PGCE iQTS Secondary Physics (11-16)

Entry year
Course code
School of Education and Childhood
One year full-time
Full-time; starts September and January
Programme leader
Karen Williams. Please direct all enquiries to

This course is open for applications

Page last updated 9 May 2024


Study our PGCE Secondary Physics with International Qualified Teacher Status (iQTS) to develop your skills in teaching physics to eleven- to sixteen-year-olds in international schools.

UWE Bristol's iQTS develops committed, collaborative, adaptable and solution-focused teachers, through high-quality training in international spaces. We put learners at the heart of teaching, celebrating difference to help transform the lives of children and young people in our global society.

Study our iQTS (PGCE) Secondary Physics (11-16) and you'll benefit from high-quality, evidence-based training, where you'll study online and put your learning into practice in the classroom. As part of this year-long course, you'll study for a master's level Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), while achieving International Qualified Teacher Status (iQTS).

The iQTS is a new online, internationally focused teaching qualification launched by the UK Government in 2022, which is highly valued in international education. This award enables you to engage in English teacher training online, based in international schools. On successful completion, the Department for Education (DfE) in England, will automatically award you Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), qualifying you to teach in schools in England too.

Why study PGCE Secondary Physics (with iQTS) at UWE Bristol?

As a respected provider of teacher training, UWE Bristol is one of a small number of institutions who have gained approval to offer the iQTS. We're committed to training reflective and creative teachers for the future, able to provide first-class educational experiences and make a significant difference to children's lives. We'll train you to do so in partnership with the school where you're currently working, or where you've secured a role.

Teaching secondary physics is a challenging and rewarding career, with a high level of job satisfaction. It's a great privilege, as well as a great responsibility, to be able to influence and shape the progress of children and young people. All children deserve to learn well, with enthusiastic, knowledgeable teachers.

Our iQTS secondary award is suitable for candidates seeking to improve their fundamental teaching skills and employability overseas and in England. The award will offer you an opportunity to start teacher training or develop your existing teaching career.

Further information on the difference between the iQTS and the iPGCE requirements for the schools and mentors, and technical guidance is available on the UWE Bristol iQTS information page.

Find out more about the iQTS qualification by downloading the DfE's iQTS Trainee leaflet.

For schools looking to develop their own teachers with iQTS, download the DfE's iQTS Schools leaflet.

Study an iQTS at UWE Bristol:

Learn more about the International Qualified Teacher Status (iQTS) at UWE Bristol.



Our PGCE Secondary Physics (with iQTS) involves completing at least 120 days in teaching practice during your course. You also need to gain some experience of an alternative school. The majority of trainees will spend some time in a second school, but we will support you to gain experience and a secure understanding of different school settings if this is not possible.

The modules you'll study are:

  • Professional Studies
  • Curriculum Inquiry
  • International Practice.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to government policy changes and feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up-to-date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their careers. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we'll inform you.

UWE Bristol has chosen Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) as our accredited provider for the QTS elements of the course. We work with SHU to provide high-quality courses and share excellent practice. Together, our teacher training will help you shape the future of children and young people.

Learning and Teaching

You'll study our PGCE Secondary Physics (with iQTS) delivered online in English, through a series of live webinars and tutorials, recorded videos and readings. There will be regular study tasks and group input tasks. Live teaching will be scheduled at different points in the day, depending on the time-zone you're in. For some students these may be very early or late in the day.

You'll try out and evaluate different pedagogical approaches, adapting them to your own practice and environment, as you develop into an informed, highly reflective teacher. Through the course, you'll focus on meeting the English iQTS Teachers' Standards.

As you engage with the course online, you'll connect and share with your tutors and fellow students. Students are organised into groups, supported by a UWE Bristol study tutor to share good practice and ideas. You'll also receive support and feedback on your teaching from a UWE Bristol study tutor and trained in-school mentor.

See our glossary of teaching and learning terms.

Study time

This iQTS (PGCE) Secondary Physics (11-16) is a 36-week course, delivered online in English. The course is structured to help keep you on track, so you'll have the chance to plan when you study.

You'll work with your school to create opportunities to try out different strategies with the learners you work with, evaluating their impact and planning next steps. You'll also need time to reflect on your journey and evaluate your own practice through the course, and as a teacher.


Assessment is based on a small number of professionally based portfolio assignments and a Viva Voce at the end of the final block school experience. All modules are compulsory, and you must pass all modules to gain the award of iQTS (PGCE).

Modules are assessed through academic assignments and on classroom practice evaluated against the International Qualified Teacher Status (iQTS) Teachers' Standards. We will give plenty of support in preparing for assignments.

Learn more about assessments at UWE Bristol.



We require iQTS candidates to work in a school with young people aged 11-16 or secure a role in a school abroad that's willing to support their iQTS. The course will include a significant amount of teaching practice, where you'll benefit from at least 120 days of practical teaching experience over 36 weeks.

We'll talk to you and your school to ensure you'll be able to meet the requirements of the qualification in your placements, including undertaking relevant safeguarding checks. This will include appropriate in-school mentor support, which is essential to your study and must be agreed by UWE Bristol before starting the course.

Study facilities

Your course materials and reading will be available to you online. You'll log onto our virtual learning environment to take part in live webinars, watch videos, take part in discussion activities, and access your study tasks. Throughout the course, technical and academic support will be on offer.

You'll need easy access to a computing device with a browser and broadband internet access. The University provides central guidance on the recommended specification for any device you use to undertake your academic work.


Postgraduate support

Our support includes access to fantastic facilities, study tools and career consultants, plus practical help to access everything from funding to childcare.


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Careers / Further study

Our iQTS (PGCE) Secondary Physics (11-16) will enhance your career teaching physics in international secondary schools. On successful completion, the Department for Education (DfE) in England will automatically award you Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), qualifying you to teach in schools in England.

Please note: iQTS and QTS are awarded by the Teaching Regulation Agency on behalf of the UK Government. It doesn't lead to the equivalent in any other country.

The course includes 60 academic credits assessed at master's level, which you can use to contribute towards a master's degree.


Supplementary fee information

Council of British International Schools (COBIS) will receive a 5% discount (full-time fees only).

Additional costs

Extra costs may be incurred in addition to the tuition fee for study items such as set texts, computer devices and internet services/access.

As per our entry requirements and selection process information any safeguarding checks, ID and qualification checks or verification/ translations, in addition to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) or local regulatory checks, will be at your own cost.

An International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) may also be required if you have ever lived or worked in the UK, again, this will be at your own cost.

Find out about ways to pay.


Entry requirements

For Secondary (11-16) you should typically meet the following criteria:

  • A standard equivalent to a GCSE grade C/4 in Mathematics.
  • An undergraduate degree, or a recognised equivalent qualification. This is typically 2:2 or higher but we will look at all applications against the demands of the course. 
  • You need to have robust prior knowledge, skills and understanding of Physics appropriate to teaching at 11-16 level in order to enrol on this course. This may have been as part of your undergraduate degree studies, but we may also consider other qualifications and experience as evidence of subject knowledge. We suggest that you explore the content in the current English National Curriculum for Physics for key stage 3 (11-13yrs) and key stage 4 (14-16yrs). Prior subject knowledge will be addressed through the admissions process, including a subject knowledge audit, and at interview.

You must meet all of the iQTS Teachers' Standards, including those that relate to subject and curriculum knowledge, by the end of your training. Full support will be provided to ensure you are clear on the requirements of the iQTS Teachers' Standards.

When applying to this course students should upload a personal statement which explains why they want to do this course and what they hope this course will allow them to achieve once completed.

To enrol on the course, you'll also need:

School: This is a practice-based course. To enrol on the course, applicants need to be working in a school who will support their full engagement on the course and be able to confirm that the student has any safeguarding clearance required in that education system/context. 

This will usually involve at least 120 days in teaching practice, including an intensive teaching block at the end of the year. At least two weeks of this teaching practice will need to include experience in an alternative school setting. If this is not possible we will explore alternative ways of ensuring trainees have experience and understanding of a different school context.

We'll usually ask trainees to video record some of their teaching (the trainee as teacher, not the learners) to support self-reflection and tutor and mentor evaluation. The school will need to approve this feature of the course.

We'll liaise with the school, and provide full information, along with a contract of engagement detailing specific features and requirements of the course. The school will need to be able to deliver the school-based elements of the qualification. This needs to be agreed and signed by the Headteacher or delegate at the school, and by UWE Bristol. We may also need to undertake checks to ensure there are no barriers to undertaking an international teacher training course in the country the school is located in.

Mentor: To ensure each trainee is fully supported and co-evaluated with UWE Bristol, in advance of the course start, each trainee needs to be assigned a named in-school mentor in the trainee's placement school who can support the student's progress to achieve the iQTS qualification. UWE Bristol will liaise with the applicant and the school to ensure this, and mentors will receive full training.

Selection process

Applicants who meet the entry criteria will be invited to an online interview, which will include some tasks.

A general interview for primary and subject interview for secondary will be conducted. Additionally, each applicant will be required to give a short presentation - full details will be provided on invitation to interview. A subject knowledge audit linking to the English National Curriculum in the chosen secondary subject or primary phase will be required prior to the interview and used to form a discussion during the interview process.

Additional criteria

  • All schools will be required to provide information about the safeguarding clearance required in that education system/context, and evidence that the applicant has achieved this in the appropriate timeframe for the course. This must include a check to ensure the trainee has not been disqualified from a childcare role.
  • If the applicant has recently been resident in the UK, UWE Bristol will require a clear Enhanced DBS Disclosure including check of children's barred list. These checks would also be carried out prior to working in the UK.
  • Criminal records checks overseas. If you have lived, studied or worked overseas for five months or more in the last five years you will need to provide a Certificate of Good Conduct from the country of residence will be required even if you are a UK applicant.
  • Two satisfactory references received directly from the referees, relating to work with children, including one from the host school.
  • Assurance that the applicant has the health and physical capacity to train to teach. Applicants will be required to complete a fitness questionnaire.

All information will be treated in confidence.

Standards and requirements

Our PGCE courses have been designed to be compliant with the latest relevant Initial Teacher Training standards and requirements.


We do not accept deferrals for this course.

English Language Requirement

Due to a high level of placement-based learning and working with children, all applicants should have an effective command of the English language and be able to use it appropriately, accurately, and fluently in a school setting.

To demonstrate proficiency in the English language, International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5, with at least 6.0 in each component (or approved equivalent*).

*The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language requirements.

Potential exemptions

If you are a national of one of the following English-speaking countries (or have a bachelor's degree or higher from one of these countries), you will not be required to provide evidence of English language proficiency. Exempt countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States.

How to apply

Applicants apply directly to the University by completing the formal application form.

Applicants linked to Council of British International Schools (COBIS) are eligible for a 5% discount on tuition fees. To apply with the discount, in your application please answer "Yes" when asked "Are you making an application through a partner institution which has an agreement with UWE Bristol?" and then select "Council of British International Schools" as a partner.

Check if your school is a COBIS member.

Further information on the difference between the iQTS and the iPGCE requirements for the schools and mentors, and technical guidance is available on the UWE Bristol iQTS information page.

Read more about postgraduate applications.

Read more about international applications and key international deadline dates.

For further information