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How can I get into teaching?

18/07/2018 Anthony

Teaching is an incredibly rewarding career, providing opportunities to impact and improve the lives of students every day. It’s a popular career path for many, with 457,300 full-time equivalent teachers working in England’s state-funded schools alone. Total school headcount across the nation increased by 104,600 in 2010-2016, showing not only the demand for teachers and teaching staff in our schools, but also the popularity of careers in education.

Whether you’re a student considering your future career path, a professional looking for a career change or an international teacher wanting to move to the UK, there are several different pathways you can take to get into teaching. Here are our top tips:


Qualifications required for teachers

A degree is necessary for the majority of teachers within the UK, and you’ll typically need a 2:2 or higher in order to qualify for postgraduate training programmes. This must be awarded by a higher education provider. While there are some exceptions – private schools and academies that can recruit teachers without degrees – it’s generally accepted that university study is required.

In order to teach at a maintained primary, secondary or special school, or a non-maintained special school, you’ll also need qualified teacher status (QTS), which can be obtained in a variety of ways. One of the most common is by undertaking a university-based Postgraduate Certificate in Education, while school-led programmes – such as school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) or School Direct courses – are also popular options for graduates. Students may also complete undergraduate degree qualifications that lead to QTS, such as a Bachelor of Education or BA/BSC with Qualified Teacher Status.

Minimum GCSE requirements of grade c/4 or above in English and maths are necessary to be granted QTS status – as well as science for those looking to teach early years and primary students - along with pass marks in literacy and numeracy professional skills tests.


For those with experience but not QTS

For experienced teachers without a degree – for example, those working within private schools and academies which do not require degree-qualified teachers – the Assessment Only route is possible. This is ideal for teachers with a significant amount of UK teaching experience, though you will need to present detailed evidence of your work and pass a skills test to qualify. To achieve QTS via Assessment Only, you must have taught in at least two schools, early years and/or further education settings.


Secondary school teachers

Secondary school teacher training is open to all graduates, however those who have studied a national curriculum subject will have higher chances of obtaining a place on a teacher training course. With a shortage of teachers in subjects such as biology, chemistry, computing, mathematics, languages and physics, there is significant support available to teachers looking to teach in these areas. This comes in the form of bursaries and other financial aid through to priority entry into training programmes. Teachers who want to teach a shortage subject but don’t have the relevant subject degree to do so may take a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course to boost subject knowledge in order to achieve QTS.


Overseas teachers moving to England

Qualified teachers from the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand don’t need to undertake further training in order to work in the UK, but they do need to apply for QTS. Teachers from countries outside the European Economic area may be awarded QTS, provided they have a qualification comparable to a UK degree, can demonstrate they meet the minimum GCSE standards and have relevant experience.


Graduates considering a career in teaching

For graduates who are considering becoming teachers but want to test the water first, there is a solution. Teaching Personnel works with hundreds of these graduates every year, providing Cover Supervision, small group tuition and teaching assistant roles to help people find out if a career in education is right for them.

Teaching Personnel also runs a Future Teachers Programme with schools, which involves graduates spending a year in school, accessing unique experiences, providing learning support and getting the best possible insight into teaching before starting formal training. 


DBS checks

All teachers in the UK must undergo enhanced background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service. Individuals can’t apply for an enhanced check themselves – employers and licensing bodies (including Teaching Personnel) can apply on behalf of teachers. You can then register with the DBS Update Service to ensure your DBS accreditation remains up to date.


Finding your next job

Once you have achieved your qualifications, undertaken the relevant training and had a clear DBS check, it’s time to get to work. Register with Teaching Personnel to access thousands of education jobs across the UK, from primary and secondary teaching roles through to teaching assistant and special needs teaching positions.

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