PGCE (PGCert) Secondary Education (Physics with Mathematics) with recommendation for QTS

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Special Features
  • Teaching & Assessment
  • Employability
  • Fees
  • Entry Criteria

About the Course

All our Education courses have been developed in collaboration with Partnership schools and the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). This ensures not only the highest possible quality of provision, but also relevance in reflecting national and school-level priorities in Education.


School and Local Authorities are increasingly seeking to employ teachers with not only high levels of competence and skill in classroom practice, but practitioners who have advanced subject knowledge for teaching and enhanced knowledge of systems and theories relevant to education. Therefore, the aims of this program are:

  • to enable student teachers to develop a critical understanding of issues and theories that impact upon classroom practice in teaching, learning and assessment in secondary schools;
  • to support student teachers in their exploration and critical reflection on their own and others practice in relation to national and regional priorities and policies and current research relevant to the Key Stages for this programme;
  • to promote student teachers' practical teaching skills and subject knowledge for teaching across the relevant Key Stages for this programme, making links with relevant theory to inform practice.

The programme aims to further develop students' existing transferable skills in communication, literacy, numeracy and critical reasoning. It is suitable for those who wish to gain employment as teachers and who aspire to progress to leadership and management roles in schools or in the wider world of education. It will provide an excellent foundation for progression to either higher academic or advanced professional qualifications.


Information on available funding.

All applications for PGCE programmes have to be made online through UCAS Teacher Training (UTT)
UCAS Code: G1X1.

Further Information

Taught Programmes Office
Department of Education
College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences
Brunel University London


Tel: +44 (0)1895 267156

Related Courses

Course Content

The PGCE is an intensive programme, which combines an exploration of principles and methods of teaching and learning with practical school-based teaching placements. It lasts for 36 weeks from early September to late June.

The Secondary programme prepares you to work with pupils aged 11-16. At the heart of our programmes is a vision that our student teachers’ teaching will impact positively on pupil progress over time in schools and that our Partnership activities with schools will contribute to school improvement. We aspire for all our students to be outstanding teachers.

The PGCE Secondary courses are structured around three modules, which share a generic General Professional Education (GPE) component. The GPE programme involves an enquiry based learning approach, which combines taught sessions with independent professional learning activities (PLAs). These PLAs require independent research, which is either school-related or school-based. The three PGCE modules are:

1. Education Studies I

This module covers the following GPE themes:

  • Professionalism, values and reflective practice;
  • Safeguarding, child protection and e-safety;
  • Understanding curriculum and the National Curriculum;
  • Supporting learners, learning and effective behaviour management;
  • Inclusive education, with a specific focus on supporting pupils with SEND and SEBD;
  • Effective planning and teaching to promote pupil progress;
  • Assessment and its role in promoting effective learning.

You will also focus on teaching and learning issues of particular concern to your phase or subject specialism.

2. Education Studies II

This module covers the following GPE themes:

  • Applying for your first post;
  • Understanding data analysis to support effective teaching and learning;
  • Behaviour for learning and the wider professional responsibilities of the subject teacher;
  • Inclusive education, with a specific focus on supporting pupils with English as an Additional Language, pupils receiving the Pupil Premium and able pupils;
  • Safeguarding with a focus on the Prevent and Channel national strategy and bullying and homophobic bullying.

You will also continue to focus on teaching and learning issues of particular concern to your phase or subject specialism.

3. Education Studies III

This module focuses specifically on supporting student teachers to make an effective transition into their first post and examines the following themes in GPE:

  • Preparing for induction and the professional learning action plan for your first post;
  • Pathways into leadership in education;
  • Learning outside the classroom;
  • Contributing to the wider aspects of the formal and informal curriculum and your wider professional role as a teacher.

Subject Specific Course Content

This course has resulted from an initiative by the professional body for physics, the Institute of Physics, in response to current and future needs for specialist physics teachers in secondary schools who may wish to offer mathematics as a second subject. The PGCE is a full time, one year, postgraduate course, carrying 60 Masters Level credits.

Potential students will be graduates of physics or engineering who may be recent graduates or ‘career changers’ of different ages. The normal entry requirement is a bachelor’s degree from a recognised University, at upper second-class honours or above and one where physics topics form at least 50% of the degree content.

This qualification aims to produce reflective, confident and competent teachers of physics and mathematics who are able to be effective at planning, teaching and assessing these subjects in secondary schools and contribute to the whole school community. The course will equip you with the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to teach physics with mathematics such that you are able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the vital role of the teacher and the school in ensuring excellence in the educational experiences of young people;
  • Undertake professional practice which enables you to evidence the Teachers’ Standards which facilitate the award of Qualified Teacher Status;
  • Understand the relationships between Education, science and mathematics within current national and government frameworks, and critically reflect on the impact of these in the work of schools and the educational experiences of young people;
  • Recognise the contribution that science and mathematics as part of the whole school curriculum makes to the development of the individual learner and groups of learners;
  • Think critically about what it means to be scientifically and mathematically educated and how this informs curriculum planning and design within the subject area;
  • Apply a thorough knowledge and understanding of the physics and mathematics National Curriculum to the planning of curriculum experiences for pupils in school;
  • Demonstrate competence and confidence in your ability to teach across the contexts for pupil learning in the physics and mathematics National Curriculum, applying principles of continuity and progression;
  • Use subject knowledge and relevant course specifications to plan and deliver the 14-16 physics and mathematics curriculum including examination and vocational courses;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the subject knowledge and specification requirements for the 16-19 physics and mathematics curriculum;
  • Utilise a range of teaching strategies to meet the identified learning needs of a wide range of pupils;
  • Utilise a range of resources, including information and communication technology, to enhance pupil learning in physics and mathematics;
  • Understand the importance of safe practice and safeguarding and apply these in working with young people both within and beyond physics and mathematics lessons;
  • Use a wide range of class management strategies to maximise pupil learning;
  • Understand the principles of inclusion and apply these to ensure equality of opportunity for all pupils in the subject area;
  • Understand national frameworks for assessment within the subject area and use these to support the recording and analysis of data, and the subsequent use of this to plan the next phase of learning;
  • Raise the status of the subject area by demonstrating high standards of professionalism at all times;
  • Understand the crucial role of professional learning for the teacher, the pupils and schools.

School Experience

School-based professional learning is a compulsory element of all programmes leading to a recommendation for QTS. The course involves the statutory requirement of at least 120 days of school experience in the form of block school placements undertaken in at least two different contexts.

Our current partnership schools are mainly located in the West London area and adjoining Home Counties. We have developed close links with a number of very good schools over a number of years, and offer placements within carefully chosen schools that provide an appropriate professional learning experience. The ethnic and cultural diversity of the schools we work with is a distinctive aspect of our provision and we are equally proud of the diversity of our student teacher cohort, who reflect the communities in which many of them go on to work as teachers.

We also offer student teachers the opportunity to experience placements in alternative settings, which include special schools, Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), young offenders institutions. This further demonstrates our commitment to preparing teachers to work with young people in a diverse range of educational contexts.

You will be allocated a school-based mentor, selected for their experience and expertise, who is there to help you develop and learn while you are on placement. The importance of this person should not be underestimated. Teaching is a very challenging profession and with the help of your school-based mentor and your University tutor we aim to make sure that you have support every step of the way, encouraging reflection and development. 

Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel and what you will learn on the course.

Special Features

  • As a leading centre of education and with roots in teacher education dating back to 1798, we are able to provide first class teacher education that is internationally recognised.
  • A Brunel PGCE is a recognised symbol of quality teacher education which accounts for our high employment rates.
  • At the heart of our programmes is a vision that our student teachers’ teaching will impact positively on pupil progress over time in schools and that our partnership activities with schools will contribute to school improvement. We aspire for all our students to be outstanding teachers.
  • You will benefit from an established partnership between Brunel and a variety of educational institutions and local schools. Brunel education degrees offer multicultural placement learning opportunities. For example, our location in West London and our diverse and well-established schools network means you will gain highly-valued placement learning experiences in vibrant multicultural schools.
  • Beyond ITE, for early career teachers we offer the Masters in Teaching (MAT), where students can utilise their 60 PGCE Masters level credits to continue their postgraduate studies part-time, whilst also meeting the requirements outlined for Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) and early career development. Where schools have qualified for Enhanced Partnership status with Brunel University London, NQTs in those schools have access to the first year MAT module for free, illustrating our commitment to supporting NQTs into and through their first year of teaching. We also offer a Masters in Education (MAEd), a Doctorate in Education (EdDoc) and PhD postgraduate routes through the Department of Education. This continuum of provision ensures a commitment to teacher education and professional learning at all stages and the growing community of professional practice strengthens our Partnership.
  • Staff are nationally and internationally recognised for their research, and liaise with government and other agencies on education policy issues. The Department of Education is host to a number of research centres, including the Brunel Able Children’s Centre. The process of learning is informed by cutting-edge research by staff in the strands of: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Pedagogy and Professional Practice (PPP).
  • You can take advantage of free access to our excellent University Academic Skills service, ASK.
  • We have an award winning Professional Development Centre.
  • Our library has been nominated for national awards for its outstanding provision.
  • We have on-site volunteering opportunities through our Brunel Volunteers provision.
  • Our Disability and Dyslexia Service team have an excellent track record of support for students.
  • Our Union of Brunel Students provides you with a range of additional support and a broad range of extra-curricular opportunities and social events.
  • There is excellent University-wide access to PCs and the Internet, as well as free loan of media equipment and music/recording studios, and web space on the University server.


Postgraduate Certificate in Secondary Education (PGCE) with Qualified Teacher Status.

Facts and Figures

What Ofsted Say

The Brunel University London Initial Teacher Education Partnership was inspected in 2015 and we were graded as ‘Outstanding’ in all areas of the inspection framework. In relation to our PGCE Secondary provision specifically, the Ofsted inspection report identified the following key strengths:

  • The efficient personalisation of training programmes to meet trainees’ individual learning needs, including complementary placements, subject knowledge enhancement programmes and regular high-quality developmental feedback to trainees both orally and in writing.
  • The strong rise in the proportion of trainees gaining employment as teachers over time, which reached full employment of all newly qualified secondary teachers from the 2014/15 course.
  • The outward-looking professional attitudes of newly qualified teachers that allows them to rapidly become fully engaged in all of the work of their employing school, including tutoring and extra-curricular programmes.
  • The significant improvement in trainee outcomes since the previous inspection, resulting in all trainees substantially exceeding the minimum level of practice expected in the Teachers’ Standards, and with many excelling.
  • The high levels of subject knowledge deployed by trainees to captivate and sustain pupil interest, with the consequent high standards of behaviour-management by trainees and NQTs in a wide range of settings.
  • The highly proficient skills of lesson evaluation by trainees that consistently assesses the impact of their teaching on pupils’ learning, especially upon disadvantaged groups of pupils and the most able.
  • The effectiveness of leaders and managers at all levels in evaluating and then acting swiftly to improve training provision in the context of rapid change in the range of subject courses offered and numbers of allocated places.
  • The strong impact on school improvement in partnership schools through collaborative high quality professional development of their teachers led by the university.
  • The relentless focus on equality of opportunity for trainees and their pupils, supported by the partnership’s diverse range of schools coupled with high quality, equitable recruitment of trainees from different heritages, genders and age groups.
  • The consistently very high quality of mentor training, training resources and support for school-based mentors and tutors which centres on maximising the impact of trainees’ teaching on pupil progress.

Teaching and Learning

We adopt an enquiry-based learning approach in our PGCE Secondary courses where students are encouraged to research and investigate a range of broad and subject specific educational themes and issues and bring their findings back for discussion in interactive lectures, workshops and seminars. These themes and issues address national, regional and partnership priorities as well as specific areas for investigation with the subject area.

Various teaching and learning methods are used on all our PGCE Secondary courses, for example:

  • Groupings of different sizes and compositions to provide as much variety of experience as possible;
  • Lectures, seminars and workshops;
  • Modelling of classroom practice;
  • Group-work, independent learning, investigation and guided discovery;
  • Observation, portfolio preparation, self-evaluation and reflection on teaching practice;
  • Guest speakers who are experts in their fields;
  • Visits to particular types of schools, for instance PRUs and special schools;
  • Fieldwork with pupils, and other visits to relevant places relating to the school curriculum. 


Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

The PGCE Secondary programme carries 60 Master’s Level credits and requires you to successfully complete three formally assessed pieces of academic work during the year:

  • a 2000 word written assignment related to general professional issues with an
  • a poster presentation proposing a small scale research project based in school
  • an oral PowerPoint presentation of the completed small scale research project.

All of these assessments also require an accompanying portfolio of evidence.

The Master’s Level credits provide an excellent foundation for future academic and professional study.

Qualified Teacher Status

Alongside the PGCE academic award for your programme, you will also be assessed for the recommendation of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). In order to be recommended for QTS you are required to demonstrate that you have met the Teachers’ Standards (DfE, 2013) in both the University and in school and alternative education settings. All aspects of the programme are designed around you being able to demonstrate that you are meeting the Teachers’ Standards.

Part 1 of the Teachers’ Standards require you to:

  • Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils
  • Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils
  • Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge
  • Plan and teach well structured lessons
  • Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils
  • Make accurate and productive use of assessment
  • Manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment
  • Fulfil wider professional responsibilities

(Teachers’ Standards, DfE, 2013)

Part 2 of the Teachers’ Standards require students to demonstrate the highest standards of personal and professional conduct.

As the PGCE is a professional course, 100% attendance is an expectation.

Recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status will be made by the Secondary PGCE Examination Board for all those who successfully demonstrate the Teachers’ Standards as shown in the requirements for University and school-based work.


Employment and Career Prospects

A Brunel PGCE with recommendation for QTS is a recognised symbol of high quality Initial Teacher Education. This is demonstrated by our outstanding employment rates and feedback from alumni student teachers, our partnership schools and Ofsted inspectors. 100% of our PGCE Secondary students in 2014-2015 secured teaching posts in schools. Many of our students go on to work in our partnership schools and many in schools where they undertook a placement experience. This allows us to retain links with many former students and often they become school-based mentors for our students.

Many of our Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) stay in contact through the Brunel Initial Teacher Education Buddy system, where NQTs and students can share experiences, ideas, advice and resources through a facility on our VLE.

We also invite former students back for public lectures, research seminars, Education events and to be involved in steering groups and research activities here in the Department of Education to ensure they can continue to develop through a community of professional practice both within but also beyond the school in which they are working.

Our extensive involvement in the Initial Teacher Education has enabled us to develop an extensive network of former alumni who have gone on to hold positions of responsibility in schools across the country.

Further Postgraduate Study Opportunities

Beyond ITE, for early career teachers we offer the Masters in Teaching (MAT), where students can utilise their 60 PGCE Masters level credits to continue their postgraduate studies part-time, whilst also meeting the requirements outlined for Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) and early career development. Where schools have qualified for Enhanced Partnership status with Brunel University London, NQTs in those schools have access to the first year MAT module for free, illustrating our commitment to supporting NQTs into and through their first year of teaching.

We also offer a Masters in Education (MAEd), a Doctorate in Education (EdDoc) and PhD postgraduate routes through the Department of Education. This continuum of provision ensures a commitment to teacher education and professional learning at all stages and the growing community of professional practice strengthens our partnership.


Two different schools are chosen to complement and reflect the diversity of experience required.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Fees for 2015/6 entry

UK/EU students: £9,000 full-time

International students: £13,500 full-time

NCTL Bursaries

UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).

Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for 2016-2017 entry 

Our conditions of entry to the PGCE Secondary Education programme require that applicants have:

  • An undergraduate or postgraduate degree in the field in which you intend to teach. Normally this should be a 2.2 classification or above in preparation for Masters level professional study.
  • Maths and English grades A* to C or equivalent at GCSE level.
  • Passed the required Skills Tests - via the UCAS TT application cycle. Brunel University London will accept applications for our PGCE courses prior to completion of the NCTL Skills Tests. However, if you are offered a place on one of the programmes and have yet to meet the requirements of passing the Skills Tests, then your offer will be conditional based on passing these tests by a date specified in your offer letter.

To further strengthen your application, we also recommend that applicants have:

  • Modules within your degree course which should provide a foundation of preparatory knowledge for the phase or subject you are applying to teach;
  • An informed personal philosophy on the aims of your phase/subject area, drawing on relevant reading and research;
  • An understanding of statutory requirements for your phase/subject area within the state school sector;
  • An awareness of recent government policy or initiatives in education and your phase/subject area
  • Recent and relevant experience of state school education in England, either team teaching or observing with experienced teachers. This should normally be pre professional teaching experience where you have had the opportunity to develop relationships with a group(s) of pupils over a sustained period of time.
  • The ability to communicate effectively in both spoken and written English. If selected for interview, you will be expected to interact effectively with university tutors and school colleagues and demonstrate the potential to form positive and productive relationships with colleagues and pupils in schools and in professional learning contexts.
  • An awareness of the Teachers’ Standards (DfE, 2013).
  • An enthusiastic and energetic approach which communicates clearly your commitment to teaching and working with young people.

Overseas applicants must have a minimum level of English language qualifications:

  • IELTS: 7 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 64 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 70% (min 60% in all areas)

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), Childcare Disqualification and Prohibition Orders

As an accredited provider of Initial Teacher Education we have to have regard to the Department for Education’s statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education, when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. We ensure that all student teachers have been subject to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) criminal records checks, including a check of the children’s barred list. The Department for Education has published statutory guidance on the application to schools of the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009 and related obligations under the Childcare Act 2006.

We undertake our responsibility to ensure that the student teachers are not, therefore, disqualified from childcare or that the student teacher has obtained a childcare disqualification waiver from Ofsted. We also check that candidates are not subject to a prohibition order for teaching issued by the Secretary of State.

The application will cost £51.86 (this amount may be subject to change) and the University will send further instructions as part of the admissions process. For further guidance please email

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 7 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 64 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 70% (min 60% in all areas)

Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.

However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.

Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a number of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.

Page last updated: Tuesday 01 December 2015