School of Education

Physics - PGCE and School Direct


Do you want to become that inspirational teacher who makes physics come alive for young people? Do you get a buzz when talking about science or helping others to learn? Our science programme will equip you with the skills and knowledge to help you become a teacher who can make a real difference to the lives of young people. 

In collaboration with experienced teachers from our partnership schools, we have designed a course that supports you to consider the everyday reality of teaching science, while at the same time exploring the challenges and issues underpinning science education in our fast-changing and global world. The course is demanding and therefore the quality of the support you receive is of paramount importance, as a recent student commented in her course evaluation:

I have just loved the whole year. I have felt very well supported, and have thoroughly enjoyed learning so much over the course of the year. I have enjoyed all aspects of the course, but particularly our tutorial sessions.

Subject knowledge is fundamental to effective teaching and the course supports your subject knowledge development throughout. In addition, we see the course as just the first stage in your ongoing professional development and therefore we offer support to you in your NQT year and beyond.

Physics course content

The structure of the physics course closely models an approach we would like you to adopt when teaching science in secondary schools, that of seeing science an inquiry. Science is about asking questions and trying to generate evidence to answer them, which is exactly what we will be doing on the science course.  


We will be asking some big questions like those listed below and then we will set about answering them through workshops, practical work, teaching in schools, small group discussions, tasks and reflection:

  • What does it mean to be a professional?
  • How do children learn?
  • What is this thing we call 'science'?
  • How do you plan and prepare for learning?
  • How can learning be supported and managed?
  • How can positive behaviour be promoted?
  • How can we meet the individual needs of our learners?
  • How can we monitor and assess learning?

Through this approach you will develop your knowledge, understanding and skills in three main areas:

How to teach

You will learn a range of teaching strategies and skills, including how to plan lessons, how to manage learning effectively in different contexts, how to teach safely and effectively in a laboratory, how to monitor and assess learning, how to question effectively, how to explain science concepts, and how to develop and use resources, including ICT, to support your practice. We have three well equipped laboratories and a science technician to support your learning.

What to teach

You will consider the important questions such as:

  • What is the content and structure of the current science curriculum?
  • Is it appropriate for our learners today?
  • What is the nature/essence of science?
  • How can I develop my learners understanding about how scientists actually go about their work?
  • What difficulties do pupils experience when learning science?

What being a professional involves

You will gain insights into the complexities of teaching and learning and how to critically reflect on your own and others' practice, in order to ensure your own professional development. Another student commented:


The best thing about the course is that it is very clear and well structured. Despite the large cohort, the course is very individualised and personal - thorough and reflective.


How to apply


View PGCE availability and then visit our application guidance page.

School Direct

To apply for a place on the School Direct Physics Education programme you will need to search for a School Direct place on the UCAS-TT website

From the table below, you should identify a placement school in which you wish to undertake your training. When you apply in UCAS you will then need to search for and apply to the relevant Lead School as found in the same table below. The University of Nottingham will be listed as an accredited provider. Visit our application guidance page.

View School Direct placement schools...
Placement schools
Placement school School location Places available Lead school 
The de Ferrers Academy Burton upon Trent  Available The de Ferrers Academy
Djanogly City Academy Nottingham  Available The de Ferrers Academy
East Leake Academy East Leake  Available The de Ferrers Academy
Chellaston Academy Derby  Available Chellaston Academy
Schools across the Trust Nottingham  Available Greenwood Academies Trust
The Minster School Southwell  Available The Minster School
Schools across the Alliance Derby/Nottingham  Available L.E.A.D. Teaching School Alliance

PGCE details

School Direct details

Student profiles

The Science Team

  • Carmen Alcocer 
  • Wendy Dewick 
  • Dr Sue McCarthy 
  • Jo Hancock

Subject specific staff work with a wider circle of colleagues dedicated to our teacher training programmes including:

  • Stefanie Sullivan - Director of Initial Teacher Education
  • Helen Bowhay - Secondary Phase Leader


There are two routes to qualification, PGCE and School Direct. For both routes you will have a University interview.

If you have more than one UCAS application choice for routes and/or schools we are working with, you will only have one University interview.

That one successful interview will result in an offer of a place on the PGCE programme if that was one of your choices, and will lead to your application being instantly sent to all of your School Direct choices (should they have places remaining). This should increase your opportunities of quickly securing a place.



School of Education

University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

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