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Skill National Bureau for Students with Disabilities
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Basic requirements to become a teacher

If you’re interested in becoming a teacher, it’s important to spend some time in a school. This can be done as a volunteer or observer, or by doing practical work experience. This experience may help you decide if you really want to teach. You can use it in your application as evidence of interest and commitment, which will help persuade people of your ability to do teacher training. The TDA website has information on various ways to do this including:

  • School visits observing experienced teachers as they deliver lessons and go about their daily professional lives.
  • Taster courses lasting three days, including a one-day school placement, designed to help you decide whether to apply for initial teacher training (ITT).
  • Student Associates Scheme for students interested in gaining classroom experience while studying.

You can find out more about the experiences of disabled teachers by reading our case studies and watching our videos online. You are also welcome to come and meet our teaching ambassadors at various events around the country.

 

Basic requirements

Getting good basic qualifications is the first step towards becoming a teacher. You must have the equivalent of at least GCSE grade C in English and Mathematics. If you want to teach in primary or in secondary up to the age of 14 you also need the equivalent of at least GCSE grade C in Science.

Anyone wanting to teach in England and Wales must then get a degree and complete initial teacher training (ITT). There are many different routes, depending on the age group and, at secondary level, the subject that you want to teach. All courses cover the principles of teaching along with practical experience in the classroom.

You can complete ITT alongside a degree, straight after a degree, as a part-time course alongside work or as a full-time course. The option that is right for you will depend on your circumstances.

As well as a degree, you need qualified teacher status (QTS) to become a teacher. In England, QTS includes passing Skills Tests in numeracy, literacy and information and communications technology (ICT). The Skills Test website contains examples of the kinds of adjustments that can be made for disabled people, including alternative assessment methods and extra time.

Professional Standards for Qualified Teacher Status and requirements for Initial Teacher Training sets out what trainees need to know, understand and be able to do to be awarded QTS.

Once you have been awarded QTS you must complete an induction year working as a teacher.

 

Becoming a specialist teacher

If you want to specialise in teaching pupils with special educational needs (SEN), you must first gain QTS in a secondary subject or in primary education. You then usually need to gain a few years of teaching experience in a mainstream setting. Once you have met both of these requirements you can begin taking programmes from a Local Authority (LA) who will run programmes on specific special needs areas. You will gain some knowledge about the special educational needs of students through in-service education and training (INSET) while doing your ITT programme.

The National SEN Specialist Standards specifies the core standards needed when working with students with a variety of SEN.

The BATOD website has a specialist factsheet on training to become a teacher of the deaf.

 

Teaching assistants

Teaching assistants work alongside teachers in the classroom, helping pupils with their learning on an individual or group basis. Some specialise in areas such as literacy, numeracy, special education needs, music, English as an additional language, and the creative arts. Some teaching assistants decide they want to further develop their career and train to become fully qualified teachers or higher level teaching assistants.


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