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.
Choosing a training provider
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
Watch this video for helpful tips on getting into teaching, from real trainees and experienced teachers. Transcript (PDF, 48KB)
Find out as much information as you can and then go for it!Andrew Mair, trainee music teacher
Karen left behind the world of large market research agencies to become a languages teacher and loves the variety her new career offers her.More about this case study
- 26 May 2015 AT 15:00
Do you want to teach physics? Do you want to teach maths? Find out all you need to know about training to teach these subjects. Provider-led & School Direct PGCE routes available.Norwich Open
- 26 May 2015 AT 18:00
Ark Teacher Training, a training programme run across 31 Ark schools in high-need areas in London, Birmingham, Portsmouth and Hastings, is holding an information event for those looking to become teachersLondon Open
Teach, train and research – careers evening for maths and physics PhD researchers and graduates into teaching26 May 2015 AT 18:00
This information evening is aimed at PhD students and post-doctoral researchers interested in pursuing a rewarding career in teaching.Birmingham Open
Teach, train and research – careers evening for maths and physics PhD researchers and graduates into teaching27 May 2015 AT 18:00
Researchers in Schools is a unique programme aimed at highly skilled researchers who wish to pursue a career in teaching maths or physics. Potential applicants must have a PhD.Cambridge Open