Skip main navigation

Applying for teacher training

Your teacher training application
Teacher explaining work to a pupil at her desk

Skeena, who has been sharing her experiences with you throughout the course, qualified as a teacher through completing a PGCE course at Manchester Metropolitan University. She already had a degree and GCSEs in English and Maths, which meant she was eligible to follow a postgraduate route. She also received a bursary to study as she was training in a shortage secondary level subject. Skeena’s is just one example of a route into teacher training. The options vary massively depending on where you want to teach, if you are going to train as an undergraduate or post graduate student, the subjects and the age groups you would like to teach. This article explores some of the different routes available within the UK.

Applying for teacher training can be very confusing as there are a number of different routes available and the terminology and abbreviations used can make these seem even more complicated.

  • ITT – Initial Teacher Training
  • QTS – Qualified Teacher Status
  • PGCE – Post Graduate Certificate of Education
  • PGDE – Post Graduate Diploma of Education
  • UG – Undergraduate
  • SD – School Direct
  • SCITT – School Centred Initial Teacher Training
  • UCAS – Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UK)
  • HEI – Higher Education Institution

QTS is the minimum requirement to work in schools as a qualified teacher. Some undergraduate courses allow students to gain QTS without then needing to go on to postgraduate study. Degrees with QTS are most common for those going into primary teaching. However, they are also available in a small number of subjects for secondary level with some HEIs. QTS can also be achieved through postgraduate SCITT courses. Some SCITTs may also offer some postgraduate study through links with a local HEI. In many cases this does not equate to a PGCE in terms of University credits so you need to check this with your SCITT provider.

PGCE is the minimum requirement to teach in Scotland and Northern Ireland and in many other countries so this is worth considering if you think you may wish to teach abroad in future. A PGCE combines QTS with Masters level credits from an HEI. PGDE carries more Masters level credits and teachers often go on to complete a full masters course by gaining additional credits once they start teaching. It is useful to ask HEIs if this is a possibility for when you complete your PGCE or PGDE.

All courses that are inspected by OFSTED are required to provide a minimum of 24 weeks in schools on placement. Even if you select a course provided by an HEI you will still spend the majority of the course in school. It is worth finding out how far you may need to travel for your school placements and what type of support you will receive when you are there. Many schools have highly trained mentors who will support you throughout your placement. HEIs will also have tutors in your specialist subject area who will provide further support. SD and SCITT providers will have staff in school who provide additional support and training to support you.

Many courses in England have fees that need to be paid to complete the course. In Scotland there are no fees to train to teach. Some courses, particularly shortage subjects at secondary level in England, provide tax-free bursaries to cover tuition fees and living costs whilst training to teach. These vary between subjects and countries so it is worth exploring these before you apply. The links below will help you find the information you need but as you can see, there is a lot to consider when choosing a course that is right for you. It is useful to compile a list of questions you may have about the different courses that you can then ask at an open day or via email. All providers will be happy to give you information to help you make your decision.

If you are outside the UK you will find it useful to do a search for teacher training courses near you. Wherever you are, you will find it useful to attend open days or to contact your local teacher training providers to gain more information and advice for applying.

This article is from the free online

Preparing for Teaching

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now