Dear John: How can I become a History teacher?


I would be grateful for your advice into the best way into the teaching profession. I currently hold no PGCE, but have an aptitude for instructing. I have a BA and MA (Hons) in History, but have no actual teaching experience. I have 7 years military experience and I wondered if you could highlight avenues that might be open to me. I understand that no PGCE is required for teaching in the private sector but is preferred. Would a PGCE be the best route to convince that I am serious about teaching?


You are correct that no PGCE qualification is formally required by the private sector, but many if not most schools employ those with such a qualification. Exceptions might be those who can offer additional skills, such as help with the CCF or particular sports. Although the PGCE route is the most obvious one, it does contain risks in a subject such as history since there is no guarantee of a job at the end of the training (different rules apply in Scotland). The school-based Graduate Teacher Programme, allows for both payment during training and a greater possibility of a job at the end of the programme. However, your resettlement programme might need to be geared to finding a GTP placement as these are no longer easy to come by. More information about the scheme can be found at and their training routes pages.

You could consider registering for a PhD in military history and see whether university teaching might offer an alternative to teaching in schools.


John Howson worked as a secondary school teacher in London for seven years before moving into teacher training andconsultancy,including a brief period as a chief government advisor. John is now a recruitment analyst, visiting professor ofeducation atOxfordBrookes University and hosts our Career Clinic where you can post questions to him.