Become a teacher in England

This page explains what you’ll need to become a teacher in England.

The routes to teacher training in other parts of the UK are different – learn more about teacher training in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.


What you’ll need to start teacher training


To be eligible to start teacher training, you’ll need:

  • a degree or equivalent qualification
  • grade 4 (C) or above in English and maths GCSEs or to demonstrate a standard equivalent

To teach at primary school level, you will also need:

  • grade 4 (C) or above in GCSE science or to demonstrate a standard equivalent

If you want to teach in England and you studied overseas you can find out how to check your qualifications on Get Into Teaching.

If you do not have a degree

You can study for a degree which includes teacher training and leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Courses take 1 to 4 years and may include one of these:

  • Bachelor of Education degree (BEd)
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BSc) with QTS

Search UCAS to find a degree leading to Qualified Teacher Status.

If you do not have GCSEs

You can still apply for teacher training if you do not have English, maths or science (for primary) GCSE qualifications at the right grade.

However, to start your training, you’ll need to have demonstrated a standard equivalent to grade 4 (C) at GCSE in these subjects.

We recommend that, when you’ve chosen a training provider, you contact them for advice about getting the right qualification or demonstrating a standard equivalent in time for your course.

You should ask if your provider offers or accepts ‘equivalency tests’ (which show that you’ve reached the same educational level and breadth of knowledge as an English, maths or science GCSE grade 4 (C) or above. Ask if they recommend you do the test or if they will accept other evidence of attainment.

You can also visit the National Careers Service to find GCSE courses for people who are over 16 and have left school.

Health and fitness

Before you start a teacher training course, your training provider might send you a health questionnaire to complete. This confirms you have the fitness and physical capacity to train to teach.

DBS check

You’ll need an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check if you intend to teach students under 18.

Financial support

If you need further information on financial support options, such as bursaries, scholarships and extra support for parents, carers or people with disabilities, this is available on the financial support for teaching training guidance page.

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)

If you are interested in teaching secondary maths or physics, and you are studying for an undergraduate degree in a STEM or STEM-related subject, you can apply for a summer teaching internship.

See a list of schools participating in STEM internships.

Choose an age group

You can train to teach:

  • under fives (also known as ‘early years’)
  • primary school children
  • primary school with a specialism (for example, English, modern languages or science)
  • secondary school age children (you’ll need to specialise in a subject)
  • further education (14 to adult)

Use Find postgraduate teacher training to see the full list of options.

Or you could arrange to spend time in school to get experience of different age groups.

Teaching under fives

If you choose to teach under fives, you’ll need to apply for a specialist teacher training course called Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT).

At the end of the course, you’ll gain Early Years Teacher Status and will be qualified to teach under fives only.

Please note these courses do not lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Browse a list of training providers offering Early Years Teacher Training

EYITT courses are eligible for bursaries, scholarships and student finance. Some are also salaried.

Undergraduate courses:

  • take 3 to 4 years of full-time study and lead to a degree in an early childhood-related subject
  • have tuition fee loans available from Student Finance England (SFE)

Graduate entry courses:

  • typically take one year of full-time study
  • provide a £7,000 grant to cover course fees
  • offer bursaries for graduates up to £5,000 for a first class degree

Graduate employment-based courses:

  • are one year part-time courses for graduates working in early years settings who need further training to demonstrate the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years)
  • offer funding of £14,000 to cover up to £7,000 fees and £7,000 contribution to employer costs

Assessment Only is:

  • self-funded
  • maximum of 3 months duration
  • ideal for graduates with experience of working with children from birth age to 5, who meet the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years) and have no need for further training

Further education

To teach further education you do not need QTS.

Instead you can study for a PGCE or PGDE without QTS. These courses are also eligible for candidates without a degree.

You can search for further education courses leading to a post-compulsory education and training qualification (PCET). You do not need a degree to apply for courses leading to a PCET.

Choose a subject

View a list of secondary school teaching subjects

When you apply for teacher training, you’ll be asked to give detailed evidence for the knowledge and interest you bring to the subject(s) you’d like to teach.

Evidence can include:

  • the subject of your undergraduate degree
  • modules you studied as part of your degree
  • postgraduate degrees (for example, a Masters or PhD)
  • your A level subjects
  • expertise you’ve gained at work

Subject knowledge enhancement courses

If you’ve got the right qualities to teach but need to build up or refresh your subject knowledge, you can complete a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course.

These courses are usually available if:

  • your degree wasn’t in your chosen subject, but is closely related
  • you studied the subject at A level, but not at degree level
  • you have an unrelated degree, but relevant professional knowledge in the subject
  • it’s been some time since you used your degree knowledge
  • you studied for a languages degree but need a second language at an acceptable level for teaching in schools

Schools or universities will identify your need for an SKE as part of their selection process, usually at interview. If they feel you need to enhance your knowledge, they’ll offer you a teacher training place on the condition that you complete an SKE course.

SKE courses are available in the following subjects:

  • maths (including primary maths)
  • physics
  • chemistry
  • biology
  • computing
  • languages
  • English
  • design and technology
  • religious education

Delivery of SKE courses

SKE courses are usually available all over England at universities, schools, or with other organisations. They can be completed before, or alongside your teacher training and are available to study full-time or part-time, classroom-based or on-line. SKE is typically offered in ITT shortage subjects. The SKE directory sets out what courses are provided.

Teaching children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND)

Qualified SEND teachers are eligible for an extra payment, on top of their annual salary, of between £2,209 and £4,359 a year.

Use Find postgraduate teacher training to search for training courses that involve working with SEND children.

Teaching SEND pupils

You don’t have to take a SEND specialist course. If you want to be a SEND teacher you can apply to teach in a special school if you have:

  • been teaching for a few years
  • experience of managing SEND pupils in your primary or secondary school

Teaching children with sensory impairments

If you want to teach pupils with hearing, vision or multi-sensory impairments, you’ll need a specific qualification.

Be a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo)

As a SENCo you’ll be responsible for assessing, planning and monitoring the progress of children with SEND. To apply for a job as a SENCo, you’ll need to:

  • be a qualified teacher
  • complete the National Award in Special Educational Needs Coordination (NASENCO) when you take up the SENCO post

Training to teach if you have a disability

Teachers with disabilities make valuable contributions both to classrooms and the culture of schools where they work.

Your rights

It is against the law for teacher training providers to discriminate against teacher training candidates with disabilities. Under the Equality Act 2010, providers must make adjustments to help you do a course or go to an interview, providing your requests are reasonable. Examples of support could be:

  • organising equipment like a hearing loop or an adapted keyboard
  • putting you in touch with support staff if you have a mental health condition
  • making sure classrooms are wheelchair accessible

If the help you need is not covered by your provider making adjustments, you might also be able to get support from Access to Work. This could include a grant to help cover the costs of practical support in the workplace.

Telling your training provider about your disability when you apply

It’s up to you if you want to tell your training provider about your disability. Information you give about your disability is protected under the Data Protection Act 2018.

Useful resources for disabled candidates

Completing a fitness questionnaire

If you’re offered a place on a teacher training course, you may have to complete a fitness questionnaire before starting. Training providers should only ask relevant questions to make sure you’re able to teach.

Types of teacher training provider

You can do your teacher training on a course run by a university, an individual school, or a partnership of schools (sometimes called a SCITT, standing for ‘school-centred initial teacher training’).

Although the type of institution (school or university) running the course will differ, the content of the course will meet national guidelines on teacher training.

The primary and secondary teacher training courses listed on Find postgraduate teacher training all lead to QTS or PGCE/PGDE plus QTS.

The majority of postgraduate teacher training courses are made up of:

  • academic study of the theory of teaching (also known as ‘pedagogy’)
  • hands-on experience in the classroom

The course typically lasts a year (3 school terms) and training will usually take place:

  • at your training provider’s main site
  • in school placements organised by your provider

Details of course structure and location will vary between training providers – you can research specific courses on Find postgraduate teacher training.

When you’re researching training providers, bear in mind:

  • location – you will need to be able to travel to your academic learning location as well as your placement schools
  • reputation – check Ofsted’s report on your training provider for more detail
  • competition for entry – some providers are tougher than others
  • special academic requirements for entry – check the training provider listing in Find postgraduate teacher training to see what class of degree, for example, the provider asks for
  • size of institution – would you be happier in a large university campus, or in a smaller local school setting?

You can use Find postgraduate teacher training to find and compare a shortlist of training providers located near to you.

Salaried teacher training courses

Under some circumstances, you can train as a teacher ‘on the job’. On these courses, you will:

  • earn a salary
  • pay no student fees for training towards QTS

There are 3 options available:

  • School Direct (salaried)
  • Postgraduate teaching apprenticeships
  • High Potential Initial Teacher Training Programme

On these courses you’ll be paid and taxed as an unqualified teacher. The salary awarded will differ between schools – you should check the salary with the school before you apply.

These courses do not offer bursaries, scholarships or student finance. There are usually no course fees to pay.

Both School Direct (salaried) and postgraduate apprenticeship courses will lead to QTS. If you choose to do a postgraduate teaching apprenticeship, you’ll also have to sit an ‘end point assessment’ (EPA).

Select ‘only salaried courses’ in Find postgraduate teacher training to find local courses.

Career Changers

The Career Changers programme aims to attract high calibre graduates who have had a successful professional career with significant experience in their field into teaching roles and schools where they are needed most.

It provides help and guidance with the transition from a previous career into teaching. Career changers can add value to teaching with:

  • previous employment experience
  • industry knowledge
  • wider perspectives into teaching practice and school policies

Now Teach (NT) and Transition to Teach (TT) are bespoke teacher recruitment and retention programmes developed exclusively to support career changers, providing transitional support and additional mentoring so that successful career changers can get the most out of their transition to teaching.

High Potential ITT

Teach First is a charity which runs the government-funded High Potential Initial Teacher Training programme (ITT). You’ll need to have a 2:1 degree or higher to apply for a place on the programme, currently delivered by Teach First. You’ll train over 2 years by learning on the job, paid as an unqualified teacher and you will not pay tuition fees.

You’ll be placed into a school straight away and gain QTS in your first year and complete your Newly Qualified Teacher placement in year 2. You’ll also receive leadership training, which includes a fully-funded Postgraduate Diploma in Education and Leadership (PGDE), worth double the credits of a PGCE.

Researchers in schools (candidates with a doctorate)

Researchers in Schools (RIS), which includes the Maths and Physics Chairs programme, is a tailored, teacher training and professional development course for high-calibre candidates.

The programme is designed to run over 3 years, and offers both a salaried and bursary route into teacher training depending on your prior experiences and circumstances.

To apply to this teacher training programme, you’ll need (or be about to finish) a doctorate in one of the following subjects:

  • physics
  • mathematics
  • chemistry
  • biology
  • engineering
  • computing
  • English
  • history
  • classics (Latin or Greek)
  • modern foreign languages (French, German or Spanish)

Assessment only (candidates already working in school)

If you’re an unqualified teacher with 2 years’ experience, you can be assessed over a maximum of 12 weeks to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Although you may not need to take a formal teacher training course, you must meet the eligibility requirements for teacher training - which includes a degree, and GCSEs (or a standard equivalent) in English, maths, and science for primary school teaching.

Find a teacher training course

Choose your teacher training provider

Use the Find postgraduate teacher training service to select a short list of training providers which are right for you.

You can filter your results by:

  • qualification on completion
  • location
  • provider
  • subject
  • age group
  • salaried or unsalaried
  • length of course

Apply for teacher training

You can apply for a training place via UCAS Teacher Training, or by using a new GOV.UK service called Apply for teacher training.

Apply for teacher training will eventually replace UCAS, but for now, the new service is limited to certain providers.

View a list of training providers and courses available through the new GOV.UK service.

By October 2021, all candidates will apply to all courses and all providers using the new service. Until then, 2 postgraduate teacher training application services will run side by side (Apply for teacher training and UCAS Teacher Training).

The qualifications you need for teacher training remain the same, whether you apply through UCAS Teacher Training or Apply for teacher training.

Choosing which service to use for your application

When you search for a course on Find postgraduate teacher training, you’ll be given a choice about which service you’d like to use.

How many training providers can I apply to?

During the first round of your application, you should apply to no more than three courses in total, and accept only one offer. This rule applies whether you use UCAS Teacher Training, Apply for teacher training, or a combination of the two.

We suggest you use Apply for teacher training if:

  • all your chosen training providers are available through this new service
  • you want to trial a streamlined, modern GOV.UK service

We suggest you use UCAS Teacher Training if:

  • you’ve already started applying via UCAS
  • some of your chosen training providers are not available through Apply for teacher training and you do not want to use 2 different services


The impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) means you are likely to experience some delays to your application, whether you use UCAS and Apply for teacher training.

Preparing to apply for teacher training

The Apply for teacher training service will guide you through the application process all the way to enrolment on your course.

However there are things you could start to consider right away.

Think about why you want to be a teacher

As part of the application process, you’ll be asked to tell training providers why you want to be a teacher.

This is one of the most important parts of your application, so it’s worth thinking about it in advance.

You should use this section to showcase your motivation, commitment and teaching potential, backing up your answer with specific examples.

Give providers an insight into your personality by writing honestly and thoughtfully. Avoid cliché and write in clear, correct, concise English.

To get help with personal statements from a teacher training adviser, use the Get an adviser service.

You don’t have to cover everything in this list, but suggested topics include:

  • why you want to be a teacher
  • your passion for your subject and the age group you’ve chosen to teach
  • the welfare and education of children and/or young people
  • the demands and rewards of the profession
  • personal qualities that will make you a good teacher
  • your contribution to the life of the school outside the classroom – for example, running extra-curricular activities and clubs
  • if you have school experience or have worked as a volunteer with children or young people, give details of what this has taught you

What do you know about the subject you want to teach?

The application form also asks for detailed evidence for the knowledge and interest you bring to the subjects you’d like to teach.

See choose a subject for more about subject knowledge.

Arrange your references

You’ll need to supply contact details for 2 referees with your application form. This is a compulsory part of the application process and you will not be able to submit your application without them.

Choose referees who’ll endorse your:

  • teaching passion and potential
  • suitability to work with children
  • academic abilities
  • reliability and professionalism

Suitable referees include:

  • your current line manager at work
  • previous employers
  • a teacher at a school where you work or volunteer
  • your university tutor or supervisor
  • a supplier or client you’ve worked with (if you’re self-employed)

Referees should not be family members, partners or friends. Training providers will only accept character references if there’s also an academic or professional reference.

If you’re applying for a salaried course, one of your references must be from an employer.

If you’re struggling to find suitable referees, you can:

  • contact one of your chosen training providers for advice
  • Get an adviser to help you

Attend an interview

If your application is successful, you’ll be invited for an interview by your training provider.

Interviews usually last a day and may include some time spent teaching a class of real pupils.

However they vary from provider to provider – you’ll be given all the information you need when you’re invited to attend.

Meet the conditions of your offer

If your training provider offers you a place, it may come with some conditions. For example:

  • get an enhanced DBS check
  • complete a health questionnaire to determine whether you’re fit to train to teach

Other common conditions some candidates may need to meet include:

Your training provider will help you meet your conditions.

What to do if you do not get a place

If your applications to all 3 of the training providers in the first round are unsuccessful, or you withdraw your applications, you can apply again.

During this second round of applications, you apply to only one training provider at a time. However, you can apply to as many as you want, sequentially, until the end of the recruitment period.

So if you are unsuccessful, when recruitment reopens for the following year, you can start again, and apply to 3 training providers just as you did in the first round of applications.

Further support and information

Send an email to: or call Freephone 0800 389 2500.