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This section of the website is devoted to live Q&A sessions with our own advisers or external employers. We will promote the Live Q&A’s in advance and you can also access session archives below.

Routes into teaching careers

Thinking about a career in teaching?

Teaching is a highly rewarding career where you can play a pivotal role in the lives of young people and children; watching them grow and develop. It can also be very challenging, so it’s important to conduct some research about the profession and find the age group or subject you would like to teach. Once you have decided this you can start to look at the different routes into the profession.

The routes into teaching

In order to teach in the majority of schools in England (primary, secondary and special ‘maintained schools’) you must obtain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This can be achieved in a number of ways, for example by completing a postgraduate initial teacher training (ITT) course if you already have a degree.

Each teacher training route has different entry requirements, funding options and qualifications depending on whether it is school led, or university led. You may want to consider how long you want to study for, where you would like to train and what funding you may need before making a decision.

Here is a selection of teacher training routes:

School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)

School-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) programmes are delivered by groups of neighbouring schools and colleges. They provide practical, hands-on teacher training, taught by experienced, practising teachers. Many schools work in close partnerships with universities, enabling trainee teachers to gain a PGCE or PGDE alongside working towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Click here for more information from the UCAS website. 

Click here to see an information sheet from Lincolnshire Teaching School Alliance and St George’s Academy Partnership.

Schools Direct – fees payable

With this training route, you’ll be based in a school working towards your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), but will also be taught by the university, college, or SCITT that the school partners with. The school won’t be your employer, and in many ways, your training will be similar to other programmes in universities, colleges, and SCITTs, and you will be required to pay fees. Most school direct training programmes lead to a PGCE qualification, but not all do. If gaining a PGCE is important to you, check before applying. Click here for more information.

Schools Direct – salaried

This is an employment-based route for experienced graduates which typically requires three years of transferable work experience. This route is run by individual schools or a group of schools, who will employ you as an unqualified teacher. You’ll earn a salary while you train towards your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and do not need to pay any tuition fees. Most school direct training programmes lead to a PGCE qualification, but not all do. If gaining a PGCE is important to you, check before applying. Click here for more information

PGCE university-led​ teacher training

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) training programmes are available with a specific training provider (university or college) who will combine academic study, with a minimum of 24 weeks in at least two school placements. You do not need a PGCE qualification to teach in England, although you may find it useful if you want to teach in another country. Many courses can also give you up to 60 credits at master’s degree level. Click here for more information.

Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeship

Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeship programmes are a nationally recognised, work-based route into teaching. You’ll be employed by a school and earn a salary, as you to work towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). You’ll receive practical school-led- training and spend at least 20% of your time off-timetable to learn the theory behind teaching and classroom management​. Click here for more information.

Teach First

Teach First is a social enterprise registered as a charity, that focuses on training exceptional teachers to teach in challenging schools.

The Teach First Leadership Development Programme is a two-year salaried programme, where you will learn on the job while you work towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE). It combines leadership development and teacher training, giving applicants the chance to become an inspirational leader in classrooms that need it the most.

You will need to apply directly to the Teach First website and complete an application form.

Work Experience

Volunteering in schools can be a great way add to discover if teaching is right for you. It can help you decide what age or subject you would like to teach and support your application. It’s important to take as much from the experience as possible and learn about the National Curriculum, Key Stages, as well as speak to teaching staff about the challenges and rewards of teaching. Many students also gain experience through volunteering at youth clubs and online tutoring.  

You can search and register for school experience by clicking here. 

How to search and apply for courses

Once you have decided the best route for you and what age or subject you want to teach. You can start to research individual providers by looking at their websites and visiting open days or events. Remember to check your qualifications and that you meet the entry requirements for initial teacher training before applying. You should use the Find postgraduate teacher training courses webpage  to find primary, secondary and further education courses (England only)."When applying for courses or jobs after your undergraduate degree, go to the careers service for some advice." - Emily, Psychology graduate. Click here to read more of Emily's story.

You can apply for teacher training programmes in England through the Apply for teacher training GOV.UK service. Applications open in the autumn prior to when you want to start training. You can click here to find more information about the application process for teacher training in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Further information

Please click the slide below to see a webinar produced for you by the Careers and Employability Team, covering the different routes into teaching and how to apply for a training programme. Each year as new information becomes available, we will update this webinar.

If you’d like further support from the team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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