Geography PGCE

This one year programme leads to a PGCE, recommendation for QTS and 60 credits at Master's level.

Programme overview

There are many visions of Geography that are debated, including what should be part of the Geography National Curriculum.

You’ll engage with these debates and develop your own clear vision of Geography. This process is an essential element in your professional development and will help you to establish confidence and competence.

By the end of the programme you’ll be confident, creative, and able to teach geography to 11-19 year olds. The programme will also prepare you for playing an active and innovative leadership role in a Geography department.

What you will learn

First stage

You will build confidence in what being a geography teacher involves. University sessions include lesson planning, learning theories,establishing engagement and an introduction into what powerful geographical knowledge is and how this can be developed. You will work closely with other geography student teachers in a subject specialist group. You will identify your subject knowledge strengths and prioritise school geography topics to revise/enhance – including which resources to use.

You will also have supported lesson observations in school to provide you with constructive feedback. A variety of effective classroom practices are modelled by experienced mentors with the opportunity to build up your own teaching experience in a way that is best for you.

Middle stage

The focus of the middle stage of the course is on deepening your understanding of issues of teaching and learning including:

  • meeting the needs of different learners
  • developing a meaningful geography curriculum.

You will undertake a second, longer, placement which allows you to use and develop the ‘building blocks’ from the first stage. 

Here, you will draw upon experienced teachers’ knowledge, and professional and research literature to widen your understanding of geographical education.  This includes an opportunity to develop a sequence of lessons more independently, enabling you to bring your own teaching ideas to life.

Final stage

In the final stages there are opportunities for you to develop your independence and confidence as a classroom teacher, reflect on and refine your philosophy of geographical teaching and learning. 

You will be supported to maintain positive and consistent practices with a range of students across key stages. This will include ways to embed assessment into your practice, how to communicate with parents and opportunity to experience a residential field trip.  The residential field trip will focus on how to safely and effectively organise and run fieldwork with students.


Opportunities include: 

  • A residential field trip dealing with practical aspects of running a school trip.
  • Work with the Royal Geographical Society (e.g. in the Core Maths and Geography programme)
  • Working collaboratively in subject groups to benefit from a wide range of school practices.
  • Learning from established, experienced, school mentors who are geography specialists.

Experiences in school


There will be a short primary school experience during the PGCE year. This work allows you to understand the child's experience before they go into secondary school. This understanding helps with planning for geographical learning at Key Stage 3.

Placement one

During the first term, you begin with preliminary visits to a secondary school. These visits will help prepare you for a shorter placement in that school. You will be working closely with a geography mentor.

Placement two

In the spring term, you will be on placement in a different secondary school. This placement will last the duration of the spring term. Here, you will establish yourself as a member of staff, build relationships, autonomy and confidence. 

Placement three

You will have another placement in the third term, possibly in a different school again. This flexibility can enable us to respond to your development, prioritising the experiences you need to meet the Teachers’ Standards, gain QTS and the PGCE award.


You will benefit greatly from having your placements spread across different schools. They will provide you with the opportunity to:

  • compare and contrast your experiences
  • face different challenges and achieve different triumphs
  • see different teaching styles
  • learn how you can adapt to different situations.

By the end of your third teaching placement, you will have developed into a confident teacher with your own teaching style.

You will have university geography tutors to support you throughout your PGCE and you have a mentor in school. These specially trained teachers are committed to developing your practice in the classroom.

Contact us

Due to the COVID19 pandemic and in line with government policy, some of our PGCE team are working remotely so are not contactable by telephone.  Please contact us by email so we can assist.

Initial Teacher Education (PGCE and School Direct) Office
Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 4492 We are working remotely during the current lockdown and as a result are only available via email

School of Education 

University of Bristol 
35 Berkeley Square 
Bristol, BS8 1JA

More contact details


Find out about available funding to help you get into teaching

Your tutors

The tutor for Geography are Dr Nicola Warren-Lee and Ms Celia Tidmarsh

Who this course is for

If you are passionate about the world and the people within it and want to inspire young people then this is the course for you. 

If you do not have a degree in Geography, we will still consider you if you have a degree that is at least 50% geographical in nature and is backed up by a strong grade in A-level Geography. 

Edit this page