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The Teacher training options section on the Teaching Agency website has information on both the undergraduate and postgraduate routes into teaching, including entry requirements. Different entry requirements may apply for teaching in Scotland.
The PGCE, or PGDE in Scotland, combines study at a higher education institution with teaching practice. Time spent out on teaching practice varies but is often around two-thirds of the course. It may also possible to study for a PGCE through the SCITT programme, see below. A PGCE in further education is also available for those considering teaching in this sector. A PGCE takes one year (full-time) or two years (part-time).
SCITT is a one year programme allowing graduates to complete almost all of their teaching qualification based in a school. Training is provided by a consortium of neighbouring schools and colleges. All successful students will gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) but not all SCITT courses offer a full PGCE.
School Direct is a one year programme leading to Qualified Teacher Status and potentially a PGCE. The majority of the training will be classroom based. Available for primary and secondary teaching. Training is provided by individual schools or a consortium of schools in England. There are two training options:
An intensive two year Leadership Development Programme which combines working, training and qualifying as a teacher with leadership development training and internship opportunities. Participants are based in challenging schools facing problems with pupil underachievement and poverty. At the end of the programme successful participants will gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), a PGCE and have one years’ teaching experience as a ‘Newly Qualified Teacher'.
The Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) will end after the academic year 2012/13 and is being replaced by the School Direct Training Programme (salaried). Applications for the GTP are now closed.
The OTTP allows teachers trained outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) to work as an unqualified teacher in the UK while working towards 'Qualified Teacher Status'. The length of the programme depends on individuals and the extent of the training required. Only available in England.
Come and talk to us if you need help choosing a route into teaching - no appointment necessary.
Compulsory education in England and Wales starts at age four and ends at age 16. Most local education authorities in England and Wales operate a two-tier system (a small number operate three tiers) of primary education for pupils up to the age of 11 and secondary education from ages 11 to 16. Education beyond the age of 16 is called post-compulsory education.
It is important to research the national curriculum and the key stages into which it is divided before selecting to train for primary (including early years), secondary or post-compulsory teaching. The following websites can help with this research:
There is more information on key stages in the next section What subjects can I teach?
You need to take time to research all options, and make a definite decision which stage of teaching to apply for, before making an application for training. It is not recommended that you apply for a mix of primary and secondary training courses on the application form, as it suggests indecision and confused thinking to admissions tutors.
Come and talk to us if you need help deciding whether primary, secondary or further education teaching is for you - no appointment needed.
Primary teachers teach all subjects in the national curriculum but may additionally specialise in a particular area, such as science, art, physical education, and languages. Secondary teachers train in one or two subject areas. Normally you will train to teach two key stages (PDF: 13KB), either at primary or secondary level.
As a graduate of any degree discipline, you can normally apply to train for primary teaching, assuming that you have the necessary GCSEs and that you can demonstrate that the majority of your degree course has included study of national curriculum subjects like literacy, numeracy, science and IT.
Some degree disciplines, e.g. sociology and psychology, may not be as acceptable to a minority of primary admissions tutors as some of the more traditional degree disciplines. It is essential to read all the details about entry requirements for individual courses on the GTTR website and on the individual institution's website. If still in doubt, contact the admissions tutor direct.
Your degree will usually have to be relevant to the subject in which you want to train to teach. This is to ensure that your knowledge and understanding of the subject are sound enough for you to be able to teach it. Obviously, there are many more degree disciplines than there are subjects in the curriculum, but this doesn't mean that the majority of degree courses are irrelevant.
Most of the links between degree discipline and the national curriculum subjects in which you can train to teach are obvious however, some may be a bit more obscure; e.g. if you are studying for a degree in engineering, you are likely to be eligible to train to teach maths, science or design and technology. If your degree is in religious education (RE), you could train to teach RE, or possibly citizenship.
Teachers for some secondary subjects are in short supply and there may be the possibility of taking a subject knowledge enhancement course to train in these disciplines, e.g. maths, sciences, IT, design & technology and modern foreign languages (you normally need two languages at degree level). If you are interested in teaching a shortage subject, and need advice on whether or not your degree is applicable, contact the Teaching Information Line on 0800 389 2500.
If you don't think your degree is relevant to any subject in the curriculum, don't worry. It doesn't mean that you can never become a teacher; your degree may have more relevance than you think. Try contacting admissions tutors to check this out, or call the Teaching Information Line for more tailored information and advice.
If you would like to teach sixth form in a secondary school, it is appropriate to train as a secondary teacher. You are unlikely to teach at this level only however, and will be expected also to teach your subject further down the school. Remember that when you are seeking a position as a qualified teacher, you will be of more value to a school if you are willing to teach across more than one key stage.
If you make the decision to concentrate totally on teaching in a college environment, you could choose to take one of the post-compulsory training options. This may also mean you could choose to train in a non-national curriculum subject, like sociology, politics or psychology, or perhaps consider a vocational area to train in, such as business or social care.
Remember that you may be able to teach in a post-16 college as a qualified secondary teacher, but you may not be eligible to teach in a secondary school with a post-compulsory teaching qualification as most courses do not provide Qualified Teacher Status.
Come and talk to us if you need help deciding on the subject you would like to teach or if you have any questions about the eligibility of your degree course - no appointment necessary.
Before considering making an application for teacher training, getting school-based work experience is essential. You need to be able to reflect upon your observations and experiences in the classroom during the application process, and in particular on the application form itself. Even if it means delaying an application for a year in order to undertake work experience, this is preferable to completing an application without first-hand experience.
Experiencing 'real life' in a school will help you decide if you are ready to enter the profession (you may wish to try something else for a few years) and may also help you to decide on the key stage that you are most suited to.
Before you apply for a PGCE The Teaching Agency recommend that you complete a minimum of three weeks work experience if you are interested in primary teaching and one week for secondary teaching. Your work experience should preferably be in a different school to the one you attended.
The 'What makes classroom observation effective' (PDF: 41KB) guidelines produced by the Teaching Agency can help you make the most of your classroom experience.
You will probably have to arrange your own work experience, so if you have any contacts in a school, this might help. It is up to you and the school how much time you can give; perhaps a week in a block, or alternatively half a day a week for a longer period. Ideally you should try to experience both the primary and secondary environments, even if you think you already have a preference.
If you are a student at Newcastle University you may be able to take the Student Tutoring credit module as part of your degree programme.
The School Experience Programme (England only) allows you to spend 1-10 days of observation in a secondary school. The programme is open to those interested in teaching maths, physics, chemistry, computing science, modern foreign languages, history, biology, English and geography at secondary level and who are predicted to achieve at least a 2:1 degree.
The Institute of Physics School Experience Programme is open to those interested in teaching physics. Register with the programme to gain access to local schools participating in the programme.
Alternative work experience, such as undertaking community work with young people, can also be extremely valuable but should not be a substitute for school-based experience. A useful source of voluntary opportunities is available through Student Community Action Newcastle (SCAN) or see our Volunteering page.
Before completing your application you need to research the courses available to make sure you choose the right one for you. The following websites can help with this research:
Some PGCE courses state that assessment is undertaken at masters level. Such courses normally give you the option, on successful completion of the PGCE, to continue studying part-time to achieve a Masters in Education (M.Ed).
For all teacher training courses that start after 1 July 2013 applicants will need to pass a numeracy and literacy professional skills test before the start of their course. Full details of how to apply for the test is available on the Teaching Agency website.
PGCE and SCITT
Applications for PGCE and SCITT are made online through the GTTR website. The deadline for primary applications is 1 December and for secondary applications 30 June. Despite these official closing dates, many courses are full well in advance of these dates, so early applications are advised. A very small number of course providers prefer direct applications.
You can apply for a maximum of two primary or four secondary courses. You cannot apply for both primary and secondary. You must put your choices in order of preference as GTTR send your application as soon as it is received to your first choice institution. If your first choice is unsuccessful GTTR will then forward your application to the next course on your form that still has places available.
You will need to obtain an online reference from your principal referee before you can pay for your application and submit to GTTR. The application fee for 2013 entry is £19.
It is really important that the personal statement section of your application is relevant and effective. Before submitting your application produce a draft copy of your personal statement and get an adviser to check through it - no appointment necessary.
GTTR recommend that applicants and referees write text (e.g personal statement or references) in Word then cut and paste the text into the online application form rather than work directly online. The personal statement section will allow you to enter 47 lines of text (about 4000 characters). Blank lines and other invisible formatting are included in this line/character count. To ensure you keep within the line limit and permitted number of characters we recommend that you use Verdana, font size 11 and copy your text onto Notepad, or other simple text editing software, before pasting it into the application form.
Early in semester one the Careers Service runs a Careers workshop to help you prepare your personal statement:
See Events for details.
The following websites provide further information on writing your personal statement, plus some examples:
Teaching Agency: Application Form Assistant
University of Liverpool's Careers & Employability Service (PDF: 337KB)
University of Wolverhampton (PDF: 53KB)
University of Kent Careers Service
Applications for School Direct are made through the School Direct application system on the Teaching Agency website. See the Teaching Agency website for full application details. You will be required to submit a tailored personal statement for each school you apply to. Before submitting your application produce a draft copy of your personal statement and get an adviser to check through it - no appointment necessary.
Applications for Teach First can only be made online through the Teach First website. Closing dates vary depending on the subject you want to teach.
The Teaching Agency has details on the application process for the OTTP in England and Wales.
The funding available for teacher training depends on a number of factors:
Funding information resources include:
Teacher training in England
Scholarships are available for teacher training in chemistry, physics, maths and computer science. See the Teaching Agency website for details and eligibility criteria.
Teacher training in Wales
Teacher training in Scotland
Teacher training in Northern Ireland
Interviews normally take place between January and summer but if you have applied early in the cycle you may be interviewed as early as November. The interview process varies from institution to institution, but you are likely to be given a description of what to expect in the letter of invitation. The process is similar whether you are applying for primary or secondary.
The Careers Service has produced a video, with the help of PGCE admission tutors, on hints and tips on preparing for a PGCE interview.
Before the interview you will need to do some research on the education sector, in particular:
The following resources will help with this research:
You should also spend time reflecting on:
The interview will normally be a panel interview consisting of two or more people. Questions are likely to be based on:
The following resources will provide you with examples of typical interview questions:
As well as an individual interview you may also be asked to:
Following the interview process, if you are not offered a place ask for feedback so you can find out how to improve your performance in future. There is no reason why you cannot apply again the following year, preferably after having undertaken more relevant work experience perhaps as a teaching assistant.
Come and talk to us if you need help preparing for your PGCE interview - no appointment necessary.
Before applying for a teaching job it is important that you have done some research into the schools you are considering and, if you are a newly qualified teacher (NQT), that the school is authorised to supervise your induction year. The following websites can help with this research:
Different application processes are in place for anyone wishing to take up a teaching post in Scotland.
Preparing your job application
Competition for teaching posts is competitive so you will need to make sure you submit a good CV or application form. For help with applications see Making applications.