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Getting into teacher training

Looking to get into teaching? Our comprehensive guide on getting into postgraduate teacher training covers everything you need to know, including the various routes you can take, entry requirements, fees and funding and more. If you’re interested in undergraduate (QTS) routes into teaching, you can find out more here.

Routes into teaching

Before you get into teaching, you need to decide which age range you wish to teach – primary, secondary or the Further Education and Training (FET). FET includes further education colleges, sixth form colleges, adult learning centres, prisons and training providers.

If you are interested in secondary or FET teaching, you need to select a subject to teach.

Primary teacher training has a range of options:

  • Early Years – Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1
  • General Primary – Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
  • Primary with a specialist subject such as PE or maths. This covers the whole Primary curriculum but you will develop a specialism in your chosen subject.
Becoming a school teacher
Teaching in the Further Education and Training (FET) sector

Entry requirements

School teaching

To become a school teacher there are national requirements plus individual requirements set by individual providers:

  • The classification depends on the provider, Edge Hill requires 2.2 or above. For secondary teaching, your degree should be relevant to the subject you wish to teach, though there is flexibility with this, especially in certain subjects. In some subjects, you can complete a Subject Knowledge Enhancement Programme if you do not have enough subject content in your first degree.
  • GCSE Maths, English (and Science for Primary/Early Years) grade C/4 or equivalent. Equivalency tests are available if you do not have the required GCSEs
  • Individual providers/universities can set extra requirements such as additional GCSEs – always check.
  • Classroom experience is recommended but not essential at the point of application.
  • There is no longer a requirement to complete Professional Skills Tests.

Teaching in Further Education and Training (FET)

You need a degree in a subject relevant to the FET curriculum to teach academic subjects. Individual providers will decide what classification of degree is required. Edge Hill University accepts 2:2 and above.

GCSE Maths and English grade C/4 or equivalent are preferred, this depends on the provider.

Experience is desirable but not always essential.

Fees and funding

The tuition fee for a PGCE or Postgraduate Teacher Training course is typically £9,250. You can apply for a further year of loans for fees and maintenance (full time and part time students).

.GOV teacher training

You might be able to get extra financial support if you have children or other caring responsibilities, or if you live with disability.

Some subjects award you a non-repayable bursary or scholarship, the list is updated each year. There are also some FET bursaries available for further education and training programmes. Bursaries are usually paid in monthly instalments.

Providers sometimes offer extra financial support. Edge Hill scholarships offer up to £2,000 for excellence in volunteering, creativity, enterprise, achievement, sports.

On salaried courses, you do not pay fees and you are paid a salary. Some providers might require a contribution to PGCE/Postgraduate Teacher Training course fees.

Learn more with our PGCE and Postgraduate Teacher Training funding guide.

How and when to apply

For university-led and most school-led routes into teacher training, apply at Apply on the .GOV website which opens in October for applications starting the following September.

Search for providers via .GOV

The application form will ask for the below information:

  • Contact details.
  • Qualifications including expected degree classification.
  • Work experience (paid and unpaid).
  • Personal statement.
  • There are also optional sections for you to provide information relating to the Disclosure and Barring Service and requirements for additional support.

Applications are free and you can apply to up to four courses.

You will need to choose 2 people who can provide a reference when you apply, although references won’t be contacted until you accept an offer for a place on a course. One referee should be academic such as someone from university. Speak to your tutor about the policy for providing references. Your second referee should be someone who knows you from work/placement/volunteering, who can comment on your potential as a teacher.

It is recommended that you apply as early as possible because courses can close when they are full.

Once your application has been submitted, it is circulated to each provider and you should expect to hear back within 30 working days. Those 30 working days are likely to include you being interviewed for the course.

If you are not accepted onto a course following your initial application you can make further applications, between one and four courses at a time. You can do this as many times as you would like to get a place and you can edit your personal statement if appropriate.

For other routes you need to apply directly via provider websites:

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is an important part of your application. We recommend that you draft it in Word and ask Careers to check it, for structure and content, before you submit it.

Find more useful tips on writing a personal statement for teacher training on the Get into Teaching website.

Your statement should be no more than 1000 words and you are prompted to use the structure below. We have provided a guide:

Personal statement guide

Personal statement guide

Classroom experience

Although you don’t have to have classroom experience before you apply, it is recommended because it demonstrates your commitment to teaching, gives you something to reflect on in your application and interview and helps you decide that you definitely want to become a teacher.

You can find more on how to get school experience on the Get into Teaching website: Get school experience | Get Into Teaching GOV.UK

Where can I experience?
How do I contact the school and what should I say?
When you’re in school
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

Teacher training interviews

You could be invited to interview by each of your chosen training providers. Allow a full day for each interview.

In addition to a formal interview, you might be given other tasks including:

  • Writing about an educational topic.
  • Participating in a discussion eg planning a lesson, discussing current educational issues, commenting on a video of a lesson, discussions about discipline and classroom management, discussions around your subject area and teaching and learning strategies and more.
  • Writing a lesson plan.
  • Teaching/micro teaching a lesson.
  • Selection Tests – many primary interview days will include Maths, English and Science written tests. Information on these should be available from the provider.
  • Tour of the institution.
  • Talk to current teacher training students and staff.

You can practice psychometric tests, including literacy and numeracy tests using Graduates First.

Use Shortlist.ME to help you practice your interview technique –be sure to make use of the on-demand practice interviews for teacher training.

You can also book a mock interview appointment to build your confidence and practice in advance of the real thing.

Examples of interview questions


Teacher training routes

Applications and personal statements

Background information for updates on the education sector generally

Helplines/Live Chat/Websites

  • Get into Teaching government helpline 0800 389 2500 or live chat
  • Further education and training sector advice FE Advice or helpline 0800 389 2502