Impact of COVID-19 on teacher training

This page was updated on 16 July 2020, and we will continue to work to update it as new guidance is issued. Please check back regularly.

For more information about the government response to coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit GOV.UK.

If you have another question, not covered here, please get in touch.

If you are an ITT provider, and have further urgent questions, please email our dedicated COVID-19 inbox.

Advice for current trainees

If you are a current trainee teacher and have questions about your course, please contact your provider. This also applies if you are on an assessment only route.

Advice for applicants

Q. Do I need to have school experience?

A.  Getting some classroom experience can help you decide whether teaching is right for you. It is not an entry requirement for Initial Teacher Training.

You can search and sign up through our Get School Experience Service.

Q. Can I get school experience from September?

Some schools are offering the opportunity for ITT candidates to undertake school experience both in school and virtually.

Candidates can search and sign up through our Get School Experience Service.

Q. Does the 40-day rule for making decisions about ITT applications still apply?

A. The 40-day rule for making decisions about ITT applications was reinstated on 1 June. This has now been reduced to 20 days.

Q. Do I have to have a face-to-face interview?

A. There is no requirement for a face-to-face interview. These can take place electronically, ideally by Skype or similar. Documentation such as degree and GCSE certificates may be scanned and sent electronically.

Applicants should wait to be contacted by the providers for specific guidance.

Q. Can I start my postgraduate ITT course in September 2020 before I have been awarded my degree?

A. Providers are currently making arrangements to enable academic assessments to take place, to minimise the delay of degree awards. Given that programme design may differ between institutions, applicants are encouraged to contact their respective degree awarding body for details.

Q: I’m expecting to get a bursary/scholarship/student finance for my course starting in September 2020. Will this still be available?

Yes. The information in the Funding My Training section of the website remains valid.

Q. What if I have been unable to complete my Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course?

A. SKE training courses can be completed before or alongside ITT. If you have been unable to complete a SKE course, the SKE provider will make an assessment and communicate this to your ITT provider. If necessary, you can defer your SKE course and complete this alongside your ITT course at a later date.

Q. Are the planned Train to Teach events going ahead?

A. Autumn events will be confirmed soon, please check back for more details.

Q. What if I’m an overseas applicant?

Although global travel, including to the UK, is affected by coronavirus, we still encourage you to take the steps to becoming a teacher in England. 

Check your country’s advice to keep up to date with travel restrictions. The UK government has also published guidance about what to do if you need a visa to travel to the UK and has an immigration helpline. If you’ve already started applying for a course, contact the training providers - they’ll be able to advise you on how coronavirus is affecting recruitment to their courses.

GCSE and equivalency tests

Q. Because of coronavirus, I have been unable to sit my GCSE or equivalency test as scheduled. Will this mean I cannot meet the entry criteria to start a course in September 2020?

A. Providers are permitted to take account of other evidence of attainment. In the first instance, if you think you can provide evidence that you can demonstrate a standard equivalent to GCSE grade 4 in one or more of the required subjects (English, mathematics, and additionally a science subject for primary), you should check your eligibility with your chosen provider. Providers may offer opportunities for you to demonstrate the standard through, for example, equivalency tests.

If you cannot provide the required evidence as a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak, providers have temporary flexibility to allow you to start a course. You will need to submit this evidence by 30 November 2020 in order to continue on and complete the course. Candidates should check with their respective providers.

Q. Will I still be eligible for bursaries and grants if, due to coronavirus, I start a course in September 2020 without having provided this evidence?

A. If you begin a course with evidence of your GCSE standard equivalent pending, initially you will not be eligible for financial incentives. However, once you have submitted evidence, any financial incentive will be backdated to the start of the course. Your eligibility for a student loan will be unaffected.


For more information about the government response to coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit GOV.UK.

If you have another question, not covered here, please get in touch.

We have been working closely across government to develop guidance on COVID-19 and its impact on Initial Teacher Training, and the amended ITT criteria