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Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifications do I need to apply for teacher training in the UK?

You need a degree and GCSE English and Maths (or equivalent qualification) at grade 'C' GCSE or equivalent. For overseas qualifications NARIC UK will support you with this process.

You will need a minimum of a 2:2 degree and at least 50% of your degree should be in the subject you wish to teach, or you may have significant other experience which supports your application to teach a certain subject.

Apart from qualifications, what are teacher trainers looking for?

Essentially, teachers work with young people. Therefore, teacher trainers are looking for evidence that a candidate has relevant experience of working with young people in the age group they wish to teach. This could be in a voluntary capacity and might involve work outside a school context, such as with a youth group, Scouts etc. However, recent experience of working in a classroom in the age range you wish to teach is preferable. Many of our successful candidates are already working in schools in support roles such as a Teaching Assistant.

We particularly welcome applicants who have worked with young people in a variety of settings. You must have good practical skills and technical know-how.

You should have an interest in young people and be able to share your enthusiasm for your subject. We are looking for adaptability and the ability to work well under pressure. We will need to judge whether, by the end of the programme, you will be able to reach the required standards. These cover professional values and practice; subject knowledge; knowledge of theory and research; lesson planning and recordkeeping skills; classroom management; your understanding of assessment and pupil progress; and the ability to reflect critically on your own practice and progress.

We are looking for candidates with the following attributes:

  • An ability to communicate clearly and grammatically in written and spoken English;
  • Ability to show speaking, reading and listening skills and sufficient understanding of educational language and terminology to be able to respond appropriately at interview (and, later, in school);
  • Awareness of and sensitivity to adolescents' physical, social, emotional and cognitive needs and to the range of attitudes and behaviours displayed by adolescents in school;
  • Enthusiasm for your subject while recognising the range of ability and motivation of pupils you will encounter;
  • Knowledge of current educational issues, both general and subject-specific;
  • An openness to learning, including a willingness to unlearn rules and experiences in order to adapt to current and future good practice in teaching and learning;
  • At least basic Information and Communications Technology (i.e. computer) skills, with a commitment to developing these both for personal and pedagogical use;
  • Openness to advice, guidance and positive professional criticism as part of development;
  • Personal professionalism, including diligence, organisation, smartness of dress, punctuality and a commitment to full attendance;
  • Ability to shoulder individual responsibility but also to work collaboratively as a member of a team;
  • Good health, physical and mental, with ability and strategies to cope with stress often generated by the demands of the course and of the teaching profession;
  • Commitment to equal opportunities and sensitivity to the variety of communities represented in our partner schools;
  • A sense of humour and an ability to laugh at yourself;
  • A vision of teaching that is more than just giving information, interpreting printed materials, textbook or crowd control; and
  • A willingness to work with pupils beyond the school day.

Can I do the School Direct Salaried Programme?

The School Direct salaried route is an employment-based option for teacher training aimed at candidates who have had some experience of full-time or part-time employment or relevant experience. We judge each application on its merits but encourage you to consider this route if you are looking for a hands-on, school-based approach to your teacher training.

Do I need to visit schools before I apply?

The amount of experience you will have gained in schools will vary depending on your circumstances. Fundamentally, the more experience you have working/volunteering in schools the better. However, we recognise that this isn’t always possible, especially if you are considering a career change into teaching. Existing work commitments may make extended experience in schools difficult.

However, bear in mind that you will be asked at interview about your awareness and appreciation of the secondary school environment in the UK so without adequate experience from which to answer these questions, your performance at interview may be adversely affected.

We can support you in providing flexible opportunities to gain School Experience but strongly encourage you to have at least 2 weeks' experience prior to applying to any of our programmes. To apply for School Experience, please click here to complete our application form.

Don't forget that you can always get in touch with us to discuss your situation in more detail and get personalised advice.

What happens at interview for a teacher training programme?

Most of our interviews last approximately half of the normal teaching day (e.g. from 8:30am to 1pm) although this will depend on internal school commitments.

You must be physically present for interview - we cannot interview any candidates via Skype, due to safeguarding and interview regulations.

All interviews will include some form of teaching to either small groups or a whole class for which you will be provided details of what you will be asked to teach before the interview takes place. Please bear in mind that this part of the interview is designed to assess your interaction with the students and your basic understanding of how a lesson is constructed. Naturally we take into account that you may not have had any teaching experience beforehand.

The rest of the interview includes activities such as a tour of the school, an opportunity to meet the department staff, a literacy task and a formal interview panel. There are opportunities for you to ask questions of the interviewing staff throughout the day.

Normally we would inform you of the outcome of the school stage of interview on the same day.

At this point, both Salaried and Non-Salaried/PGCE applicants would be forwarded for consideration by the staff at Middlesex University as they need to ratify all offers that are made by our partner schools. It is possible that you may be called for interview at the university, but this would be indicated by the interviewing staff at the school.

If the decision by the university is in your favour, you would then receive a formal conditional offer of a place on our teacher training programmes. Any offer would be subject to you satisfying any conditions that had been agreed prior to enrolment in late August/early September (conditions include receiving a satisfactory Enhanced DBS check, a clear Health Check, completing Subject Knowledge Enhancement training etc.).

Your teacher training would then commence from the start of the academic year (i.e. first working day in September).

What’s the difference between the School Direct salaried and non-salaried routes?

School Direct (Tuition Fee) is a school-led, one-year initial teacher training programme that equips our trainees with 1) a wealth of classroom experience, 2) a full PGCE or PGCert, and 3) QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). This route is also referred to as the Non-Salaried route. This programme is run by our experienced team of educators, whilst also benefiting from the academic rigour and expertise of the staff at our partner university.

You will work closely with an experienced mentor and will undertake school placements in contrasting settings. Whilst you are a part of the team from day one, you are not expected to teach classes independently until you and your school feel you are ready.

Places are self-funded; you may be eligible for a student loan and for a tax-free bursary of up to £30,000 as you have to pay tuition fees of £9,250 to Middlesex University, our training provider.

The School Direct (Salaried) route means that you are employed for the maximum of a year by one of our partnership schools. You are paid at least point 1 of the unqualified teacher pay spine.You do not have to pay any fees for your training. You gain QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) status at the end of your training.

This route is designed for candidates who have had some experience in paid employment (this does not have to be in education).

Although there is no guarantee of employment upon successful completion of the training year, we have an excellent record of trainees gaining employment at their host schools or at another local school within the collegiate.

Can I train part-time?

We do not currently offer part-time training programmes.

I have qualifications from overseas – how do I find out if they are equivalent to UK qualifications?

You can contact NARIC via their website. They will provide you with documentation to say that your qualifications are equivalent to ones in the UK. You need to do this in order to apply for teacher training.

I have a teaching qualification from abroad. Do I need to do a teaching course to be able to teach in the UK?

You do not have to do a full teacher training course in the UK. You will need to complete an Overseas Teacher Training Programme (OTTP). We do not currently offer this qualification.

What’s the difference between QTS and a PGCE/PGCert?

QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) means that you have met the statutory requirements (The Teachers’ Standards 2012) for teaching in the UK. You need QTS to be able to teach in maintained schools in the UK.

A PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate of Education) is an additional academic qualification which includes QTS. Some PGCE courses count as part of a Masters in Education course. The PGCert is directly comparable to the PGCE, the only difference is that the course is designed to be school-led, not university-led like the PGCE.

Our training provider (Middlesex University) offers QTS with 30 Masters credits. This is offered as part of the non-salaried training route only.

Which is the best route into teaching?

There is no ‘best route’ into teaching. All the courses we offer are well respected by employers. The question is which is the best route into teaching for you? This may depend on your own personal situation.

How much does it cost to train to be a teacher?

It does not cost anything to train on the School Direct (salaried) course. Instead, you are employed by the school.

The cost of PGCE or School Direct (non-salaried) courses varies. The course charge levied by Middlesex University is £9,250. There are bursaries for non-salaried course candidates. The amount will depend on the subject you wish to train in and your class of degree.

What will my teacher training programme be like?

Your experience of teacher training will be different depending on your preferred route. However, there are key things that will unite all teacher training programmes.

Teaching is one of the most rewarding careers one can have. Some would argue that it is a vocation, rather than a job. Embarking on a teacher training programme should not be underestimated. Some people in the past have seen coming into teaching as an easy option – ‘those who can, do; those who can’t, teach’. The reality of the situation could not be further from the truth. As with all things that are really worth doing in life, learning to teach is very hard work. You will need determination, resilience and be prepared to work long hours, both in the evenings and at weekends. For those people who choose to do it, it is one of the most rewarding ways of spending your working life, and well worth the effort.