Hello again everyone.
First of all I would like to say, thank you so much for all the kind messages and emails I have received from people all over the world, those who are teachers, training to be teachers and non teachers alike. It made me so happy that my previous posts were helpful and insightful to others.
So now focusing on today’s blog post, which is continuing on the theme of teaching in England.
This post is meant to be a clear guide, summarising all of the different ways currently available to enter the teaching profession in England, what requirements there are, the different teacher training routes and what financial help is available.
To start off, I must say that to get the most in-depth and up to date information, the best place to visit is the department for educations website: https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/ this site is full of official and helpful resources and detailed FAQs so I am very sure that any questions or queries you have ,your answers will be found there, and when I was looking to get into teaching, I had used this site for almost all of my preparation work.
1: Are you suitable to become a teacher? Questions to ask yourself:
Before you start to make any teacher training applications or grand plans, you need to first ask yourself some deep questions and give realistic and honest answers about your own interest, drive and current situation.
Teaching is definitely not an easy career, and it can feel at times the most unrewarding job, not to mention being responsible for the achievement and development of young children or youth which is a huge responsibility. You need to assess your current situation and ask yourself questions to see if undertaking a teacher training course is feasible for the next one to four years for you (depending on which route you take).
For example, if you have young children or babies, do you have support at home from family or close friends that you can rely on? What about daycare or nursery and can you afford those costs?
Are you carer for a sick or disabled relative? How can you still be there for them whilst you are undertaking an intense training year or a teaching degree?
Can you afford the tuition fees, buying course materials, travel, accommodation whilst you are studying? Can you balance your in class training whilst completing your university or college dissertations?
For the two questions above about having young children to care for or being a carer, doing a part-time PGCE course or part time teaching degree is usually the best way to continue on with your caring role, whilst completing your aim to become a teacher, however good planning and preparation must be made well ahead of time to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
Then there are questions such as do you want to study teaching and learning, or is the school environment the right place for you? Then of course one of the main questions to ask yourself is do you like working with children or young people? Are you patient and reliable enough to handle the pressures of such an achievement based and grade driven environment? Can you handle poor behavior from students and staff? Being disliked, being called rude names, your orders not being followed or questioned and not to mention the obvious hormonal changes in students and the drama that ensues!
Then there is the question of when you do become a teacher what are your future goals? Specifically where do you yourself in one, five or ten years time? It’s best to have an idea of what sort of role you want to progress to for example do you have interest in special educational needs? Then your goal in the next five years would probably be to become a SENCO (special educational needs co-ordinator), or do you want to be a head of year? Head of department? Advanced skills teacher? My advice is to have an idea of which role you would like to progress to, and take some time to research what your role would be and what you will be responsible for within the school. Also this would help you for your teacher training interviews when you apply for the university or college you wish to train at, and you will most definitely be asked this question when you are looking for work during the interviews. Therefore it is best to think about it now and see what you are most interested in.
Overall the best way to answer all of these questions stated above, is to actually go into a school and do some voluntary work there or work experience for a good amount of time. I would advise that you go into as many different types of schools possible so that you can get the best idea about whether teaching is right for you, and if so which type of school you fit in best. So for example before I went into teacher training I had done work experience in my local primary school, a girls secondary school, a private secondary school and a mixed inner city London school.
2. Requirements and eligibility:
Ok, now that you have clearly went though your unique situation and got some work experience in a school, you have decided that teaching is not so scary and you want to go for it.
So the next step is to see if you are eligible to become a teacher and what is required from you.
As per Government policy, people who wish to become teachers in England must:
- Have a grade C in GCSE maths and English language (or an equivalent qualification in maths and English), to teach in secondary schools.
- Have a grade C in GCSE maths, English language and Science (or an equivalent qualification in maths, English language and science) to teach in primary schools.
- Have a good standard of the English language, you must be able to read, write and speak English to a good level. (There will be English tests which you will have to take before your teacher training course begins).
- Have a qualified teacher status (QTS), QTS can only be achieved by having a degree either in teaching (three to four year long degree) or any other degree (such as performing arts, business etc.) to then take a one to two year long post graduate certificate in Education (PGCE).
To make it clear you cannot be a teacher without a degree, so you must have a degree and there are two ways, either you complete a teaching degree or you already have a degree then you must complete a post graduate degree course called a PGCE in your chosen level (early years, primary, secondary or higher education) and then pick a subject e.g. PGCE secondary science.
If you have a degree but not from an English university or institution, then you must contact your preferred training provider or university and they will inform you if you degree meets the requirements.
3. Which routes are available to becoming a qualified teacher:
Ok now that you know that you are eligible to be a teacher, you can decide which route to take to complete your teacher training and get that QTS.
If you have NO degree:
The first way in which you can enter teaching is by applying for a teaching degree through the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), this is the service in which almost everyone who wants to study an undergraduate (or post graduate) degree registers with and applies to their choice of universities through this service. You must first look for three universities or colleges that you are interested in who offer a teaching degree, then you must check if they have spaces on these courses available before starting your application on UCAS. An undergraduate teaching degree takes three to four years to complete and is generally seen as he fastest way to becoming a teacher, due to the fact that by the end of your course you gain a degree and teacher training experience at the same time.
You will have university level theory work about teaching, learning, child development and psychology. You will also be placed in at least two schools to carry out your teacher training experience so that you are equipped with all of the relevant skills. After successfully completing this degree you will be awarded with either a Bachelor of Education (BEd) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree / Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree and QTS.
Then that after finishing your degree course you can straight away start working as a teacher.
The second way you can enter teaching without having a degree is by doing your training and learning through a school. Either you can do a teaching course by doing the school direct training programme or through the school centred Initial teacher training (SCITT). How to enter these courses, usually its by already having a relationship with a school. So for example most people who train to become a teacher this way had already been working at their school for some years as a teaching assistant, dinner lady, site staff or volunteering for free and thus already have that relationship with that school. So you have to first contact the school that you are interested in and ask them if they have any openings for taking on a trainee teacher or if they would have any spaces open. Then if that is the case you must then make a formal application through UCAS with your school and the training course you will be doing. At the end of the SCITT or school direct courses you can gain a PGCE qualification and QTS, then you would most likely be hired within the same training school as a permanent member of staff. However if you train with school direct you can get the opportunity of being paid a salary whilst your train, make sure to check if your school is offering this. Teach direct is an intensive six-week training programme, which is then followed by two years of teaching in a challenging school.
Training through the SCITT or Teach direct route offers the same training experience as with the degree or PGCE route, however with this training you are not able to work abroad as a teacher as most international schools heavily prefer teachers who have degrees in teaching, so keep this in mind if in the future you wish to teach abroad.
- How and when to apply:
Now at this point you have your training route clear and you have your list of universities to apply to, or you have your training school with a place open. The next step is to make your application, first thing you need to know is that in regards to UCAS you can apply for a teaching degree or training course is open NOW if you want to enter for a start in September 2017. However it is a first come first served basis, so that means the earlier you apply the better chance you have to getting your preferred university places or courses. So if you are planning to start your teacher training in 2018/2019 then its best to get your application and any work experience ready now, then when application cycle is open again which is around October time then you will have a good chance to get the courses you want. Generally primary school, the arts (music, drama), English literature, PE are really popular and get full quickly early on. Whilst generally subjects such as maths, physics, IT, languages/foreign languages and chemistry are the least popular and take a bit more time to fill up. Please note I said generally, regardless of your chosen subject or age range you wish to teach it is always better to apply as early as possible.
You need to register to UCAS and you will have to fill out a detailed online form, with your personal details, school qualifications, personal statement and references. Although it is a long form, you can complete it bit by bit and save your progress (please make sure you save frequently and that your internet connection is good!). Then you will have to select Apply 1 and in this you can select up to three universities or colleges that you wish to do your teacher training in. After you have completed the form you send it off and pay a £24 administration fee. You will then receive your login and password from UCAS and you can check if you have been accepted from any of your choices or rejected. You can also at times get messages on your UCAS account from universities or schools saying that you have an interview offer so check your messages often on UCAS.
- Students loans, bursaries and financial aid
Now the last bit that everyone is interested in the money! I joke…. ok maybe I was semi serious.
Before I talk about the financial aid and bursaries available to teaching courses, I have to first point out that if you are planning to go on a teaching degree or a PGCE course, then you are expected to pay (as of 2017/2018) £9,250 per year in a full-time course or £6,935 per year in a part-time course if you are a UK/British citizen.
So it is expensive to undertake a teaching degree or PGCE course, however you can take a student loan which means that after you graduate and are you are working, if you earn at least £16,000 per year you will have to pay off your student loan but bot before then.
To help you get a more accurate idea of how much it would cost you per year to do a teaching course in England, you can use the governments student finance calculator: https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-calculator
The good news is that depending on the type of teaching subject you choose to train and the class of your degree classification (you will need a first, 2:1 or a 2:2 class in your degree), you could receive a £25,000 bursary to cover your teacher training or degree costs and more. You could also apply to prestigious scholarship if you are studying to become a maths, physics, chemistry, languages, geography or computing/IT. For the £25,000 bursary more money is awarded to those who have a first or 2:1 degree and are studying in shortage subjects such as physics, languages, maths, chemistry etc. However you can use this site, to see how much of the bursary you could possibly get: https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/funding-and-salary/overview .
For those who prefer to go on the Teach first route, then you would not have to pay any student loans, but you will get a salary and you can apply for other scholarships.
Again I have written another lengthy post! I just wanted to make sure that I have included most of the common questions I get from people who want to become a teacher, as it is a bit complicated partly due to the variety of different ways you can become a qualified teacher in England. I hope this rough guide has been helpful, and of course if you have any questions please do leave a comment, or email me (click on my contacts page above) or leave me a direct message on my instagram account @missm0ga