- February) – we aim to inform trainees of their second placement location between September and November
· A week focusing on the PGCE and tutorials
· An intensive week of subject matter study at the end of February at the university
· Ten weeks at the main placement school with a break for Easter
· Two weeks of enrichment organised by the University of Reading.