Once you've decided that teaching if for you, there's a lot to consider and make decisions about including: who you want to teach, which route into teaching is right for you, how to gain relevant work experience and how to make a successful teaching application.
We've got it all covered here and with links to key resources.
Getting into teaching webinar
Our Getting into Teaching recording will help you to understand more about teaching as a career option, explore different routes into teaching, identify skills you have, or may want to develop, that are necessary to a role in teaching and consider the kinds of experience schools are looking for.
Through our alumni guests you will hear some real insights into the realities of the job, opportunities and career routes:
- Matt Turton - Director of Performance and Standards & Headteacher, St Thérèse of Lisieux Catholic Multi Academy Trust
- Anna Malengou - Physics Teacher, Queensferry High School
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- Alumni: Email us to gain access to the webinar
Primary or secondary school teaching
Would you prefer to teach students of 11 years and upwards, concentrating on a subject or subjects at which you excel, or teaching younger children several different subjects, and where you will be their main classroom teacher?
- Primary schools cover Key Stage 1 for children aged five to seven years and KS2 for children seven to 11 years. Explore the subjects you would teach at KS1 and KS2
- Secondary schools cover Key stage 3 (11-14 year-olds) and KS4 (14 -16 year-olds). Check out the subjects taught at this age group and other compulsory subjects. Once you have qualified you are legally qualified to teach any subject, but headteachers will need relevant experience and knowledge.
Three routes into primary and secondary school teaching
Teacher training programmes leading to qualified teacher status (QTS) involve learning the principles of teaching and gaining practical experience in schools. However there are differences in the way in which they are delivered. Which route do you think would be best for you?
If you're not sure which route will be best for you, you can chat it though with a careers adviser.
1. Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
PGCE programmes are run by higher education institutions (HEIs) throughout the UK. Full-time courses usually last one academic year and part-time courses are available. Lectures take place at the university and you will spend around 120 days on placements in at least two schools.
This route will suit aspiring teachers who value peer contact and support. Some institutions will offer credits towards a masters qualification.
2. School-led Teacher Training
School-Led training programmes are school-led training programme lead by a school in partnership with a university or consortium. The schools select their trainees because there is an expectation that if all goes well, you will be employed within the consortium of schools.
Most lead to a PGCE as well as QTS, but always check. This can appeal to those who wish to be fully integrated into the school environment. They may be unpaid or paid:
- Unpaid programmes are funded in the same way as a PGCE or SCITT. Trainees pay tuition fees and may be eligible for a bursary and or loan.
- Paid programmes are salaried with applicants requiring around three years' experience after graduation.
3. Teach First
The Teach First Leadership Programme is employment based. Teach First seek to make a difference in challenging primary or secondary schools. While working in a school, you would complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) that integrates teacher training with leadership and includes credits towards a masters qualification. During the summer you could complete a work placement in another sector outside of teaching.
Teach First require 300 UCAS points and a 2:1 degree (some secondary options will consider a 2:2). This route appeals to confident resilient applicants seeking early leadership.
Gaining work experience
Most training providers request evidence of your motivation to teach, and this is also important to confirm that teaching is a potentially worth considering. Training providers prefer classroom-based work experience in a state school OR a deep understanding of teaching in the classroom, which maybe gained through other relevant experiences.
Please be aware that study abroad, compulsory year abroad, optional placements/internships and integrated year in industry opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities or placement/industry hosts, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university's control. Every effort will be made to update this information as quickly as possible should a change occur.
Exclusive to Nottingham students
At the University of Nottingham, we have a range of teaching related initiatives that you can get involved with as a volunteer or on a paid basis.
- Mature Students Mentoring
- Learning Leaders
- Student Ambassadors
- Students in Classrooms
- Mature Students Ambassadors
- Summer Schools Ambassadors
- Nottingham Advantage Award
School Experience Programme (SEP)
This paid scheme is classroom based and is designed for those wanting to teach shortage subjects including maths, science, and modern languages at secondary level.
There are paid internship programmes open to students from specific subjects where you can gain experience and earn £300 per week while gaining insight into teaching as profession.
How do I apply?
I just wanted to say thank you for all of your help! I’ve been successful in my interview and have accepted my place on the PGCE course.
For PGCEs and Schools Direct programmes, you will apply through the Government’s Teaching Training Application portal. However for Teach First and Researchers in School, you will apply direct.
You can start applying for postgraduate training from October the year before you want to start your course. You can apply throughout the year but be aware that some courses do fill up quickly.
The application and interview including webinar with DfE adviser
Teacher training application
- You are writing a persuasive, confident statement – not an essay. Choose your words carefully to maximise the impact of your statement to secure an interview.
- You are given up to 1000 words
- Draft your personal statement in Word so you can check spelling and grammar. You can then copy and paste this into your online application.
- You need two referees; one academic tutor and another person who knows you well. This could be an employer or a teacher from a school at which you volunteered. Ask your referees well in advance of the deadline and give them a copy of your statement so they can write their reference in context
What should your statement include?
Your statement should include skills you have that are relevant to teaching as well as any experience you have of working with young people. Demonstrate your understanding of teaching as a role as well as your reasons for undertaking teaching training. Finally you can also cover any activities you’ve done that could be relevant to teaching.
Get Into Teaching: Teacher Training Applications
Making an application and writing a personal statement
If you're interested in teaching and applying for 2024 courses, this webinar explores the application process for Initial Teacher Training through the Apply Service.
This webinar covers what to include in a personal statement as well as exploring recent changes that have been introduced to this service.
It is delivered by an Explore Teaching Adviser from the DfE Get into Teaching Service.
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- Alumni: Email us to gain access to the webinar
The exact interview process will vary depending on teaching training provider. You are likely to be asked around your motivations for teaching, what are the challenges faced by teachers in the classroom and what you can bring to the profession. There will be skills that your assessors are looking for such as passion, enthusiasm, confidence and professionalism.
See Get Into Teaching’s advice on teaching interviews
Help and advice - appointments and events
Book an appointment to have your personal statement reviewed or for interview practice
Check out our teaching events: Skills workshops and Spotlight On
Read our blog: “It’s so rewarding”. Could teaching be the job for you?
What funding is available?
What are my funding options?
Tuition fee loans are available from Student Finance England (criteria permitting) for PGCE programmes accredited by a HEI.
Bursaries are available for shortage subjects, and these can be generous for those with a good class of degree.
Funding policy changes yearly, so you'll need to check what's on offer in mid-September
Teaching in other settings: early years, further education and higher education
Early year teaching
If you would like to teach children aged 0-5 years, you can pursue an Early Years Teaching Scheme (EYTS) course specialising in early childhood development. You may be employed in private nurseries, nursery schools (state and private) and academies. Only the state sector will guarantee the national teaching wage.
Early years programmes deemed equivalent to QTS may not be transferable if applying to primary school vacancies later on in your career. . EYTS programmes include:
- Graduate entry is a 12-month academic course including placements.
- Employment-based graduate entry programme for those employed in an early years setting.
Funding is currently available.
Further education (FE)
Within further education will be teaching teach students over the age of 16+. You may be involved in vocational training, academic training and basic skills training.
There are several teaching qualifications available. The Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training or the PGCE Post Compulsory Education courses are offered by HEIs. You will need a degree in the subject you wish to teach for the PGCE route.
It is possible to teach in FE without a qualification, but your prospects will be enhanced with one.
Higher education (HE)
To become a university lecturer, you will usually need to study for a masters and then a PhD qualification in the specialist subject area you want to teach.
We can offer specialist advice for students considering this option.