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Information about routes into teaching in the classroom.


Training to Teach – an Overview

If you want to work as a classroom teacher in a maintained school (or non-maintained special school) in England, you will need Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).  Maintained schools are state-funded schools that are under the control of the local council.  

The Department for Education’s  opens in a new windowGet Into Teaching website has information about what you need to do to be awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).  There is a comprehensive programme of support for those interested in becoming a teacher, which is outlined on the Get Into Teaching website, including information about:

  • what it’s like to be a teacher
  • routes into teaching
  • funding available
  • how to apply 

Applications for teacher training in 2017 open in mid-October 2016 and popular courses fill up fast.  You can apply via the  opens in a new windowUCAS Teacher Training website.

When considering your options for getting into teaching, it is important to be aware that  opens in a new windowprivate schools (also known as ‘independent schools’), as well as those state schools that are funded by central government, not by the local council (such as  opens in a new windowFree Schools and  opens in a new windowAcademies) can employ teaching staff who they believe to be suitably qualified without the automatic requirement for them to have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Vacancies for primary and secondary teaching jobs are advertised on  opens in a new windowTES and  opens in a new windowEteach.


Types of Teacher Training

All teacher training courses will include time spent training in at least two schools and lead to qualified teacher status (QTS).  Graduates can choose between university and school-led teacher training options.

In addition to teacher training routes outlined below, there are also a number of  opens in a new windowspecialist training routes available depending on your subject, qualifications and previous experience.

Whilst the information on this page focuses on training routes for teaching in primary and secondary schools, you can visit the Get Into Teaching website to find out about teaching in the  opens in a new windowfurther education (FE) sector, or how to train to  opens in a new windowwork with early years (0-5 year olds) only.


University-led PGCE 

opens in a new windowPostgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) programmes are run by colleges and universities.

A PGCE programme combines school placements with studying the theory behind teaching and learning.  

Students following this programme will have the opportunity to gain some Master’s-level credits as part of their PGCE. The number of credits at this level varies a lot from one training programme to another. Some will also offer the opportunity to top up to full Masters after you have completed your training.

Most courses run from early September to July and take nine months to complete if studied full time.  Some longer part time and distance learning options are available. 

You can apply to a university or college for a PGCE programme using UCAS.


School-led Options

School Direct

opens in a new windowSchool Direct is a one-year full-time route into teaching. You are recruited by a school and learn ‘on the job’, whilst receiving intensive support from experienced teachers and mentors. You will receive training in at least two schools.  There is an expectation, but not a guarantee, that on successful completion of the training you would secure a role in the network of schools where you have trained.

The school or group of schools running this programme will work closely with a university or School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) consortium who are able to certify successful trainees leading to the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and possibly also a PGCE and/or Masters-level credits.  

If you have been working for three years or more,  opens in a new windowSchool Direct (salaried) is an option.  On the salaried route, trainees are recruited and employed directly by schools as unqualified teachers whilst they learn.  Trainees on the salaried programme often continue teaching in their school following training.

The School Direct programme begins in September.  This is an England only programme.

For the School Direct route you apply to a Lead school through UCAS.

School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)

opens in a new windowSCITT courses are delivered across England by groups of neighbouring schools and training providers.  Most of the training is delivered in the classroom by experienced, practising teachers. Similar to a School Direct (non-salaried) programme, the programmes are run by schools or groups of schools. This is an England only programme.

SCITT courses generally last one year, with many including a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) and/or Master’s-level credits. Programmes usually begin in September.

You can apply through UCAS for a SCITT course.

Teach First

The  opens in a new windowTeach First charity (England and Wales) aims to address educational disadvantages by training exceptional teachers to teach in challenging schools.

Applicants need to have 300 UCAS points and a 2:1 or above, but there is some flexibility with this. The two-year scheme offers a Leadership Development Programme (LDP) and management skills training for well-qualified graduates. Both primary and secondary trainees gain a PGCE and Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) during this two-year period while working in the classroom and earning a salary. The programme begins with an intensive, six-week, skill-boosting summer residential.  

Applications open in June of the year before you want to start, and early application is recommended especially for popular subjects such as history.

Premier Pathways

A paid two year teacher training programme,  opens in a new windowPremier Pathways is school-based teacher training for graduates with a 2:1 or above. In the first year trainees work as support staff becoming unqualified teachers in year two. Participants complete the course at a school of their choice, graduating with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and a PGCE.

HMC Teacher Training

opens in a new windowHMC Teacher Training provides a route into the teaching profession within HMC independent senior schools.  It is a two year programme, whereby trainee teachers work in salaried posts in HMC independent senior schools and gain a PGCE with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). 


Funding and Salary

As outlined above, there are options that enable you to earn a salary while you train, as well as options that require you to pay tuition fees.

If you choose a training option that requires you to pay tuition fees, you will have access to a tuition fee and maintenance loan and you could be eligible for a bursary or scholarship. 

Eligibility for a bursary or scholarship, and the amount you can expect to receive, will depend on the subject in which you train and your degree classification, or highest relevant academic qualification.  

  • For 2017/18, trainees wishing to teach music will need a first or 2:1 (or equivalent) to be eligible for a bursary
  • For 2017/18, trainees wishing to become a general primary teacher, or a primary teacher specialising in PE, will need a first (or equivalent) to be eligible for a bursary 

You can find out more about  opens in a new windowfinancial support for teacher training on the Get Into Teaching website.


How to Apply

For PGCE courses in England and Wales and for School Direct and SCITT programmes in England, you need to apply through  opens in a new windowUCAS Teacher Training.  Applications for teacher training in 2017 open in mid-October 2016 and popular courses fill up fast.  You can apply to up to three training programmes on your UCAS Teacher Training application. These choices can be either all for just one of the UCAS Teacher Training routes, or a combination.

For Scottish training programmes, you need to apply through the  opens in a new windowUCAS Undergraduate route

For Teach First, Premier Pathways and HMC Teaching, you will need to apply direct to each.  


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