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This Geography PGCE course combines the development of professional skills needed to teach the subject together with knowledge of contemporary issues in geographical education.

  • This programme is rated 'outstanding' by the government (OFSTED)
  • Gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and 60 Master’s degree credits
  • 100% of 2019/20 PGCE Secondary Geography trainees have successfully secured teaching positions
  • Strong links with both Geographical Association (GA) and Royal Geographical Society (RGS).
  • Varied and dynamic fieldwork opportunities including both residential and local visits organised in association with the Field Studies Council.
  • Strong 'Geography Community' developed with local partnership schools, as identified by external examiner in latest subject report.

Why study Secondary Geography?

Our Geography PGCE course aims to prepare you with the practical skills needed to help foster the 'geographical imagination' of young people. This is achieved by teaching this vibrant and exciting subject in an innovative way to support pupil learning. In addition, it explores current debates and research to help understand the purpose of teaching geography and support trainees in their school placements.

Through critical reflection the programme makes links with literacy, citizenship and sustainability, highlighting the importance of geography in helping young people to become more informed global citizens. Geography PGCE trainees are assessed on their ability to teach pupils in the 11-16 age range, but opportunities for A Level teaching is also included in the programme as appropriate.

Why St Mary's?

The Geography PGCE programme covers all aspects of geography teaching with an emphasis on developing an enquiry approach to learning using fieldwork and GIS (Geographical Information Systems) to support practical activities and strategies for use in the contemporary classroom. Trainees will be encouraged to use a range of techniques and approaches creatively to teach a wide variety of geographical topics. 

Key features include an emphasis on developing the professional skills needed to teach geography in the classroom. The programme covers the theoretical knowledge needed as well as the more practical understanding of contemporary issues in geography education to support curriculum planning to ensure effective learning for all students in the 11–16 age range.

The course focuses on a range of pedagogical content knowledge including the development of fieldwork skills which is undertaken in both London and Somerset. The experienced geography tutor works in close partnership with trainees, the PGCE secondary team and the placement schools, with former St Mary's trainees often becoming School Mentors themselves.

If you wish to study for the Catholic Certificate of Religious Studies you will be able to complete several of the modules during your PGCE year. This certificate is often a requirement for teaching in a Catholic school.

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

Our PGCE programmes include Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and 60 Master’s degree credits. A large part of the programme is spent in assessed school placements that our School Partnership team will arrange for you, based on your home residential address.

QTS is required to teach in all state-maintained schools in England.

Ofsted Outstanding

We are Outstanding!

Following our inspection in 2019, we are delighted to announce that Ofsted have graded St Mary’s University as ‘outstanding’ in all areas of teacher training. Read more...

Entry requirements

2:2 Previous degree

Geography PGCE applicants are expected to have a good degree in geography (2:2 or above) or a related subject.

Please note: interviews for all 2021 PGCE programmes will be conducted online and recorded.

Additional requirement information

  • Your degree should have a significant proportion of the subject you wish to teach. Subject knowledge enhancement courses may be set as a condition in some cases, particularly when the degree is not clearly ‘in line’ with the subject you are applying to.
  • GCSEs in English Language and Mathematics at level 4 (grade C if taken before 2017) or above or equivalent. At least one of the GCSEs (or equivalence) must be in place at application. GCSE equivalents are offered by St Mary's University.
  • By the end of your teacher training programme you will have to demonstrate that you are competent in functional English and mathematics. This is a Department for Education requirement.
  • Two appropriate references (from an academic tutor or line manager) supporting your suitability for teaching. All references should be from a professional email address.
  • Satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
  • Original certification (or certified copies) of all qualifications will be required as evidence.
  • Physical and mental fitness to teach.

School observation

At St Mary's, we would like all applicants to have made a fully informed decision about considering joining the teaching profession. As part of that decision making process, spending some time in school(s) observing what teachers do and beginning to give some consideration to how they manage learning can be really insightful and informative.

Your training is most likely to take place in mixed, state comprehensive school environments. If you are choosing to complete some school observation as part of making an informed decision about teaching then we would encourage you to do so in a similar school setting.

Coronavirus addendum

It is proving extremely difficult for some individuals to get school experience due to the current COVID-19 restrictions. However, it is still extremely important that you demonstrate the steps that you have taken to make a fully informed decision about entering teacher training within your application. With this in mind, you may want to review some of the government's resources as part of the process:

Irish applicants

Make sure to check our information for candidates applying from Northern Ireland and Ireland.

International requirements

International students should check our country-specific pages for equivalents. If English is not your first language you will need to achieve an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with no less than 6.0 in any section (or equivalent).

We now accept IELTS Indicator test results as proof of your English language level.

The gov.uk website has a 'Get into teaching' guide for overseas students.

Further information

For more information about entry requirements please email apply@stmarys.ac.uk.

Course content

Modules

  • General Professional Studies Core
  • Geography: Subject Specialism Core
  • School Experience One (Foundation) Core
  • School Experience Two (Development) Core
  • School Experience Three (Consolidation) Core
  • Reflective Overview Option
  • Effective Teaching and Learning Option
  • Investigating Teaching and Learning Core
  • Supporting Learning Core

Please note: it is possible that a module listed on the website will not be able to run due to reasons beyond our control. For more information please refer to our course information disclaimer.

Career opportunities

The quality of the provision at St Mary’s is valued by our trainees and schools, resulting in high levels (over 70%) of NQT employment in our partnership schools. Employment rates following the PGCE course are consistently over 90% in teaching roles.

On the programme you will study two Master's' modules leading to 60 credits at postgraduate level. You will have the opportunity to further your postgraduate studies in your career as these credits are transferable.

At the end of the PGCE course, you will have the opportunity to complete a three-week placement in a special education setting. This is highly valued by trainee teachers to broaden their understanding of specific learning needs for some learners.

How the degree is taught

Teaching methods

You'll be taught on our beautiful and historic campus located in Twickenham, London.

The course tutors use a variety of teaching and learning approaches, including lectures, workshop sessions, collaborative and small-group work, paired work, practical activities, with positive use of technology, individual and group student presentations and some self-supported study.

A number of external cross-curricular visits - such as field trips and visits to museums - also take place.

This range of strategies both caters for a range of preferred learning styles and provides good teaching role models for trainees.

Assessment methods

Trainees are recommended for Qualified Teacher Status by successfully meeting the Teachers’ Standards (DfE). Continuous assessment throughout the programme will determine success.

Master's level assignments complement the work in schools and assist in meeting the Teachers’ Standards. These assignments aim to encourage you to be thoughtful and reflective, but also reinforce the evidence-based nature of the course assessment.

Self-assessment is also recognised as a valuable perspective in the evaluation of both school and university-based work.

Other assessments are used to ensure students understand and can apply the knowledge.  This is done through a range of methods:

  • Self-assessment
  • Presentations
  • Micro-teaching
  • Essays
  • Practical sessions
  • Lesson observations

Assessment is on-going and against the Teachers’ Standards. High standards of attendance, punctuality and participation are requirements of all course elements.

School Placements

You are prepared for teaching in partnership with schools that are formally linked to St Mary's, providing an excellent framework to develop teaching skills.

During your studies you'll be allocated two school placements during the 36-week course. In total, 24 weeks is spent in school to ensure close links between theory and practice throughout.

Our partnership schools offer a rich and diverse training programme for our trainees. We work with partner schools throughout the London area. During your placements, you will be guided from working with small groups of pupils alongside a subject teacher towards taking responsibility for whole classes.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

September 2021

  • Home: £9,250*
  • International: 12,950
Please note: These fees are annual and may increase in line with inflation each year subject to the Governments review of Higher Education Funding.

Funding

If you are a UK or EU student joining the PGCE programme you may be eligible for a Government training bursary. The bursary amount is based on the highest previous qualification that you have attained to date.

Information about financing your studies can be found within the Fees & Funding section.

Alumni discount

A 10% tuition fee discount is available for our undergraduate and postgraduate alumni planning to study a PGCE.

Additional costs

there will be an additional charge for the fieldwork of approximately £90. For further information about additional costs please contact clive.woolger@stmarys.ac.uk.

Facilities

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Further information