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Qualifying as a teacher in the UK

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To become a teacher you must have a degree in the subject of your choice, and at least a C grade in Mathematics and English Language GCSEs (or equivalent qualifications), and no criminal record.  Primary education applicants will also need a C grade in a Science GCSE (or an equivalent qualification).

All UK state schools and most independent schools require their teachers to have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). There are four main ways for graduates to gain this; a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT), Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) and Teach First.

Most teacher training providers requires you to have recently completed a short observation of a school before applying. For more information, go to our Getting Experience in Schools webpage.

Upon achieving QTS, teachers must also pass their induction period – normally their first year of teaching - which is assessed by approx. six lesson observations across the year. Thereafter, there are many opportunities to develop new skills and take on additional responsibility e.g. a Masters in Teaching and Learning, or an application to become an Advanced Skills Teacher.

The starting salary for a teacher is £21,588 (£27,000 in inner London). Private schools salaries are higher and teachers may be offered subsidised housing too, depending on the wealth of the school.


The most common way to become qualified is to gain a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). These can be done in either primary or secondary education, and involve tuition at a university and teaching experience in two contrasting schools

How to apply

You apply for PGCE and PGDE courses through the Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR), their website allows you to search for courses. There will be a fee and you have to order your course choices by preference, so it is sensible to have previously made informal contact with your preferred institution to demonstrate interest.   Applications open in early September annually, and the deadline for primary teachers falls at the start of December.

  • See Applying for a PGCE on the Prospects website, which includes a free, downloadable booklet 'Applying for a PGCE'.
  • To research quality of schools go to OFSTED 

Finances while training

There is a lot of financial help available to all UK or EU citizens. There is no financial support is available to students outside of the European Economic Area.

  •  A student loan to cover fees - is automatically available to all UK and EU students. The terms and conditions of student loans vary each academic year. This is something you should research.
  •  A living cost loan repayable under the same conditions is also available, but again, these conditions vary every year. 
  •  An assembly learning grant which does not have to be repaid is available.
  • Bursaries are available from the government, which again do not have to be repaid. Individual universities may also give bursaries – check www.excellencegateway.org.uk  for more information or ring the Advice Service helpline about FE teaching on 0300 303 1877.

For more information see the student finance webpages for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


School Centred Intial Teacher Training  (SCITT) is a year-long course run by consortia of schools rather than by universities. It is only available in England and Wales. 

How to apply

Finances while training

Fees, loans, grants and bursaries are exactly the same as for the PGCE.


The Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) is 'on the job' training within a single school. It is aimed at professionals who want to change their career but need to earn a salary as they train. It is salaried, thus may be a feasible alternative for those foreign students who can work in the UK but who are not eligible for loans, grants and bursaries to support themselves while they train.

How to apply

To find a school that is looking for a GTP trainee, look for advertisements on the TES jobs pages or contact one of the institutions that would monitor your training (an EBITT) - a database of which is available on the Training and Development Agency for Schools' website.

Finances while training

Your school will pay you an unqualified teacher's salary depending on your responsibilities, experience and location. The salary will be slightly higher if you are teaching in London.

Teach First

Teach First is a charity, primarily funded by big business, that trains high-achieving graduates over two years to work in challenging schools. Its sponsors also offer trainees management and leadership training. Teach First only has participating schools in London, the Midlands and the Northwest.

How to apply

All applications are online via Teach First: Recruitment and selection.

Finances while training

You do not have to pay any fees, and will receive a salary in both years.  This information can be found by contacting Teach First.