This area covers studies linked to teaching practice, childhood development, education theory, and research.
Relevant to
Why choose teaching?
Rich Gill gave up a career in retail to become a mature student. About to start his Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), he explains why he chose teaching.

Choosing to teach

Choosing to teach | Get Into Teaching
Thousands of people like you choose to train as a teacher every year. Hear from just a few teachers who have made that choice and never looked back. Video provided by Get Into Teaching.

Studying at the School of Education and Lifelong Learning – Emily

Childhood studies – Emily | Aberystwyth University
Emily talks about her experience of studying Childhood Studies. Video provided by Aberystwyth University.
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Key stats

82,970 students were studying this subject in 2014/15.

  • 98% UK
  • 2% international
  • 66% full-time
  • 34% part-time
89.4% of graduates went directly into employment.

Top five graduate destinations:

  1. Education
  2. Health and social work
  3. Public administration and defence industries
  4. Administrative and support services
  5. Wholesale and retail trade

What courses are available?

Universities and colleges in the UK are offering courses in the following subject areas:

It includes education for all age groups, starting from early years and pre-school teaching through to education for adults. Courses range from those that have a more theoretical focus on education and learning, through to those that have a high level of practical content and offer a professional teaching qualification.

Subject combinations and available course options include:

  • single, joint, and multiple subject combinations
  • full-time, part-time, and flexible study options as well as courses with a placement (sandwich courses)
  • qualifications ranging from BA, BSc and BEd, (Hons) degrees, through to HND, HNC, and Foundation Certificates

Initial Teacher Education and Training (ITET) courses take between three to four years to complete. Bachelor of Education (BEd) degrees are a popular route for prospective primary school teachers, but some universities do offer secondary-level BEd programmes for some specialisms. Alternatively, you could study for a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) education degree. These have a greater focus on training to teach a specific subject. Not a common route into primary school teaching, most universities only offer this route for prospective secondary teachers.

Hear first-hand from Sophie Lea, who studied a BA (Hons) Primary Degree 5-11, and Alice Hackett, who studied a BEd in Primary Teaching with QTS, about their inspiration, experience, and advice for becoming a teacher.


Apprenticeships are available in the following areas:

Higher apprenticeships (minimum age and level of experience may apply):

  • Learning adviser
  • Coach
  • Mentor

Advanced apprenticeships:

  • Learning support assistant
  • Teaching assistant
  • Classroom assistant
  • Nursery nurse

Find out more about apprenticeships

Entry requirements

A levels – To get on to an education related degree, you will usually require at least two A levels or equivalent. Specific A levels are not generally required, unless taking a subject based degree (i.e. education with English may require an A level related to English). You will also need at least five GCSEs (A – C) including English and maths. In addition, applicants for teacher training degrees in England and Wales will require a GCSE grade C in science.

Highers – For Scottish Initial Teacher Education (ITE) degrees, you will need Higher Grade English, and two other Higher qualifications or equivalent. In addition, you will require National 5 mathematics, and at least one other National 5 subject qualification.

Vocational courses – Other relevant Level 3 qualifications such as the BTEC National Diploma in children’s play, learning, and development may be accepted by some universities. You will need to check specific entry requirements individually with course admissions tutors.


Education degrees – Some universities will interview prospective applicants, while others will select on the basis of predicted grades and the quality of the personal statement.

Initial teacher training (ITT) – Interviews form a key part of the selection process for teacher training. In addition, applicants may be required to give a short presentation, participate in a group activity, complete a written task, and/or a subject-based test. Admissions tutors will generally wish to:

  • explore your reasons for wanting to go into teaching, i.e. if you have a realistic understanding of the career
  • check you have real passion and commitment
  • find out if you possess the necessary communication and interpersonal skills required to become a teacher
  • explore your knowledge around teaching practice and education policy

David Douglass, Director of Sacred Heart Newcastle SCITT, shares his top tips for teacher training interviews on the UCAS Teacher Training blog.

Personal statement

We asked SCITT director, Claire Harnden, what she looks for in a teacher training personal statement. In addition, your personal statement should cover:

  • your reasons for wanting to teach – and, more specifically, why you’ll enjoy teaching your chosen subject and/or age group
  • the qualities you have that will work well in the classroom – communication, organisation, and creativity are all key skills
  • how previous studies and any work experience relate to your chosen subject or age group
  • what you’ve learnt during your school experience placement(s) and how this has influenced your application
  • how you’ve benefited from any other experience you may have of working with children or young people

(Source: Get Into Teaching)

How to write your personal statement

Where can I find out more?

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