Routes into Teaching

From traditional university studies to on-the-job training

If you are considering teaching as a career, you have come to the right place. The details within this section will ensure that you have the information you need to get started - eligibility, experience, training providers, types of course and funding.

Astra Teaching School Hub is on hand to provide impartial advice and support, so do get in touch with any additional questions.

There are several accredited Initial Teacher Training (ITT) providers based in Buckinghamshire, with a joint vision to recruit and train outstanding teachers and school leaders of the future.  Links to their websites can be found below with further information about their individual provision:

Accredited ITT Providers in Buckinghamshire


The Department for Education's website, below, provides information on how to apply to train to teach. In general, pre-requisites to train to teach are GCSE in English and Maths (grade 4 or C) or above (as well as Science GCSE if you wish to teach in primary). Additionally, a degree in any subject is required.

If you do not hold a degree, you can study undergraduate teacher training to obtain a degree alongside Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Get in to Teaching: How to become a teacher


The various routes into teaching can be summarised as follows:

1. School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)

This is a school-led ‘on the job’ programme with access to professional studies, leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Some teacher training programmes like ‘school direct’ offer a salary for those with the right experience.

The SCITT programme is tailored towards teaching in schools in the local area, and also includes seminars and lectures covering the same material as university based courses.  The programme is for people who want to train to teach in primary or secondary. 

Training approaches include seminars and lectures, observing expert practitioners, trainee presentations and assignments. The course is supported by educational research, along with practical classroom based training.

2. Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeship

This is a school-led programme whereby you can earn a salary whilst training to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). You’ll receive classroom teaching and 20% off-the-job training in order to complete university studies. The programme is designed by experienced schools and teachers.

3. Assessment Only Route to Qualified Teacher Status

If you have a degree and substantial prior teaching experience as an unqualified teacher, this route will allow you to gain your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) without having to complete a full training programme. This assessment only route usually takes around 12 weeks and allows you to remain in a paid teaching post whilst qualifying.

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4. Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is a 1-year training programme most commonly offered by universities that also gives you ‘Qualified Teacher Status’ (QTS). The programme is aimed at prospective primary and secondary school teachers. One of the most common ways to gain a PGCE is through completing your subject degree of choice first, e.g. English or History, and then to complete your PGCE training. As well as lecture-based learning you’ll carry out work placements to gain experience in teaching the curriculum in a school setting.

5. Undergraduate Initial Teacher Training

These programmes are offered by universities and allow you to apply for Teacher Training Programmes that include Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). The most common route for prospective primary school teachers is taking a Bachelor of Education degree or a similar degree. They take 3–4 years to complete. You can also take similar degrees for secondary school teaching.

6. Teach First Teacher Training Programme

This is a two-year training programme leading to a PGCE and QTS. At the end of your first year, you’ll have your QTS. At the end of your second year, you’ll have your PGCE.

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7. Career Changers

A career change into teaching allows you to use your experience and passion to inspire young people. As well as considering all of the options above, you may wish to visit Now Teach, a service that specifically helps career changers:

Now Teach

8. Return to Teaching

Returning to teaching may be easier than expected, with help and support available from the Department for Education.

The DfE return to teaching webpage offers a range of useful online resources, including online events specifically for returning teachers and frequently asked questions to help bring back valuable experience to the classroom.

Return to teaching

Online events

Frequently asked questions

If you hold QTS and want to teach Maths, Physics or Modern Foreign Languages, you could gain one-to-one support from a return to teaching adviser (RTTA).