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10th Jun, 2021

Gavin Beart
Gavin Beart
Job Title
Divisional Managing Director

If you're interested in teaching or becoming a teacher, you will have plenty of patience, energy and enthusiasm in order to be prepared for a challenge that is highly satisfying. You also need to follow a programme of Initial Teacher Training (ITT) which will grant you Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). 

However, there are several different routes to achieving QTS which allows you to teach at a state school in the UK. So how do you find the right teacher training options for you?

What route do you best suit?

ITT programmes come in many different forms and timescales, but all include theory and practical classroom experience. The three main routes are undergraduate teacher training, postgraduate teacher training and employment-based teacher training. Here are a few popular options:

1. BA Ed

A Bachelor of Education combines a degree with ITT. Full-time programmes take three to four years to complete, or four to six years part-time.

This is popular for primary school teachers, but can also be for those teaching in early years, secondary and Special Educational Needs (SEN). Normal entry requirements are a minimum of two A-levels. You can receive either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) with your BA Ed or QTS.

2. PGCE (or PGDipED)

A very popular option – a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is a one year (or two years part-time) higher education course, after an individual has already graduated with an academic degree. Having a degree in a national curriculum subject is preferred but not essential, as a PGCE focuses on developing your teaching skills and knowledge, not the subject you intend to teach. Sometimes this can also be called a postgraduate diploma in education (PGDipED).

A PGCE includes 12 weeks of seminars and tutorials, with at least 18 weeks’ hands-on experience teaching in schools. You can take out a postgraduate loan to support your tuition and living costs.

Getting a PGCE is advantageous if you want to teach in Scotland or overseas, although to teach in England you only need to achieve QTS.


Another postgraduate option, School-Centred Initial Teacher Trainer (SCITT) is a one-year course. It has fewer lectures than a PGCE, as it is mainly delivered in the classroom by experienced teachers, offering a very hands-on approach. Almost all SCITT courses are delivered by local schools and colleges.


Early Years Professional Service (EYPS), is a professional status for early years teachers (ages 0 to 5), similar to QTS. Entry requirements vary, with applicants needing either to have a degree, or to top-up a foundation degree to a full degree through EYPS. To gain EYPS, you must be able to demonstrate personal practice and leadership of early years practitioners. After achieving EYPS, you are regarded as a professional leader in the early years sector.

5. School Direct Training Programme

This route is fantastic for high-quality graduates with at least 3 years’ experience of transferable work history. You can earn a salary whilst training towards your QTS, learning from experienced teachers, and without paying any tuition fees.

6. Teach First

This option may interest graduates who have their sights set on a headship. You need a minimum of a 2:1 degree and be able to demonstrate leadership and initiative skills in order to enter into a Teach First programme. This two-year training programme includes working in challenging secondary schools, and you can earn a salary whilst training. It has the added benefit of no tuition fees.

The above list is not exhaustive, but can help kick-start your research to finding the best programme for you. It’s important to note that training options can vary in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Remember to always check if your course or programme will grant you QTS upon completion.

After completing your ITT, you become a newly qualified teacher (NQT), where you continue your training for a year. If you successfully pass this induction year, you achieve QTS.

For more information on getting into teaching, Plymouth Marjon University has produced a comprehensive guide which may also be helpful - from why teach, to teacher training interviews and mentoring.

Are you an NQT or current teacher looking for your next role, or looking to recruit? If so, contact your local Reed office - our local consultants are equipped to explain routes into teaching and can provide further information.

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