Requirements for a teaching career in the UK

If you have decided you want a career teaching in the UK, there are a few things you need to have. There are different requirements for different levels of teaching. It is important you do your research based on what you want to teach, as well as the age group and level. 

Academic requirements

You can become a teacher with a university course, gain a degree (BSc, BA, BAEd), and complete an Initial Teacher Training (IIT) or Initial Teacher Education (ITE). The completion of IIT leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in England and Wales and the Teaching Qualification (TQ) in Scotland. 

With an IIT certificate, you can teach at primary schools in England or Wales. A primary school teacher in the UK teaches all subjects as outlined in the curriculum.

Secondary school teachers teach only one subject, and this is usually the subject they majored in. To get into this level, you will need to complete a bachelor’s degree in the subject field you want to teach. Say you want to teach geography; you will have to major in geography. A one-year PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) will allow you to teach all levels, in the subject you majored in. PGCE is usually done within one year if studied full time, or two years part-time.  

To become a supply teacher, you’ll need QTS and a degree. To make an application stronger for all options, you can do some volunteering work in schools to get a feel of subjects, classroom behaviors, and the students. 

A declaration of health questionnaire

A declaration of health questionnaire will be given to you to assess your health and medical fitness. Without it, you cannot begin studying on a BAEd, PGCert, IIT, or a direct program until the University receives your results. Based on your answers, your fitness to teach will be determined. 

You are expected to answer all questions in Sections 1 and 2. Your doctor will fill Form B and place you in either category A, B1, B or C. Category A is for those who have no medical conditions. Category B1 is for those with minor conditions such as fever or allergies. Category B is for those who have the capacity to teach but suffer from a condition that may interfere with their ability to teach. Category C is those who do not fit, both physically and health-wise to teach.  

The information you provide about a disability is protected by the UK law, under the Equality Act 2010. 

Declaration of a criminal conviction

You will be expected to undergo a criminal check before starting training. Being an ex-offender doesn’t necessarily disqualify your application. If you are convicted of certain violent and sexual offences, especially to children, it automatically disqualifies you. Other serious offences include offences related to drug use, fraud, embezzlement, home invasion, and dealing in stolen property. 

A panel takes into consideration the length of time that has passed, the seriousness of the offence if children were at risk when the crime was committed, and explanations given by the applicant when reviewing a criminal record. 

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