Get into Teaching

Postgraduate routes into teaching

If you already have a degree, there are a number of Initial Teacher Training programmes available depending on your qualifications and experience. 

Graduate teacher programmes always include:

  • 120 days of practical classroom experience in two schools or more
  • academic study, giving you the knowledge and understanding to teach successfully
  • experienced professional mentoring and tutoring in classroom practice
  • ongoing assessment of your teaching skills.

To train as a primary or secondary school teacher in England, you can choose either a university-led or school-led route.

University Led


The most established graduate route into teaching is known as the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). It is a one year course run by Universities, working in close partnership with schools, combining learning on campus with a minimum of 120 days in school.  

School Led

School Direct (Non Salaried -Tuition Fee)

On School Direct programmes, students are based in school, learning alongside a class mentor and a School Led training programme. School Direct programmes work in close partnership with Universities and in most cases lead to a Postgraduate Certificate in Education qualification.

Where the School Direct route is described as Tuition Fee, this refers to the financial status of the student.  Although based in school, no salary is paid and the student will pay Tuition Fees.  

School Direct (Salaried)

This is an employment-based route for high quality, experienced graduates with at least three years’ work experience in any field.  The School Direct training experience will be similar to that of Tuition Fee students, but with increased responsibility and expectations during the programme.   In this context students earn a salary and pay no tuition fees.

The School Direct programme will work in close partnership with a University and in most cases lead to a Postgraduate Certificate in Education qualification.

School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)

Similar to a School Direct (non-salaried) programme, SCITT programmes are run by schools or groups of schools.  In many cases, the SCITT will work in partnership with a University, enabling the offer of a PGCE award.

All graduate teacher programmes lead to the recommendation of:

  1. Qualified Teacher Status – measured in terms of progress and achievement against the Teachers’ Standards (DfE 2012)

In many cases, and where stated, graduate teacher programmes also lead to the award of:

  1. A post-graduate qualification, based on successful academic assignment completion, for example a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

For details see UCAS.

The Teachers Standards 2012

 The Teachers’ Standards (DfE 2012) are the professional standards by which teaching practice is supported and assessed.  Learning to teach involves developing skills, knowledge and attributes in each of the Teacher’s Standards, and applying these to the classroom. 

Entry Requirements

  1. an undergraduate degree awarded by a higher education provider in England or Wales, or a recognised equivalent qualification.  Providers may request a 2.2 degree or above.
  2. Grade 4 (C) or above in English and maths GCSE
  3. Grade 4 (C) or above in a GCSE science subject to teach pupils age 3-11 (Early Years or Primary

Where demand for places is high, providers may set higher entry requirements.

The Skills Tests in Literacy and Numeracy have been removed as an entry requirement to teacher training programmes.  In their place, training programmes have to confirm trainee competence in Fundamental Skills in  Mathematics and English – at the point of leaving the course.  As a result, there might be a ‘task’ at interview in Mathematics and English and then additional tasks during the course for those requiring further support.  Individual programmes will confirm this level of detail when invited to interview.

Non-academic requirements include:

  1. Medical fitness – initially determined through a health questionnaire
  2. Declaration of criminal convictions
  3. Completion of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) process

Although not a requirement, applicants to teacher training programmes are advised to spend time in schools

If your degree subject doesn’t link closely to your chosen teaching subject, it is advisable to contact the PGCE provider you are thinking of applying to and/or the Get into Teaching line about subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses before applying for teacher training: call free on 0800 389 2500.

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