Teaching is one of the most honourable and satisfying careers a person can choose. In order to ensure the best qualified individuals are at the head of the class aspiring teachers need to fulfil a litany of academic, literacy and criminal record checks. Below is the process of becoming a teacher in the UK distilled to its essential components.
In order to train as a teacher one needs:
- A degree of 2:2 or higher. Those wishing to teach at secondary or post-compulsory levels should make sure their degree is relevant to the subject they wish to teach.
- Practical, school-based experience with the age range you wish to teach. Typically this means time spent volunteering in schools.
- A GCSE grade of at least C/4 in English and maths. Those wishing to teach at the primary level will also need a GCSE grade C/4 in science.
- To pass the relevant skills tests for literacy and numeracy. These tests are given at the time of your application for the teacher training course.
- To undergo a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) criminal records check.
Typical Qualities of a Good Teacher
Good teaching candidates typically possess the following qualities:
- An ability to relate to their students.
- A high level of enthusiasm and engagement with the subject.
- An ability to convey their knowledge in an easy to understand fashion.
- Confidence in the classroom. Exemplary behaviour. Personal integrity.
- Outstanding organizational skills.
- Patience, persistence and a commitment to continuous improvement.
- The ability to deal calmly and effectively with stressful situations when they arise.
- A good sense of humour.
QTS and NQT
In order to teach in England and Wales you need to gain QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). QTS is obtained on an ITT programme which typically takes a year to complete. After successfully completing the course QTS will be awarded and you will officially become a newly qualified teacher (NQT) ready for your induction year.
During the induction year you will be assigned an induction programme tailored to you as well as an induction tutor/mentor. During this year you will gain experience and demonstrate that you meet the Teacher’s Standards. Once you have satisfactorily completed your induction year you should be able to teach in any school.
In order to obtain a teaching position you will need to submit to a DBS check. If you previously underwent a DBS check but have misplaced the information you can find your CRB number here.
Types of Schools
In the UK there are two types of schools; independent and state run. Schools are further divided into the following groups:
- Free schools and academies – These often focus on a particular specialty such as technology, science, business or art.
- Independent schools – These include Montessori and Steiner Waldorf schools that focus on the child’s creative and moral development.
- Maintained schools – A Maintained School is bound to follow the national curriculum. Though they have a bit of leeway to focus on other subjects as well.
- Remember: Be patient and thorough and maintain your sense of humour throughout the process of becoming a teacher.