I want to work in Teaching

Find out how you can start a career in teaching. Here we list potential job roles and some of the leading companies in that sector.

Introduction - Overviews of the teaching sector

These include job profiles and job roles, qualifications, entry and training, funding and salaries, career development and current trends:

Other useful links on this site:

  • Prospects guide to writing personal statements for teaching


School Direct

School Direct programmes provide school-led training run by a lead school in partnership with a university or SCITT (School-Cantered Initial Teacher Training) and other schools, mostly on a one-year full-time basis. Trainees are selected by the school and the focus of training will be based on the needs of both the school and the trainee. There is an expectation that you will be employed in the school partnership once qualified. School Direct programmes may lead to the award of a PGCE in addition to QTS.

There are two differently-funded programmes:

  • The School Direct training programme: open to all graduates and funded in the same way as a university-based PGCE or SCITT. Trainees pay tuition fees and may be eligible for a bursary and/or loans for fees and maintenance.
  • The School Direct training programme (salaried): for graduates with three or more years' experience (in any career). The trainee is employed as an unqualified teacher by the school and schools receive funding which they can use to subsidise the trainee's salary and/or training.

We like to meet all applicants through an open day or talk to them on the phone prior to UCAS applications. At these meetings there is an expectation that applicants will understand School Direct, be clear about why they want to train with us in particular. They will consider applicants from all subject areas. During the selection day candidates will sit a Maths and Literacy test, an exercise with the children, an exercise with other candidates, make a presentation and have an interview. 

Schools Direct Provider

Teach First
Teach First is a salaried Leadership Development Programme, which operates in primary and secondary schools that are in challenging circumstances throughout England and Wales. The aim of Teach First is to address educational disadvantage, so the schools that it works with are those whose pupils have high levels of poverty or underachievement.

HMC Schools
Salaried teacher training in HMC schools some of the UK’s most outstanding educational establishments. The chance to teach their specialist subject and take part in the extra-curricular activities so important to school life. Successful trainees can gain QTS and PGCE to prepare them for teaching in independent or state schools.

Teaching apprenticeships
The apprenticeship is a school-led ITT route that mirrors the entry criteria and course content currently required of all other teacher trainees. The apprenticeship runs in parallel with other ITT routes and all apprentices are paid as unqualified teachers. To be eligible, applicants must have a UK degree or a recognised equivalent qualification.  Apprentices work towards attaining a QTS, and will need to meet the apprenticeship standard and pass an end-point-assessment as required for all apprentices.

Researchers in Schools
A unique salaried route to train as a teacher for PhD researchers

Find out more

Qualifying as a Teacher

Currently, anyone who wants to work as a teacher of children from age five to sixteen in state-maintained schools (excluding academies and free schools) in England and Wales needs to have professional Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).  To be awarded QTS you must complete a period of initial teacher training (ITT) such as a one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course or school-centred training (SCITT). Teachers in academies, free schools and independent schools aren't required to have QTS, but most of these schools are likely to look for qualified teachers when recruiting. QTS can be achieved by various routes, which are outlined below.

The government white paper, “Educational excellence everywhere”, published in March 2016, proposes a new structure for QTS and the introduction of a “stronger accreditation”, in which teachers will not receive QTS as soon as they have completed their training but only when they have gone on “demonstrate proficiency” in areas such as behaviour management and subject knowledge. These decisions will be made by their Head Teacher and approved by a teaching school or SCITT.
Early years teaching can be entered by completing a graduate entry route to obtain Early years teacher status (EYTS) while in employment or through full-time study.
Teacher training ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland
Teaching in further education

Routes into teaching

University-based routes

Universities throughout the UK offer one-year teacher training courses on a full-time or part-time basis leading to a PGCE/PGDE (Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma in Education). These courses focus on developing your teaching skills and include a minimum of 120 days spent in schools on teaching practice.
In Scotland, this qualification is known as the PGDE (Postgraduate Diploma in Education).

Schools-based routes

On these routes you will learn through on-the-job training, normally based in at least two schools over a one-year period. This training route leads to the award of a QTS and many also offer the opportunity to undertake a PGCE . These schools-based routes (also known as School-Centred Initial Teacher Training or SCITT) include School Direct and Teach First and now train almost half of all trainee teachers. See the Department of Education pages on school-led training

Further information on routes into teaching

Choosing your teacher training route and provider

Which route?

There is no “one best” route into teaching and your choice of a University or Schools-based route will depend on which you feel is best for you. Some issues to consider include:

  • If you prefer to spend more time training in the classroom, putting theory into practice and gaining confidence through increased contact with the school environment, then a schools-based programme is a good option for you;
  • University-based training provides more time to focus on the theory and academic side of teaching and more time for studying and reflecting on your progress as well as sharing experiences with your fellow-students;
  • University training starts with lectures and offers a more gradual introduction before you go out on placement, allowing you to build up your confidence;
  • Schools-based programmes offer more school experience, but they are harder work as you do much more classroom teaching and have many more lessons to prepare;
  • Some schools prefer schools-trained students when recruiting newly-qualified teachers, as they have more experience in schools;
  • Schools-based courses may have less competition for places and fill up later than university-based courses.

Which provider?

Funding for a PGCE

Funding for a Teacher training (non salaried routes)
In 2018 financial incentives will offered for the higher degree classifications. Up to £28,000 bursary for a shortage subject graduate with a first-class degree.

Teacher Training in and near Kent

Applying for Teacher Training

Almost all applications for teacher training (except Teach First) are made through UCAS.

  • UCAS Teacher Training has a number of videos to help you through the application process
  • Teach First does not recruit through UCAS and you must apply directly. Applications open in June for entry the following year.

Getting Experience

Most teacher training providers will require applicants to have around 10 days of classroom experience. This experience is not only important to strengthen your application and prepare you for interviews: it will also help you to decide whether teaching is right for you.

School Experience Programme (SEP)
The SEP offers support in finding experience that will help you to talk to teachers about day-to-day school life; observe teaching and pastoral work and watch a range of lessons and age groups being taught.
Penultimate year students in STEM subjects interested in teaching Maths or Physics have the access to paid internships.

“In the Classroom” modules
Several academic schools at Kent, including ComputingPolitics and International Relations and SECL (Classical StudiesLanguages and Religious Studies/Philosophy) offer these modules, which offer experience in a school (usually for one day or half-day a week over the course of a term) and the chance to put your degree studies into practice. During your classroom experience, you will observe lessons, work with small groups of students and finally prepare and deliver an entire lesson.

The University of Kent Student Ambassador Scheme 
This provides Kent students with the opportunity to work with local schools and colleges on a range of activities aimed at inspiring their students to consider higher education opportunities. These include supporting Outreach activities where students undertake a task or there is a learning theme, in educational institutions across Kent, or on campus.

While it is best to start building up teaching-related experience as early as possible during your degree, there are also opportunities to develop this experience after you graduate.

Graduate Teaching Internship (GTI)
This new scheme for graduates potentially interested in a teaching career.  The GTI scheme will provide many graduates with a paid, fully supported opportunity to “Try Teaching” in a fully supported setting, allowing them to make an informed decision about a career in teaching. Graduate Teaching Scheme

Teaching assistant/classroom assistant
This role involves supporting a teacher in the classroom in various ways, such as working with small groups or with pupils who need extra support in areas such as literacy or numeracy. Assistants may also help teachers prepare for lessons by preparing resources, or putting out equipment at the start of a lesson. Working in this role for a year can be an excellent preparation for graduates aiming to progress into teacher training.

“Gap year posts”
A number of independent boarding schools offer these posts for new graduates. Typical job titles are “Assistant Housemaster/mistress” or “GAP/Graduate assistant”. Responsibilities may include pastoral care, supervisory work, help with sports or arts activities. These posts are usually advertised on graduate job sites, educational recruitment sites or through the Boarding Schools Association

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)

There are many organisations and language schools, in the UK and worldwide, which recruit graduates in any subject to teach English to speakers of other languages. This experience is a great way to develop your teaching skills and initiative. See our TEFL pages

Independent Schools and education alternatives

  • Independent Schools Council Includes schools directory and job vacancies
  • The Good Schools Guide Useful links
  • ISBI Search for independent and international schools in the UK and abroad
  • Steiner Schools Steiner schools place emphasis on the whole development of the child and continuity in the pupil-teacher relationship, with pupils having one teacher from ages 6-14.

Finding vacancies

More useful information

Further resources and links

At interviews for teaching posts and teacher training courses, you will be expected to show awareness of current issues in education. The sites below will help you to do this – start your preparation well before your interviews!

Jargon Buster

Like every other profession, teaching and teacher training have their own vocabulary. Here are some of the most commonly-used acronyms you will come across:

  • PGCE Postgraduate Certificate in Education
  • PGDE Postgraduate Diploma in Education. The equivalent of the PGCE in Scotland and also offered at a few institutions in Wales and England
  • NQT newly-qualified teacher
  • QTS Qualified Teacher Status
  • ITT Initial Teacher Training – i.e. a university PGCE course, B.Ed or programme of recognised school-based training
  • SCITT School Centred Initial Teacher Training
  • B.Ed. – Bachelor of Education – an undergraduate degree that confers QTS, usually for primary teachers. You do not need to worry about this if you have a degree in another subject - the PGCE will be your route in
  • OFSTED Office for Standards in Education - the government department responsible for school inspections and quality standards
  • FE Further Education – education for students above the age of 16, vocational or academic

comprehensive jargon buster can be found on the TARGETJobs website

Last updated