How do I get into teaching?

So you are thinking about pursuing a career in teaching, how can you get started?  Before you can be accepted for a teacher training programme, there are a few requirements you will need to meet.

Prerequisites

Anyone wanting to become a teacher needs to meet a set of requirements:

  • Academic requirements, such as qualifications, courses or tests.
  • Non-academic requirements, such as classroom experience or medical fitness.
Academic requirements

Academic requirements

  • You will need to hold an undergraduate degree awarded by a UK higher education provider, or a recognised equivalent qualification.
  • You will need to have achieved a standard equivalent to grade C or above at GCSE in English, maths, and science (to teach primary or Key Stages 2 or 3)

If you haven’t achieved the required GCSEs, there are options to gain the qualifications through local colleges or at home through organisations like the National Extension College (NEC). 

If you studied outside of the UK, you can check the National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) website to find out whether your qualifications are equivalent to UK GCSEs, A-levels and an undergraduate degree. 

Non-academic requirements

Non-academic requirements

  • Classroom experience – most providers expect you to have a minimum of ten days classroom experience but this can vary between providers.
  • Professional skills tests pass in literacy and numeracy - these skills tests assess the core skills that teachers need in order to fulfil their professional role in schools, rather than the subject knowledge needed for teaching. 
  • Some providers may request further documentation such as a letter of recommendation from a serving headteacher

It is always advisable to check these prerequisites with the training provider you are applying to as some requirements may vary.

Routes

Routes

There are several routes into teaching; please select which route you are interested in.

You can view a complete overview of the various routes into teaching below.

School Led (only)

School Led (only)

School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) 

Networks of schools that have been approved to run school-centred courses are known as SCITTs. They provide practical, hands-on teacher training, delivered by experienced and practising teachers. These courses generally last a year.

Trainees are based in the lead school in the SCITT while completing teaching practices at other schools.

Assessment is through classroom observations, e-portfolios and written assignments. The qualification awarded is Qualified Teacher Status, but many also award a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) and some give credits towards a Masters.

School Direct (Unsalaried)

School Direct (Unsalaried)

School Direct (Unsalaried)

These courses are designed by a group of schools in partnership with a university or SCITT with the schools themselves recruiting. They generally last a year.

There are a minimum of two school placements - some teaching schools also include a bespoke school placement and training depending on trainee need. There is also training on the job, from practitioners in schools and academics at the university. There is a gradual build of teaching time from around 20 per cent to around 80 per cent. Weekly mentoring takes place with a school based subject leader (mentors trained by the school).

Trainees must show evidence of good developmental classroom teaching. A school based study must be completed and a critical reflective journal kept throughout the year. All courses result in QTS, many will also award a PGCE and some include credits towards a Masters.

School Direct (Salaried)

School Direct (Salaried)

School Direct (Salaried)

This is the same as unsalaried, but you earn a salary while training and the school covers the cost of achieving QTS.

There are a minimum of two school placements - some teaching schools also include a bespoke school placement and training depending on trainee need. There is also training on the job, from practitioners in schools and academics at the university. There is a gradual build of teaching time from around 20 per cent to around 80 per cent. Weekly mentoring takes place with a school based subject leader (mentors trained by the school).

Trainees must show evidence of good developmental classroom teaching. A school based study must be completed and a critical reflective journal kept throughout the year. All courses result in QTS, many will also award a PGCE and some include credits towards a Masters.

Teach FIrst

Teach FIrst

Teach First

Earn while you train and work in a challenging school in a low-income community. A minimum 2.1 degree is required. This is a two year course.

You must complete six weeks of summer training before starting in the school. Support is made available from an HE and school mentor. Trainees follow a two year leadership development programme combining teacher training with additional business skills, mentoring and networking.

QTS and PGCE is awarded after the first year, and there is the option to complete a two year Masters beginning in the second year. For PGCE and QTS - a file of evidence of progress must be produced, comprised of four written assignments, a weekly journal of written reflections, teaching observations and a final external assessment. For the Masters – this entails a 30 credit university-taught module and 60 credit dissertation.

Troops to Teachers

Troops to Teachers

Troops to Teachers

This is for Service Leavers in the two years before or the two years after leaving the Armed Forces. With a degree - a one year course through school-led unsalaried, salaried or university led PGCE. Without a degree - a two year, school-based, salaried teacher training programme.

Graduates - follow the route taken (school-led or university led) with additional bespoke training. Non-graduates - training in a school four days a week and university training one day a week.

Graduates will follow the curriculum of their route (school led or university led) and will be awarded the qualifications designated by their route. Non-Graduates - assessment takes place in the classroom and through written university work. This will result in the gaining of a degree and QTS.

Researchers in Schools

Researchers in Schools

Researchers in Schools

This is for researchers who have completed or are finishing their doctorate. A two year salaried programme that takes place in six regions.

This is a two week summer programme, followed by two school placements and training delivered by a local "outstanding" teaching school. 20 per cent of time is allocated to one's own academic pursuits.

This is a programme of observations, classroom teaching, bespoke training and opportunities to conduct and disseminate research. Trainees will achieve QTS.

Undergraduate Route

Undergraduate Route

Undergraduate route

Study for a degree and train to be a teacher at the same time. As above, this requires a minimum grade C at GCSE in English and maths, as well as science for primary or Key Stage 3, and two A-levels. (Always check requirements with individual universities). Full time, this takes 3-4 years, and part time it takes approximately 4-6 years.

Bachelor of Education degree (BEd) - this maintains a focus on teaching, learning and related academic principles.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Science (BSc) degree with QTS - this maintains a focus on specialist knowledge in your chosen subject, with a further focus on skills to pass that knowledge on.

Both include placements in schools and the curriculum will involve workshops, lectures, field trips and school placements.

Courses will differ between universities but assessment will be through a mix of essays, reports, presentations, projects and teaching. This will result in a degree and QTS.

Postgraduate Route

Postgraduate Route

Postgraduate route (PGCE)

If you already have a degree, this is a one year course at a university or college with school placements.

This route involves a minimum of 24 weeks in schools. Training by academics takes place within the university.

Assessment takes place through classroom observations, coursework and critical journals. This will result in a PGCE, and some universities will offer credits towards a Masters.