What to expect in teacher training

Your initial teacher training (ITT) will vary depending on your course provider and the qualifications you’re working towards.

You’ll spend most of your time in school placements with some time dedicated to theoretical learning. Your training is likely to include a combination of:

  • unobserved and observed teaching
  • taught sessions
  • seminars and workshops
  • tasks and assignments
  • engagement with academic or professional research

The theoretical part of your training might be delivered by a university or in a school. Some training courses will be all school-based, but this does not mean that you’ll spend all your time teaching.

You’ll also have a mentor to support you in your school placements and learning. They can provide feedback and guidance.

There are full-time and part-time teacher training courses available.

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

What you’ll learn in initial teacher training

What you’ll learn will depend on your course and the qualifications it offers. Some teacher training courses award qualified teacher status (QTS), while some award QTS with a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE).

Initial teacher training helps you meet the teachers’ standards(opens in new window). You must meet the teachers’ standards to be awarded QTS.

All initial teacher training will help you:

  • set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils
  • promote good progress and outcomes by pupils
  • develop good subject and curriculum knowledge
  • plan and teach well structured lessons
  • adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils
  • make accurate and productive use of assessment
  • manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment
  • make a positive contribution to your school community

Your classroom placements

You should get 120 days of classroom experience as part of a postgraduate teacher training course.

Your placements will be in a minimum of 2 schools. Through your placements, you’ll have the opportunity to teach, plan, observe and research.

You’ll get classroom experience whether you do school-led or university-led training. Some courses may offer placements in specific kinds of schools, like special schools. You can talk to your course provider about the opportunities available.

Where you complete your classroom placements will depend on whether you’ve chosen a primary or secondary teacher training course. Learn about deciding who to teach.

If you apply to train with a specific school, your placements may not all take place within that school. They may take place at a school within their partnership or trust.

You will need experience of teaching in 2 schools to be awarded qualified teacher status. Speak to your course provider for more details.

Your teacher training timetable

Full-time teacher training usually takes 9 months, in line with the academic year. Part-time teacher training can take 18 to 24 months.

Some courses begin with time spent in a university or school where you start your theoretical learning. Your course pattern will be different depending on your training provider.

School placements vary in length and structure, but the minimum length is usually around 6 weeks. You should check with your training provider what their course and placement patterns are.

How you’ll be assessed

There are two types of assessments you’ll have as part of your training - formative and summative. Formative assessments are less formal and happen throughout your course. Summative assessments are formal assessments, usually at the end of your course.

You might be assessed through written assignments, lesson observations, or by a portfolio of evidence showing how you’re meeting the teachers’ standards(opens in new window). Assessments vary by provider and the qualifications you’re working towards.

Find out more about teacher training

Discover how you can apply for teacher training, including top tips on writing a successful application.

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