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School experience programme

an image of a teacher in the classroom
Spending time in a classroom is the ideal way to strengthen your application for teacher training. School experience gives you the chance to watch lessons and see for yourself what it's really like to be a teacher – and allows you to draw on your own examples in your application and interview.

The school experience programme (SEP) is run by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) and offers places to those wishing to commence initial teacher training (ITT) in a secondary school subject.

What can I expect?

Throughout your placement, you'll have the opportunity to observe teaching and pastoral work and to talk to teachers about day-to-day life in a school. You should get the chance to see a range of different lessons and age groups being taught – but if you have any specific requests, you can talk to your school about accommodating these. For instance, if you already have experience of observing lessons with younger secondary students, you might want to focus more on lessons with an older age group.

While your experience will focus on observation, you may have the chance to plan and deliver part or all of a lesson. Your time in a school might also include the opportunity to meet or shadow a member of senior management.

How to join

If you haven't already, you'll need to register your details with us before you can participate in the SEP. If you're eligible for the programme, once you have registered you will receive an email with a registration number indicating what you need to do next. Alternatively you can contact the Teaching Line on 0800 389 2500 for more information.

Before you gain a place, a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check may be required. This will be organised by the school and can take four weeks or more to complete.

If you are interested in teaching primary schools or you are not eligible for SEP, you can still arrange your own experience – find out how

If you have any questions about your application to the SEP, you can contact the Teaching Line directly by emailing schoolexperience@TA-recruit.education.gov.uk or on freephone 0800 389 2500.

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