Routes Into Teaching
If you are thinking of becoming a teacher and don’t know where to start, firstly you will need to know what ITT stands for.
You will see this mentioned a lot when you are doing your research in to different training routes. ITT is the abbreviation for Initial Teacher Training and is the umbrella of teacher training, in which different routes in to teaching sit.
Applying for the course
What do I need to hold to apply for an Initial Teacher Training Course?
- GCSEs: Firstly, applicants to teacher training need to have at least a grade C in English and Maths GCSE (or equivalent standard). If you are looking to get into primary teaching you will also need a grade C or equivalent in Science.
- Degree: If you are thinking of becoming a secondary teacher your degree needs to be relevant to the subject you want to teach. Initial teacher training providers such as universities or schools make the final decision on whether your degree holds enough subject knowledge for you to teach that subject. Some providers may ask candidates to top up their subject knowledge with subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses. You will only be asked to do this if you are going to teach in a secondary school. The following secondary subject SKE courses are available: Chemistry, Computer Science, Design & Technology, Mathematics, Modern Foreign Languages, Physics. Most SKE courses are the equivalent of two weeks’ study, but some may be longer depending on whether a candidate needs a quick top-up or some in-depth knowledge.
- Skills Tests: As of 1st July 2013 applicants to ITT courses must pass a numeracy and literacy skills test prior to the course starting. You will get 3 attempts at passing the tests. ITT providers will use the skills results to help them decide the suitability of an applicant. You should ensure that you take the tests before interview for the best possible chance of a successful application.
Initial Teacher Training Routes
You can do your teacher training either through a school, while employed at a school or through a higher education institution such as a university or college:
1. Through a School – SCITT
School-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) is a programme run by and based in schools.
- All SCITT courses lead to qualified teacher status (QTS) and many award the postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE)
- There are many schools and colleges running SCITT courses all over England. These groups provide all kinds of SCITT, covering primary, middle years and the full range of secondary subjects.
- You will usually be based in one school from the consortium – the ‘lead school’ – while completing teaching practices at others within the group.
- Courses last for one year full-time, running from September to June, some start in August.
- You may be eligible to receive funding while you train
- Entry requirements are a degree or an equivalent qualification. If your degree or other experience doesn’t relate to the subject you want to teach, then you might need to complete a pre-training course to get your knowledge up to the required level.
2. Employed at a school
There are currently 2 routes that you can take to “earn while you learn”
School Direct Training Programme (salaried)
- With School Direct you are selected by a school from day one. Candidates will receive a salary on the unqualified teacher pay scale.
- School Direct is available in primary and secondary schools across England
- Programmes generally last for one year.
- You must have three or more years’ experience of working life to apply.
- Successful completion of a School Direct course will lead to qualified teacher status (QTS).
- School Direct programmes may also include a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE).
- If you are a high-quality graduate you may be eligible for a bursary of up to £20,000. Otherwise you will need to take an employment-based route
- A two-year Leadership Development Programme
- Teach First participants only work in schools in low income communities
- You are guaranteed a full-time salary, paid by the school you are working in for a minimum of two years.
- In the first year you are paid a basic salary as an unqualified teacher. In the second year you will be a newly qualified teacher (NQT) paid to scale.
- There are no tuition fees.
- Trainees join Teach First and their university partners for six weeks of intensive training before teaching in a school in a low-income community for two years, where they achieve a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE)
- The programme is currently offered in the following regions: East Midlands, Greater London, Kent and Medway, North East, North West, South Coast, South West, Wales (South), West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber.
3. Higher Education Institution
The alternative route is for you to apply for a postgraduate certificate of education (PGCE) course at a university or higher education institution.
These ITT courses take about a year and include 18 weeks in a school for trainees wanting to teach at primary level, or 24 weeks for those wanting to teach at secondary level.
At the end of the course, assuming all the standards are met, you will be awarded qualified teacher status (QTS) and become a newly qualified teacher (NQT).
It may also be possible to study for a PGCE via flexible distance learning, or in a school by completing a programme of school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT), through Teach First or by completing the School Direct Training Programme
How do I get teaching experience?
You don’t need to put your career on hold whilst you wait to be accepted onto ITT. Whilst you are working towards your degree or after you have graduated you can gain teaching experience which will look great for your application.
Of course, schools will always be willing to take on aspiring teachers to do voluntary work. Schools are very busy so the best way to achieve this is by putting on your suit and taking your CV down in person.
You can work in a school as a cover supervisor where you will oversee lessons and supervisor pupils in class.
For you to work as a cover supervisor at Aspire People all you need is a few weeks experience of working with children and hold a degree or be working towards completing one. The benefits of working with Aspire People is that we offer free training courses to all our cover supervisors, we are able to offer you a mixture of work at different schools which help enhance your experience and we will also write you a reference on letter headed paper which you can take to your ITT interview.
What do I do if i don't get onto an ITT course?
Don’t worry. You now have a year to gain vital experience for your next application. A lot of teachers have not been accepted with their first application onto an ITT but still go on to become teachers.
One of the main reasons students don’t get accepted onto ITT courses is because of a lack of experience. At Aspire People we can help you with gaining some teaching experience. You can work as a Cover Supervisor (unqualified teacher) in schools across the Midlands.