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Biology (Secondary)

Train to be a Biology teacher in a Secondary school

Subject / Phase

Biology (Secondary)

Course Length

1 year

School Placements




Academic award


Professional award

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

Masters Credits


Partnered with

Sheffield Hallam University

Train to teach this priority subject with superb job prospects and training bursaries available.

Why Train to Be a Biology Teacher?

"Teaching science is all about helping young people to better explain the world around them. It is a unique subject that has an ability to engage and captivate people from all backgrounds. Developing young minds into analytical and dynamic young people is a privilege that you see everyday while teaching science."

David, Head of Science at a secondary school

You will be responsible for introducing students to all manner of significant processes, from the human body to the natural world. You will have the opportunity to inspire them, sparking their curiosity and helping to prepare them to be confident citizens in an increasingly scientific world. In many cases, you will also inspire them to pursue further studies and even careers in science. You will also get to work with colleagues who share your passion for the subject.

What is Life Like as a Biology Teacher?

As with any teaching job, your days are varied and busy. You will have to prepare and deliver lessons, as well as set and mark assignments. You will monitor your students’ development and feed back via data recording and meetings with colleagues and parents. You will help your students develop their skills in the accurate use of scientific language, formulae and equations, and show them how to use practical techniques for scientific inquiry and investigation. They will learn how scientific discoveries make an impact on people’s lives, society and the environment. You will teach them the capacity to be scientifically literate citizens and prepare the foundations for some students to go on to pursue a career in science and technologies.

What Skills Do You Need to Be a Biology Teacher?

As well as your subject knowledge and enthusiasm, you need to be able to communicate well and inspire your students. Creating engaging lessons is essential, whether they are natural scientists or complete beginners. You also need to be organised and able to work well within a team, even though much of your work will be on your own in the classroom. Teachers are continually developing, so the ability to self-reflect and the willingness to take on new learning and training is essential. You will also be responsible for the safety of your students with the classroom and science lab, so awareness of health and safety is needed.

What Do We Cover in Biology Teacher Training?

You will be trained to teach biology at Key Stages 3, 4 and 5.

This includes training in university, via STSA's professional learning courses, and as part of your school placements, as detailed below:

At University

Our academic partner is Sheffield Hallam University, whose course is rated as ‘Good’ by Ofsted. At university, you will hone your biology skills and subject knowledge via seminars, workshops, lectures, group work, directed tasks, written assessments and practical work. You are assessed through supportive, collaborative means, helping you to grow and improve.

In STSA Professional Learning Courses

We run a number of STSA professional learning sessions throughout the year. These days are a great opportunity for our trainees to come together, catch up and share their experiences. Our trainees tell us this is a highly valued part of our course.

Examples of topics covered include:

  • The Professional Teacher
  • Safeguarding
  • Lesson/scheme design
  • Assessment: marking and feedback
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Barriers to learning
  • Organisation of self
  • Knowledge of consecutive key stages
  • Role of SENCO
  • Behaviour management
  • Building resilience
  • Child development
  • SEND and inclusion
  • EAL and new arrivals
  • Collaborative team teaching
  • Communication with parents
  • Planning for transition
  • Careers

The STSA team are on hand throughout the course to help you with any issues or questions you may have.

During your School Placements

Our course includes high-quality placements in two of our partner schools, providing experience in contrasting settings – which is part of the Department for Education (DfE) regulations for Initial Teacher Training (ITT). Your main placement is approximately 24 weeks over the academic year, whilst your complementary placement is approximately 6 weeks. You also have a 2-day experience in a primary setting.

You will have your own mentor in each school, who will meet with you regularly and provide support and advice. They will also assess your teaching in school.

You can find out more about what to expect on our course here.

Career Development

You will always be developing as a teacher and could progress to a head of subject role, or even head of a science faculty. Some teachers decide to specialise in pastoral work, taking on a head of key stage/year group role. From middle management, you could then progress into senior leadership as an assistant, deputy or head teacher. With multi-academy trusts growing in number, there are also new opportunities working across a number of schools, taking on responsibility for your particular subject.

You will gain:

  • A Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Secondary Science (Biology) (11-16 with post-16 enhancement)
  • Qualified Teaching Status
  • 60 Masters credits

It’s a great mix of academic and professional training that really equips you for life in the classroom.

As a trainee biology teacher, you could be eligible for a £26,000 tax-free bursary if you have a first, 2:1, 2:2, Masters or PhD.

Find out more about bursaries and other funding here.

Don’t hold back from applying for teacher training due to your subject confidence - you can top up your subject knowledge with a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course. These fully funded courses are available if:

  • Your degree wasn’t in your chosen subject but is closely related.
  • You studied the subject at A-Level, but not at degree level.
  • You have an unrelated degree, but relevant professional experience in the subject.
  • Or it’s been some time since you used your degree knowledge.

If you’re unsure whether you need to undertake an SKE course, please talk to us.

The course can vary from an eight-week refresher course to 28 weeks. You could also get a tax-free bursary of £200 per week to support you throughout the SKE course. Depending on the course length, in total, you could receive a bursary of £5,600 for a 28-week course or £2,400 for a shorter course of 12 weeks.

Start: September 2020

End: June 2021

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