Routes into Teaching in Schools

There are a number of postgraduate routes to teach in schools as a teacher holding Qualified Teacher Status, (QTS) the professional status required to teach in state-maintained schools in England and Wales. The routes cover teaching primary (3-7 or 5-11 age groups) and secondary (ages 11 onwards).

All of the routes on this page lead to QTS, and you will usually gain the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) which is a level 7 qualification. Key Dates for applications are on the UCAS website here.

University-led routes


The PGCE combines study at a higher education institution with teaching practice. Time spent on teaching practice is often around two-thirds of the course. You will spend around 120 days on placement. To complete a PGCE takes one year (full-time) or two years (part-time). 

School-led routes

School Direct

School Direct is a one year programme leading to QTS and potentially a PGCE. Training is provided by either one school or a consortium of schools, in conjunction with a higher education institution. The majority of the training will be classroom based.

There are also  salaried School Direct routes, aimed at graduates with at least three years' work experience. You will be paid a salary by the school in which you train. This salary will be in line with the unqualified teacher pay scale.

School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)

SCITT is a one year programme allowing graduates to complete almost all of their teaching qualification based in a school. Training is provided by a consortium of neighbouring schools and colleges.

Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeships (PGT)

These programmes offer a new work-based route into teaching (primary and secondary), with no tuition fees. Trainees are employed and paid by the school while they learn on the job over 1 year.  They receive a combination of classroom experience and off-the-job training as they work towards QTS accreditation.  This route is popular with trainees who are already working at a school e.g. as an unqualified teacher, or a Teaching Assistant. As this route is fairly new, there are a limited number of vacancies. Each training provider will have a set plan for when they're opening so keep a look out for updates at the Department for Education site. You’ll receive a combination of classroom teaching and off-the-job training as you to work towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Teach First

An intensive, paid two year Leadership Development Programme which combines working, training and qualifying as a teacher with leadership development training and internship opportunities. Participants are based in challenging schools facing problems with pupil underachievement and poverty. At the end of the programme successful participants will gain QTS, a PGCE and have one years’ teaching experience as a ‘Newly Qualified Teacher'.

Teaching other ages groups/in different settings

Early Years Teachers

If you are interested in concentrating on teaching children in an early years context, focusing on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) please visit the Early Years Teachers section of this site.

Further Education Teachers

If you are thinking about teaching in further education, working with adults or children and young people after they have finished their compulsory education, please visit the section Teaching Post 16/Further Education of this site.

Last modified: 
Tuesday, September 24, 2019 - 13:12