Becoming a teacher

A collection of popular questions about becoming a teacher and teacher training.

Will I receive any financial support while I train?
Yes. If you are on a postgraduate or undergraduate route into initial teacher training (ITT), and are classed as home or European Union (EU), then you will be able to access the standard financial package of student support available to all students in England. This includes tuition fee and maintenance loans, and a means-tested maintenance grant. In addition to this, you may be eligible for a tax-free training bursary or a scholarship, of up to £25,000. For further details, please visit our postgraduate funding page
Will I receive a training bursary?

Substantial tax-free bursaries of up to £20,000 are available for people with top degrees in certain subjects. The amount of bursary you will be eligible for depends on the subject you want to teach and your degree class. Scholarships of £25,000 are also available in a number of subjects, although these will be awarded instead of a bursary. To see what funding you might be entitled to, please visit our postgraduate funding page

When are postgraduate bursaries paid? What can it be used for?
They will continue to be paid in installments during a trainee’s training year. Trainees can choose to spend the bursary as they wish.
Why are you using degree class to decide whether or not someone is going to be a good teacher?

Teaching is increasingly a career for the most able graduates, and, for secondary teachers, those with excellent degree-level knowledge and enthusiasm for their specialist subject. So we are proposing to offer larger bursaries to trainees with 2:1 and first class degrees.

National and international evidence tells us that teachers’ level of prior education is directly linked to standards of attainment of their pupils [Wossman (2003)]. The more knowledgeable the teacher, the better able the pupil is to learn. Degree class is also a good predictor of whether a trainee will complete their course and achieve QTS.

We also think it’s important that trainees understand as they are considering a career in teaching the bursary that they are likely to attract if they are accepted on to a teacher training course. Using degree class means that trainees know where they stand before they apply.

Will I receive a golden hello?

The golden hello scheme has now ceased for all new entrants, but you may still be eligible for a bursary or scholarship to support you during your teacher training, depending on the subject you want to teach. Existing commitments to pay golden hellos to trainees already on ITT courses will be honoured, and eligible trainees will still be able to apply for their golden hello award under the standard eligibility guidance

Will anyone want to become a teacher if it costs £9,000 to train?

Teacher training currently offers big tax-free bursaries of up to £20,000 and scholarships of £25,000 for high-quality graduates, especially in shortage subjects. Trainees will also receive loans and grants towards living costs.

No trainee will need to pay the cost of tuition charges up front. They will only pay once they are in full-time employment and earning above £21,000. Find out more about student finance

What sort of starting salary can I expect?

Starting salaries in teaching are high compared to other graduate professions, and can rise quickly after. Teachers begin on a minimum of £21,804 (or £27,270 in inner London) and the most successful teachers progress faster on the basis of annual appraisals.

Does achieving qualified teacher status (QTS) guarantee that I will get a teaching job?

No, schools recruit their staff on an individual basis according to their specific recruitment needs, just like any other employer.

However, although there are no guarantees, as a trained teacher you currently enjoy good employment prospects. Latest data shows that 9 out of 10 new teachers who want to teach found teaching jobs in the first 12 months.

Is there further help and advice about employment-based routes into teaching?

Yes, you can find more information about employment-based routes on our school-based training pages. If you need more help you can call the Teaching Line on 0800 389 2500.

What if I don't have the required qualifications?

If you don’t have the necessary GCSEs in mathematics, English or science, you may be able to take a pre-entry test set by your ITT provider. Some providers may also accept skills developed through other, related work experience. If in doubt, you should contact your chosen ITT provider to find out what their requirements are.

What if my degree doesn't relate to the subject I want to teach?

If you don't think your degree is relevant to any subject in the curriculum, contact your local ITT providers for advice. For more information on teaching or teacher training contact the Teaching Line on 0800 389 2500.

What is a state-maintained school?

State-maintained schools are otherwise known as publicly funded schools and attended by over 90 per cent of pupils. Parents do not pay any fees.

What countries are in the European Economic Area (EEA)?

The European Economic Area consists of all members of the European Community (EC) plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

How do I find a teaching post?

There are numerous ways in which you can find your first and subsequent teaching posts, including local and national press, the internet and your local authority (LA).

Can I begin induction if I have not yet passed the professional skills tests?
No, induction begins once a newly qualified teacher (NQT) takes up their first post after qualified teacher status (QTS) has been awarded. In England, QTS is not awarded unless trainee teachers have successfully completed all aspects of initial teacher training, including passing the professional skills tests. Also, trainees in the academic year 2013/14 or after will need to have completed the skills tests before they start the course.
Is there a time limit by which I need to start the induction period after achieving QTS?

No. There can also be gaps between the three terms that make up your induction period once started.

Where can I complete my induction period?

State-maintained schools and non-maintained special schools are able to offer the induction programme. Sixth form colleges and some maintained nursery schools and independent schools can also offer the induction programme but there are certain requirements which must be met before the programme can go ahead. Find out more about induction

Can part-time positions or supply positions count towards induction?

If a newly qualified teacher (NQT) takes up a part-time position they can still undertake induction and any appointment that lasts for a term or more will count towards the induction period. The length of the induction period overall will be calculated pro-rata. For example, if an NQT were to work for the whole of their induction period on a half-time contract, their induction period would last for six school terms. If a supply position meets induction standards and is contracted to last for a term or longer, then induction should go ahead. The types of supply positions which can offer induction are therefore maternity leave cover and long-term sick leave cover.

Can different terms of the induction period be completed in different schools?

Yes. Newly qualified teachers (NQTs) can move schools after the first or second term and complete their induction in a different school.

Where can I find more information about initial teacher training (ITT) in Wales?

You can find details of ITT in Wales, including the institutions providing teacher training programmes, by visiting the Teacher Training & Education in Wales website

What is a PGCE?
A PGCE is a postgraduate certificate in education, which you can take at any time after completing your first degree.
How long does a PGCE course take?
A full-time PGCE course usually takes one year. Alternatively, you can take a flexible PGCE, which allows you to train over a period that suits you. A limited number of part-time courses are also available
Are there other postgraduate teacher training routes?
Yes. You can find out more about all the different teacher training options available to you on our teacher training options pages
Why do subject knowledge enhancement courses only cover certain subjects?
In England, subject knowledge enhancement courses have been introduced specifically to help increase the pool of individuals eligible to train as teachers in certain priority subjects: namely maths, physics, chemistry and modern languages.
What happens if I want to change ITT providers to one outside the enhancement region while I'm on an enhancement course?

These courses are intended as a service to ITT providers in the specific enhancement region. If you have been offered a conditional place by an ITT provider in the region it is expected that you will take up your ITT place at that provider. If you wish to transfer to a different ITT provider you will need to apply to that provider. They will then need to assess your level of understanding in the subject before accepting you onto their ITT course.

As a primary teacher who wants to convert to secondary, am I eligible for enhancement courses?

No, enhancement courses are intended only for those wishing to train as a teacher and gain qualified teacher status (QTS).

If I am already qualified to teach in another country outside the EEA, do I need to do a subject knowledge enhancement course to teach in England?

Possibly. You can visit our SKE page to find out the courses available, and our experienced teachers page for information on achieving QTS.