Initial Teacher Training

In order to be a qualified teacher, you need to obtain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Within the UK, there are multiple methods to achieve QTS, with some options also providing you with credits towards a masters accreditation at the same time.  

Below are the most common methods of gaining QTS. Click on the link and it will take you to a summary page of the route, to give you a better idea into which pathway to achieve QTS is suited for you.  

Training Routes into Teaching 

  • PGCE 
  • SCITT 
  • SDS 
  • AO 
  • Teach First
  • Teaching apprenticeship  

If you would like to know more information about how to get signed up to one of these pathways, please speak to Tom Golding by email tgolding@eph.e21c.co.uk  

PGCE 

What is a PGCE? 

The postgraduate certificate in education – or PGCE is a one- or two-year academic qualification you can achieve during your teacher training. 

What courses is the PGCE available on?  

A postgraduate qualification, usually a PGCE, is part of most teacher training courses, in England. Speak to your chosen training provider to find out what qualification, such as a PGCE, their course offers.  

Do I need a PGCE to qualify as a teacher in England?   

No – you only need QTS, which you achieve on successfully completing all postgraduate teacher training courses. The PGCE is an additional qualification you can gain alongside QTS.  

What are the benefits of gaining a PGCE?   

In addition to the increased confidence the academic training gives you, the PGCE is also an internationally recognised qualification. If you ever decide to teach in Scotland, Northern Ireland or other countries, it’s likely you’ll need an academic qualification such as a PGCE alongside QTS to register as a qualified teacher. 

Many courses that include a PGCE also carry Master’s-level credits. Usually, the maximum credits obtained from a PGCE is 60 Master’s-level credits. You should check with your chosen training provider about the amount of credits their course offers.  

How can I find and apply for PGCE courses?  

You can check if providers include a PGCE as part of their training when you search for courses on the Department for Education’s search service: Find Postgraduate Teacher Training. You’ll be able to filter your results for a ‘postgraduate certificate in education with qualified teacher status’ only.  Remember, to teach as a qualified teacher in England you only need a QTS, which is awarded on successful completion of all courses. However, a PGCE may prove useful if you want to teach abroad, or may want to complete a Master’s in the future. 

Do all PGCE courses award QTS?  

No – you could complete a further education (FE) PGCE, which will not include QTS – this qualification is valuable if you would like to teach adult learners. Find out more on FE training. If you’re unsure on whether your course results in the award of QTS, you should speak to your training provider before you apply. 

Does it have to be a PGCE? 

No – some courses include a different qualification, such as a postgraduate diploma in education or a postgraduate certificate in teaching. Any postgraduate qualification offered by a university in England will be academically rigorous and likely to carry Master’s-level credits. Your training provider will advise on the nature and content of qualifications they offer. 

 

SCITT 

What is SCITT? 

School-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) programmes are run by schools or groups of schools. Many schools work in close partnerships with universities, enabling trainee teachers to gain a PGCE alongside working towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). 

  • Like non-salaried School Direct (tuition fee) programmes, they provide practical, hands-on teacher training, taught by experienced, practising teachers. 
  • Often SCITT programmes are tailored towards teaching in the local area, but this routes still include lectures, tutorials, and seminars that cover the same material as university or college training programmes. 
  • While the majority of SCITT programmes lead to a PGCE qualification, not all do. If gaining a PGCE is important to you, check with your training provider before applying, to confirm exactly what is included on your chosen training programme. 
  • Training providers will make vacancies available at different points in the year, as this helps them manage the volume of applications they receive. If you have a preferred training provider in mind, but they do not currently have vacancies, we suggest contacting them to find out if they plan to make places available in the future. 
  • If your degree subject doesn’t link closely to your chosen teaching subject, you may still be able to apply for a SCITT programme by undertaking a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course. Your chosen provider may ask you to take an SKE course as a condition of your offer, before you start your initial teacher training programme. 

Entry requirements 

You must have achieved the following minimum requirements to be eligible to apply for SCITT programmes: 

  1. You’ll need to hold an undergraduate degree awarded by a UK higher education provider, or a recognised equivalent qualification. 
  1. You’ll need to have achieved a standard equivalent to grade C/4, or above, in the GCSE examinations in English and mathematics. 
  1. If you intend to train to teach pupils aged three to 11 (early years and primary), you must also have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade C/4, or above, in a GCSE science subject examination. 

Some training providers may also have specific entry criteria. Check the programme details carefull to establish if it matches your qualifications and experience. As teaching involves working with children on a daily basis, there are also some non-academic requirements you’ll need to meet. 

Fees and funding 

The amount training providers charge varies – for UK and EU students, it can be up to £9,250 per year for a full-time programme starting in 2018. It’s a big investment, but there’s often funding available to help you. UCAS does not arrange student finance, but we can give you information and advice about funding and support to help point you in the right direction. 

  • Scholarships – for certain in-demand subjects, you can apply for a tax-free scholarship to support your training. To be eligible, you will typically need a 2:1 degree or above in the subject you want to teach (or a closely related subject). Visit Get Into Teaching to find out more. 
  • Bursaries – tax-free bursaries are available for training to teach a range of subjects. The level of funding and eligibility will vary depending on the subject you choose to teach, and your degree classification. For more information, visit Get Into Teaching. 
  • Tuition fee and maintenance loans – if you’re not eligible to receive a bursary or scholarship, you can still apply for a student loan to cover your training programme fees and living costs. Find out more from Student Finance England. 
  • Extra student funding – if you have dependants, you could access further funding to support your teacher training, such as Parents’ Learning Allowances, Childcare Grants, or Child Tax Credits. The student finance calculator from Student Finance England allows you to estimate the level of funding that may be available. 
  • Disabled students and care leavers – universities and colleges have different ways of supporting you in higher education. 

 

Schools Direct (SDS) 

School Direct (salaried) is an employment-based route for high quality graduates, typically with at least three years’ experience of transferable work history. You’ll earn a salary while you train towards your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) recommendation and won’t need to pay any tuition fees. This route is available for both primary and secondary teaching and is run by individual schools or a group of schools. These providers work closely with a university or school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) consortium, that is able to certify successful trainees. 

  • Students who opt for a School Direct (salaried) training programme are employed as an unqualified teacher while they learn on the job. In some cases, this may be a school the student is already working at or has an existing relationship with. 
  • While the majority of School Direct training programmes lead to a PGCE qualification, not all do. Where this is an option, there may be an additional cost required for completion of the PGCE – if gaining master’s credits is important to you, check with your training provider before applying, to confirm exactly what is included on your chosen training programme.  
  • If you decide to apply for a School Direct (salaried) training programme, one of your references must be from an employer. If you’re self-employed and unable to provide a reference from a former employer, your referee should be someone who knows you from work, who can comment on your work and suitability for teaching. 
  • Some schools may consider part-time placements – you’ll need to approach a school directly if you’d like to be considered for a part-time placement. This year, on the School Direct (salaried) route, some schools are offering part-time or abridged programmes. 
  • If your degree subject doesn’t link closely to your chosen teaching subject, you may still be able to apply for a School Direct (salaried) programme by undertaking a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course. Your chosen provider may ask you to take an SKE course as a condition of your offer, before you start your initial teacher training programme. 

Entry requirements 

You must have achieved the following minimum requirements to be eligible to apply for School Direct (salaried) programmes: 

  1. You’ll need to hold an undergraduate degree awarded by a UK higher education provider, or a recognised equivalent qualification. 
  1. You’ll need to have achieved a standard equivalent to grade C/4, or above, in the GCSE examinations in English and mathematics. 
  1. If you intend to train to teach pupils aged three to 11 (early years and primary), you must also have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade C/4, or above, in a GCSE science subject examination. 

Some training providers may also have specific entry criteria. Check the details of the training programme when searching for courses, to establish if it matches your qualifications and experience. As teaching involves working with children on a daily basis, there are also some non-academic requirements you’ll need to meet. 

Fees and funding 

With School Direct (salaried) programmes you won’t need to pay any tuition fees. You’ll be employed by a school directly as an unqualified teacher. The amount you’ll earn will be dependent on the school you train in, and the subject you’re teaching. 

 

Assessment Only (AO) 

If you’re a graduate currently working as an unqualified teacher in England, you could achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) via the Assessment Only route. 

  • If you have a degree and substantial experience of working in a school, early years, or further education setting, this option allows you to gain QTS without undergoing an initial teacher training programme. 
  • Typically a 12-week programme, a number of universities, colleges, school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT), and School Direct training providers in England offer Assessment Only. 
  • The Assessment Only route does not lead to a PGCE qualification. You don’t need a PGCE qualification to teach in England, although you may find it useful later on if, for example, you want to teach in another country, or go on to complete a master’s degree. If gaining a PGCE is important to you, consider alternative school-led postgraduate teacher training programmes such as School Direct, or SCITT. 

Applications and entry requirements 

You must have achieved the following minimum requirements to be eligible to apply for Assessment Only programmes: 

  1. You’ll need to hold an undergraduate degree awarded by a UK higher education provider, or a recognised equivalent qualification. 
  1. You’ll need to have achieved a standard equivalent to grade C/4, or above, in the GCSE examinations in English and mathematics. 
  1. If you intend to train to teach pupils aged three to 11 (early years and primary), you must also have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade C/4, or above, in a GCSE science subject examination. 
  1. You’ll need to show that you meet the Teachers’ Standards for your chosen teaching specialism, and have taught across two key stages in two schools. 
  1. You must also meet some non-academic requirements, including a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, declaration of criminal convictions, and have completed a Fitness to Work assessment. 

Applications to Assessment Only programmes are made directly to accredited providers. Check the provider’s website for specific course information, tuitions fees, and entry requirements. 

 

Teach First 

Teach First operates a leadership development programme which trains graduates to become teachers and leaders. It’s a social enterprise and registered charity in England and Wales, and exists with the aim of ending educational inequality. 

The graduate scheme combines teacher training and a fully funded Postgraduate Diploma in Education and Leadership (PGDE) course. With leadership coaching, trainees are able to develop the skills needed to be a leader in the classroom as well as in wider society. 

The graduate scheme lasts two years and has the following structure: 

  • You’ll begin with the six week Summer Institute – a crash course introducing the theories and practice of teaching. 
  • After the Summer Institute, you’ll enter a school and begin teaching. You’ll be supported by colleagues, the Teach First organisation and its partner universities. Throughout your first year at school you’ll work towards a PGCE qualification. 
  • At the end of your first year you are given the opportunity to participate in a mini-internship with a different kind of organisation. 
  • You’ll return to your school as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT), where you’ll deepen your impact within the school. This could mean taking on additional responsibilities. 
  • You are then offered the opportunity to gain a master’s qualification. This can be achieved over one year or on a part-time basis. 

Around half of Teach First participants continue a career in teaching and 50% of those enter into leadership positions. 

What are the entry requirements? 

You must have a good honours degree at 2:1 or above

Good A Level/Highers grades are also required. You must have at least a grade C in GCSE Maths and English*. If you’re placed in a Welsh secondary school you need to have at least a grade B. For primary and early year applicants, a grade C in Science is required.

Teach First will accept other academic equivalences. Please consult the website for more detailed information. 

How to apply for Teach First 

You can apply directly via the Teach First website. 

If your application is accepted, you’ll be invited to an Assessment Centre. 

If you’re successful, and pass literacy, numeracy, and curriculum knowledge tests, you’ll be given an offer of employment. You must also pass the Summer Institute to progress to a school.

You are subject to Disclosure and Barring Services checks (DBS) as part of the process. 

Do you get paid for Teach First? 

When training with Teach First, you’ll be employed and receive a salary of £23,720–29,664 per year, depending on your location. 

  

Teacher Apprenticeship  

The Teaching Apprenticeship programme provides a fee-free, salaried route for graduates to enter the teaching profession and gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) within 1 year. 

Salaries and Fees 

Teaching Apprentices are paid in line with at least point one on the unqualified teachers’ pay scale. 

Training  

You will be employed by the school for a minimum of 12 months during your Initial Teacher Training (ITT). After 9 months you will achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and then complete a final assessment, known as an End-Point Assessment, to pass the apprenticeship. Your training will be delivered by a DfE approved ITT provider. 

Entry Requirements 

The equivalent to a grade 4 in GCSE English and mathematics. If you intend to teach primary aged pupils, you will also need a grade 4 GCSE in a science subject. 

A degree awarded by a UK higher education provider, or a recognised equivalent qualification.