You don’t need to be Einstein to know just how rewarding a career in teaching is. You get the chance to shape the lives of future generations, literally. 

Which is why applying for the best teacher training courses is vital to start your teaching journey. 


There are four key options to choose from when applying for teacher training and it’s about choosing the one that will be best for you.

There are two school-led and two university-led options.

School Direct is if you already have an undergraduate degree and your teacher training is in a school or consortium of schools in partnership with a university. This is for both primary and secondary schools.

You will train for 12 months full time, (up to two years part-time) in two schools and study at the partner university. In addition if you already have three years’ work experience as well as your undergraduate degree, you will receive a salary to train in the school. Don’t worry if you don’t have this work experience you will still be eligible for bursaries and grants to offset your course fees.

The second school option is SCITT (School-centred initial teacher training) which is based around a consortium of schools. Again you’ll need to be armed with an undergraduate degree and for the same timescale as School Direct, you will be train in one of the schools and study in another of the schools in the consortium.

You will also be taught by existing experienced school teachers and not at a partner university.

Studying full time for 12 months for a PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate of Education) at a university with a minimum of 24 weeks classroom experience in at least 2 schools is a third option. This is very similar to School Direct, it is just led and taught by the university. 

The fourth option is available if you don’t have an undergraduate degree or equivalent. This will allow you to study your degree at a participating university and then carry on studying the same subject for a further third or fourth year to obtain your QTS (qualified teacher status).


Once you’ve decided on your option, you then need to research which universities and schools best fit your needs. Think about the following:

  • What teaching strategies do they have within your subject choice?
  • What are the fees?
  • What support is in place?
  • What are the success rates for the last 3 years linked to that course?
  • What do you know about the actual tutors and their teaching methods?

These are key questions which will help you decide on your final universities.

Don’t just browse the institution websites (though this is a great start) but set aside some time to go and see the school/university on open days if possible. Make sure your visits count, and find out how to get the most out of university open days. With a bit of preparation, you can gather all the information you need to make an informed decision on whether it's a good fit for you.

It’s so important that you feel happy and comfortable with the physical environment you’ll be working and studying in, as you will be spending a significant amount of time here in the future. Finally try and speak directly to the tutors on your course, either face to face or over the phone if possible to gauge how you’ll get on with them.


2016 teacher training entry is now open and you need to apply as early as possible to ensure you gain the place you want at your preferred school/university. For all four options (the school and the university ones) you apply online at UCAS teacher training. You have the choice to select up to 3 training courses across as many or as few of the 4 options as you want.

Although there isn’t a deadline date, course places are offered on a ‘first come first-offered’ basis and popular courses get filled up fast. This means you need to get your application sorted sooner rather than later.

Don’t worry if all three of the training courses you’ve applied for become filled up, you will have a second chance (called Apply 2) to add one further choice (one at a time) until you have an offer you can accept.

The 2017 entry search tool at UCAS opens on 27th September 2016, with Apply 1 opening on 18th October 2016.

Teacher training courses are the best place to start your teaching career. Seize your opportunity now to genuinely make a difference to not only your future, but the future of the students you’ll be teaching.

Further information

To find out more about training to become a teacher, take a look at these online resources:

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