Teach secondary languages

Teaching languages allows you to share your enthusiasm for the subject and use your creativity to make learning exciting and relevant for young people − equipping them with skills to live and work in a global society.

Covered on this page:

  • Why secondary languages?
  • What qualifications will I need?
  • What can I expect in the classroom?
  • What funding and routes into training are available?
  • Where can I find further information?

Languages teachers are in demand in schools. If you decide to teach languages you will benefit from excellent training and a competitive salary. You may also be eligible for a tax-free training bursary of up to £20,000 to teach secondary languages. You can develop a rewarding career with the opportunity to progress rapidly.

The main languages taught in schools are FrenchGerman and Spanish. Others include Italian, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, Urdu and Bengali. Trainee languages teachers are highly valued and receive additional financial support during their training. If you want to teach languages, there is a training route to suit you.

What qualifications will I need?

If your degree is in one language, or has only some language content, you may need to extend your linguistic knowledge and skills. Any relevant work experience or time spent living in another country can also be taken into account.

I have a degree in one language

With the introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), it is likely that more students than ever before will be studying a language. You can train to teach German, French or Spanish, either by themselves or along with a shortage subject – maths, chemistry or physics.

In England, languages subject knowledge enhancement courses are available in French, German or Spanish.

If you need to learn the language as a complete beginner, please contact the course provider. You should apply for these courses when you apply for your training place.

I have a degree with a language as a subsidiary subject

If your degree had significant language content, you may be accepted for direct entry to postgraduate teacher training.

If accepted, you may need to undertake some additional subject study, such as a subject knowledge enhancement course before training and you must be prepared for the demands this will place on your time.

What can I expect in the classroom?

Languages teachers work in large, vibrant departments. They have the support of senior staff and departmental colleagues who work together, sharing ideas and resources. In the classroom, languages teachers work as a team with language assistants, teaching assistants and other support staff to provide linguistic support for pupils.

What funding and routes into training are available?

Complete your teacher training while you study for your degree

You can take an undergraduate initial teacher training (ITT) course to combine studying for a language degree with teacher training.

As an undergraduate ITT student you can apply for student finance. You’ll get the same level of student loans, grants and bursaries as other students.

Postgraduate teacher training

Substantial tax-free bursaries of up to £20,000 are available for people with top degrees looking to enter a languages teacher training course. The amount of bursary you will be eligible for depends on the subject you want to teach and your degree class.

For further information, please visit our bursary information page

If you are a graduate and a native speaker of one of the languages taught in schools, you may be accepted on to postgraduate training. You need to be a fluent, and clear, speaker of English.

Where can I find further information?

If you would like to speak to an education consultant about teaching or teacher training, please contact the Teaching Line on 0800 389 2500.

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