How to become a teacher in the UK?

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

Do you have an expertise which you can teach? Have you ever thought of teaching

in the UK to share your knowledge overseas? The teaching profession is one of the

most stable and respectable careers in the UK. A newly qualified teacher is paid at a

range from £25,714 to £32,157 depending on location. Regular pay raise is common

as one develops their skills and performance in the classroom. To be part of the

education sector, you will need some nationally-recognized qualifications. There are

also various routes to become a teacher in the UK.

The Basic Requirement

Most schools in the UK are funded by the government. They are called state

schools. To teach in a state school, you must have a degree and gained the

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) by following a programme of Initial Teacher Training

(ITT). Although you can teach in the private sector such as independent schools,

academies and free schools without the QTS, you will certainly strengthen your

application if you have one.

You will also need to achieve a minimum grade C/ 4 in GCSE English and

mathematics. On top of that, the same grade in a GCSE science subject is also

required if you wish to teach at early years and primary level. This is because

primary school covers a whole range of curriculum subjects while secondary school

calls for specialization in a particular subject.

Don’t worry If you did not take the GCSE. If you studied the DSE/ HKCEE/ HKALE/

IGCSE/ IB Diploma exams, you can show to the UK education authority that your

grades and subjects are of equivalent standards that demonstrate a similar level and

breadth with the stated GCSE requirement.

Obtaining the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

The most essential prerequisite to become a teacher is the QTS status. If you don’t

have a degree, you can start from studying for a bachelor degree. Apply for an

undergraduate teacher training course in the UK. It is usually a degree in education or a

combined one with an Arts or Science major. The programme will provide you with all the

theories and knowledge you need as a teacher in the UK. You will gain the status of QTS

when you graduate.

If you have a degree but with limited teaching experience outside the UK, you can

complete a postgraduate teacher training course – usually a Postgraduate Certificate in

Education (PGCE) - to achieve the QTS status. The course includes sessions on

classroom management and teaching methodologies. It also offers you plenty of

classroom experience in at least 2 schools with a minimum of 24 weeks of school

experience. It is an intensive training where you can practice what you are learning.

If you have a degree with more than 2 years teaching experience outside the UK,

you can get the QTS status by going through the Assessment Only (AO) route. You

will need to present evidence that you meet the standards, including your GCSE results

or a standard equivalent. Then you will demonstrate your teaching which will be

assessed in a school by an accredited and approved AO provider. Apply to these

providers directly if you opt for this route.

What if you studied history in the university but would like to teach psychology at school?

In this situation, you may have to take the Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE)

course as your degree subject is not closely related to your chosen teaching subject.

Training providers will ask you to take the course as a condition of your postgraduate or

AO offer if they feel that you have the right qualities to become a teacher but need more

subject knowledge first.

For any qualifications that are outside the UK, including your A levels and undergraduate

degree, you will have to apply for a Statement of Comparability from the National

Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) to prove that you have attained an

equivalent level required.

Training Cost and Funding

It can be costly to study for the PGCE. Most institutions in England and Wales

charge around £9,250 for UK and EU students and around £16,500 to £25,200 for

international students. Luckily, there are plenty of funding available including

teaching bursaries, scholarships and loans. As long as you want to teach in the UK

and look for financial assistance, you will definitely find some kind of support.

The amount of these funding varies depending on your undergraduate honours and

the subject you will teach. For example, if you have an undergraduate degree of a

2:2 or above, you may qualify for a bursary of up to £26,000. For those who wish

to teach subjects that are in demand like maths, you could qualify for a grant of up to


If you have done exceptionally well and proved yourself as one of the highest

qualified graduates, there are postgraduate teaching training courses known as

School Direct programs which are salaried positions where you learn as you teach

and gain the QTS through experience.

We offer free consultation on your career in the UK

There are many ways to become a teacher in the UK. Schedule a free consultation

session with us for a more customized advice. Good luck in your journey of teaching

in the UK!

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