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Skill National Bureau for Students with Disabilities
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Different routes into teaching

Anyone wanting to teach in England and Wales must have a degree and complete initial teacher training (ITT).

This can be done in various ways including alongside a degree, after a degree, or as a part-time course alongside work. The option that is right for you will depend on your circumstances.


Undergraduate options

Bachelor of Education (BEd)

A BEd is an honours degree course in education. Course content varies according to the university or college, but all BEd graduates gain QTS in addition to their degree. This route is a popular choice for those who are interested in teaching primary school children. Some ITT institutions offer BEd programmes for secondary teaching, but the range of subjects is limited. Courses generally take three or four years full-time or four to six years part-time.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) with QTS

A BA or BSc with QTS is a degree course that also incorporates teacher training. These programmes allow you to study for an honours degree and do your initial teacher training at the same time. Courses generally take three or four years full-time or four to six years part-time.

Search for undergraduate courses

The financial arrangements for these courses are the same as for other undergraduate courses. For information on funding see the Skill information booklet Funding higher education for disabled students.

You may be entitled to the Student Loans and grants aimed at full-time students if you’re doing a part-time ITT course - as long as it doesn’t take more than twice as long to complete than the equivalent full-time course.


Postgraduate options

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

The PGCE course is one of the most popular routes into teaching for postgraduate students. Courses generally take one year full-time or up to two years part-time. To start a PGCE course, you must have a UK undergraduate degree or an equivalent qualification. For primary level teaching, your degree can be in any subject, although you are more likely to be accepted onto a course if your degree is in a key stage 1 and 2 curriculum subject. For secondary level teaching, your degree must be related to the secondary subject you want to teach.

Institutions in England charge fees of up to £3,290 for PGCE courses. Unlike other postgraduate students, students doing a postgraduate ITT course can apply for the standard student finance package of Student Loans and grants.

School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)

These are training schemes provided by groups of neighbouring secondary and/or primary schools in England. The group of schools acts in the same way as an ITT institution and programmes lead to QTS and possibly a PGCE. Courses generally last one year and they allow graduates to complete almost all of their training in a school environment. Trainees are required to meet the same standards set for PGCE students.

Search for postgraduate training   

Some postgraduate teacher trainees in England and Wales receive a tax-free training bursary paid over the length of their course. For 2011 teacher training entry the bursary rates are as follows:
Physics                            £9000
Chemistry                         £9000
Engineering                       £9000
Maths                              £9000
Biology                             £6000
Combined/general sciences  £6000
Modern foreign languages    £6000


Employment-based routes

Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP)

This GTP allows you to gain QTS whilst being employed as an unqualified teacher. The training takes between three months and one year, and the school pays you on a minimum of ‘point one’ of the unqualified teacher salary rate. The TDA may give the school up to £14,500 to help meet your employment costs and a training grant of £5,630. In some areas there is a self-funded option. Alternatively, the school may contribute to the costs.

GTP salary grant places are allocated using priority funding categories which include:

  • applications that make the teaching force more representative of society, including disabled teachers, men in primary teaching and teachers from minority ethnic groups
  • applications to train eligible candidates currently working as teaching assistants
  • secondary shortage subjects - mathematics, science, modern languages, ICT, music, religious education, design and technology, drama, dance, English, manufacturing, and engineering

Search for GTP training providers or schools


Registered Teacher Programme (RTP)

If you have two or more years of higher education and have the GCSE requirements you may qualify for the RTP. The training involves a combination of work and study and generally takes two years to complete. The school pays you on a minimum of ‘point one’ of the unqualified teacher salary rate. Your training provider can also receive a grant from the TDA of up to £9,100 over the two years to cover expenses associated with your training.

To take part, the first step is to find a school willing to employ you and support you through the programme. You then need to apply directly to your local. They will assess your application and establish what further training you would need to meet the standards for QTS.

Some employment-based initial teacher training (EBITT) providers can help you find a post in a school – otherwise you can look for vacancies in the local and national press, as well as on local authority and recruitment websites.

Search for EBITT providers


Teach First

This programme enables high-flying graduates to spend two years working in challenging secondary schools in the Midlands, London, the North West and Yorkshire, gaining QTS while completing leadership training and work experience. For further information see the Teach First website.

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