Initial Teacher Education

Frequently Asked Questions

Please read important information about our courses in 2020/21 in relation to Covid-19.


How soon do I spend time in a school?

On all our ITE programmes you will be spending time in a partnership school from week one of your course. This means that, from the outset, you will be able to apply your learning to the classroom.

Do I spend more time in school or university?

On all our ITE programmes you spend much more time in school than university. University days are carefully positioned to ensure that your course has a coherent structure to it that supports you to develop into the best teacher you can be.

What is the likelihood of employment after finishing my teacher training year?

All our programmes have excellent employment records. Locally our beginning teachers are very highly regarded with many schools advertising positions directly to our students. Each year we have a recruitment fair where our partnership schools come and meet our students and discuss positions

What can I expect from a school that is in partnership with the University of Nottingham?

We have a mature, yet constantly evolving, partnership with our local schools. Our schools work with us in many different ways, not just on our ITE programmes. Many of the teachers in the schools you will be working in trained with us and have continued to develop professionally through their links with us, whether that be as mentors, through continued study or through being involved in research projects. 

Our mentors and coordinators attend development events each term. These are very well attended and ensure that we have a shared understanding of the work we do with our beginning teachers. School colleagues and University staff have very strong working relationships and work closely together to support you throughout the course.

We have a very clear partnership agreement ensuring there is consistency in support of students and outlining very clear entitlements for our beginning teachers. This includes you having a dedicated mentor, a protected weekly meeting and regular observations and written feedback. Mentors will support you in all aspects of your development, through planning, teaching and evaluating (and learning from) your experiences.

Who supports me through my training year?

We see our beginning teachers as being at the heart of our work and, as a partnership, we ensure there is a wide range of school and University colleagues supporting you at every stage of your journey.

In school you have a dedicated mentor as well as a school coordinator who oversees all the trainee teachers in the school.

You will have a personal tutor who is one of the team of ITE tutors teaching you when you are in university. All of our tutors are highly skilled teacher educators as well as very experienced teachers. Our belief is that, whilst it is imperative to be an experienced and successful classroom teacher, there are many other skills that need to be developed to be an effective teacher educator. Our tutors understand the journey a beginning teacher takes, the knowledge they need to develop, when and how they need supporting and challenging.

Our course leaders work closely with you and, where appropriate, offer a further layer of support at points in the year. 

We are committed to offering you a 'safe space' where you can explore your feelings and your growing identity as a teacher without a fear of being judged for having a moment of uncertainty or doubt! 

Why is the PGCE qualification, which is part of all University of Nottingham ITE routes, important?

Whilst it is true that it is not now a necessity for a teacher training course to offer the PGCE qualification, and you could follow a different route, exiting with QTS status only, we believe the qualification is an essential element of a teacher training course.

The PGCE is a nationally, and internationally, recognised qualification that shows you have a depth of understanding about teaching and learning, alongside your classroom experience. It is this understanding that will enable you to thrive in your career in whatever context you end up teaching in.

Our PGCE qualification is carefully woven into all of our courses and it does not sit as a separate entity to your classroom experiences. This ensures that you can constantly make sense of, and improve your classroom practices using your developing knowledge of theories about teaching and learning. We draw on well-established educational research alongside cutting edge knowledge in the field. 

It is this knowledge that enables you to make sense of what is happening in your classroom and school and critically engage with national initiatives and debates in education. This supports you to develop a confident identity as a teacher and professional and thrive in your career long after your training year has finished.

How do you organise school placements?

If accepted onto one of our university-led courses, we will ask you to complete a personal details form which will include information on where you live, whether you have transport, whether you have any personal details we need to take into account (such as caring responsibilities) and whether there are any local schools you already have connections with. We organise placements based on this information.

For your second placement, we also factor your first placement into the decision-making (ensuring a contrasting experience) and our additional knowledge of you from working with you for a term.

We work hard to minimise travel time but this is only one factor to take into account when ensuring you have a placement that suits you. We aim to ensure commute time is a maximum of an hour and the average travel time is much less than this.

If you are accepted onto one of our School Direct courses, the alliance you have applied to will organise your placement.

What are the closing dates for applications?

Courses close if we reach our maximum recruitment target. In the current national context this is unlikely to happen for any subject or phase. Therefore, recruitment for university-led courses will continue through the summer with final applications accepted in the first week of September.

School Direct courses are likely to close in July, in line with the end of the school term.

We would encourage you to apply as soon as you can so that you have plenty of time to prepare for the programme and respond to any conditions or recommendations set through the application process.

How do I know if I will be a good teacher?

This is a difficult question to answer as there is not a particular ‘type’ of person that suits teaching. Our advice would be to find out as much as possible about teaching before accepting a place. This can be done through getting experience in schools, talking to teachers and reading about current issues in education.

It is helpful to ask yourself:

  • Do I like young people?
  • Am I interested in making a difference to young people’s learning?
  • What experience have I had in schools other than my own?
  • Am I prepared to do something in which I am not going to succeed all the time?
  • Do I want to be part of an educational community that is always learning and growing? 
Can I be successful if I have caring responsibilities?

Yes! Obviously it is more complicated to undertake a teacher training course when you have additional pressures outside of the course, but with careful planning before the course and a well-organised plan for during the course, then there is no reason why you should not be successful.

We have a support group for students that have caring responsibilities which enables you to meet with others who have similar responsibilities to discuss strategies for being successful and support each other.

Is it harder to train to be a teacher if I am older?

No! There are a range of reasons why an individual might find training to teach harder than someone else.

The key is knowing what the barriers to success might be for you as an individual and addressing these. For example, career changers who have been successful in another field, sometimes find it difficult to become a novice again and receive advice, often from someone younger. As long as they are aware this is a potential problem and are open to support, then they are successful.

We have lots of experience of working with mature students and career changers and focus on an asset-based approach that ensures our beginning teachers can make the most of the additional skills they may bring due to wider experiences.

I am particularly interested in special educational needs, can I pursue this whilst on course?

Yes! All of our programmes have a strong focus on SEND and inclusion and they offer enrichment opportunities in a range of ways. For example, all of our university-led primary PGCE students spend a week in a special school. We have a SEND Interest Group for our secondary students which offers members additional opportunities through the year and secondary students also have the opportunity to spend a week in an alternative setting and options include special schools.

If SEND is a major interest for you, you could apply for primary or secondary English, maths or science through the Nottingham Special Schools group who partner with us. If you were accepted onto the course you would follow the standard university-led PGCE route for your phase or subject but your main placement would be in a special school.

I am particularly interested in mental health, can I pursue this whilst on course?

Yes! Built into all of our programmes is an exploration of mental health and emotional wellbeing, considering both the mental health of pupils but also teachers. This is done in a range of ways including a day of workshops, enrichment opportunities and the encouragement of peer-led activities that support our beginning teachers to look after themselves.

All of our students are given the opportunity during the year to undertake Mental Health First Aid England’s two-day programme to become a recognised Youth Mental Health First Aider.



School of Education

University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

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