There are many reasons why teachers enter the educational profession and whilst the motivating factors are highly personal for those who undertake teacher training, one theme always remains, the passion to enrich, positively affect and educate the lives of others.
The desire to influence children from all different backgrounds and communities by teaching, making an impact on lives now and in the future is a powerful force which attracts many educators to the profession and is the highest calling. The rewards of teaching are endless and teachers are in a unique position of being able to empower children from all backgrounds with equal opportunities, which in turn helps communities and greatly impacts on others. In essence, the ‘snow ball’ effect is born, the influence of a wonderful teacher reaches far beyond one person.
Teaching is a career and a highly skilled and worthwhile profession that gives all those who teach the ability to learn and progress within their specific areas of education. It is not just a way to earn a salary and offers diversity, it always provides challenges and high satisfaction levels.
Teachers are role models and leaders who carefully shape the skills of children, ultimately affecting how their future develops and eventually what they become. Always acting as the ‘expert’, but importantly being an approachable mentor and guide.
By sharing knowledge, enthusiasm and energy, those who teach are a powerful force on individuals and communities and by teaching their specialised subjects, encourage and directly shape the learning of children and young people.
To begin a career as a professionally qualified teacher within any state run school either in Wales or England, it is first necessary to obtain the award of Qualified Teacher Status, but those who seek teaching positions within a school of independent nature do not necessarily need this status.
Otherwise known as ‘QTS’, this official teaching prerequisite is a legal and mandatory award, before teachers may enter the state-run teaching field. For work in Ireland or Scotland, the requirements do differ and it is advisable to check the details for these areas independently.
The General Teaching Council for England (GTC) are responsible for overseeing and officially managing QTS for those who aspire to teach within the UK and there are various methods that prospective teaching candidates may follow in order to gain this professional and protected status.
The PGCE, or ‘Postgraduate Certificate in Education’ is a popular and one commonly used method to qualify with ‘Initial Teacher Training’ (ITT) and is taken over a one year period. According to current statistics, one person applies for this qualification route every ten minutes to gain QTS and as candidates already hold a degree (or equivalent) within a specified subject, a PGCE solely focuses on teacher skills required for the job. Studied full or part time (up to two years), PGCE’s are available from many different academic institutions and sometimes attract eligibility for funding.
For people who have already acquired considerable amounts of experience working within a UK based school and have perhaps been working formally within other school based positions and have a degree, they may opt for ‘Assessment-based training’ routes. Via submitting an evidence based portfolio of ability, candidates opting for this QTS route will work for a one year period to evidence their classroom skills and knowledge which is currently only available in England.
For highly experienced teachers who hold a degree and uphold required standards for QTS, the ‘Assessment Only’ (AO) avenue to gain QTS is possible. The AO route is a newly devised method that encompasses several assessment tools, but avoids the need for additional training.
Those examining the ‘Graduate Teacher Programme’ (GTP) avenue, can establish it is possible to actually be paid whilst training and gaining experience within a teaching post that is salaried – enabling those on the programme to earn while they learn. Potential candidates will already have a degree or similar and need to source a training provider or school prepared to offer a position. Training often takes one full-time academic year to complete, although in some cases can be more rapidly concluded.
The OTT avenue is an option for those professionals who have already qualified within countries that do not form part of the European Union (EU). Individuals who have received their training and qualifications outside of the UK that are not within the European sector, can apply for the ‘Overseas Trained Teacher Programme’. This provides an excellent doorway into formally accredited UK teacher training within parts of England.
For up to a four year period, the OTT enables professionals from non-EU countries to work as an unqualified teacher whilst at the same time completing the necessary QTS training, with training grants that may be available. Individuals who have teacher qualifications within the EU can apply for any teaching position in an identical method to UK qualified teaching professionals.
Often accessed QTS routes are the more traditional degree based avenue, encompassing degree level training with QTS which is achieved at the same time as academic study. A Bachelor of Arts (BA) or BSc (Bachelor of Science) can be studied via Universities or Colleges and Initial Teacher Training (ITT) is completed parallel to the degree study. Qualification can take from 3 to 4 years full time, or via a part time route of up to 6 years. Of a similar training option in both length and mode of study to the BSc or BA, the BEd (Bachelor of Education) also enables those studying via the method to gain QTS with a degree that specialises within education and is an often chosen method for Primary School applicants.
The Registered Teacher Programme (RTP) enables a balance between academic training and actual training on the job as a teacher. Suitable for those individuals who have been in Higher Education previously, they may both qualify as a teacher and complete a degree simultaneously. RTP training provides candidates with a salaried school position and degree education both partnered together, giving the route of earning whilst studying.
For aspiring teachers seeking a more challenging school based position and who already possess a degree, the ‘Teach First’ charity is an excellent option. The two year programme gives dedicated applicants the training to become both excellent teachers with a focus on leadership within more difficult schools.
Finally, if you are aspiring to enter the teaching profession by doing so more practically within an actual school and are already of graduate status, the ‘School-centred initial teacher training’ road (SCITT) could be a suitable solution.
SCITT programmes are structured and given by other nearby schools and academic establishments and are led by teachers currently in post who are very experienced. The SCITT gives a local emphasis and leads to QTS with many of the programmes also awarding a PGCE. It is advisable to check the PGCE status as some do not present this award in partnership with SCITT.