Routes into Teaching

There are many routes into teaching. All of these will involve studying for a degree as well as some time spent on school placements.

There are many routes into teaching. All of these will involve studying for a degree as well as some time spent on school placements.

Degree in Teaching.

This is an undergraduate degree. Most undergraduate degrees in teaching are in Primary Education. There are a few subject-specific secondary undergraduate teaching degrees out there as well. The courses are normally 3-4 years in length and award a BA (Hons), BSc, or BEd with recommendation for QTS. Some Primary courses allow you to choose a subject specialism, such as English, Mathematics or Early Years.

Entry Requirements: A Levels or equivalent. GCSE grade C or above in maths and English. GCSE grade or above in science for primary or KS2/3 teaching

Length: 3 years/4 years (some universities offer an extra year)

Funding Available: Yes, normal undergraduate degree funding.

Qualified to Teach: Either KS1/2 (Primary) or KS3/4 (Secondary) or KS3/4/5 (Secondary and Sixth Form) – depending on the course you apply for.

Confers QTS? Yes, after an NQT year

Pros and Cons:

  • Straight route into teaching.
  • Teaching practice during every year with strong support.
  • Good coverage of educational theory and subject knowledge.
  • Less stressful than a PGCE
  • Full time table throughout the three years.
  • Less flexible degree if you decide not to go into teaching.

PGCE

This is, by far, the most popular way of entering teaching. Get your degree first, and then apply through the GTTR to a university for a place on their PGCE. You’ll then typically do two “blocks” of teaching (the university will find your placements) and three blocks of lectured input, where you’ll complete assignments and learn about teaching approaches, planning, implementation and assessment and the legal and political frameworks which shape education.

Entry Requirements: Undergraduate degree in a main subject or joint degree in education and a subject or a degree education (suitable for Primary school teaching only). GCSE grade C or above in maths and English. GCSE grade or above in science for primary or KS2/3 teaching.

Length: 1 year

Funding Available: Tution fees and loan, like for undergraduate degree funding. Additional training bursary of up to £9000 (dependent upon subject and key stages teaching).

Qualified to Teach: Either KS1/2 (Primary) or KS3/4 (Secondary) or KS3/4/5 (Secondary and Sixth Form) – look carefully at the PGCE specification.

Confers QTS? Yes, after an NQT year (done when you get your first real job)

Pros and Cons

  • Development of solid knowledge of your chosen subject
  • Relatively good emotional and academic support when doing your teaching practice
  • Only a basic coverage of educational theory – you’ll need to use insets and general reading to extend your knowledge if you want to be really innovative.
  • Reduced timetable whilst doing teaching practice doesn’t give you a proper experience of teaching workload.

PGCE (Further, Higher and Adult Education)

The PGCE (Post-Compulsory) is geared towards those of you who want to teach outside of the compulsory sector. It’s like the normal PGCE, but you’ll learn specifically about teaching approaches for non-schoolies, and your teaching practices will not be in schools. It’s a useful point of entry for people who don’t want to teach National Curriculum subjects (especially if you want to teach a vocational subject or deal with adult basic skills, etc). Be warned: you will not be qualified to teach in schools – even if you’re trying to teach just A-Level in schools. In these situations, you will be employed as an unqualified teacher, and possibly paid accordingly – and you will certainly not get a permanent contract until you re-qualify. The route is gaining more prestige, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’ve really looked into the implications of not having QTS.

Entry Requirements: Undergraduate degree in a main subject or joint degree in education and a subject. GCSE grade C or above in maths and English.

Length: 1 year

Funding Available: Tution fees and loan, like for undergraduate degree funding. Additional training bursary of up to £9000 (depenent upon subject and key stages teaching).

Qualified to Teach: in Colleges, Universities, Prisons, Outreach Centres, etc.

Confers QTS?: NO

Pros and Cons:

  • Development of solid knowledge of your chosen subject
  • Relatively good emotional and academic support when doing your teaching practice
  • Specialised in teaching post-compulsory learners
  • Route into teaching non-national-curriculum subjects
  • Only a basic coverage of educational theory – you’ll need to use insets and general reading to extend your knowledge if you want to be really innovative.
  • Reduced timetable whilst doing teaching practice doesn’t give you a proper experience of teaching workload.
  • No QTS, which has implications for employment opportunities, pay and conditions (these are much worse outside schools).

School-centred initial teacher training

The application process can vary. Some providers require you to apply through GTTR whilst others expect you to apply directly. This is a school based route and will involve more time in the classroom than standard PGCE routes. In some cases you may also be awarded a PGCE upon completion of the course.

Entry Requirements: Undergraduate degree in main subject. GCSE grade C or above in maths and English. GCSE grade or above in science for primary or KS2/3 teaching.

Length: 1 Year

Funding Available: Tution fees and loan, like for undergraduate degree funding. Additional training bursary of up to £9000 (depenent upon subject and key stages teaching).

Qualified to Teach: Either KS1/2 (Primary) or KS3/4 (Secondary) or KS3/4/5 (Secondary and Sixth Form) – depends up on the school you are in

Confers QTS: Yes, after an NQT year.

School Direct

School Direct is an exciting new training route for top graduates. Your school will have a job in mind just for you when you finish your training. School Direct places are available in some of the best primary and secondary schools across England and programmes generally last for one year. Financial support is available throughout your training. Successful completion of the programme will lead to the award of qualified teacher status (QTS). School Direct programmes may also include a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE).

Entry Requirements: Undergraduate degree in main subject. GCSE grade C or above in maths and English. GCSE grade or above in science for primary or KS2/3 teaching.

Length: 1 year

Funding Available: Salary during year (£15,461 + school can upgrade).

Qualified to Teach: Either KS1/2 (Primary) or KS3/4 (Secondary) or KS3/4/5 (Secondary and Sixth Form) – look carefully at the PGCE specification.

Confers QTS: Yes, after an NQT year (done when you get your first real job)

Pros and Cons:

  • Development of solid knowledge of your chosen subject
  • Realistic insight into the realities and pressures of “being a teacher”
  • Better income whilst training
  • Likely to end up with a job automatically at the end of training.
  • You’ll be in at the deep end; schools will tend to treat you as a real teacher and heap work on you. You’ll also have very little emotional and academic support when compared to PGCEs.
  • You’ll need to negotiate your own placement before talking to the DRB about funding (and this is harder than it seems as schools don’t want to “babysit” trainees)

Registered Teacher Programme

As Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP), but candidates only need to have completed two years of their degree. The teacher-training programme typically lasts two years although it is possible to complete it in a year (they complete their degree at the same time). I’ve not had any experience with this programme, or met anyone who’s been through it, but I think it’s targetted at maturer students (professional qualifications are accepted in lieu of a degree, and candidates are encouraged to do a one-year “top-up” degree). Schools are dubious of GTP candidates (with full degrees), and I suspect that RTP candidates (with only 2 years) will struggle to find placements.

Entry Requirements: Two Years of Higher Education. GCSE grade C or above in maths and English. GCSE grade or above in science for primary or KS2/3 teaching.

Length: 2 years

Funding Available: You will be paid by your school at least the unqualified teacher salary of £15,461.

Qualified to Teach: Either KS1/2 (Primary) or KS3/4 (Secondary) or KS3/4/5 (Secondary and Sixth Form)

Confers QTS: Yes, after an NQT year (done when you get your first real job)

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