Routes into Teaching

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 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
  • If you are applying for a teacher training course that starts before 1st April 2020, you must have passed the two Professional Skills Tests in literacy and numeracy before you start the course (although not necessarily before you apply or are interviewed).
  • If your teacher training course starts on or after 1st April 2020, you will no longer be required to take the professional skills test. You will be required to have fundamental English and mathematics to become a teacher either at interview or during the training course. For further guidance visit here

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. Exploring opportunities for voluntary or paid work will provide you with a valuable insight into the world of teaching and can work to your advantage to strengthen future job applications. 

Take the opportunity to speak with teaching staff, careers and employability services, training providers and attend school/university open days and teaching related recruitment fairs

You may want to consider a role as a teaching assistant, a cover supervisor or even an administration support role to get your foot in the door whilst you consider all the routes available to you.  

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

School Direct is available in primary and secondary schools across England with programmes generally lasting for 1 year. Some schools may offer training on a part-time basis; therefore, you should contact your chosen school to discuss the options. 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 £28,000 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 you can earn a salary whilst you train.
    NB. This programme replaced the Graduate Teacher Programme from September 2013.
  • Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeship is similar to the School Direct salaried programme and a nationally recognised work-based route into teaching, that offers a mix of classroom teaching, practical learning and a salary. Available in both Primary and Secondary phases, you will be employed by a school and your training will consist of 20% off-the job training whilst you work towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). On the successful completion of the course, you will complete an end point assessment (EPA) to consolidate your learning from initial teacher training.
For further information regarding funding, bursaries, eligibility and the application process visit here

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.
For information regarding eligibility and the application process visit here.  

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 Kent based schools to deliver their teacher training programmes. See here or university websites for further guidance.

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 

Overseas Teaching

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