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School-Based Work Experience

Gaining experience before applying for teacher training is important. Being able to reflect on experience and observations will support your application.

Gaining experience

Experiencing life in a school will also help you decide if a career in teaching is really for you. It can also help you to decide on the ages, or year groups, you would like to teach.

Some training providers ask for up to two weeks school work experience before you apply. Check with the training provider as requirements can vary.

You could complete the work experience in a one or two-week block during vacation period, or half a day a week over a longer period of time.

Ideally your school work experience should be in a state school and in a different school to the one you attended.

You could arrange experience in primary and secondary if you are not sure which stage you want to teach.

You should use your work experience to gain an insight into school life, including:

  • key stages and the national curriculum
  • a teacher's role and responsibilities
  • classroom management, including behaviour
  • the role of support staff
  • different teaching styles
  • lesson planning and assessment
  • use of technology to support learning

Finding work experience

It can be time consuming to arrange work experience, so allow plenty of time before making your teacher training application.

There are a number of ways to find work experience in a school, including:

  • Using your contacts. If you know anybody who works in a school already, they might be able to help you arrange something.
  • If you are a student at Newcastle University, you may be able to take the Student Tutoring module as part of your degree programme.
  • The Department for Education (DfE) runs the Get School Experience programme. You can request work experience in a school for a period of up to three weeks.
  • The DfE also operate a paid teaching internship scheme. The internships take place in June, last three weeks and you will be paid £300. The scheme is limited to certain subjects such as maths, sciences and languages.
  • Teach First have a two-day taster programme which takes place throughout the year. You can complete the programme online or in-person.
  • You can also complete an online virtual experience programme with Teach First through the Forage platform. You will complete task simulations, design a school STEM day and learn how to use data to inform decision making in the classroom.
  • You could gain paid work in a school as a cover supervisor. Your role would be to manage and supervise a class in the absence of a teacher. Cover supervisor roles are often advertised through specialist recruitment agencies or websites. See the Finding Jobs page of our Teaching in Schools section for more information.
  • You can observe online lessons to gain insights into lesson structure and content through Oak National Academy. You can also access free online teaching related courses through Future Learn to develop your knowledge of key topics.

Speculative applications

You can also make speculative applications directly to schools – where possible to a named contact. For more advice, see TargetJobs' article: Making speculative applications for graduate jobs.

Use the school directory on the website or the HMC website (for independent schools) to identify schools.

Alternative work experience

Gaining experience with young people, outside a classroom can also be extremely valuable. However, it should not be a substitute for school-based experience.

Explore Learning is a national network of learning centres, providing maths and English tuition to five to 14-year-olds.

Go Volunteer, organised through Newcastle University Students’ Union, regularly has education-based volunteering opportunities.

You could gain paid experience of working with young people as a FutureMe mentor. You will deliver structured online academic activities or face-to-face mentoring sessions. You could also be a Street Scientist, explaining science to all ages at festivals, community events and in the city centre.

There are also opportunities to help at after-school coding clubs for children aged 9-11 through Code Club.

The Brilliant Club provides researchers with experience in schools through the Scholars Programme. PhD tutors deliver workshops in schools and facilitate university trips.

Education-based opportunities are also regularly advertised on MyCareer.