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Postgraduate teacher training in England

Find out more about university and school-led postgraduate initial teacher training programmes in England, such as PGCE, School Direct, and SCITT.
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Routes into teaching
Find out more about the different postgraduate routes into teacher training in England and Wales, including feedback from newly qualified teachers.
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Postgraduate routes into teaching

If you already have a degree, there are a number of training programmes available depending on your qualifications and experience. To train as a primary or secondary teacher in England, you can choose either a university-led or school-led route. Each involves:

  • a minimum of 24 weeks in at least two schools to give you practical classroom experience
  • academic study to give you the knowledge and understanding to teach successfully, tutoring in classroom management, and mentoring from experienced professionals
  • an assessment of your teaching skills (through being observed teaching classes)

UCAS Teacher Training is the scheme you need to use to apply for the main university and school-led postgraduate routes into teaching. Some more specialised teaching routes below are not managed by UCAS and have a different application process. You can apply to up to three training programmes on your UCAS Teacher Training application. It’s worth considering a combination of different routes when you apply (university, School Direct, and SCITT). Use our filter to narrow your search and explore your options.


PGCE university-led teacher training

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) programmes are a popular graduate route into teaching in England, combining academic study on campus with a minimum of 24 weeks on school placements, while you train towards your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) recommendation. All university and college-led programmes will qualify you to be a teacher, but there are different qualifications that can be achieved, including the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), and Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (ProfGCE).

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School Direct (tuition fee) programmes

School Direct (tuition fee) programmes allow you to learn on the job as you work towards your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) recommendation. Although your training is based in a school, they’re not your employers, and in many ways your training will be similar to training programmes in universities and colleges. While the majority of School Direct training programmes lead to a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) qualification, not all do.

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School Direct (salaried) programmes

School Direct (salaried) is an employment-based route for high quality graduates, typically with at least three years’ experience of transferable work history. You’ll earn a salary while you train towards your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) recommendation, and won’t need to pay any tuition fees. While the majority of School Direct training programmes lead to a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) qualification, not all do. Where this is an option, there may be an additional cost required for completion of the PGCE.

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School-centred initial teacher training (SCITT)

Similar to School Direct (tuition fee), school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) programmes are run by schools or groups of schools. SCITTs provide practical, hands-on teacher training, taught by experienced, practising teachers. Many work in partnerships with universities, enabling trainee teachers to gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) alongside working towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

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Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeship programmes

Similar to School Direct (salaried) programmes, Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeships are a new, nationally-recognised, work-based route into teaching. You’ll be employed by a school while you learn on the job. You’ll receive a combination of classroom teaching and academic learning as you to work towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

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Teach First Leadership Development Programme

This option combines leadership development and teacher training, giving students the chance to become an inspirational leader in classrooms that need it the most. It is a two year salaried programme leading to a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) qualification. Following five weeks of intensive training, you’ll continue to learn on the job while you work towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

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Assessment Only route to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

If you are working as an unqualified teacher, you could achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) via the Assessment Only route. If you have a degree and substantial experience of working in a school, early years, or further education setting, this option allows you to gain QTS without undergoing a teacher training programme.

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Researchers in Schools: Maths and Physics Chairs Programme

This option is for candidates who have completed, or are finishing, their maths, physics, or engineering PhD. It is a three year salaried teacher training programme that offers a combination of classroom teaching and research opportunities, as you work towards gaining Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

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Postgraduate Early Years Initial Teacher Training

A number of postgraduate Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) programmes are available via university or school-led training routes – all lead to Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) on successful completion. EYTS is different to QTS, allowing you to specialise in working with children up to five years old only.

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