How to apply for teacher training

Give yourself the best chance of getting on the course you want.

Discover tips on completing your application, including writing your teacher training personal statement, choosing your references and preparing for interviews. A teacher training adviser can help you with all of these.

Browse courses

Search postgraduate teacher training courses(opens in new window).

Course providers will help you gain your qualified teacher status (QTS) which is what you need to teach in most schools in England. Many also help you work towards a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) or postgraduate diploma in education (PGDE).

Where to apply

When you’re ready, you can apply for teacher training(opens in new window).

This service has replaced the UCAS postgraduate teacher training application.

When to apply

Courses usually open for applications in October for entry the following year (usually starting in September, but sometimes January).

Teacher training providers allocate places as people apply through the year, and courses stay open until they are full.

If you’re keen to join a popular course it’s wise to apply as soon as you’re ready rather than putting it off.

What to expect: the application form

When you apply you’ll need to give details about:

  • your qualifications, including your GCSEs and A levels (or equivalents) and degree
  • your work history or unpaid experience
  • why you want to teach
  • why you’re suited to teach a particular subject or age group

You can also share whether you need any adjustments during the application process or on the course - for example, if you’re disabled.

You’ll be encouraged to declare any potential safeguarding issues such as criminal convictions. Training providers can advise you whether it’ll affect your application.

Prepare your application

You can find and apply to most postgraduate teacher training courses on GOV.UK(opens in new window).

You can choose up to 3 teacher training courses for each application.

If you do not find what you were looking for, there are other ways to train.

Before you start, it’s particularly important to think about your teacher training personal statement.

Some people do not get on the course they want because their application has not convinced the admissions team that they’re right for it.

Talk to an adviser for help preparing your application.

Writing your teacher training personal statement

Your teacher training personal statement explains why you want to be a teacher. It’s your chance to show your motivation, commitment and teaching potential. It’s a crucial part of your application - so it’s worth taking your time on it.

Personal statements are split into 2 sections. In total they are usually around 1,000 words.

It’s your opportunity to show your enthusiasm for teaching a particular subject. It’s also the place to say why you feel passionate about teaching either primary or secondary.

Section 1: Why do you want to teach?

Up to 600 words.

This is the place to talk about why you think you would make a great teacher. You can include:

  • what inspired you to choose teaching
  • your understanding of the demands and rewards of teaching
  • the personal qualities that will make you a good teacher
  • your contribution to the life of a school outside the classroom – for example, running extra-curricular activities and clubs
  • details of any paid or unpaid work experience you have working with young people and what you learnt
  • your thoughts on children’s wellbeing and the education system

Section 2: Why are you suited to teach your subjects or age group?

Up to 400 words.

If you’re writing a personal statement for secondary teacher training, use this section to describe your knowledge of the subjects you’ve chosen.

If you’re writing a personal statement for primary teacher training, say why you’d like to teach this age group.

If you’re applying for a primary course with a subject specialism, or you’re particularly interested in certain primary subjects, you can talk about that here too.

You could talk about:

  • any relevant work or unpaid experience
  • your degree and degree modules
  • your other relevant qualifications, such as A levels
  • any relevant skills, interests or achievements
  • your understanding of the national curriculum

If you’re concerned about your subject knowledge, do not worry - you may be able to do a ‘subject knowledge enhancement’ course as part of your training.

You can get support preparing a personal statement from an adviser.

Choose your references

You need to provide the details of 2 people who can give you a reference when you apply. They will not be contacted until you accept a place on a course.

Unlike a standard work reference, your references for teacher training need to be from named individuals rather than (for example) a human resources team or academic department.

They’ll confirm how they know you and if they know any reason why you should not work with children.

You’ll need different kinds of references depending on your circumstances. If you:

  • are still studying or graduated in the last 5 years, you’ll need an academic reference
  • already work in a school, you’ll need a reference from your headteacher

You can give a character reference, such as from a mentor or someone you know through volunteering, as a second reference.

You should not ask a family member, partner or friend for a reference.

You can change your reference details when you accept a place on a course. You might need to alter their contact details if they’ve changed, or you may wish to change who you ask for a reference altogether.

If you’re struggling to choose your references, get free one-to-one support from a teacher training adviser.

If you’re invited to interview

Interviews usually last a day and may include time spent teaching pupils.

You can get support preparing for an interview from an adviser.

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

If you get an offer

Congratulations!

Before you start your training the provider will check whether you’re safe to work with children through an enhanced DBS check(opens in new window).

They’ll also check whether you’re fit to train to teach through a health questionnaire.

If you’re missing certain qualifications they may also ask you to do an equivalence test or take a ‘subject knowledge enhancement’ course.

If you do not get a place

Your provider will give you feedback to help you address any issues with your application.

You may need to get an additional qualification, improve your interview technique or improve the quality of your application.

You can then apply again, to up to 3 courses at a time. You can do this as many times as you want to get a place. Many people succeed second or third time round.

Teacher training advisers

Get free one-to-one support

An adviser can help you with your application, from tips on writing your personal statement, to choosing your referees.

Find out more about advisers