Teacher Training

The following information is aimed at candidates who are looking to gain qualified teacher status (QTS)  for employment in primary or secondary schools. If you already have your QTS and need advice on finding employment go to our Teaching in Schools section. For information on teaching in FE or HE have a look at our Teaching in a Non-School Setting section. For news, events and  information on teaching at the University of Wolverhampton, please go to the Institute of Education.

What age should I teach?

Before applying to any teacher training courses you need to decide on the age group you wish to teach. Many initial teacher training (ITT) providers expect applicants to have acquired classroom experience across 2 key stages. Here is a list of the Key stages for State maintained schools:

Choosing your specialism

All secondary and middle school teachers are required to choose a subject specialism. It is also possible to choose a specialism for primary teaching as well as being able to train for a general primary qualification. If your degree does not directly relate to the specialism you wish to pursue you may want to check the availability of subject knowledge enhancement courses.

Subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses

There are currently courses available for the following secondary-phase subjects:

Teaching roles

The Prospects website is an excellent source of information, providing job profiles, details of entry requirements, salary bands, training, career progression and job hunting sites.  Here are the profiles related to teaching in schools:

Routes into teaching

The National College for Teaching and Leadership, part of the Department for Education (DfE), is responsible for initial teacher training (ITT) in England.

If you are interested in becoming a teacher you will be supported throughout the application process via the DfE site below. The site provides excellent information, advice, support and definitive guidance for any individual aspiring for a career in teaching. There are a number of teaching routes that lead to QTS.

PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education)   

This is a universities and colleges led teaching programme that focuses on developing your teaching skills by providing a mixture of educational theory and school placements with an ITT provider. The application is processed through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Applications Service).

For information on funding available please contact the initial training providers or visit the Department for Education site:

School Direct Training Programme

The main feature of this scheme is that it allows the schools the power to choose their own trainee teachers and the ITT provider of their preference This school(s) based scheme is mainly for those candidates who have a lot of experience in the classroom and duly consider themselves to be ready for teaching.. The theory work is picked up with an ITT provider on a negotiated basis that fits in with the designated school. Candidates will fund their tuition fees by obtaining a loan via the student finance company,possibly through a bursary that is gained through choosing a shortage subject or achieving a high honours degree. Other options of funding may include a career development loan. There is no guarantee of a job at the end of the programme.The application is processed through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Applications Service).

School Direct Training programme (salaried)

As above this school based scheme allows the schools the power to choose their own trainee teachers and the ITT provider. The main attraction of this route is that candidates are paid a trainee teacher salary that is chiefly funded by the Teaching Agency. Additionally, there is a guarantee of a job and the tuition fees are also paid. It targets career changers with three years' employment.The application is processed through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Applications Service).

SCITT (School -centred initial teacher training)

This teacher training route is led by a consortium of schools that are experienced in training teachers and are accredited by The National College for Teaching and Learning. There is no salary or guarantee of a job.The application is processed through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Applications Service).

Teaching in SEN (Special educational needs) schools

It is possible to apply for School Direct places to work exclusively in SEN schools. You will need to search through the UCAS websites for schools in your preferred area. In the West Midlands there are two notable opportunities with the Brays Teaching School and Specialist Alliance (Sheldon, Birmingham) and The Orchard School( Oldbury).

Teach First

Teach First is an independent charity that trains teachers who are motivated by the goal to close the achievement gap in schools that are under-performing in poor socio-economic areas. Trainees are paid a salary whilst training in a school. The application process is very rigourous and candidates are expected to achieve at least a 2:1 honours degree.

  • Funding - In your first year you will be paid and employed as an unqualified teacher and in your second year you will be paid and employed as an NQT by the school you are working at. Accommodation, transport and food expenses are provided while you are at the Summer Institute.

Overseas Trained Teacher Programme

This is a programme that is targeted at those candidates who are already qualified as teachers outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Candidates will need to contact The National College for Teaching and Learning and provide relevant proof of teaching qualifications to attain QTS here in the UK.This programme is only available to applicants from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA.

BA/BSc with QTS

This is an undergraduate course that allows students to combine their degree with initial teacher training.

Bachelor of Education (BEd)

This undergraduate programme gives students the opportunity to gain a degree in Education whilst training to become a teacher with QTS.

Assessment only QTS Programme (Primary/Secondary)

This route is for unqualified teachers who have been teaching for a minimum of two years in an English school and who are able to collate a portfolio of evidence to meet the required QTS standards. The usual rules of having a degree, the appropriate GCSEs and passing the Professional Skills Tests still apply. In addition to this, applicants must have taught across two consecutive age phases. The course is available at a number of universities including the University of Wolverhampton. The full list of universities and contacts is available on the Department for Education website.

The cost involved varies from university to university but on average it is around £2000. 

For more on the new guidelines for teacher training, including changes and up to date information, go to the Government’s new Get into Teaching website


Entry requirements

Teaching in schools as a career is increasingly becoming more and more competitive and as a result initial teacher training (ITT) providers have raised entry requirements. The government has recently highlighted the importance of high standards in literacy and numeracy for prospective applicants. Therefore, aspiring primary teachers must have GCSE grades A-C in English, maths and science (or equivalent) as well as a minimum of 2 A levels (or equivalent). For candidates wanting to teach in the secondary sector GCSE grades A-C in English and maths (or equivalent) are required. The degree classification is also becoming important for the teaching profession as more and more ITT providers seek a minimum classification of 2:1.

In addition to the above qualifications, it is important get work experience before you start applying. The amount of experience required will vary from one provider to another and it is important to check with your chosen ITT provider by visiting their website, emailing admissions, phoning direct or attending Open Days.

Professional Skills Tests

The National College for Teaching and Leadership requires aspiring teachers to pass literacy and numeracy tests in order to gain QTS status; this is in addition to the already prescribed GCSE grades A-C (see above). Candidates must pass these professional tests before commencing their teacher training in 2014/2015. All applicants have to register for the tests via the website below and take them at a designated test centre.

Professional Skills test registration

Work experience

Teaching experience is absolutely essential and a pre-requisite for initial teacher training providers. There are a number of ways to obtain this. Firstly, check with the Careers and Employment Centre or the School for Education Futures for a possible list of schools in need of mentors, academic coaches, teaching assistants or volunteers. Secondly, try the school or schools where you were taught. Thirdly, the Department for Education may be able to help (see below), particularly if you are interested in teaching any of the shortage subjects in maths, physics, chemistry or modern foreign languages (MFL). Finally, you can get a list of local schools from the internet or the local education authority and contact as many as possible by phone or speculative CV and covering letter.

School Experience Programme (SEP)

You will be able to apply for the SEP if you are considering teaching maths, physics, chemistry or a modern foreign language (MFL) at secondary level. There is also special consideration for male applicants wanting to enter the primary sector. For more details go to school experience section of the Department for Education website.

Further information

Due to the competitiveness of teacher training courses, it is very important for students to find out as much as possible about their chosen sector of work and keep up to date with the latest developments. The following sites may be useful for this purpose and could also act as excellent resources for course work: