Ever considered a career in teaching? Written by Juliet Fern, Head of Teacher Education at the University of Bedfordshire

Did you know that you could get a tax-free bursary of up to £25K to train as a teacher?

Did you know that you can train to teach in different age groups?

Did you know that you can have a lifelong career, with opportunities for senior leadership?

Teacher training funding

Now is a great time to be getting into teaching, you really could have a career for life. A June 2017 Department for Education (DfE) report says: "The secondary school population is projected to continue increasing to 3.04 million by 2020 and further until 2025, when it is expected to peak at 3.33 million." The UK needs to train more new teachers than ever to meet this population increase.

As a result of the need for good teachers, tax-free funding is available to graduates training to teach in a range of subjects. You could get a £25k bursary or be awarded a scholarship to support you financially during your training year. Alternatively, you could earn a salary while you train with School Direct (salaried) or Teach First. Your eligibility for financial support, and the amount you can expect to receive, will depend on the subject in which you train and your degree classification, or highest relevant academic qualification. For all the different options visit the Get into Teaching website. There are different bursaries available for different subjects, dependent on government priorities and teacher shortages.

Training to teach different ages

As well as choosing a subject, you can train to teach different age ranges. There are different routes for different levels – one example being the University of Bedfordshire’s Primary Education BA (which includes qualified teacher status) – so finding which age range suits you best is important, perhaps just as important as your subject. A good way of identifying your preference is to visit schools and find out about the different age groups. If you contact a local school and ask to visit because you are interested in training to be a teacher most schools will host a visit for you. When you apply for teacher training you will be asked about your recent experience of schools, so organising a visit will help you decide which of the variety of options is best for you.

You will end up specialising in one of the following age groups:

Primary – teaching children 3-11

Middle – teaching children 7-14

Secondary – teaching children 11-19

As well as teaching, you might be interested in working with babies and young children, possibly in a nursery. If so you might consider working in the Early Years. There is a specialist Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) award for those teaching babies and children in the 0-5 age phase.

Lastly, you might think about working with young adults in Further Education, typically teaching those over 16. You can take a specialist qualification in teaching in the post compulsory education sector. In this setting, as well as traditional subject teaching, you can teach specialist vocational subjects/skills where you can use your work experience to train people for the profession.

So, as you can see there are many different types of teaching jobs out there, and there are many different routes to getting those jobs, depending on your qualifications and personal preferences.

If you have a degree – you may wish to consider the following:

A PGCE, School Direct or SCITT programme. These are all one year courses, for those with an appropriate degree qualification.

PGCE – for this route you spend much of the year in placements organised for you, with some time studying for your academic qualification. Typically this may be four days in a placement school and one day at a University each week. Alternatively, your academic study may be in blocks of learning. Many PGCE courses provide the opportunity of gaining Master’s level credits.

School Direct – for this route you will apply directly to a school which is working in a partnership of schools and is linked to a University provider. You can therefore choose to train and be placed in schools in the area where you would like to work as a teacher once qualified. Many trainees gain their first job as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) in one of the schools where they trained.

SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training) – for this route training is run by groups of schools in a partnership with a University. The training is practical, hands-on and usually delivered by current teachers based at their school, or within the network of schools. Trainees will get qualified teachers status and, in some cases, a PGCE.

Teach First – this is a two year course, which recruits high-achieving graduates to teach in schools where more than 50% of pupils are from low-income backgrounds. Trainees are given six weeks of intensive training before spending two years at a school. During their first year they work towards a PGCE qualification.

If you want to train to become a teacher and have the right qualities but you completed your degree some time ago or need to acquire more subject knowledge you may be asked to complete a Subject Knowledge Enhancement course – visit the Get into Teaching website to find out more.

If you do not have a degree – you may wish to consider the following:

You can study for an undergraduate teacher training degree – a three or four year course – such as the University of Bedfordshire’s Physical Education (Secondary) BA which includes QTS. The course will be a combination of academic study and school placements each year, where you will develop your teaching skills. Your degree will therefore be directly applied to your teaching placements and support you in applying knowledge to the classroom.

If you are currently working in education there may be a part-time degree near you, where you can study and work to gain a degree in education, before you progress to a postgraduate teacher training route.

If you want to train in Early Years – you may wish to consider the following:

You may decide to take the specialist Early Years Teacher Status route. Visit the Get into Teaching website to find out more about this specialist route.

10 reasons to go into teaching

There are many reasons for you to consider a career in teaching, it may be one of the following that inspires you to take a step towards teaching:

1. Sharing the magic of seeing children and young people grow

2. Transforming the lives of children and families

3. Inspiring the next generation and teaching children the transferable skills for the jobs that do not yet exist

4. Transforming your own life through a challenging, creative, innovative, reflective lifelong learning career

5. Making the world a better, more informed place

6. Having the opportunity to select from a range of education jobs, leading to progression opportunities in both teaching and leadership

7. Sharing your experience and skills

8. Job security and satisfaction

9. Opportunities to work both in the UK and abroad

10. Having a job where everyday is different, with new challenges and new learning

How do I find out more/next steps?

There are many different websites where you can find out more. A good starting point for general advice on training to become a teacher is the Department for Education Get into Teaching website – www.education.gov.uk/get-into-teaching. This will provide information on funding and bursaries, teacher training options, eligibility for teacher training, how to apply, and teachers’ salaries.

If you want to find out more about what university courses are available in your area visit the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website where you can search for these – www.ucas.com/how-it-all-works/teacher-training

There are many different factors to consider and options available. Those providing teacher training want to ensure that they support you in making the right choice for your current circumstances and your future career options.