Skip main navigation

What are my options?

Explore teacher training options in this step, and learn more about some of the key terminology when choosing a teacher training qualification
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0

Before deciding on your PGCE route, there are a number of things you’ll need to take into consideration if you’re going to get the most from your training and prepare yourself adequately for your future career.

QTS or non-QTS

One of the first things you’ll have to decide before choosing your PGCE course is whether or not you want to undertake a course that also offers Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

QTS is a qualification that you’ll be required to gain if you want to work as a teacher in a maintained or special school in England or Wales. You don’t need your QTS to work in academies or independent schools, however, it’s important to realise that, without it, you may find future opportunities and routes for advancement reduced.

To gain your QTS you’ll need to demonstrate, through lesson observations and written evidence, that you meet the Teachers’ Standards, as set out by the government. However, though it will mean you’re technically qualified to teach, it won’t prove that you’ve studied the theory of teaching and is not always perceived as an academic qualification like a PGCE.

Primary or secondary

Hopefully, the materials and discussions from last week have helped you to make up your mind about whether to teach at a primary or secondary school level.

PGCE Primary prepares you to teach children up to 11 years of age and gives you the opportunity to specialise in a specific age group. Bear in mind that this route is particularly popular and competition for places can be fierce.

These programmes also tend to focus on the core curriculum, however, there may also be the option of specialising in a specific subject if you wish.

PGCE Secondary prepares you to teach at secondary school and sixth form levels. If you take this route, you will be expected to teach classes focused on your specific subject.

Full-time or part-time

Finally, before selecting your PGCE route, you’ll need to decide whether or not you can commit to studying full-time. If you can’t, there’s no need to worry as many training providers also offer a part-time option.

Studying for a PGCE will, if taken full-time, usually fit all theoretical and practical in-school aspects of the training into one academic year.

The part-time option will usually take two years to complete.

What’s the best route for you?

What route do you think you’ll choose? Discuss the relative benefits of each of the options above with your fellow students.

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
This article is from the free online

Teacher Training: Choosing the Right PGCE for You

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education