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 in secondary schools to anyone looking to teach a priority 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'll 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.

Do I qualify?

To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • hold at least a 2:2 degree, or be in your final year of university and be predicted at least a 2:2, and
  • be interested in teaching secondary maths, physics, chemistry, languages, computing or design and technology.

School experience on the programme is subject to meeting these eligibility requirements, as well as the availability of places. If you do not meet the requirements, you can still arrange your own experience – find out how

Schools on the SEP offer a minimum one-day placement, and a maximum of 10 placement days overall. You'll need to arrange exactly how many days' experience you can get directly with your host school.

How to apply

If you haven't already, you'll need to register your details with us before you can apply for the SEP. You can then apply for the SEP using our online form, or by calling the Teaching Line on 0800 389 2500.

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 have any questions about your application to the SEP, you can contact the Teaching Line directly by emailing or on freephone 0800 389 2500.

Apply for the school experience programme