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If you’re thinking about applying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in England, you’re in luck: there are lots of funding options available, and you may be eligible for a generous scholarship or bursary from the UK Government.
This page will talk you through the different funding opportunities and explain how you can apply for financial support. We’ve also covered what you need to know if you’re an international or EU student.
PGCEs aren’t the only way to become a teacher in the UK though, so we’ve clarified the funding situation for Scottish Professional Graduate Diplomas in Education (PGDEs), as well as the other routes you can take.
The UK Government offers generous, tax-free bursaries to people who are interested in teaching in-demand subjects in English schools.
Bursaries of £26,000 are available to graduates in the following subjects who have at least a 2:2 (or a Masters / PhD):
In addition, Chemistry, Maths, Modern Languages and Physics are also eligible for early-career payments of £6,000, which is paid via three £2,000 instalments in your second, third and fourth years of teaching.
Meanwhile, bursaries of between £6,000 and £15,000 are offered to graduates who have at least a 2:2 or a Masters / PhD in these subjects:
For more information on bursaries and eligibility, please visit the UK Government’s website on teacher training finance.
Eligibility is based on the criteria set by Student Finance England. In practice, this means that you could be entitled to financial support if you’re a UK national and enrolled on a teacher training course that charges tuition fees and leads to qualified teacher status (QTS) in England. EU and EEA nationals may also be eligible under certain circumstances.
Applying for a bursary couldn’t be any easier – in fact, you don’t actually need to apply! All you need to do is make sure you’re enrolled on a fee-based postgraduate teacher training programme, meet the relevant eligibility criteria, and your training provider will automatically begin the payment once you start the course.
PGCE bursaries are paid in 10 equal monthly instalments, running from October to July. So, if you receive a £26,000 bursary, you’ll get ten monthly payments of £2,600.
Your teacher training provider will administer these payments, so it’s a good idea to confirm the schedule with them.
Although your bursary isn’t taxable, it might be counted as capital income if you receive state benefits. Check with your local benefits office to see how it might affect your status.
PGCE scholarships are offered instead of bursaries to talented trainee teachers in certain subject areas who are enrolled on an eligible course in England. They are awarded in partnership with the relevant professional association:
If successful, you’ll receive a £28,000 tax-free scholarship (apart from the Geography scholarship, which is worth £17,000).
As with bursaries, Chemistry, Modern Languages, Maths and Physics teachers will also receive three annual £2,000 early-career payments totalling £6,000.
Extra funding isn’t the only benefit offered by these scholarships; you’ll also receive free membership of your professional subject association, along with extra support and networking opportunities.
Like bursaries, you’ll usually need to be a UK national and enrolled on a fee-based teacher training programme in England to qualify for a PGCE scholarship. EU and EEA nationals may also be eligible in certain circumstances.
The academic requirement for a scholarship is a 2:1 Bachelors degree in an appropriate subject area (or a Masters / PhD). In some cases you might be able to apply with a 2:2, but you’ll need to show that you have significant professional experience.
You apply for a PGCE scholarship through the website of the relevant professional subject body:
If your application isn’t successful, you’ll still receive the usual bursary for your subject.
Even if you receive a bursary or scholarship, you could be eligible for a loan to cover the costs of your postgraduate teacher training course.
If you’re studying a PGCE in England, you may be able to apply for a tuition fee loan through Student Finance England so that you don’t have to pay course fees upfront. This is non-means-tested, so your financial circumstances won’t be taken into account. UK and EU / EEA students are usually eligible for this support.
Depending on your situation, you could also apply for a maintenance loan if you’re a UK national, normally live in England and have been in the UK for three years before the start of your course. The amount you receive varies according to your household income and whether or not you’re living with your parents.
Please note that all of these loans are part of the undergraduate student finance system, not the postgraduate loans that Masters students can apply for.
For more information on loan amounts and eligibility, visit the UK Government’s student finance page.
Non-UK EU nationals may be eligible for bursaries, scholarships and tuition fee loans if they’ve lived in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland for three years before the start of the PGCE.
In the case of maintenance loans, non-UK EU nationals must have been living in the UK for five years for purposes other than education before the start of the programme.
There are a few other circumstances in which international students could be eligible for financial support with a PGCE. You might be able to get fund help if you’re:
For more information, visit the UK Government’s official teacher training portal or take a look at their advice on eligibility for student finance. Alternatively, the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has detailed guides to international eligibility for financial support.
To enrol on a PGCE, you’ll need the equivalent of a Bachelors degree and secondary qualifications in English and Maths at the same level as a UK GCSE grade C / 4.
If your qualifications are from outside the UK, training providers might ask that you show evidence that they meet these minimum requirements. UK NARIC can help certify your previous academic achievements.
Elsewhere in the UK, there are different funding systems in place to help people studying teacher training courses.
Funding options for the Scottish PGDE depend on where you’re from and where you live.
If you’re ‘ordinarily resident’ in Scotland (i.e. you live in Scotland for reasons other than study), the Students Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) will pay the tuition fees for a PGDE in full. You might also be eligible for a bursary and loan, depending on your age and financial circumstances.
Non-UK EU nationals who have lived in the EEA for three years before the start of the course may also be eligible for a tuition fee award from the SAAS.
If you’re from elsewhere in the UK but moved to Scotland to study, you won’t normally be eligible for support from the SAAS. Instead, you should apply for funding through your local student finance body (England, Wales or Northern Ireland).
The Welsh Government offers bursaries to trainee teachers. Depending on your subject and your academic achievements, you could receive a significant sum as an incentive to complete your teacher training in Wales.
For example, if you have a 1:1 undergraduate degree, Masters or a PhD, you may be eligible to receive £20,000 to specialise in the following high priority subjects:
For a full list of the bursaries available, visit the Discover Teaching website.
PGCEs in Northern Ireland are funded using the undergraduate student finance system. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for loans and grants to help you with your studies.
PGCEs aren’t the only way to become a teacher in the UK. There are several other routes into teaching, each with their own funding options.
The School Direct programme gives graduates the chance to spend a year working with at least two schools, emphasising the importance of practical classroom experience. Although School Direct courses don’t always award a PGCE, they have the same funding available, so you’ll still be eligible for the bursaries, scholarships and loans described on this page.
However, this isn’t the case for the School Direct (salaried) pathway. This allows graduates to earn a salary as an unqualified teacher before gaining QTS, but you won’t be eligible for a bursary / scholarship.
The Postgraduate Diploma in Education is an alternative to the PGCE, offering 120 CATS credits rather than the PGCE’s 60 credits. Don’t confuse it with the Scottish PGDE, which is a completely different qualification!
A PGDE is eligible for the same funding as a PGCE, including bursaries, scholarships and student finance support.
If you’re interested in teaching children up to the age of five, you’ll need to gain Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS). Depending on the route to EYTS you decide to take, there are a few funding options available:
Last updated 14/10/2019