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Teacher Training moves Onwards and Upwards

Classroom image

Jacques Barzun (the historian and philosopher of education who died last month) wrote: “Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.”

In the UK, at least, this now looks set to change. The Government is determined to attract the brightest and best into teaching in the hope of inspiring a new generation of learners and a renewed respect for the profession.


Teacher training has been overhauled with new schemes introduced and a move towards more school-based training. The university-based Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is still an option, as is the School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) route, but the Graduate Teaching Programme (GTP) is being replaced by School Direct. This comes in two forms; one offers a salary on the unqualified teacher scale and is strictly for those with several years’ work experience (which doesn’t have to be in teaching) and the other is unpaid, with students able to apply for bursaries (see below). Find out more about the different routes to training on the Teaching Agency website. Applications for most PGCE and SCITT courses are made through the Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR) and application by 1st December is needed for primary and popular secondary courses such as History and P.E. Details of schools participating in School Direct are not yet available but you should register your interest with the Teaching Agency who will keep you posted with the latest information.

Funding for teacher training is now targeted towards subjects where there is a shortage of teachers such as Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Modern Foreign Languages. Plus for the first time this year there are bursaries of up to £20,000 available for Computer Science. First class graduates can expect to receive higher levels of funding to train than those with a 2.i. Those with a 2.ii may or may not receive any funding at all, depending on the subject and age range they want to teach. See the Teaching Agency for further information on funding your training.

Before applying to train as a teacher:

  • Spend a week or two in a school, observing lessons. Not only will this confirm your enthusiasm to teach – or else put you off completely – but it will also form the basis for your personal statement and, hopefully, interview.
  • Think ‘teaching’. Talk to teachers, keep an eye on the education news and read the trade press. A good place to start is with the TES. Check out their forum for prospective student teachers too.

Another change to teacher training this year is tougher professional skills tests in literacy and numeracy, which now need to be passed before starting to train. Sample tests, explanations of topics covered and plenty of suggestions for practice materials are all on the Teaching Agency’s website.

The Careers and Placements Service is running a workshop on Getting into Teacher Training on Wednesday 14th November. Look out, too, for details of the Careers in Education Symposium on Friday 7th December. If you want a second opinion on a personal statement, or any other advice about becoming a teacher, then book an appointment with a career adviser via CareerHub or by phoning 01707 284791.


Mary Baldwin is a Careers Adviser in the Careers and Placements Service at the University of Hertfordshire.













(Classroom Image: Denise Krebs)

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