Routes into Teaching

How Can I Become a Teacher?

This is one of our most frequently asked questions. There are many different routes into teaching available in England and Wales. To teach in maintained schools within England and Wales, you will need to undertake Initial Teacher Training (ITT) to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Some academies, free schools and independent schools may not specify QTS as an entry requirement, however QTS is generally preferable and will improve your career prospects.

Entry Requirements

The basic entry requirements for ITT (Initial Teacher Training) are as follows:

  • Achieved a standard equivalent to a grade 4 GCSE in Maths
  • Achieved a standard equivalent to a grade 4 GCSE in English
  • Achieved a standard equivalent to a grade 4 GCSE in a science subject. (for those applying for primary teaching only)
  • A first degree or equivalent qualification for post graduate routes into teaching; the grade will be determined by the accredited provider awarding Qualified Teacher Status
  • From 1st April 2020, it is no longer required to take the Professional Skills Test. Instead, candidates are required to have Fundamental English and Mathematics to become a teacher either at interview or during the training course.

Is Teaching Right For Me? 

The best way to help you decide if teaching is right for you is to gain as much hands-on experience as possible in a school environment. A fantastic way to gain insight into the world of teaching is through voluntary work. You could also explore paid work opportunities within education settings. Voluntary and paid experience can strengthen your future job applications. 

Reach out to teaching staff, careers and employability services and training providers; talking to those with first-hand knowledge will help you to make an informed decision. Moreover, make the effort to attend school/university open days and teaching-related recruitment fairs

Working in a support staff capacity within a school setting, e.g. teaching assistant, cover supervisor or administration, will help you to get your foot in the door whilst you consider all the routes available to you. You will also build meaningful connections and contacts. 

Available Routes 

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

Postgraduate Teacher Training 

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 may 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. 

1) School Direct

Option A) Salaried Programmes

School Direct is an ideal route into teaching for those who want to ‘learn on the job’ whilst earning a salary. This employment-based route into teaching is available to graduates, with typically 3 years work experience. Many School Direct programs include a PGCE qualification, but some do not. You do not need a PGCE to teach in England and Wales, however a PGCE is important if you wish to teach outside of England and Wales. Always check which qualifications you will achieve with your training provider before committing. You will receive an Unqualified Teacher’s salary from your school. The cost of your training will be covered. However, you may charged a fee if you are working towards a PGCE. You can find out more detailed information on the UCAS website, including how to apply.

Option B) Tuition Fee Programmes

If you choose the Tuition Fee Program, you will be primarily based at a school. But, you will also receiving training by a university, college or SCITT that your school is partnered with. Your school will not be your employer and you will be eligible to pay your training fees. If you are eligible, you could receive funding such as a student loan, a bursary or a scholarship. Your training will be very similar to other ITT programmes in universities, colleges, and SCITTs. School Direct courses lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). The majority of these training schemes include a PGCE qualification. But, always check this is the case before applying. If you want to teach abroad, a PGCE is often required. More information is available on the UCAS website.

2) School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)

  • SCITT programmes are designed and delivered by groups of neighbouring schools and colleges who work in close partnership with universities. 
  • 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.

3) Teach First

  • Teach First offers a 2-year programme designed for graduates with a 2.1 degree or above, however those with a 2.2 degrees will also be considered. It is a 2-year programme
  • In the first year you will gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) whilst completing your NQT placement in the second year.
  • By the end of the 2-year programme you will have gained a Postgraduate Diploma in Education and Leadership (PGDE) (which is worth double the credits of a PGCE).
  • You will also have the opportunity to work towards a full Masters after your second year.
  • The aim of the programme is to develop participants to become outstanding teachers and leaders in schools in low income and challenging communities.
You can find more information regarding eligibility and the application process on the Teach First website. 

University Based Routes    

Both postgraduate and undergraduate teacher training 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 schools in Kent based to deliver their teacher training programmes. 

1) Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

If you have a degree and wish to train as a primary or secondary school teacher, then this route may be suitable. A PGCE is a 1 year course leading to QTS and focuses on developing your teaching skills and underpinning your knowledge. The PGCE involves lectures, seminars and other taught sessions in a university setting, including teaching placements in schools.  Dedicated subject knowledge enhancement courses are also available in some secondary subjects should your degree not closely align with the subject you wish to teach.

2) 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.

How to Apply

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

Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) courses

SKE courses are designed to enhance your existing knowledge in a particular subject area to help you progress in your teaching career. Find out more about SKE courses here.

Postgraduate Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT)

Available via university or school-led training routes, all programmes lead to Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) upon completion. EYTS allows you to specialise in working with children up to the age of five only.

Future Teaching Scholars Programme

Designed for outstanding A Level students with a passion for physics or maths, this six-year programme offers financial support for undergraduate study, as well as employment-based teacher training post-graduation. Please visit The Future Teaching Scholars Programme for more information.

Assessment Only Route to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

Offered by several universities, colleges and training providers in England, this programme is aimed at individuals working as unqualified teachers. If you have a degree and substantial experience of working within a school, this routes allows you to gain QTS without a teacher training programme. You can find approved providers on the Get Into Teaching website.

Troops to Teachers

This non-graduate teacher training route is for service leavers, leading to an honours degree with QTS. Find out more from UCAS.

Researchers in Schools 

If you have completed, or are in the process of completing, a doctorate, then this three-year teacher training programme may be for you. It offers a combination of  classroom teaching and research opportunities to work towards gaining QTS. You will also work towards the Research Leader in Education Award. Find out more from Researchers in Schools. 

Premier Plus Service

  • Premier Plus Service is a school based 2-year teacher training programme available to graduates who hold a 2:1 degree and who intend to start teacher training in September 2020.
  • In your first year you will work as a Teaching Assistant before becoming an unqualified teacher in year two.
  • Completing the programme at the school of your choice, you’ll graduate with a PGCE with QTS enabling you to become a confident and highly capable teacher.

For further information, or for tailored advice and information about teacher training visit 

Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS)

Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) is a route into teaching that can enable you to become a qualified teacher without holding an existing degree. QTLS is a professional teaching status, it’s traditionally aimed at people wanting to teach in Further Education and Adult Education as a way of professionals transferring from industry into teaching, but following a regulation change in 2012, there is now legal parity between QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) and QTLS. Educators with QTLS status and who are also members of the Society for Education and Training have been recognised by law as equivalent in status to teachers with QTS in schools. Holders of QTLS are able to teach across all subjects and all ages on equal pay and conditions, opening up career development and wider employment opportunities.

Overseas Teaching

To find out more about teaching in England as an overseas teacher visit this page