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TEACHING IN THE UK
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What qualifications do I need to become a teacher?
Do teachers need any special qualifications to be able to teach in the UK state maintained schools?
To teach in the state sector teachers need to have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). To gain this, you are required to have a degree and a formal teaching qualification (although the two can be combined), which is designed for the age group and subject you wish to teach. You need to reach the ‘Professional Standards for Qualified Teacher Status’ by the end of your formal training to gain QTS.
As a newly qualified teacher in the state sector in England and Wales you must complete an induction period, which consists of the full-time equivalent of three terms’ work. Extra training is provided by the school during your induction period to help you meet required standards.
You can only supply teach for a maximum of four terms if you have yet to complete your induction period.
If you’re from overseas your degree must be equivalent to a degree from the UK, you should have the equivalent of GCSE English and Maths and you should be qualified to teach in your own country. Then a conversion programme can be followed once in a school to gain Qualified Teacher Status; for more information, see our Educational qualifications article.
If you have a doctorate you can’t automatically teach in a secondary school, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Further or Adult Education only allows you to teach in post-16 institutions.
Anybody who wants to be a secondary school teacher in a state maintained school will need to have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) which can be achieved by completing their Initial Teacher Training (ITT). The most common way to do this is by completing a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course.
A full time PGCE course lasts one year but it can be spread over the course of two years if done part time. A work placement lasting approximately 24 weeks will need to be completed in this time and can sometimes lead to full time employment at the school after all teacher training has finished.
Those who have a degree but it isn’t relevant to teaching can complete a two year PGCE conversion course. Once this has been completed they will be fully qualified to be a secondary school teacher.
If you currently have no teaching qualifications, find out more here about teacher training in the UK.