A collection of popular questions about applying for initial teacher training (ITT).

What are the benefits of registering with the National College for Teaching and Leadership (part of the Department for Education)?

We offer a comprehensive programme of support to help you, providing guidance throughout the application process.

By signing up with us, you will receive our helpful step-by-step guide to becoming a teacher; email updates with important news on teacher training, funding and events in your area; the option to call our team of UK-based teaching experts for advice, and information on how you can interact with us and get your questions answered via Facebook and Twitter.

If you hold (or are predicted) a first class, 2:1 or 2:2 degree and are interested in teaching secondary maths, physics, chemistry, languages, computing or design and technology, you could be eligible for Premier Plus. Benefits of this exclusive service include:

  • tailored advice from a dedicated adviser
  • access to the School Experience Programme (SEP)
  • invitations to events held exclusively for Premier Plus registrants

Register with us now

Do I have to register with the National College for Teaching and Leadership to become a teacher?

No, registering is not a compulsory part of any teacher training application and selection process. However, by registering with us you will gain access to a comprehensive programme of support to help you, providing guidance throughout the application process.

Do I need classroom experience before I apply?

Yes, you need classroom experience, either voluntary or paid, to support your application. School experience will also give you the opportunity to see inside a modern classroom and observe lessons. Classroom experience can help you find out how teaching has changed since you were at school and this may help you decide whether teaching is for you. If you have no classroom experience, you may be offered an interview that is conditional on your obtaining experience first – but this will depend on your chosen subject.

How do I apply to train as a teacher?

It depends on which route into teaching you would like to take. Each way has its own application process.

You will find more information, tips, helpful tools and application links on our apply for teacher training pages

How long do I need to spend in a school prior to applying for training?

It is difficult to quantify the amount of experience needed because success at interview depends on the insight you gain through the classroom experience rather than its duration. Nevertheless, some course providers do specify minimum periods of experience required at the time of application, so check this with your chosen providers. In the absence of any specific advice, consider spending a couple of weeks in a primary school if you want to become a primary school teacher. For secondary, a day or two of school experience may be sufficient to secure an interview.

What should I include in my personal statement on the teacher training application form?

Training providers will want to know why you believe that you will enjoy teaching – and, more specifically, why you will enjoy teaching your subject. Emphasise the relevance of your previous studies, career and experiences to the subject and/or age group you have chosen for teacher training. Give examples to illustrate each point, including examples from your school experience and from any other experience you may have of working with children.

Can I submit a replacement personal statement?

Once you have submitted your completed application through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) Teacher Training website, they cannot change your personal statement. Each time UCAS Teacher Training tells you that your application has been sent to a training provider, you should send the training provider any further information that you want them to consider along with your full name and personal ID. Please do not send any additional information to UCAS Teacher Training.

When do I need to take the professional skills tests for trainee teachers?
If you’re applying for an ITT course which begins in 2013/14 or after, you need to have passed the skills tests before the start of the course. ITT providers will use your skills tests results to inform their decision, so we recommend that you sufficiently prepare and are ready to take the tests. You can register for the skills tests to book an appointment in advance, but you are expected to have submitted your application before the test date. You can find more information, including how to register for the skills tests, on the professional skills tests page 
If I have already passed the current skills tests, how long is the pass valid for?
If you have passed your skills tests they remain valid for three years, and you must start your ITT course within this time. You would only need to re-take the skills tests if you are applying for a course which starts after the three years. If you are already on an ITT course and you have passed your skills tests then they remain valid indefinitely.
What will my interview be like?

Interviews usually take place over a full day and the training provider will let you know the programme for the day. You will be asked about your experience of working with young people, your commitment to teaching and your relevant knowledge and skills. The content of the day will vary according to the training route you have chosen. It is likely to include an individual interview and possibly group tasks such as group discussions, presentations and teaching mini-lessons. For secondary courses you may be asked to bring a portfolio showing your achievements in your subject. The aim of the day is for you and the interviewers to find out whether teaching is right for you.

Further interview tips and interactive tools are also available on our website.