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Postgraduate Teacher Training Courses

This section includes guides to qualifications such as the PGCE and PGDE - postgraduate courses leading to the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) required to teach at primary and secondary level.

We've also explained other routes into teaching, including advice on professional training options such as School Direct and Teach First as well as information on specialist training in Early Years or Further Education teaching.

Postgraduate Certificate in Education

The PGCE is a common initial teacher training pathway for postgraduates.

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Professional Diploma in Education

The Scottish PGDE is a postgraduate teacher training pathway, equivalent to the PGCE.

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Other forms of graduate-level initial teacher training

The PGCE and PGDE are the most common university courses offering initial teacher training qualifications. We list them here on FindAMasters (along with a wide range of other postgraduate courses).

However, other routes into teaching exist for graduates who haven't previously studied a degree in Education. We've provided a quick introduction to them in the sections below.

What about Masters degrees in Education?

Specialist Masters programmes in Education do exist and often award an M.Ed (Masters in Education). However, these are usually academic programmes, not a form of professional teacher training.

School Direct

The School Direct programme involves spending a year with at least two schools, getting first-hand teaching experience in a classroom setting. Courses often lead to the award of a PGCE, but not always – make sure you ask the specific provider about this.

Once you’ve successfully finished the programme, you’ll receive QTS. People who train through the School Direct are frequently offered by jobs at the schools in which they’ve trained.

Funding for School Direct is the same as it is for PGCEs, which means you may be eligible for generous government bursaries and scholarships.

There’s also the School Direct (salaried) option, open to people with at least three years of employment experience (in any discipline). This salaried route pays trainees the same wages as an unqualified teacher.

Teach First

Teach First is the charity that runs the Leadership Development Programme (LDP), an initiative aimed at helping outstanding graduates qualify as teachers in low-income communities. You’ll need at least a 2:1 undergraduate degree to be eligible for this scheme.

You can choose between Early Years/primary school level and secondary school level. Whichever pathway you pick, you’ll be supported by several expert mentors and will attend a number of extracurricular conference days over the course of the programme.

The LDP lasts two years and, by the end of your first year, you’ll have QTS. Once you’ve finished you’ll receive a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (not to be confused with the Scottish PGDE!) worth 120 CATS credits. You can ‘top up’ this PGDip to a Masters later on.

School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)

SCITT refers to a couple of slightly different things when it comes to teacher training, so it’s worth being clear about them.

On the one hand, SCITT can mean the local networks of schools that co-operate on school-led teacher training courses (for example, the Sheffield SCITT).

SCITT may also refer to the school-led teacher training courses themselves. SCITT courses always offer QTS, and many will give you the opportunity to gain a PGCE. School Direct courses are often run in partnership with a SCITT network.

Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT)

If you want to teach children up to 5 years old, you’ll need to gain Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) – the equivalent of QTS for young children.

There are a few postgraduate EYITT options:

  • University-led early years programmes: If you already currently work with young children, you could complete one of these courses on a part-time basis and gain EYTS. If you don’t have employment experience, you study full-time in combination with school placements. Some of these programmes include a PGCE.
  • School-led early years programmes: If you’d prefer to train with a network of schools or nurseries, a School Direct (Early Years) course offers you this opportunity. Like university-led early years courses, some of these include a PGCE.
  • Assessment Only: Ideal for people who already meet the Teacher’s Standards (Early Years) and don’t need further training, these courses result in EYTS.

If you’re training to become an early years teacher, you may be eligible for a £7,000 grant to cover your course fees, as well as a bursary of up to £5,000, depending on your undergraduate degree classification.

Further Education

Further education (FE) covers a broad range of post-compulsory education, from vocational courses to teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL).

The FE sector works differently to primary and secondary education, so you won’t necessarily need the same formal qualifications that are required by state schools. However, there are still a range of courses aimed to help you gain skills and experience in FE, such as the PGCE and the Diploma in Education and Training.

Search for postgraduate teacher training

Ready to start searching for a postgraduate teacher training programme? You can view a wide range of courses right here on FindAMasters.

Last updated - 14/12/2017

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