Choosing a training provider

There are lots of things you need to consider when deciding which schools, and/or universities you want to apply to train with. These go beyond your subject preferences, the age group you want to teach, and the type of course(s) you’re interested in. You’ll also need to think about things like location, accommodation, funding, and course content. When you’re ready, you can start your search for suitable training places using the UCAS Teacher Training portal. But before you do that, reading the tips on this page can help you make a well-informed decision.

Get the early research right

You can initially only apply to your three preferred training providers via UCAS Teacher Training during the Apply 1 phase. But you’re not limited to a particular type of course – for example, you could apply for one university-led course, one School Direct course, and one SCITT course if you wanted to. You may find it useful to see how newly qualified teachers rated the different types of teacher training course in the NQT annual survey (2014).

If you’re successful at the application and interview stages, you’ll be committing to the course for a year. So it’s really important to make sure you thoroughly research the options and understand how your degree class, course type and subject preference can influence your options for funding.

If you’re thinking of teaching maths, physics, chemistry, computing, languages or design and technology, but you’re unsure if you have the right subject knowledge, remember that you might be eligible for a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course. These can be full-time, part-time, or delivered in parallel with your teacher training course – there are also bursaries available to support you during an SKE course.

Individual training providers can advise on what support may be available based on your circumstances, including SKE options – so it’s worth contacting them about this before applying.

Use your school experience

Before you apply for teacher training, you should have ideally spent some time in a school to establish if teaching is the right career for you.

Although there’s no overarching, mandatory requirement that applies to all courses, many training providers have a minimum expectation of the amount of time you should spend gaining school experience before you apply.

Getting school experience can also provide a great opportunity to get to know a training provider and make an impression. Even if they don’t have places in your chosen training course(s) and subject, the experience will help you gain a better understanding of the different options that are available, and the teachers you meet may be able to tell you about other training providers in your area.

Find out about arranging school experience.

Location and costs

You probably have a good idea of which area of England you want train in. But if you need to commute or relocate to be able to undertake your training, it’s important to consider the logistical and financial implications. For example:

  • what are the public transport links like if you’ll be reliant on them to commute; how much do they cost and when do they run; do you know where your chosen providers’ placement schools are?
  • what are your accommodation options if you need to relocate, and are they within your budget?

Remember, many subject options at both primary and secondary level offer financial support through a bursary or scholarship. Or on a School Direct (salaried) course, you can earn a salary while you train.

There are also student loans and grants available to help you cover your tuition fees and living costs if you’re on a non-salaried course.

Find out more about funding.

Attending events

Teaching events offer a great opportunity to find out about the training providers in the region where you want to teach. Types of event include:

  • our national and regional Train to Teach events, where you can meet representatives from the training providers around the country
  • smaller events and open days organised by individual schools and training organisations

By attending an event, you can make contact with the people responsible for delivering training and gain an understanding of whether you’ll be the right fit for them, and vice versa.

Find a Train to Teach event near you or search for events run by individual schools and training providers.

Starting your search and getting your questions answered

The UCAS Teacher Training search system is easy to use and allows you to filter results by:

  • age range
  • subject
  • type of vacancy (full-time or part-time, vacancies currently available or not)
  • specific training provider name or region
  • outcome (whether the course includes a professional graduate certificate in education or postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE))

Some training providers also have minimum entry requirements in terms of qualifications, for example a 2:1 or above – so you can refine your search by degree class and GCSE grades.

Each training provider listed in the UCAS search results has a profile that will help to answer many of your questions about their set-up, for example:

  • if they can offer any assistance with accommodation
  • information on public transport links
  • if they offer any childcare arrangements
  • details of how they can support you if you have a disability

More information can be found on each provider’s website, or you can get in touch with them if you have a specific query. 

You can also find out more about individual schools using Ofsted’s inspection reports, compare and contrast official university undergraduate teacher training course data at Unistats.com, and get greater insight into completion and employability rates in the initial teacher training performance profiles report (2012/13) (PDF, 404KB).

Getting your timing right

When looking at your options, it’s important to consider timings and the UCAS Teacher Training application process. You can find out more about this on our submitting your application page. You may now also want to start thinking about the written aspects of your application, particularly the personal statement – visit our written application tips page for more information.

We think you may be interested in

Upcoming events

View all events

  • University of Reading information evening

    07 September 2015 AT 16:00

    The University of Reading hosts regular information meetings to explain School Direct and other routes into initial teacher training.

    Reading Open
  • Postgraduate and PGCE Open Evening

    09 September 2015 AT 17:30

    Find out about our teacher training courses in early years, primary and secondary levels, including PGCEs and School Direct. Hear from us, ask us questions, find out about fees, funding and the application process.

    London Open
  • Get Into Teaching – General information session

    10 September 2015 AT 11:00

    An information event with advice for anyone interested in training to become a teacher.

    Hounslow Open
  • Get Into Teaching day

    14 September 2015 AT 09:00

    A placement day at the Northampton School for Boys for aspiring teachers.

    Northampton Open