A series of teaching images

Getting school experience

School experience is essential if you’re interested in becoming a teacher. Before you apply for your training, you'll need to gain as much experience in the classroom as possible in order to strengthen your application and prepare you for potential interviews. And if you want to teach at secondary level and are eligible, we may be able to help you arrange placements via our school experience programme.

There are also lots of ways to arrange school experience independently at both primary and secondary level. You can use this section to find out more, and update your profile’s progress bar if you’ve already got some experience under your belt or have a placement lined up.

About the programme

The school experience programme is available exclusively to candidates who have registered with us. It offers you the chance to observe teaching and pastoral work, and the opportunity to talk to teachers about day-to-day life in a school.

You should 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.

How to join

If you haven't already, you'll need to register your details with us before you can participate in the school experience programme. If you're eligible for the programme, you’ll receive an email with a registration number indicating what you need to do next. Alternatively you can contact the Teaching Line on 0800 389 2500 for more information.

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 programme, you can contact the Teaching Line directly by emailing schoolexperience@TA-recruit.education.gov.uk or on freephone 0800 389 2500.

Arranging school experience in a primary school

The programme is not available for candidates who want to teach at primary level.

Don't worry, there are lots of ways to independently arrange to spend time in both primary and secondary schools – find out how

Get up to


days in a school on the School Experience Programme

More than


placement days were arranged through the school experience programme in 2013/14


Find out about the support that you’ll receive on a School Direct course from both primary and secondary trainees. Transcript (PDF, 47KB)

Get as much experience in schools as possible to obtain a realistic idea of what teaching is like. 

Hasina Nizamee, newly qualified biology teacher

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Upcoming events

View all events

  • Get Into Teaching Day

    05 May 2015 AT 09:00

    We are offering a placement day for those looking to find out more about teaching biology, chemistry, physics, geography, mathematics, French, Spanish or design technology in conjunction with the School Experience Programme. 

    Northampton Open
  • George Spencer Academy SCITT Thinking of Teaching Experience

    05 May 2015 AT 17:00

    This Open Evening is an ideal opportunity for anyone who has applied or is thinking of applying to train to teach. 

    Nottingham Open
  • Train to Teach at Cranford Community College

    05 May 2015 AT 17:00

    Cranford Community College is recruiting graduates in maths, sciences, German, Spanish, English, geography, computing and RE to train to become qualified teachers via the School Direct training route.

    Hounslow Open
  • London school led train to teach events

    05 May 2015 AT 17:30

    London schools are holding a series of school led train to teach events to provide information and support to potential applicants looking for teacher training places starting September 2015

    London Open