Routes into Teaching

To teach within England and Wales you need to undertake Initial Teacher Training (ITT) to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Entry Requirements

The basic entry requirements for ITT are as follows:

  • GCSE Maths grade C or above (or equivalent)
  • GCSE English grade C or above (or equivalent)
  • GCSE Science grade C or above (or equivalent) (for those applying for primary teaching only)
  • A good degree for post graduate routes into teaching; the grade will be determined by the accredited provider awarding Qualified Teacher Status
  • You must have also passed the two Professional Skills Tests in literacy and numeracy before you start the course (although not necessarily before you apply or are interviewed).  For more information, guidance and practice tests visit http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/careers/traininganddevelopment/professional


There are a number of different routes into teaching which provide options to suit everyone.

School-based Routes

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 school-based route will be a good option for you.  Many schools in Kent are involved in leading and participating in school-based routes.

If you are interested in a school-based route, you may wish to contact your local primary or secondary school to ask if they are involved. 

(a) School Direct

School Direct is available in primary and secondary schools across England and programmes generally last for one year. Some schools may offer training on a part-time basis; you should contact your chosen school to discuss this. Successful completion of a School Direct course will lead to the award of qualified teacher status (QTS). School Direct programmes may also include a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) including credits at Masters level. 

In order to help tailor training to your skills and experience, there are two separate School Direct training options:

  • School Direct Training Programme is available to high-quality graduates. You may be eligible for a bursary of up to £20,000 to support you while you train and you may be eligible for a student loan to cover your fees.
  • School Direct Training Programme (salaried) is an employment-based route available to high-quality graduates who have been working for at least three years previously (this does not have to be a role within Education to qualify) and can earn a salary whilst they train.
    NB. This programme replaced the Graduate Teacher Programme from September 2013.

For further information regarding funding, bursaries, eligibility and the application process go to http://www.education.gov.uk/get-into-teaching/

(b) School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)

  • SCITT programmes are designed and delivered by groups of neighbouring schools and colleges.
  • Taught by experienced, practising teachers, and often tailored towards local teaching needs, all SCITT courses lead to qualified teacher status (QTS). Many, though not all, will also award you a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) validated by a higher education institution.
  • These courses generally last one year full-time and run from September to June.

(c) Teach First

  • Teach First is a programme designed for graduates with a 2.1 degree or above. It is a 2 year programme; in the first year of teaching you will gain a PGCE and in the second year there will be the opportunity to work towards a Masters qualification.
  • The aim is for participants to become outstanding classroom leaders in schools in challenging circumstances.

For information regarding eligibility and the application process go to www.teachfirst.org.uk

University-Based Routes    

Both postgraduate and undergraduate courses are available at universities and colleges throughout the UK. Canterbury Christ Church University, the University of Brighton, the University of Greenwich and several other universities work closely with Kent schools to deliver their teacher training programmes.  See http://www.education.gov.uk/get-into-teaching/  or university websites for further guidance.

(a) Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

If you have a degree and wish to train as a secondary or primary school teacher then this route may be suitable. A PGCE course focuses on developing your teaching skills and many courses may also provide support for the development of your subject knowledge.  It involves lectures, seminars and other taught sessions at the university plus teaching placements in school.  Dedicated subject knowledge enhancement courses may be available in some secondary subjects prior to embarking on the course.

(b) Undergraduate ITT courses

If you do not currently have an undergraduate degree, you can complete a Bachelor of Education (BEd) or Bachelor of Arts (BA)/Bachelor of Science (BSc) with qualified teacher status (QTS) course. These courses enable you to study for a degree and complete your initial teacher training (ITT) at the same time.

Online ITT

More information on Online ITT can be found on the Open University.

How to Apply

Applications for all routes into Teacher Training are handle by UCAS. Please visit UCAS - Teacher Training for more information and to apply.

Thinking of teaching as a career change?

School Experience Programme

  • One of the best ways to find out whether a career in teaching is right for you is to spend some time in a classroom and speak to experienced teachers and school staff. The School Experience Programme (SEP) has been developed to allow you to gain classroom experience in secondary schools.
  • The duration is flexible (1 to 10 days); this will be agreed between you and your host school.
  • A Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS- formally CRB) may be required. This will be organised by the school and could impact on the length of your placement.

To register and apply to this programme go to http://www.education.gov.uk/get-into-teaching/school-experience

Speak to a teacher

  • Speaking to a serving teacher, who can talk to you honestly and objectively about their experiences of teaching, can help you to make an informed decision about whether teaching is the right career for you.
  • They can share their knowledge on topics such as behaviour management, workload management, subject knowledge and the curriculum. You can talk to a teacher by phone or email, and sometimes face-to-face at Teaching Agency events (subject to availability).

Premier Plus Service

  • Available to those who want to teach  secondary maths, physics, chemistry, computing, MFL or design and technology, hold or are predicted at least a 2:2 degree, and intend to start teacher training in the academic year 2015/16.
  •  If you are interested in teaching these subjects, you can sign up for free and in addition to the standard programme of support and guidance, all eligible registrants will receive the following exclusive benefits:
    • personalised one-to-one advice and guidance on becoming a teacher, including support with your application
    • help in securing school experience, including a placement on one of our programmes if there is availability in your subject/local area
    • invitations to exclusive events
    • regular communications from us with important news, application hints and tips, and updates on funding
    • opportunities to speak to a teacher, who can answer your questions about life in the classroom.

For further information go to http://www.education.gov.uk/get-into-teaching/premier-plus.aspx