Getting school experience

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.

Getting experience in a school is an essential part of a good application for teacher training. As schools will soon be closing for the summer, please contact the Teaching Line for more advice.

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 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 how the school experience programme can help you make decisions and get a greater understanding of teaching. Transcript (PDF, 202KB)

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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