FAQs: Teacher training

Explore your options if you have a degree (or are about to get one) and want to train to be a teacher in London.

All postgraduate teacher training programmes in London are listed on and must be applied for through the UCAS website.

Our London Teacher Training map shows where to find training opportunities across the city.

Training opportunities in London

How do I use the 'Find a Post Graduate Teacher Training courses in England?' service

You can find a new national search tool on the gov.uk website, which allows you to search for post graduate courses:

  • By post code
  • Across England or
  • By school, university or other training provider

For example, if you put in your home postcode you can specify a search area of 5, 10, 20, 50 or 100 miles from your home. You can then filter your search further by subject and type of course e.g. salaried, non-salaried, part time etc.

Entry requirements, provider contact details, and the important course code that you will need when you apply through UCAS are provided for each course.

How do I use the London Teacher Training Map?

We have designed a London Teacher Training Map so that you can look at the courses and schools that you can train at in the capital. These schools include mainstream schools and special needs schools.

You can see which schools or universities/colleges are within a reasonable travel distance of where you will be living and what they offer. There is also average housing rental data and a Transport for London journey planner to see your best public transport routes and travel options.

You may find it helpful to use this together with the search tool 'Find postgraduate teacher training courses in England' to find out more about the location of courses you are interested in.

Entry requirements

What are the minimum entry requirements?

Quite often applications are rejected by UCAS because the applicant does not meet the stated course entry requirements. Entry requirements are not all the same, so it’s really important that you look at the specific entry requirements for each course before you apply.

You can find entry requirements for each course by using the new 'Find postgraduate teacher training courses in England' search tool or by looking at training provider websites.

As a general guide, the minimum requirements for all teacher training programmes (including postgraduate teaching apprenticeships) are:

  • degree: you need a degree for all postgraduate teacher training programmes. Check the minimum grade required for the programme you are applying to by looking at the specific entry requirements  on UCAS for that programme. Commonly this may be a 2:2 or a 2:1
  • GCSE English Language and Maths at Grade C / Grade 4
  • GCSE Science at Grade C / Grade applies only to those wanting to teach Primary or Key Stage 3
  • school experience: providers have been advised by DfE not to reject anyone on the basis of no prior observational school experience but it can strengthen your application if you can show at least a few days of experience before you apply. Check with the provider if this is not clearly stated in their entry requirements
  • professional skills tests in literacy and numeracy. You cannot physically take these tests until you have applied. See here for further information about the professional skills tests

Offers are usually made subject to satisfactory criminal records checks and occupational health assessments, the provider will arrange these for you later.

What if I have qualifications from overseas?

You should check with the course provider to establish what they need from you and what equivalencies they would accept.

This might require you to get a certificate from NARIC to confirm the equivalency of your existing qualifications. You may also need to take some equivalency exams. Course providers have different equivalency requirements. 

It is important that you find out early whether your qualification is accepted as it can take some time for equivalencies to be resolved.

What if I don’t have a degree?

If you don’t have a degree, you can study for your degree and complete your teacher training at the same time at various universities and colleges in England. Full-time courses usually take 3 to 4 years, while part-time courses take 4 to 6 years.

If you have undergraduate credits from previous study, you might be able to complete a course in 2 years.


What qualification would I get?

All teacher training programmes advertised on UCAS will lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Some programmes just lead to QTS, and some lead to QTS with a Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) often with the possibility of additional Masters level credits (M).

You are required to have QTS to teach in any maintained school in England and Wales. 

These qualifications are explained below:


This is a professional qualification and so it is only ever awarded by the professional body for the teaching profession in England and Wales - the Teaching Regulation Agency.  As with other professional qualifications, it may not be recognised abroad.

On some teacher training courses, you are recommended to the Teaching Regulation Agency for QTS by a university/college and on other programmes you are recommended by an accredited school.

To be recommended for QTS you must be able to demonstrate that your teaching meets the Government’s published Teachers’ Standards.

QTS and PGCE – sometimes including M

Some programmes also include a PGCE which is a separate academic qualification, and others also include credits towards a Masters. 

The PGCE is always awarded by a higher education institution.

What difference do these qualifications make to the nature of the training?

  • QTS-only programmes - most of your training takes place in the classroom and some schools prefer this when recruiting new teachers
  • QTS + PGCE (M) programmes - a significant amount of training takes place out of the classroom but you would still receive at least 24 weeks in school

Teacher Training Providers

Who provides teacher training courses?

Traditionally all teacher training was provided through courses led by universities or other tertiary academic bodies.

Nowadays groups of schools are course providers, and they can lead courses in partnership with a university. The university accredits the course and provides the postgraduate qualification.

Sometimes a group of schools deliver training for the professional qualification, without the involvement of a university.

You will  see exactly who is the course provider and who separately accredits the course, in the listings on Find postgraduate teacher training courses in England

Groups of schools (such as a Teaching School Alliance) can offer both salaried and unsalaried courses. The unsalaried courses come with the same government bursaries that are available on university courses.

What are the key features of courses offered by different types of provider?

University Course Programme

  • Interview and selection is by the university
  • These are unsalaried, for 1 year and commonly full-time
  • These are commonly PGCE with Masters level credits (M) + QTS (Qualified Teacher Status)
  • The university awards the PGCE and the Masters credits where available. They also recommend you for QTS
  • You pay tuition fees to the univeristy. Government bursaries apply for many subjects. Maintenance loans are also available. Read more funding and bursary information

Group of Schools as Course Provider


Unsalaried Courses

  • Interview and selection can occur at individual school level or centrally by the school group. Sometimes universities are involved in this.
  • These courses are commonly for 1 year, full-time
  • A variety of qualification outcomes are available. Most lead to PGCE + QTS with Masters level credits. A few courses could be QTS only.
  • The school group can add value to the training
  • Where a PGCE is included this will be awarded by the accrediting university. QTS may be recommended either by a university or the school group if it is accredited to do this
  • The trainee pays tuition fees to the accrediting body who provide part of the training. Government bursaries apply for many subjects. Maintenance loans also available. Read more funding and bursary information
  • Often you can select your main host school when you apply. You also spend time in another school. See the London Teacher Training Map to help you do this
  • Sometimes the trainee attends exactly the same PGCE lectures at university with those who applied to the university - and sometimes the school group may have a relationship with the university where they deliver some of this PGCE training
  • The QTS training can be delivered through the school group in the partnership with university or just by the school group if it is accredited to do so
  • Schools in the alliance have the option of not advertising Newly Qualified Teacher positions and they could retain you in a teaching position the following year. This does not always guarantee a job but it provides a close link to possible employment. You are still free to look for work elsewhere if you wish.

Salaried Courses

  • Interview and selection can occur at individual school level (quality assured by the school group) or centrally by the school group. Sometimes universities are involved in this
  • These courses are commonly for 1 year, full-time
  • The qualification is commonly QTS but some include a PGCE with (M) Masters level credits
  • Some courses may require you to have had some previous work experience (in any field), but many do not require this. It's important to check the entry requirements
  • The accrediting organisation (university or school) recommends you for QTS and the university awards the PGCE when this is provided
  • Tuition fees are normally wholly paid for by the school group and the host school pays you a salary. The salary would normally be Point 1 on the 'unqualified teacher pay range' but this could be discussed with the school. You are not entitled to bursaries or maintenance loans
  • Often you can select your main host school when you apply. You also spend time in another school. see the London Teacher Training Map to help you do this
  • On QTS programmes most of the training is in the classroom. Programmes that include a PGCE have a greater amount of academic study outside the classroom
  • Schools in the alliance have the option of not advertising Newly Qualified Teacher postions and they could retain you in a teaching position the following year. This does not always guarantee a job but it provides a close link to possible employment. You are still free to look for work elsewhere if you wish
What other routes are available?

Teach First

  • Teach First is a charity running 2-year salaried programmes with no need for you to have had 3 years work experience
  • Minimum 2:1 degree is required
  • Teach First chooses the school where you train and this could be anywhere nationally. It will be a challenging school in a low-income community
  • You are allocated a class and start teaching from the start, following a programme of training in the summer holidays, and are supported and developed throughout your 2 years on the programme

Researchers in schools

  • A 2 or 3-year salaried programme in for researchers who have completed (or are finishing) their doctorate
  • More information can be found here.

Independent school sector

  • A 2-year PGCE and QTS salaried training programme in independent senior schools represented by the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC)
  • No requirements for 3 years previous work experience
  • More information, including a list of HMC schools in London, can be found here.

Assessment only

  • Some universities and groups of schools offer ‘assessment only’ options (e.g. no training) which will measure your teaching against the Teachers’ Standards.
  • This is only suitable for those who have taught unqualified for several years.
  • Further information and a list of Assessment Only providers in London can be found here.

Special needs

There is no specialist teacher training qualification to teach in a special needs school. You would need to train for a standard teacher training qualification but you may wish to do this at a special needs placement school. Use our London Teacher Training Map to see special schools who are involved in teacher training and who their course provider is

Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeships

This is a relatively new government initiative and a few providers may offer teaching apprenticeships this year.

It is important to be aware that the entry requirements remain the same as for other teacher training programmes - you still need a degree and relevant GCSEs (or the equivalent).

You would be employed full time by a school while on the programme with 20% 'off the job' training. You would receive a salary at the same levels as a normal salaried teacher training course, i.e. commonly the lowest point on the 'unqualified teacher pay range'.

All programmes will lead to QTS but the apprenticeship qualification may also include a PGCE. There is a minimum of 12 months training to secure the apprenticeship qualification which is longer than most other 'one (academic) year' teacher training courses where you start in September but would be qualified by end June/early July.

In order to finish in line with other teacher training programmes at the end of the academic year many Teaching Apprenticeships may start in July. It is vital that you check course start and end dates. Having achieved QTS you will then need to pass an apprenticeship end point assessment to gain the apprenticeship qualification.

If you're 18 or over, live in a London borough and in your first year of an apprenticeship, you get discounted travel with an Oyster photocard.

How to apply to UCAS and application top tips

The application process

All applications must be made online, through UCAS and you will need to register with them to start the application process. 

The first time you apply, you can choose 3 separate courses. You will be able to search for courses using the new DfE Teacher Training search tool but you can also use our London Teacher Training Map to help you search in specific geographical areas.

Once course providers receive your application they will reject it or make you an offer within an approx. 40 day time limit. Many should respond far sooner than that.

If this deadline (known as the Reject by Default date) is reached, UCAS automatically rejects your application.

If you are rejected (or withdraw) from all 3 choices, you are then free to apply again as often as you like, but now only 1 programme at a time.

If any of your key qualifications as specified in the entry requirements are not from the UK, it is vital that you check their equivalency in consultation with the course provider. This is your responsibility.

For non-UK degrees, it is also often helpful if you can send the course provider a separate email with a scanned copy of the degree transcript. This can help minimise delays caused by equivalency and grade comparability issues.

Top tips for completing the UCAS application

You can start filling in the application form, save it, and come back to it later.

Your personal statement is limited to 4,000 characters.

It is a good idea to cover these key points:

  • what is driving your desire to make an application for teacher training?
  • outline your transferable skills
  • reflect on your observations in the school experience you did, showing you understand the pedagogy and curriculum for your subject, and the role of a teacher

Once you are happy with your completed application form you confirm that it can now be submitted. At this point your application becomes fixed in all respects other than your programme choices which can be amended later.

UCAS automatically contacts your referees with instructions about how to upload their references. Once your references have been uploaded UCAS will come back to you for a final check on your programme choices and ask you to pay the application fee. Only then do programme providers receive your application.

It is worth encouraging your referees to upload their references promptly in order to avoid undue delay in programme providers being able to read your application.

Best of luck with your applications to train to be a teacher in London!