Training to teach in England: guidance for overseas graduates

Teaching in England offers a wealth of opportunities and rewards that help you to build a stimulating and successful career. There’s also plenty of support in place to help trainees on their journey into teaching, particularly in maths and physics, so becoming a teacher in England may be easier than you think.

If you want to train to teach in England, we’re here to help. Your first step should be completing our registration form so you can receive one-on-one support from our dedicated advisers. Once you’ve done that, start exploring the different teacher training routes available to get an idea of which one might suit you.

Find out how coronavirus (COVID-19) may affect teacher training in England.

If you are already qualified as a teacher outside England, further guidance is available to help you find a teaching job in England.

Immigration permission

The points-based immigration system

All overseas nationals arriving in the UK from 1 January 2021, including those from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, will come under the UK’s points-based immigration system. Immigration routes will open later in 2020 for applications to live, work and study in the UK from 1 January 2021. The type of visa you apply for will depend on whether you are on a salaried or unsalaried teacher training course:

  • unsalaried includes higher education institution programmes, school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) programmes and the School Direct fee-funded programme
  • salaried includes the School Direct salaried programme, the Teach First Leadership Development programme and postgraduate teaching apprenticeships

Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter, work and study in the UK as they do now.

If you’re from outside the EEA and Switzerland, you may already need a visa to study or work in the UK. Check if you need a visa under the current immigration system.

Immigration routes that require a sponsor

Student visa - for unsalaried teacher training courses

You’ll be able to apply for a Student visa to train to teach in England if you are on an unsalaried initial teacher training course and you:

  • have an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a Home Office licensed Student sponsor. Your teacher training provider will send you a reference number, called a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS), once they’ve offered you an unconditional place on a course
  • have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course
  • can speak, read, write, and understand English

Not all teacher training providers are Home Office licensed Student sponsors so check this with your chosen training provider first. If they are a sponsor, they will be able to provide more information on applying for a Student visa.

Skilled Worker visa - for salaried teacher training courses

You’ll be able to apply for a Skilled Worker visa to train to teach in England if you are on a salaried initial teacher training course and:

  • you have an offer for a salaried training place with a school that is a licensed Home Office employer sponsor
  • can speak, read, write, and understand English
  • your role pays at least: i) £20,480; or ii) the relevant minimum rate for unqualified teachers in England – whichever is higher. You can find the minimum rates for unqualified teachers on the Get into Teaching website. Pro-rata rates will apply if you work part-time as long as you earn at least £20,480 per annum

Speak to your teacher training provider for more information on applying for a Skilled Worker visa.

Immigration routes that don’t require a sponsor

Graduate visa - for salaried and unsalaried teacher training courses

If you are already an international student in the UK, you can apply for a Graduate visa on successful completion of your degree. This visa will be available from summer 2021 and you will need to have been sponsored by a Home Office licensed student sponsor to apply.

The Graduate visa will allow you to study, work, or look for work in the UK for up to 2 years after completing your studies (3 years for PhD students), without a sponsor. This includes training as a teacher via either a salaried or unsalaried initial teacher training course.

You can switch from a Graduate visa to another visa route (such as the Skilled Worker visa) without having to leave the UK if you meet the requirements for the other visa route.

Youth Mobility Scheme visa - for salaried and unsalaried teacher training courses

The UK has arrangements in place with eight countries and territories to enable around 20,000 young people to come to the UK each year. You must be 18 to 30 years old to apply and can study or work while on this visa without a sponsor. This includes training as a teacher via either a salaried or unsalaried initial teacher training course.

A Youth Mobility Scheme visa lasts up to 2 years. You may be able to switch from a Youth Mobility Scheme visa to another visa route without having to leave the UK. You’ll need to meet the requirements for the other visa route.

You can find out more about the Youth Mobility Scheme visa under the current immigration system.

Other visas

You may be able to work or study in the UK on another type of visa – guidance is available about Family visas and the UK Ancestry visa under the current immigration system.

You can check what visa you should apply for.

EU Settlement Scheme

If you are an overseas national from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, living in the UK by 31 December 2020 you can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. If successful this will allow you to continue living, working, and studying in the UK after 30 June 2021 without applying through the points-based immigration system.

International travel

Although global travel, including to the UK, may be affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), we still encourage overseas nationals to pursue becoming a teacher in England. You should check your country’s advice as well as the UK’s advice to keep up to date with travel restrictions and self-isolation requirements. The UK government has also published guidance about what to do if you need a visa to travel to the UK and has a coronavirus immigration help centre.

Further information is available if you are affected by changes to UK immigration and borders due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Qualifications

No matter where you’re from, you’ll need to meet some basic eligibility requirements to train to teach in England.

If you have any qualifications from outside the UK, you should contact the schools or universities you would like to train with. They will tell you if your qualifications meet the minimum requirements.

There is more information about ITT entry criteria.

You may be asked to show that your overseas qualification is recognised through the UK National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC).

We can help you with this. Contact us on 0800 389 2500 and we can provide you with:

  • guidance on your qualifications
  • a free UK NARIC statement of comparability once you’ve submitted your application if needed (the statement usually costs £49.50 plus VAT

Financial support for trainees on unsalaried ITT courses

If you are an EEA or Swiss citizen and:

  • started your course in the 2020/21 academic year or before, you will remain eligible for home fee status and financial support from Student Finance England for the duration of your course if you continue to meet the eligibility criteria.
  • are starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year or after and are within scope of the citizens’ rights protections, you will remain eligible for home fee status and financial support from Student Finance England on a similar basis as now. If you are resident in the UK before the end of the transition period you can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, and if your application is successful you can continue living, working and studying in the UK after 30 June 2021.
  • are starting an ITT course in the 2021/22 academic year or after and you are not in scope of the citizens’ rights protections then you will not be eligible for home fee status or financial support from Student Finance England.

If you are an Irish national living in the UK or Republic of Ireland you will continue to be eligible for home fee status and financial support from Student Finance England if you meet the eligibility criteria, as your right to study and access benefits and services under the Common Travel Area arrangement will continue on a reciprocal basis.

To receive a bursary or scholarship for ITT, you must be entitled to support under the Student Finance criteria.

If you are an overseas national from outside the EEA or Switzerland, you are unlikely to be eligible for home fee status or financial support from Student Finance England.

You can check with your teacher training provider or with Student Finance England if you are eligible for financial support. Guidance is available for EEA and Swiss students studying, or planning to study, in the UK.